FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are there any rules on class behaviour?
Yes, here are the rules.
1) You must treat your colleagues, the teacher, and any guest with utmost respect.
2) You must come to class.
3) You must prepare thoroughly for each session in accordance with the course outline and the teacherís instructions.
4) Study hard to master the basic concepts, theories, methods, and writing conventions.
5) When an activity involves working in small groups, you must work hard and not converse about topics unrelated to the activity.
6) Refrain from sleeping or daydreaming during class.
7) Refrain from reading or working on materials that are extraneous to the course.
8) Refrain from chatting with your classmates during a lecture or when classmates are delivering speeches.
9) Refrain from checking your cell phone during class.
10) Refrain from using your laptop computer for checking emails, Facebook, watching a movie, or any other activity that is extraneous to the course.
11) Always listen carefully, with an open mind, to the contributions of others.
12) Ask for clarification when you donít understand a point someone has made.
Will all the questions in the test be taken from the test bank? Or will you include questions that are not in the test bank?
I will only choose questions from the test bank.
I contributed a question to the test bank, but you did not include it.
Yes, that is possible. The reason may be that other students contributed similar questions or that your question does not deal with a topic or an angle of a topic that we discussed enough in class. Sometimes, I receive too many questions, so I have to choose some as I donít want the test bank to be too long.
I contributed a question to the test bank but you changed it. Why?
I may change it a little bit, but only with respect to language or a non essential aspect. I never change the substance of a question.
I missed the class where you returned the tests. Can you email me my grade?
I understand that you must be anxious and want to know your grade. But, please, come to my office during my office hours as soon as possible to get the test back and your grade. Your test has comments and feedback about your answers. These are much more useful for your learning process than a simple grade.
I canít come to class the day of the exam. Is there a make up?
The possibility of writing a make up test is restricted to those exceptional cases where a student cannot come to class for reasons beyond his or her control. This does not include sports competitions. In all cases, I have to approve the possibility of writing a make up test in advance, preferably by email. Questions in the make up test will be DIFFERENT from those asked in the regular test. The make up test may even contain more questions. Also, it takes me longer to mark and return make up tests written on a different day than the one assigned in the course outline. This is because I teach several courses each term. When I plan these courses, I tend to schedule tests -and papers- on different days. So, even if you write your make up test two or three days later than the originally scheduled day, I will probably have to grade tests or papers for another course. So, your make up test will be returned to you after I finish all papers or tests of that/those other course/s.
I wrote everything that is in the class notes and book. Why is my grade so low?
Your answer probably did not follow all the aspects outlined in the evaluation criteria. Your answer may have omitted to discuss what we actually analyzed in class. You may have failed to include your critical assessment.
A few classes before the first test, I always discuss the evaluation criteria in class so that you will know exactly what to expect from me when I mark your test. You can also read the complete evaluation criteria in the course outline.
Do you want us to discuss class activities in the tests, essays, and final evaluation? Why?
Yes, making reference to, discussing, and elaborating upon the class activities and class discussions are an essential aspect of the evaluation criteria. This is so because discussing comparing, and re-elaborating what we analyzed in class are essential academic skills which you need to acquire at the university level. You will be employing these skills in your future academic or professional endeavours. Simply providing information or analyzing a topic in a vacuum are not enough in todayís world, particularly because information is very easily accessible. Being able to analyze, evaluate, and relate information is more important than simply regurgitating information.
I donít agree with the mark I received in my test. Can we go over the test together?
Of course. I will be very glad to go over the test with you. Please bring it to the next class or come see me in my office during my office hours.
English is not my first language, may I bring a bilingual dictionary to the test?
How can you give us a grade for class participation in this large class?
We will be doing many activities where you can actively participate every single class. The lectures are also interactive. So, despite the large number of students, there are plenty of opportunities to participate.
I donít like speaking in public. Will I have a low grade in this evaluation component?
Yes. You do need to actively participate in class. In todayís world, speaking and communication skills are essential. You will need to give oral presentations and speak in public in virtually any professional or academic endeavour you embark on after you finish your university studies. So, the best way to acquire these skills is by practicing them in class. You need to get involved and positively participate in class. You will be evaluated for your class participation.
I am really very shy. Can I do something instead of participating in class?
I will create a very friendly atmosphere where every one will feel safe and comfortable to speak. I am unable to give you another alternative. If I did, it would not be fair to other students that participate in class. Many students also experience writerís block when they write an essay, but they do not ask for an alternative assignment. The same principle applies for class participation. If you are very shy and do not want to speak in class, you may want to consider dropping the course.
I missed a few classes. I read the class notes and the chapters from the books. Will I have a problem in the midterm and with the portfolio?
If you only missed a couple of classes you can meet with me in my office or talk to a student about what we actually discussed in class. If you missed several classes, you will be at a serious disadvantage.
I noticed that when we do the small-group activities, you donít walk around the groups, asking questions or checking progress. Why is that?
I think that this may be a little bit intimidating for some students, especially those that are shy. They tend to speak freely if the teacher is not walking and checking what they say. However, if you need to ask me a question, or discuss something with me, please raise your hand or call me, and I will be very happy to talk to your group.
How can listening to students arguing and answering each othersí questions be beneficial for anyone? Why donít you lecture all the time?
Why will students that do not come to class fail to get credit for the course?
The most important part of your learning process takes place in class. Class participation adds to your educational experience beyond and above what you can learn from just reading and writing in solitude. To come to university is to join a community of learners. An athlete who does not attend practices risks losing his or her place on the team. A musician or actor who does not attend rehearsals is usually not allowed to participate in the performance. Similarly, a student that does not come to class is not part of the class and does not deserve course credit.
I missed class. I have a doctorís note. Can I do the class activity that I missed?
You will not receive any credit if you do it. And I will NOT read it if you give it to me. The class activities are designed to encourage your learning process by interacting with your fellow students and with me. The reason for your absence is irrelevant. Whether you missed because your doctor did not allow you to leave home or because you needed to finish a paper for another course is irrelevant. The important consequence is that you missed a unique learning experience and, as a result, you may not receive credit for it.
Are there any organization and style requirements for the essays?
Yes. Please click here to read about the required style and organization of the essay.
REVIEW FOR TESTS
Why donít you go over the scenarios in the review classes right before a test?
The purpose of the review classes is to give you an opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics which are not very clear to you after studying for the tests. I do not mind clarifying an obscure aspect of a scenario, but what I do not want to do is solve the scenarios myself. If I did this, you would not be applying the theoretical knowledge acquired in class to the problems, I would be doing it, and all you would be doing is memorizing my way of analyzing the scenarios.
What is your office-hours policy?
Please feel free to come see me during my office hours. I am available not only for class help, but also for other academic-related issues, such as writing letters of reference or helping with prospective graduate studies. I want to be available to answer questions and meet with all students. So, in addition to regular office hours and seeing me by appointment, I will every so often end class early, and invite students who have questions to meet with me right then and there.
I have sent you an email but you didnít reply.
During the academic year, I make it a point of answering all emails within 24 hours. If I havenít answered yours, chances are that I didnít get it. Please email me again.
During the summer, I carry out research abroad. So, please be patient if it takes me much longer to answer your email.
I did not get a passing grade/my grade is very low. Can I write an essay to get a passing grade/to get a higher grade?
During the regular term, I give plenty of opportunities for you to discuss what you can do to raise your grade. Depending on the circumstances, I sometimes even give opportunities to actually rewrite or make up an evaluation assignment. Once I give the final mark, it is too late. If I changed it for you, it would be unfair for all other students that worked hard during the term. Asking me to change it also means that you have not sat down with me to discuss what you needed to do to improve your grade during the term.
My grade is lower than I expected. Did I get a low grade in class participation?
As I mentioned in class, I take class participation very seriously. If you did not actively and positively participate in EVERY SINGLE CLASS, you cannot get a high grade for class participation. You need to make a positive contribution to every single class. You need to ask questions, volunteer to comment what was discussed in small groups, give examples, answer questions, and participate in all activities. Besides, your participation has to show that you have been doing the readings and have been reflecting about the topics we have covered in the course.