FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I took Criminology and Criminal Justice with you before. May I take this class?
Yes, of course. There will be no substantial overlapping. However, since many students didn’t take Criminology and Criminal Justice we will review some topics we already covered during the first one or two classes. Also, whenever we analyze a topic we will start from scratch. So, for example, when we analyze sentencing we will first examine what sentencing is, who imposes it, and the different aspects of sentencing. There may be some overlapping because this is quite similar to adult sentencing examined in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Then, to continue with the example, we will discuss sentencing principles, types of sentencing, and other issues which exclusively apply to crimes committed by young persons, and which we have never discussed in other courses.
I didn’t take Criminology and Criminal Justice or any other Crim course. Will I be in a disadvantage with respect to students that did?
No, not at all. This course does not presuppose any previous knowledge on Criminology or Criminal Justice.
I wrote everything that is in the class notes and book. Why is my grade so low?
The book and the class notes are just a guide. The important thing is what we actually discuss in class. Also, your critical assessment is required.
I don’t 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.
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.
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?
Yes, I don’t mind emailing you your grade. I understand that you must be anxious and want to know your grade. But please get the test from me next class or come get it from my office as soon as you can. Your test has comments and feedback about your answers. These are much more useful for your learning process than a simple grade.
I can’t 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. 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.
How can you give us a grade for class participation in this large class?
We will be doing 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 don’t like speaking in public. Will I have a low grade in this evaluation component?
If you don’t like speaking in public you can actively participate in other ways. For example, you can talk and have a very active role in the small group discussions, you can write your answers and email them to me immediately after the class, or you can think of any other way in which you can actively participate without feeling uncomfortable.
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 don’t 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.
You said that if a student participates actively every single class, he/she doesn’t have to hand in the portfolio. Is this true?
Yes, that is true. The idea of the portfolio is to help those students that are shy or don’t like speaking in public. So, if you have actively participated in every class, you don’t need to hand in the portfolio.
I came to most classes and I often/sometimes speak in class. Do I need to hand in the portfolio?
You don’t need to hand in the portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you will get an A in class participation. I will judge your participation based solely on your work in class. Remember that, according to the Course Outline, in order to get a very good mark in the class participation component of the evaluation, you need to “actively participate in every class,” and volunteer to lead activities, debates or debriefs.” Also, “your participation must make a positive impact on the class activities” and “class attendance is a prerequisite to obtain the grade under the class participation-portfolio category.” So, if you didn’t actively contribute –orally- to some classes but you still worked hard in those classes, it would be a good idea to hand in the portfolio even if not required to do so.
Do you want the portfolio to be typed up? Would you like it in a folder or binder?
The important thing is the content. All else is irrelevant. As to formalities, please do whatever you prefer or whatever is easier for you.
One of the evaluation criteria for the portfolio is evidence that each of the activities was completed when discussed in class. What does this mean?
This means that you have to do the activities in class during the small group work and not all together the night before the deadline for passing the portfolio in.
How can we show that we did the activities in class?
There are several ways. The best one is to volunteer to discuss them in class. If there was no time, or you don’t like speaking in public, you can email me the activities right after the class. You can also show me a draft of your portfolio every month or so.
Can you give me some ideas as to the format of the presentation?
Sure. Please click here for some tips on the presentation.
Is there a suggested format for the presentation?
Yes. In the first part of the presentation, your group should explain the topic to the whole group. It should last around 10 minutes. Here you should explain about the topic, its connection to youth crimes, the theories or authors we addressed in class, and other relevant information. Then, you should prepare an engaging activity for students to apply the knowledge you conveyed. This is the most important aspect of the presentation. The activity has to be well organized. It must permit students to apply knowledge and it must clearly be a learning experience. Also, try to make it intellectually challenging and entertaining. As far as possible, try not to repeat the kind of activities other groups proposed. The activity should last approximately 15 minutes. The last part is your conclusion, which should not exceed 5 minutes.
Do all members of the group have to talk in each part of the presentation?
No, the way you distribute the roles is entirely up to you.
Are there any organization and style requirements for the essay?
Yes. Please click here to read about the required style and organization of the essay.
We have agreed to meet in your office after 5, but access to the second floor is barred. What can I do?
Access to the second floor is sometimes barred after 5 PM. So, please call me from downstairs (494-6284) and I will go down and let you in.
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 didn’t reply.
During the academic year, I make it a point of answering all emails within 24 hours. If I haven’t answered yours, chances are that I didn’t get it. Please email me again.
During the summer, I carry out research and give lectures abroad. So, please be patient if it takes me longer to answer your email.