Attendance, Participation, and Grades
This is a graduate class; I expect you to want to be here, to be prepared to spend time working through texts that can be difficult, and to be continually thinking about what might be possible in your own intellectual projects. The grade is not the point at graduate level, and if you show that you are deeply engaged and working hard, you will do well. If you are missing class, failing to do the reading, and not turning in required assignments, you will not do well. Please let me know if you are having problems that are affecting your attendance and participation.
You are more than welcome to bring your laptop or tablet to class, but please use it to participate. Maintain the same respect in online participation as you would in the classroom, and check in with your fellow participants before you post their name in public. Be responsible about your own attention, and if you find that using your computer in class makes you tune out, close it or take steps such as deactivating your wireless connection.
Discussion, reading, and generosity
Some of the texts we will read in this class will challenge you, for various reasons; that is the nature of scholarly inquiry. Some texts may offend you. Perhaps some should offend you. But our aim as scholars should be to work in a spirit of openness, seeking to understand how each project is shaped by its origins, location, and investments and to discover what we can learn from it. For the duration of the class, your goal in encountering texts and screenings should be to read both critically and generously. You should try to approach your classmates’ written and spoken comments in the same spirit, while paying attention to the flows of power in the classroom. This does not mean accepting offensive or hurtful language, or hesitating to call out problems when you see them; it does mean working from an assumption of collaboration rather than confrontation and appreciating that we are all in a state of constant change and that what we say does not define who we are. If you feel that conversation has become uncomfortable for you or you are concerned that a problematic dynamic is developing in the classroom or online, please speak to me privately as soon as possible and I will do my best to make a change.
I will do my best to work with any student who requires accommodations and to minimize barriers posed by course structures and materials. Any student with a disability who may require an accommodation for this class should be sure to document their disability with the IUP Disability Support Services office (Advising & Testing Center, 216 Pratt Hall, 724-357-4067, firstname.lastname@example.org). Please request the Disability Support Services office to send me a letter, confirming your registration with their office and the accommodations you qualify for. You may also contact me directly to let me know what your access needs are.