- Policies on Assignment Submission: All assignments must be submitted electronically through D2L. Hard copy assignment submissions will not be accepted. Emailed assignment submissions will only be accepted under extenuating circumstances.
- Policy on Late Assignments: Because the nature of my courses requires all students to be prepared to discuss materials on the day they are assigned, no late assignment submissions will be accepted. The only exception to this is when a student has obtained the instructor’s permission for an extension. Such permission must be obtained at least 24 hours prior to the original due date and time. Additionally, after a graded assignment has been returned to a student, the student should not submit a new version of the assignment with the expectation that it will be regraded.
- Policy on Redistribution of Course Content: Recording, photographing, or forwarding/disseminating lectures, conversations, presentations, or notes requires prior consent from the instructor.
- Policy on Academic Honesty: As should be expected, academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. As outlined in the University catalog, if a situation of plagiarism or cheating arises, any students involved may receive a 0 on the assignment or, in serious cases, may fail the course.
- Policy on Accommodations: If any assignments (because of their format or their content) are inaccessible or otherwise pose undue difficulty for a student, that student should speak with the instructor as soon as possible to make other arrangements.
- Policy on Inclusivity: Educational spaces need to be safe and open to new ideas; therefore, diverse perspectives, worldviews, and opinions are welcome and encouraged in this class. As members of a learning community, however, instructors and students should be thoughtful about minimizing hurtful speech and behaviors, including (but not limited to) racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, agist, and heteronormative microaggressions.
- Policy on Course Related Announcements & Communications: The instructor may make announcements through the D2L “News” feature or via university email. Students are responsible for checking their university email regularly and for reading any "News" items in D2L. The “News” feature is found by clicking “Course Home” from anywhere inside our D2L classroom space. Note that students are responsible for checking their university email for at least a week after the end of each semester, in case there are problems with final assignments (wrong paper submitted, etc.) or grades.
- Grading Scale:
My goal in teaching is to motivate students to become engaged global citizens. This goal emerges directly from my work in Gender Studies, Ethics, and Cultural Studies. My gender studies training compels me to challenge students to consider how they might be personally participating in structures of oppression, and my cultural studies work motivates me to ask students to think about the ways that their own media consumption and consumer habits shape their lives and the world. I then frame the students’ self-analysis with ethical questions about how the students’ habits impact their identities and their participation in global events. Students leave my classroom with a new perspective about themselves and their place in the world, and I am able to facilitate this paradigm shift through three interrelated pedagogical strategies.
I bring new forms of technology and media into the classroom in order to highlight and interrogate students’ assumptions about technology’s role in the world. When I encourage students to uses social media for academic purposes, students begin to see that these technologies are not simply forms of entertainment, but are tools for social critique and political participation. For example, in “Values and Critical Thinking,” students are required to find commercials on YouTube and blog about the logical fallacies found in them, and in my upper level feminist philosophy course, I ask students to contribute to Wikipedia pages that discuss feminist issues. Using these technologies teaches students that they are accountable for their online behaviors and helps them learn to use social media for professional and activist purposes. Students have responded well to this strategy, and one student in my “Christian Ethics” class even created a Facebook group so that our in-class topics could be addressed by her larger network of contacts.
Extending the goals of using these technologies to in-class practices, I create an engaged learning environment that emphasizes discussion as a key learning forum. I highlight that every student contributes to the learning of others and suggest that they are responsible to each other for participating fully in the learning community so that all students have the advantage of hearing diverse perspectives. De-centering my own voice, I urge students to begin discussions of our texts online and expect each day’s student discussion leaders to get a sense of the perspectives of their classmates as they are preparing their questions and comments. I also guide conversations in small and large groups formats during class time and help students engage more deeply with the topics. I then frequently require students to respond to the in-class discussions through Twitter, asking them to pay particular attention to the ways that their perspectives changed throughout the different stages of our conversation. These methods allow students to articulate their own beliefs and experiences that are relevant to the topics at hand, and as the class does so, we demonstrate that intelligent and ethical people can view topics from a variety of perspectives. This approach helps students learn to analyze these differing perspectives and decide for themselves which of them are most compelling. Furthermore, these strategies make possible more contributions from each student because our conversions are ongoing, not limited only to class time, and they can even extend beyond the end of a particular semester.
I also encourage students to break down the perceived boundaries between academic pursuits and daily life. This strategy is manifested in the semester long project that I assign in my “Sexual Ethics” course. That project requires students to research and write about two sexual ethics topic of their choice (one issue that impacts college students and one that has global impact), then to research and connect with activist organizations that work on those issues. During the project, students also write an essay that explains whether or not they would personally become involved with the activist organizations that they researched. This assignment helps students learn about real-world problems and the ways that they are already being addressed, but it also prompts them to think about what they can personally do to impact the issues.
By employing these strategies, I build an environment where students are led to critically examine their use of technology (and media in general) and where they learn that they can personally participate in changing in the world.