Class Policies

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Dr. Hill's Class Policies

If you ever have any questions as to class policies, then you have arrived at the right place to look. You are always welcome to browse this site. 


Students will come to class prepared to discuss reading assignments found on both the course syllabus and the daily assignment sheets. I will facilitate discussions by asking questions about these assignments, or I will entertain students' questions as a springboard for class discussion. If, however, discussion begins to lag, I will assume that students have not read their assignment and I will give one of my short tests of knowledge. These are otherwise known as pop quizzes. Trust me, it is far more productive (and less painful) just to prepare for  class and participate in discussion rather than become a victim of one of my short tests of knowledge. 


Essays and papers will account for most of the semester grades. However, daily quizzes and short writing assignments will also constitute a part of your grade. Students, in all my classes, will treat topics for writing in meaningful, significant ways. Students are to write in a clear and concise manner in order to avoid long and rambling essays. Students are to have a topic sentence and develop that topic with clarity and conciseness. I encourage students to find a unique "angle" to a topic, even to an everyday commonplace topic. 


Taking ideas (either by direct quotation or by paraphrase) from print or electronic sources without using end-of-sentence parenthetical documentation is called plagiarism.  Plagiarism also occurs when students copy word-for-word a sentence or passage from a source without placing double quotation marks around those words.  The penalty for plagiarism is a failing grade for the paper and is reported to the Vice-President for Student Affairs. The Vice-President for Student Affairs will keep a record of first-offense plagiarism cases. 


Northwestern Oklahoma State University is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunity and full participation for students with disabilities in higher education. We recognize the under-used potential of individuals with disabilities and realize the importance of higher education for this special population. Therefore, I, along with the Disabled Student Services, am committed to serving all students with disabilities as defined by federal regulations: A person who qualifies for special accommodation means: An individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or practices, the removal of architectural, communications, or transportation barriers or provision of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services for the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity. If you meet the guidelines, you should contact the Office of Disabled Student Services so you will have the opportunity to identify the specific academic accommodations that you will need. 


I expect all students enrolled in my classes to attend class sessions. This is especially required for students enrolled in writing courses where they learn to apply strategies for revising and editing essays. Students who skip classes will miss important tips for improving their writing, and frequent absences will therefore account for the poor grades they receive on papers. I do not accept late papers, nor will I allow any make up work except in the event of an emergency. In an emergency situation, the student should notify me by phone or by e-mail. The English department has adopted the following class attendance policy: 
    1. For a 3-hour class that meets three times a week: 
      9 absences--failure of the course 
    2. For a 3-hour class that meets twice a week: 
      8 absences--failure of the course 
    3. For a 3-hour class that meets once a week for three hours, one absence will count as three.


Every student should come to class with the required textbooks, white loose-leaf notebook paper, and a blue or black ink pen. Students are expected to turn in work in pen. All essays and other work must be typed when handed in. If you do not own a computer, there are computer labs across campus where you can type your work. I will not accept work on paper ripped from a spiral notebook. I will not allow students to share a textbook in class. Those who cannot afford to buy a textbook until they receive scholarship and/or grant money should see me right after the first class meeting. 


Students earn whatever grades that they receive for their papers and tests. Although effort is important, I expect students to produce results. This means that they should turn in written work when it is due, and the work should demonstrate an ability to fulfill the requirements of the assignments. The English department has adopted the following grading scale for all classes offered in the department: 
    (A means Superior, B means Good, C means Average, D means Poor) 
    A = 100-90 
    B = 89-80 
    C = 79-70 
    D = 69-60 


Students are to type all papers that they turn in for a grade. They are to use white, 20-pound weight paper and allow for one-inch margins at the top, bottom, left, and right. Also, they are to use a 12-point font in either Times New Roman or Courier. The print should be in black rather than a barely readable gray. Headings are to conform to MLA style, whether the paper is an essay or a research paper. To see an example of this format, see A Guide for Writing Research Papers on the Internet. On the left frame, look for "Formatting the Paper" and click on it. Scroll down the page to see the margin and heading requirements. 

I recommend that students use word processing programs (either WordPerfect 6.0, 6.1, or Microsoft Word) so that they can use the Spell Check and Grammatik programs. The Writing Center has 17 computers equipped with WordPerfect 6.1, which offers automatic templates for papers that require the MLA format for headings, margins, titles, and the Works Cited page. Just get into WordPerfect 6.1 and click on File>New (or if the file pull-down menu includes the word Templates, then click on File>Template). Then look in the Group box and scroll down to the word Report. Click on Report and then in the Select Template box, click on Term Paper-- Modern Language Association (MLA). Then click on the Select button. Fill out the required information in the text box and click on the OK button. The paper is now formatted MLA style and programmed for continuous double spacing. Remember to bring a formatted HD floppy disk and save all work to that disk (drive a:\). Do not save any work to the hard drive (drive c:\). To find out which drive you are in, click File>Save As and look at the Drives box. Click on the a:\ drive and name your file. Continue typing your paper and click File>Save (since you should already be in drive a:\) every fifteen minutes or so. 


OK, let's admit it: the English language is a cruel mistress. Remember that an idea is only as good as the correctness of its expression, meaning that even if the ideas are good (the content), mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation will detract from those ideas, and readers will begin to concentrate more on the mistakes than on the content. In this situation, those great ideas become hapless victims in a maze of errors. And that is where written communication begins to break down between writer and reader. Students who know that they have trouble with grammar should visit the Writing Center often (about twice a week for thirty- minute sessions) and work on the GEAR program to learn some of the basics of English grammar. They can also ask one of the tutors in the Writing Center to help them understand a concept that presents a special difficulty. At times, I may give students referral slips to take with them into the Writing Center so that they can meet with a tutor and go over any grammatical problems that I have asked the tutor to explain. Netheads can get into the web site called The Grammar and Writing Page for details about grammar and punctuation matters. This site is user friendly and explanations are easy to understand. Be sure to take the quizzes because some of my own quizzes in Grammar and Composition 1113 and 1213 come from this site. 


I encourage my students to use sources for any paper they write as long as they cite their sources, using parenthetical documentation at the end of sentences that contain information from a source. Any paper using a source (even just one) requires a Works Cited page at the end of the paper. Freshmen can use books in addition to The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature to find articles in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. Students in my literature classes are to use the MLA Bibliography and the International MLA (print and online versions) to locate articles in literary journals. Students who use the Internet will find a variety of sources on topics, but they should evaluate those sources carefully for evidence of scholarship and reliability. See the web site for Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources for help. 


A good Internet site for learning how to document sources is A Guide for Writing Research Papers.  Scroll down the left frame to find specific information. Also, check out the Grammar and Writing Page  for details about grammar and punctuation