Course Policies

Participation:  Participation is more than just showing up: it’s coming prepared and being attentive in class. It also means refraining from any activities that are not related to class. Students participating in activities not directly related to the class will be counted ABSENT. 

Attendance: Students must attend at least 75% of the course to pass.  Thus, for our MW schedule, accumulating more than 7 absences is grounds for failing this course. I recommend keeping your absences to a minimum. 

Missing Class:  Missing class means missing work and missing work means a lower grade, so try to avoid missing class. In the event that you MUST miss class and you have a VALID excuse, you may contact me to see about making up of the missed assignment: in advanced is best.  Directly after the fact a fair second.  That said, not all assignments can be made up—in some cases missing class will mean missing assignments. 

Due Dates: All assignments are due at the beginning of class in the format requested on the course schedule. All late work will receive a FAILING GRADE.  That said, I’m a big believer in deadline extensions. I can’t always offer extensions (for drafting workshops, for instance), but when I can I will. Just contact me IN ADVANCE.

Grading: Your final grade will be based on the following:

  • Unit Feeder Assignments: 20% (6 feeders total, equally weighted)
  • Unit Final Projects: 60% (3 final projects total, equally weighted)
  • Class Participation: 20% (homework, participation, draft workshops, etc.)

I will calculate your final grade according to the following scale:

93.0-100%      A          78.0-79.9%    C+
90.0-92.9%    A-         73.0-77.9%     C
87.9-89.9%     B+        70.0-72.9%     C-
83.0-87.9%     B          63.0-69.9%    D
80.0-82.9%     B-         0.00-62.9%   F

Computers: We’ll be using laptops everyday in class unless otherwise specified.  This means, you must resolve any computer issues you’re having on your own time.  Contact UNC’s IT support: or by phone at 962-HELP for computer assistance.

Sakai: I’ll be using sakai to post this course website and to record your grades. Sakai can be accessed here:
*Your username and password for Sakai are your university ONYEN and password

Course Website: All of your final assignments will be published on this course website, which is accessible to the public. Please keep this in mind when crafting your responses: final products should be polished and respectful, regardless of the subject matter.  At the beginning of the semester I’ll be giving permissions to everyone for the purpose of publishing final unit projects online.

Office Hours: You are welcome and encouraged to come and see me any time during my office hours, or by appointment. Please make use of me as a resource.

Plagiarism: To take someone else’s ideas–verbatim or summarized–without giving him or her credit is to plagiarize. And it’s easier to do than you think. Consider, for example, these 10 types of plagiarism.  Remixing, recycling, repeating or just plain stealing someone else’s work is a violation of UNC’s Honor Code.  I will report violators, using this nifty reporting system, and these violators will be subject to University sanctions which may include suspension or even expulsion. Violators will also receive a FAILING grade for the plagiarized assignment and be required to redo the assignment. Failure to redo assignments will result in a FAILING grade for the entire course. 

Academic Etiquette:  I expect all students to refrain from outside activities during class time, such as IM-ing or emailing, facebooking, tweeting, texting, carrying on extraneous conversations, or doing work for other classes.  I expect all students to show respect for the instructor, guest speakers, as well as fellow classmates.  Disrespect will not be tolerated and the offending student or students will be required to leave the classroom if the behavior becomes egregious.  Moreover, if the disrespectful behavior is in violation of UNC’s Honor Code, I will contact the Writing Program Director and the Dean of Students regarding the incident, which will result in further sanctions (removal from the course, suspension or expulsion).

Email:  Check your UNC email! Check it often. Failing to check your email is not an excuse for missing class announcements or assignments. If you think you are not getting emails, please UNC’s Help Desk immediately to fix the problem.

Writing Groups & Drafting Workshops:Because this class relies on a workshop format, students will be working in groups or pairs or trios for most in class assignments.

Students with Learning, Disability or Accessibility Concerns:  Any student in this course who has an issue that may prevent the fullest expression of his or her abilities should contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss class requirements and recommendations necessary to ensure full participation. Students must also register with UNC’s Accessibility Services. If you have learning concerns not covered by Accessibility Services, UNC’s Learning Center is a great resource to assist you in academic success.

The Writing Center: The UNC Writing Center offers FREE tutoring services for students. You may visit the writing center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. For more information or to make an appointment, visit The Writing Center.

writing in the natural sciences