Assessment and Expectations

Read about the class’s Fall 2020 COVID-19 adaptations, which supersede the general policies on grading and late work listed below.

UMD’s general policies can be found at this link. The text below is a supplement to these policies and describes the principles I aim to follow in classroom world building.

I prefer not to formally divide graduate seminar grades into points and percentages. If you show that you are committed to the class, working to your full ability, listening to feedback, and engaging deeply with the material, you will do well. If you are missing class, failing to do the reading, not turning in required assignments, ignoring feedback, or engaging on a superficial level, you will not do well. If you think you are not doing as well as you would like to be, make an appointment to meet with me and we will discuss your progress in detail.

Late work
On formal submissions, I will give short extensions on request provided you ask for them in advance of the deadline. There are no extensions for web posts because these are part of the ongoing flow of the class and the deadlines have been selected so we can all engage with them. If you miss a deadline, though, please still submit your entry – the online archive of our class will be incomplete if you do not.

Online engagement
Read about how we will conduct our class online. I expect to see everyone in synchronous Zoom classes, but recognize that you may not always be able to be present.

On Zoom, turn video on when you can, so that we can experience one another’s presence; turn it off if you need to. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or eat meals on camera, as these actions can be distracting or triggering for some; soft drinks and unobtrusive snacks are fine. Pets, children, partners, and housemates are welcome on camera; you will undoubtedly meet my family over the course of the semester. If you have a lot of background noise, headphones or a headset are helpful. The chat function on Zoom and the Slack will be useful if anyone has trouble hearing or prefers to communicate via text.

The course website, at, is where class material will be hosted; it is a living document and so you should make sure you check the schedule page regularly for updates to readings. Make sure that you are logged in when you visit the website, as much important material is only available to registered students. Your initial username is your last name, and your initial password is your first name as stored in university systems; make sure to change the password after your initial login.

I expect you to be checking your university email regularly, and to respond promptly when asked to do so. I will respond to email queries within 24 hours (48 over the weekend) and I expect you to do the same.

Class cancellations and emergency protocol
If we have to cancel synchronous classes, I will send an email explaining how lost material will be made up.