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Course Documents

WOC190 - How Class Works

Q: How do I contact Austin?

A: WeChat. I much prefer WeChat to email. You may message me any time of day and I'll respond to you as soon as I can. 

If you don't hear back from me within 24 hours, message me again saying,  "Just checking, did you get my message?"

Q: How do I meet with Austin outside of class?

A: My office hours are by appointment, which means that if you'd like to meet with me, all you have to do is message me on WeChat and we'll find a time. My office is CC 1062.

Sometimes, if I know students may have lots of questions on an assignment, I may announce "open office hours," which means that I will choose a particular time during which students are welcome to drop by without an appointment.

In addition, just for fun, I usually host a weekly conversation table in the cafeteria so I can chat casually with students. When this is going to happen, I'll announce time and place over WeChat. (At these lunch tables I like to alternate languages: One week we speak English; the next Chinese; the next English, and so forth.)

Q: How will I know what the homework is?

A: In most cases I will explain the homework in class. In addition, I will always post homework instructions on the course website, https://www.awmemorypalace.com/woc190

If I don't have time at the end of class to explain the homework, please read the instructions online carefully. Message me if you have any questions.

If I need to make any last-minute changes or have any last-minute announcements to make, I will do so in our class WeChat group

Q: I'm already in soooooo many WeChat groups! Can I just mute our class group and ignore it?

A: Sure, you can mute it, but don't ignore it. I may send out important announcements over WeChat! 

For example, if I want to make sure everyone brings their computers to the next class session, I'll announce this over WeChat. If you're the only one who shows up without it... it will be awkward!

Q: What if I'm confused about something but I think it's a stupid question and I don't want to bother you about it?

A: Ask me anyway. There is no such thing as a stupid question! I like getting questions from students. I'd much rather you ask me directly than ask your classmates. Your classmates might not have accurate information -- but I do!

Q: How do I hand in homework? 

A: Bring hard copy to class. Occasionally I may ask for electronic copy, but those are rare exceptions. Usually I'll want hard copy.

Homework is due when I ask for it. That means that if I say I'm going to collect homework and yours isn't ready yet, it is late.

Please, please do not run out in the middle of class to print your assignment! This is disruptive both to me and to your fellow students.

Q: What happens if I hand in an assignment late?

A: Handing in an assignment late won't affect your grade on the assignment itself. However, if you hand in multiple assignments late, it may lower your grade for class participation (see below).

Q: How do I submit a late assignment?

A: Put it in the blue box in front of my office, CC1062.

Q: How will my grade for the course be calculated?

The general breakdown for the course grade is as follows:

  • Short essays (30%)

  • Class participation, writing exercises, other class activities (30%)

  • Final project (40%)

In class I will explain in detail how I intend to grade writing assignments and other activities.

One important note: Unlike some teachers at DKU, I do not grade you on how much you speak in class. However, to earn full credit for class participation you must show up to class (on time), do all your homework, meet deadlines, follow directions, and take assignments seriously. 

Please note that being late to class once or twice or handing in one or two assignments late will not likely lower your participation grade. What will lower your grade is if I notice a pattern (e.g. a student is frequently late to class, hands in assignments late, etc.).

Q: What if I need to miss class because I'm sick or for some other important reason?

A: That's fine -- all I ask is that you tell me in advance, and that you message me yourself

Don't tell me after the class you missed, and don't delegate a classmate to tell me (unless it's a true emergency and you're incapable of contacting me yourself). If I don't hear from you personally before your absence, I will still mark you absent without an excuse.

You don't need to give me an official excuse from the school. Just letting me know in advance is fine. 

Q: If I need to miss class, can I switch sections?

A: No. Things get complicated when students switch sections. I appreciate your wanting to keep up to date on classwork, but I'd rather you just miss the class and, if necessary, meet with me to get caught up on what you missed.

Q: Can I ask for an extension on an assignment (i.e. get permission hand it in late without a penalty)?

A: Yes, you can. If you know in advance that you will have trouble meeting a deadline, you may ask for an extension. Legitimate reasons for asking for an extension include things like: important school obligations, job interviews, serious medical issues, and family emergencies.

If you will need more time to finish an assignment for one of these reasons, you must notify me at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline. Last-minute requests for extensions will not be granted for any reason (except for a genuine emergency).

Q: Can I use my cell phone or computer in the classroom?

A: I don't have a strict "no technology" policy in the classroom. However, for many things we do you won't need cell phones or computers, so I don't expect to see many people using them.

If I see you using a cell phone or computer in such a way that I worry it may be distracting you or your classmates, I might ask you to put it away.

Q: Can I speak Chinese in class?

A: I have no problem with you speaking Chinese in the classroom as long as we can use it as a learning tool -- for example, asking me or classmates for help translating a word or idea into English. 

Q: Can I speak Chinese with you outside of class?

A: Sure, if you want to. I'm happy to speak with you in whichever language you prefer. In general I'll respond in whichever language you address me in, so if you speak English, I'll respond in English; if you speak Chinese, I'll speak in Chinese. 

Since this is an English class, though, and since I know many of you are working to improve your spoken English, when in doubt I'll usually speak to you in English.