FAQ for Rebecca’s courses

I decided that the best way to communicate some of the information about how I teach is through an FAQ – that is, frequently asked questions. I find that I answer many of these questions in a presentation the first week of class, but students are overloaded with information that week. When they need the information, they forget where they might have read or head it. I’m hoping that my students will come to this page when they are looking for information about the courses (information here is not course specific – and will apply to most if not all of my courses).

You can call me Rebecca. Traditionally, one of the characteristics of a social-constructivist based online course is that you communicate with the instructor less formally. As part of that, it is common to refer to your instructors by their first names.

When I mark papers I leave comments. I use the following scale:

OK. This acknowledges your attempt and highlights that you still have work to do. If you get an OK, it is usually accompanied with a note that says you can resubmit to improve your grade. Further, I will have explained someplace in the feedback where I don’t see evidence that you understand the concept.

Good. This is one step above OK. It recognizes that you have done portions of the assignment correctly, however, there is an important part of the assignment where you have not demonstrated that you understand the concept.

Great. This means that you have successfully demonstrated that you understand the concepts.

Excellent (or Awesome). This means I think your work is exceptional. This is usually because you have not only demonstrated that you understand the concepts well, but also that you have clearly articulated yourself. I will often ask people who get an Excellent if they’d be willing to have their assignments as exemplars.

To get an A in my classes you need to participate and hand in all your assignments. If you are not demonstrating that you understand the key concepts, I will give you at least one opportunity to update your assignment and resubmit.

My goal with marking is not to be punitive, rather I use assignments as a way for you to demonstrate your understanding of the concepts, and an opportunity for me to give you feedback.

I find that specifying specific times for me to be available doesn’t work well. Rather, I subscribe to a tool called Calendly. Students can use the link provided in the course syllabus (and the LMS) to book a 15 minute consult with me at any time. The tool tells you specifically when I’m available and puts the meeting in my calendar. If you cannot find an available slot that works for you, please email me. I often have time available outside the times I’ve specified by default.

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