My basic policies all exist so that you can give yourself a chance to learn but also so you can give yourself some space to take care of the rest of your life.

Main policy: If you are sick, please rest!

This semester is going to be an experiment in flexibility. We’re nowhere near out of the crisis that covid-19 has set in motion, and though you may have settled into something like a rhythm, things could change at any moment. Anxiety and exhaustion, mentally and physically, are ever-present realities.

With that in mind, here are my main expectations:

  • Make a good-faith effort to complete the work in the syllabus on time.
  • Be respectful of others’ time and needs.
  • Be willing to change things up if our current system isn’t working.
  • Participate in the discussions online.
  • Ask a lot of questions! Don’t wait to get help.
  • If you know of something that will prevent you from being active in our class, please let me know. You don’t have to be specific, but I’d appreciate a heads-up. (Please do this privately, either in an email or via direct message in Slack.)
  • If you see another classmate struggling, help them out. This isn’t a competition; we’re all in it together.

Dealing with covid

Masks are required for 100% of in-person class time. You may not take your mask off for any reason during class. Repeated violation of this policy may result in your removal from the classroom, and even dismissal from the course.

Given how pervasive Omicron is at the moment, and the likelihood that a new variant will emerge at some point during the semester, there’s a good chance that one or more of us will need to miss class for some period of time. I have tried to structure this class in such a way that missing a class or two here or there will not sink your ship. If you can possibly help it, please reach out to me before you will miss class so that we can discuss what needs to be done.

I reserve the right to move this class online for any reason at any time. I will give you as much heads-up as I can possibly give you if that needs to happen.

University-wide policies

See the George Mason University catalog for general policies, as well as the university statement on diversity. You are expected to know and follow George Mason’s policies on academic integrity and the honor code. Please ask me if you have any questions about how these policies apply to this course. Please note the dates for dropping and adding this course from the academic calendar.

Getting help and accommodations

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please talk to me and contact the Office of Disability Services at 703-993-2474 or http://ods.gmu.edu. All academic accommodations must be arranged through that office. That said, if you need help about anything, or you have special circumstances that I need to know about to help you succeed in this class, please come talk to me. Special circumstances could be a disability, or childcare issues, or an aging parent who needs help, or a full-time job, or any number of other things. I can’t help you unless you tell me that you need help.


We’re all humans. This class is not your only responsibility. I know that. If there are things in your life that are making it hard for you to do your work, please let me know. If you’re struggling with mental health, or your work schedule is overwhelming, or you need help with time management or workload management, please talk to me privately.


Courses such as this can have a complicated relationship with student privacy. You’ll notice that this course is not in Blackboard at all; while it may seem like that gives you less privacy because all course materials are out in the open, I think it actually gives you more, because I can’t check up on your activities (such as whether you opened things, how much time you spent in a certain area) as easily, nor have you given the university or outside vendors such broad access to your course efforts.

On the flip side, I do believe that it’s important to do scholarship in public. So your work will almost all be done in public, on your own blog. While this public work could open you up to harassment, no student in my class has ever experienced this. If it does happen, please tell me and we’ll deal with it together. (Unfortunately, learning about dealing with harassment online is a valuable skill, but one we won’t tackle until it comes up.)

But also be circumspect in the things you post online. I don’t expect you to hold back on your opinions, but consider your language and affect. Attacking or defending positions is one thing; attacking or defending people is another. If you’re not sure whether it’s wise to post something, check with me or a trusted colleague. If you are concerned about privacy, you’re welcome to remove identifying information from your website as long as I know it’s yours.

In terms of class participation, I also care about your privacy. If we ever have to go online for some reason, there are a few ways you can protect your privacy. While I reserve the right to record any synchronous sessions we do, I will only provide those recordings to people in this class who specifically request them after the fact. I also will never require you to turn on your camera (though you are welcome to, particularly if you’re speaking).

I will never put your face, or even your name, out on the Internet, without your explicit permission. Not only is this sort of action a violation of your FERPA rights, it’s also just bad form. There may be occasions, if you produce excellent work, where I might wish to share your work with my colleagues on social media, as a way to brag about how awesome you are. But I will never do that without asking you first (even though all your coursework will be technically public).

Enrollment in this class

Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class.

After the last day to drop a class, withdrawing from this class requires the approval of the dean and is only allowed for nonacademic reasons. Undergraduate students may choose to exercise a selective withdrawal. See the Schedule of Classes for selective withdrawal procedures.