You’re all graduate students. I want you to be involved in creating the policies we’ll observe in this class. But there are a few that are hard and fast ground rules that I will impose. They are these:

  • Be respectful. This is a discussion class, and you’ll be interacting with your colleagues frequently, both synchronously and asynchronously. If you’re prone to speak your mind, let others speak first. If you’re certain you have the answer, listen before you speak.
  • Be responsive. I understand that this is a very tough semester for all of us. Things might go awry; you might not be able to get to all the things you want to get to. We can work through all of these problems, but only if you talk to me, and respond when I try to talk to you.
  • Be flexible. Things are going to change in this class as we go. Our lives might all change drastically. We’ll certainly shift in our focus as I take into account what you want to think about. Be willing to go with the flow. I’ll do my absolute best not to make changes without sufficient notice.


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.


Online 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. The goal of this class is to produce something for the public, and thus it will be open for anyone to look at. 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.)

In terms of class participation, I also care about your privacy. This means that, while I will record the 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 your coursework will be technically public).

University 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.

Accommodations for disability

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. If you need to give me an accommodations form, you can send it to me via email. 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.

Enrollment in this class

Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class.

Schedule adjustments should be made by the deadlines published in the Schedule of Classes.

  • Last Day to Add: August 31
  • Last Day to Drop: September 15

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.