Course Policies and Practices

Universal Learning

I am committed to the principle of universal learning. This means that our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to universal learning.

Any student with particular needs should contact the coordinator of Disability Services at the start of the semester. Services are available to any student, full or part-time, who has a need because of a [documented] disability. It is the student's responsibility to register for services with the coordinator of students with disabilities and to provide any necessary documentation to verify a disability or the need for accommodations. The coordinator of Disability Services can be reached at (304) 367-4686 or (800) 641-5678 Ext. 8. You and I can work out the details of accommodations for the course.

Course Expectations and Activities

I view the learning process as an interactive endeavor in which you and I both have responsibilities. My roles are to design an engaging, relevant, productive course, facilitate class activities that I believe will be effective in the learning process, to assess your work in a fair, timely manner, and create a safe, supportive space in which everyone can be who she or he is and freely contribute to the class. Your role in the learning process is to engage with the course work regularly, complete all of the assignments fully and to the best of your ability, and to participate in class discussions and activities.

Structure of Modules

This course is informed by the Teaching for Understanding (TfU) framework for curriculum design. TfU provides a way of thinking and planning that facilitates an intentional approach to teaching. Each module is informed by a generative topic and structured through the inclusion of several understanding goals. You can see how these relationships are put into practice through the Module Maps in the Appendix.

Each module consists of several components:

  1. Readings from the books or from online sources;
  2. Tip of Your Iceberg which are activities that encourage you to share your existing understandings of a topic;
  3. A "Professor's Perspective" in which I help to frame the module by pointing out some of the points from the readings I found salient;
  4. Making Connections, online discussions that allow you to connect with the content and connect with each other;
  5. Looking Back, Looking Ahead, allowing you to reflect on what you learned in the unit; and,
  6. Multi-Unit Performances of Understanding, larger activities that require you to pull concepts, ideas, and skills from two or three units that both allow you to demonstrate and build your understandings.

You have about two weeks to engage with each module. I recommend that you complete a module before moving on. Here is a suggested order for engaging in the experiences of each module:

  1. Engage in the Tip of Your Iceberg;
  2. Complete the readings;
  3. Check out the Professor's Perspective;
  4. Participate in Making Connections;
  5. Complete the activity for Looking Back, Looking Ahead;
  6. Contribute to your Culminating Performance.

Because so much of this course relies on online discourse and shared meaning-making, you cannot wait until the last minute to participate. Please maintain a sustainable schedule for engaging in the activities of the course to ensure that we have a successful learning environment for all students. I am happy to work with you and help you develop the practices necessary for regular and sustained engagement in the course.