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Course Policies for Basic Writing 111
Attendance: Regular attendance in Englwrit 111 is required. The course is designed to provide frequent opportunities for college-level reading, writing, speaking, and listening – activities that are complex and difficult and require time and feedback to do well. Regular attendance means that each student is writing regularly, and it means that his/her instructor and classmates can give that writing the attention it deserves. Attendance is also required so that an intellectual community can form in the class: reading and writing are, after all, social acts. For these reasons, students need to be in class, on time, prepared, for every meeting.
If a student needs to be absent for a required athletic event, field trip, military obligation, or court appearance; if there is a death or serious illness in the family; if the student experiences an accident or serious illness of his/her own; if he/she is absent because of religious observance; or if there is some other legitimate extenuating circumstance preventing him/her from attending, the student will be excused from class. But note that in most cases the student is responsible for prior notification and/or subsequent documentation and for making up all missed work. The insturctor will offer reasonable assistance with the latter. For the University’s policies on class absences, go to http://www.umass.edu/registrar/gen_info/class_absence.htm. Be aware that too many absences for whatever reason may make it impossible to meet course requirements.
For “unexcused” absences, in which a student misses class because of a cold or headache, a pressing deadline in another course, a missed flight or bus back to campus, or some other ordinary reason, the Writing Program allows three such absences without penalty for MWF classes and two absences without penalty for TTh and MW classes. If the student misses more than that, his or her final grade may be lowered: for MWF classes, up to one-third of a letter grade each for the fourth through sixth unexcused absences and up to one-half a letter grade for each absence after that; for TTh and MW classes, up to one-half a letter grade each for the third and fourth unexcused absences and up to three-quarters of a letter grade for each absence after that. Note that missing a scheduled conference may also count as an absence. Turning in papers late and coming to class excessively or frequently late may result in grade penalties as well. Finally, a student who misses more than eleven classes on a MWF schedule or seven classes on a TTh or MW schedule, without good reason, cannot in most cases pass this course. To download an Excel spreadsheet laying out these penalties in greater detail, click here.