In this course, we cover a wide range of technical material. I do what I can to present this material at a pace and level that suits the needs of all students simultaneously. However, some students may find the pace too fast and the level too high. At the same time, some students may find the pace too slow and the level too low.
Since it’s impossible for me to proceed at a pace and level that suits all students equally well, I will generally try to adopt a middle path.
If you find that the pace is too fast or the level too high, I will do my best to help you keep up. However, you must assume some responsibility as well.
First, you must make a good faith effort to help yourself. That means you must attend lectures on a regular basis, do all the assigned and recommended reading, and seek out additional resources for assistance. I’ve provided a list of recommended Web sites to help you with the latter.
Second, as a mature adult, it is up to you to recognize your situation and proactively seek assistance to rectify it. I am happy to provide that assistance whenever I can, but you must take the first step of letting me know that you need it. Generally, the best way to accomplish this is to come by and see me in my office, but e-mail works to get the ball rolling.
If you find that the pace is too slow or the level too low, I will do my best to help you explore more advanced material. However, you must assume some responsibility as well.
First, you must make a good faith effort to help yourself. That means you must attend lectures on a regular basis. There is a tendency among more advanced students to stop attending lectures as the course progresses. If you wish to move ahead into more advanced material, it is particularly important to fully understand the basics, and attendance at lectures is the simplest way to accomplish that. You must also seek out additional resources for assistance, perhaps using the list of recommended books and/or the list of recommended Web sites I have provided.
Second, if you desire my assistance in your endeavors, you are responsible for asking for it. I will help as much as I can, but I cannot help if I do not know my assistance is needed. Feel free to stop by my office or send me e-mail to let me know.
Regardless of your reasons for seeking assistance, timing is everything. The longer you wait to get me involved, the less likely it is that I’ll be able to help.
Often, students who are struggling to keep up do not approach me for assistance until the last week or two of the semester. At this point, there is very little I can offer. I am not able to provide extra credit work, and obviously I cannot go back and change all the bad grades earned so far. All the help I am able to offer involves strategies for improving future grades, not altering past grades. As such, the longer you wait the more bad grades you accumulate, and the fewer future grades remain with which I can offer assistance.
Likewise, students who find that the course does not challenge them sufficiently have a tendency to wait until the end of the course to inform me of this fact. While this is generally not as critical from a grading perspective, it does mean that such students have lost an opportunity to address a perfectly correctable situation.
I’ll do whatever I can to make your experience in this course as educational as possible, but I can’t work magic at the end of the semester. If you are willing to put in the time and effort and let me know early enough, we should be able to work together to improve your experience.
While I will do what I can to assist those students who show me that they have taken the first steps by helping themselves, I am limited to some degree in what I can do.
University regulations and policies, as well as state and federal laws, are in place to protect the rights of all students equally, and I must work within the boundaries these requirements place on me. Therefore, I endeavor to make decisions on the basis of fairness to all, even when the result may seem somewhat unfair to an individual’s perspective.
One of the most common requests that I must refuse on these grounds is the request for extra credit work. If I offer extra credit work to one student, University policy requires me to make that same extra credit work available to all students. Since I ultimately assign grades relative to class ranking, not “magic numbers,” the extra credit work would have little impact on any individual grade if everyone in the class were to submit it. Hence, it becomes much less “extra credit” and much more “extra work.” Most students feel there is already plenty of work in my course.
The University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you must register with Disability Services for Students (DSS). Contact DSS at (603) 862-2607 or visit them in 201 Smith Hall. If you have received Accommodation Letters for this course from DSS, please provide me with that information privately so that we can review those accommodations. I would encourage you to do so as early in the semester as possible, since none of the accommodations are retroactive.
All students should also be aware that the University offers multiple academic resources to assist all students. I encourage students to take full advantage of all applicable resources to ensure academic success.