FOR ALL COURSES TAUGHT BY ELLIS GODARD
You will complete
and return an initial information form in each course: a First Day Questionnaire in 364 or 497; a Site Declaration
Form in 498; emailed info in 250, 304, and 434. By submitting that form and the information on it, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to abide by
the following "general course guidelines", which detail my expectations regarding your responsibilities
and which apply to all courses I teach. They exist to ensure fairness
through clarity, and are direct and firm in order to deter abuse.
Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I add? - Do you curve? -
Do you penalize late work? - What's my grade so far? - Can I drop?
Please note that the CSU faculty union is in the midst of contract negotiations and that the CSU is facing two mid-year budget adjustments. As such, there is a possibility of a work interruption and changes in schedule beyond the instructor’s control. Updates on this situation will be provided throughout the term, and the current course schedule is always available via Moodle.
INSTRUCTOR: Things I'll do in all of my classes...
- Updates: Regularly check the course website. Topics, readings, assignment distribution,
and due dates are subject to adjustment, at the discretion of the instructor.
- Communication: CSUN provides all students with a free email account, which is the
official communication method at the university. It is your responsibility to monitor your University account, either directly or by forwarding mail to
an external account. Not checking email is not an acceptable reason for missing
deadlines and important news. Call the University Help Desk at 677-1400 for
- Records: Attendance is usually measured with circulation of a class roll, or
through submission of quizzes or lab assignments. Oral objections weeks later
will not result in a change in your attendance record; you must sign the
roll, complete the quiz or lab assignment, or contact me with a valid excuse
(see below) before the next class, or at any delay reasonably commensurate with
the nature of the excuse. It is the student's responsibility to start or request a roll, if the instructor does not start one, particularly if there are quizzes using clickers.
- Waiting list: I do not send out permission numbers prior to the start of a class. I maintain a waiting list of those who email me in advance, sorted on a first-come/first-served basis. I do not give priority based on your seniority, schedule, or sob story, sorry. Permission numbers will typically be emailed to students who, during the 2nd or 3rd lecture, are notified that they may add. I typically add some students to every class during the first lecture, and after the 2nd or 3rd depending on drops, no-shows, and administrative withdrawls. No students will be added who have missed the first four classes, nor will students be added after the first two weeks of class.
Intructor: Call the department office (x3591) if I am not in class by
10 minutes beyond start time. If I am running late for any reason, I will have
called the office to let them know both why and when I'll arrive. I will also have typically updated my status on Facebook, even if I am going to be later than five minutes before class. In the odd event that no one knows anything, be certain of this: The "15
minute rule" is a legend. Class is only cancelled if I or the department
say that it is. If you leave of your own accord, without checking first, you
risk missing a quiz, lab, or worse.
- General: Criteria for grading individual assignments will vary, and will be announced
as those assignments are distributed. owever, all work is evaluated objectively, scored numerically,
and adjusted statisically.
- Labs, short papers,
and presentations graded by the instructor are awarded check minus, check,
or check plus - indicating subpar, average, and exceptional work, and calculated as a 75, 85, and 95, respectively.
- Presentations graded
by other students use a matrix specific to each class. Grades are based on averages of the scores given, after standardizing each grader's
scores to account for variation among graders.
- For all other assignments,
grades are a function not of the total points available (which become irrelevant)
but on the number of missed points by all members of the class, both on average
(using an arithmetic mean) and in their dispersion (using the standard deviation).
- Grades are adjusted (curved, but not normalized) using a formula which takes
into account the mean, median, and standard deviation of missed points on each
- The resulting distribution of grades will thus reflect the shape
and dispersion of variation in the performance of students in the class, rather
than, for example, predetermined grade allocations (such as 10% As, 4 Fs, etc.).
- The standardization factor "freezes" on the last day of class. Any assignments submitted beyond that date, for any reason, whether accepted or not, will not affect the value of missed points for those who have already submitted work.
- Statistics: On all assignments involving formulas or calculations, you should show
all work. Sometimes, showing the formula is itself all that I'm requesting and crediting. Other times, I will give partial credit wherever possible, but cannot do so if you only provide an incorrect final answer. I do not typically deduct points for "math errors", although you should typically interpret (use and explain) answers, and recognize if they don't make sense for the given problem.
- Grading Report : The instructor will add data to an online grade report throughout the term, recording and reflecting both the individual progress of each student and the collective movement of each class as a whole.
- For some courses, the information is briefer and self-explanatory. Most provide information such as the date(s) submitted, number of missed points, days late (or early), any bonuses, and adjusted grade for each
student for each assignment, organized by assignment type across two to five pages of a PDF document (depending on the class, number of students, and number of assignments). Some of these reports also provide the mean, median, standard deviation, and
conversion factor (grade percentage per missed point) for each assignment, particularly where such summary statistics are part of the grade calculation (see above).
- Pursuant to Supreme Court decision, Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restrictions,
policy, your grades may not be publicly posted (on my door, or on the web) with any personally identifying
information. You will thus be required to provide a "codename", which
must be something that only you and I will know, that will only be used for
this class, and that is appropriate for a public report (e.g. it may not include
profanity or offensive language, in any language.)
changes: Grades are earned, not negotiated. However, any instructor
is fallible. If you disagree with a grade, feel free to say so. However, any
such requests for grade changes must be made in writing and must include
the original graded assignment, the grade you think you deserved, and a valid
justification for that grade change. (Emailed requests must document the grade
you were given, the correction to my evaluation which you believe should be
made, and the grade you believe you should instead receive.)
- General: An "A" indicates exceptional work deserving of distinction.
I almost always give As and Fs, but I don't have a set number or percentage
that will get any particular grade. Instead, grades on individual assignments
will be statistically standardized (not normalized; see above)
before being aggregated, and the grading scale for the transformation from numeric
grades to a final letter grade will follow the pattern of B- = 79.5 - 82.49;
B = 82.5 - 86.49; B+ = 86.5 - 89.49, etc. (including rounding to the nearest
first decimal place).
- Drops: Students may drop via SOLAR (without approval from the instructor, chair,
or anyone else) during the first three weeks (for Spring 2011, that means Friday February 11th), and with a change of schedule
form (signed by an instructor and chair and submitted with a $25 late fee) during the
- Beyond that, you
must appeal directly to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies (Dr.
Maureen Rubin, 677-2969, UN 215) for any program changes, must have documented
proof of a real emergency ("support paper"), and will receive a W grade except for documented
- Beyond week 4, you must complete a special form which makes clear that requests will NOT be approved for a list of reasons including a less-than-desired grade, lack of motivation, academic overload, inability to keep up, the need to work, and more. Requests during the final three weeks will be considered only in the case of severe illness, injury, or other extreme circumstances. Those instructions also make clear which of three possible forms you should complete.
- Per CSUN policy, "A medical withdrawl typically constitutes complete withdrawl from the University" and "will be granted solely for established medical purposes before a student takes final exams. ... Medical withdrawals due to illness in the family will be granted only if the attending physician stipulates that the student is needed to care for the family member."
- Incompletes will not be granted except in the case of a serious (and documented) medical condition. You must have made substantial
progress towards completing the course, demonstrate how far you got before you
were incapacitated, have definitive plans for completing remaining assignments (typically within one year),
have persuasive reason that an extension to you would not be unfair to other
students, and complete a written agreement to the effect of each of those items
before the end of the term. The university provides a specific form that must be completed (www.csun.edu/anr/forms/request_incomplete.pdf under "Student Forms" on the portal QuickLinks), following specific instructions and condtions, and includes specific requirements for its use. This process must be initiated by the student, or an incomplete cannot be granted: Per university policy, it is a student's responsibility to "complete the form and submit it in person to the course instructor on or before the day of the Final Exam. ...No retroactive Incomplete grades are permitted." Assignments otherwise incomplete by the end of the
term will be scored as a zero (for numeric computations) or F (for non-numeric
- Co-requisites must be jointly completed. That is, if a course consists of a lecture and lab, you must pass both of them; if you fail one half of the course, you will receive a failing grade for both halves.
STUDENTS: Things you'll do in any of my classes...
- Reading: Do the reading assignments for each lecture in advance. Part
of the college experience is learning to become self-directed by completing
all assignments (including readings) as given. Moreover, course material may
be difficult to grasp without having done the readings, because the lectures
are intended to identify highlights and then move beyond the text, including
reactions to it.
- Punctuality: Arrive on time and remain until the class is dismissed. Special
announcements typically take place at the beginning of class. Late entries and
early departures distract students who are trying to get the most from their
experience here. Please be respectful of their efforts, and mine.
- Exams: You must arrive on time for exams. Arriving late disrupts students who
are in the process of taking an exam. Anyone arriving more than ten minutes
late for an exam may, at the instructor's discretion, not be allowed to take
that exam. After the first person submits their exam, anyone else arriving beyond
that time will not be allowed to take it.
courses: Always bring all course materials to class, including
the text, a basic calculator, and a computer storage strategy (floppy disk,
Zip® disk, CDR, email attachments, etc.) You might be provided storage space
on a university server or lab PC, but may wish to make a copy for your own protection.
You will also need to do work beyond the lab periods, and may not have access
to the same servers.
- Schedule your other activities as needed in order to attend class meetings, arrive
on time, and stay until dismissed.
- Importance: You will successfully complete this course without a
strong attendance record. Attendance typically counts both directly - as a component
of your grade, except for some large classes in which taking attendance would
sacrifice too much meeting time - and indirectly - reflected in your performance
on homework and exams. Each class meeting contains elements (such as information
on or about examinations) which will indirectly affect your grade. If you fall
behind or miss several class meetings, it will be very difficult to catch up.
Ultimately, those who attend regularly tend to perform better than those who
- First Two or Lose: Per CSUN policy, "according to page 36 of the 2008-2010 CSUN Catalogue, students who are absent from the first two meetings of a class that meets more than once a week, or from the first meeting of a class that meets only once a week, lose the right to remain on the class roll UNLESS the instructor is notified that the absence is temporary. Students who have lost the right to remain in the class must FORMALLY WITHDRAW from the class. Failure to formally withdraw from a class will result in the instructor assigning to the student a grade of “U” which, in computing a student’s grade point average, counts as a grade of F." (See p.36 of the 2009-2010 CSUN Catalogue)
- Administrative Drop: Per CSUN policy, "the University may withdraw a student, within the first three weeks, from a course if he or she fails to meet the prerequite(s) or other requirements as indicated in the catalog." This instructor will recommend to the Associate Dean of the College that such administrative withdrawls be made, typically during the second week, when for example someone is enrolled in SOC497 but has not yet completed SOC364.
- Absence from classes will be excused only with a signed note from a physician
certifying illness on the date(s) missed or, under extenuating circumstances,
by prior arrangement with the instructor. There will be no make-up exams, although those legitimately
excused (see above) may, at the instructor's discretion, write a research paper on a topic of the instructor's
choice in lieu of taking the exam. An excused absence may alter some elements of your grade. For attendance, you are simply not penalized for that absence. Quizzes and labs cannot be "made
up" at a later time. For quizzes, you will receive, for that quiz, the average of all of your previous quizzes. For labs, you will be graded on one fewer entry (for each one excused absence) which makes the denominator of your grade calculation smaller and, consequently, other labs count proportionately more.
- Emergencies must be documented in writing. Crises or emergencies
include severe illness requiring a doctor's visit or hospitalization, death
in the family, or college-excused events (which must be approved ahead of time).
They do not include not feeling well, oversleeping, forgetting, not finding
parking, or needing help from or for a friend, roommate, family member, or pet.
- General: The types, number, length, and content of assignments vary by class,
and are described on course-specific core syllabus distributed on the first
day of class, and available through the website for each course (via the "Syllabus"
link at the top).
work: Complete work assigned for class meetings (such as small group
discussions or group lab exercises) in class, when assigned, and during the
time allotted. Labs and quizzes cannot be made up at a later date. Also, no make-up exams will be given except in cases of medical emergencies,
for which a doctor's signed letter must be provided (see above).
& Plagiarism: Plan ahead as much as possible, and ask frequent questions
early, but DO NOT complete assignments together! Undertake study partners
or groups with caution, and terminate them at the appropriate stage of your
work. Discuss the contents of any assignment, and plan how to carry it out,
with any other member of the class, the instructor, or anyone else. However,
once you have actually begun the work on the computer, only ask the instructor
for help, no matter how minor. You may always consult written course
materials, your own notes, or SPSS program "help" features, which we will review.
work: Retrieve graded work from me in a timely fashion, either during
the lecture in which it is returned or from my office as soon as possible. (Feedback
on one assignment will help you complete the next.) Exams will be retained for
one year. Any other work not picked up from me within six months will be discarded.
Records of all grades (components and their computation) will be obtained for
at least three years.
- Paper Submissions should be edited, typed, and stapled.
- Review and edit any writing that you do before submitting it. While I do not normally penalize work for spelling, grammer, or punctuation, I do often note such errors in work reviewed. Moreover, if the mechanics of your work inhibit my ability to understand what you've intended, or prohibit clarity that you've understood either the material or what you've written, your grade will certainly be affected; I can't give full credit for nonsense, even if accidental.
- Type all work that can be typed. I reserve the right to penalize work that is handwritten - either directly when the assignment specifically says to type, or indirectly if I can't read your handwriting and so can't give you credit.
- Staple all work. Please do not use paperclips, which can easily become detached in a large pile, nor binderclips, which make the pile taller and unstable. Do not use report covers, plastic binders, or folders for your assignments; these may result in a 20% reduction in the grade for that assignment.
- Exams: These vary widely by class (in class for 497, take home for 364, online for 304), but...
- Versions: Each exam administration may include multiple versions of the test administered
to the same class.
- Cumulative? Unless otherwise stated, final exams are not cumulative in the sense that they may include everything covered in the course, before and after the midterm examination(s). However, some material is addressed throughout each course and so is fair game for any exam, including the final. Moreover, all exams are cumulative in the sense that each of the later units presumes an understanding of the previously covered material.
- Questions: I am unable to address exam questions during the taking of exams, as it disrupts
my ability to proctor and may tend to convey information (right or wrong) to
- Scoring: You will receive (via the course website) an aggregate
score indicating the number of questions missed, and I will review the exams
question-by-question, including a summary of how many students missed each question.
- Problems: You are free to visit my office hours to
review your particular answers. Concerns or requested corrections must be made
in writing, within one week of the results being presented to the clas
PROBLEMS: Issues that may arise in any class...
- General: Comply with the Student Conduct Code, specified circa page 22 in the
current Schedule of Classes or in the Student Planning Guide for Success.
Conduct class contributions in an orderly manner, taking care not to dominate
any discussion. Ask lecture-related questions of each other if and as needed,
but do not talk over each other or the instructor. Talking out
of context, eatingm or reading during class is disrespectful and disrupts the
educational process, and may be subject to disciplinary actions specified in
the Student Code of Conduct, including, initially, being asked to leave the
- Dialog: Sociological material includes issues and ideas that may engender strong
reactions, or even offend you. I encourage respectful, constructive dialog,
particularly when opinions differ. But I will not tolerate rudeness, mean spiritedness,
personal attacks, harassment, or abuse of any kind, which may be violate the
Standards of Ethical Behavior under the Student Code of Conduct as defined in
the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog (e.g. pp. 522-523 in the 2002-2004
- Devices: Turn off (or set to "vibrate" or "vibe ring") all cell phones,
watch alarms, music devices, and other electronic equipment at the beginning
of each class, so as not to disturb other students. I reserve and may exercise
the right to answer any cell phone that rings while I'm lecturing, and
to excuse immediately anyone whose device is disturbing class.
- Guests: Students are not permitted to bring children or pets to class, and may
not bring other guests to class without approval of the instructor at least
thirty-six (36) hours in advance.
submission: Work must be submitted in person at the beginning of
class on the date the assignment is due. The early bonus can only be earned
for work submitted at the start of class, when assignments are collected
- and a late penalty will be assigned for anything submitted beyond that time,
including later during or at the end of that class.
submission: Anything not submitted in class should be left with someone in the Sociology Department office, to be put in my mailbox.
- Work submitted through the Department office must include the instructor's and student's names and must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. Note that they will not date, time, or initial your submissions. Work
submitted in that fashion will be deemed submitted whenever I get it from my
- Do not submit work by sliding it under my office door; that isn't secure, and
does not count as having submitted it.
- Nor does emailing your work suffice. I can't print everyone's work, it won't
look the same on my printer as it does on your screen, you should see it
printed anyway (even read, and edit it!), and I can't risk the virus exposure. Assignments emailed without prior approval (and those come only under exceptional circumstances) will not be accepted, credited, or even read.
- Late Penalty: All assignments will have clearly specified and enforced due dates. Assignments
submitted after the beginning of the class in which they are due will typically lose five
percentage points (one half letter grade) per day, to a maximum of 20% penalty and a maximum of four weeks late. (That is, you could submit a homework as late as four weeks late, and receive a 20% penalty rather than taking a zero. I'd rather you at least try than penalize without limit!) Nothing may be submitted beyond the last day of class, of course.
- Early Bonus: For most at-home assignments
(papers, homework, and reports - but not labs, presentations, quizzes, exams, or attendance)
assignments submitted at the beginning of a class but on a day earlier than
due will gain two percentage points (one fifth of a letter grade) per class
day early, to a maximum of 8% bonus. (You can attempt work that would be more than four class days early, but I don't want you to try getting so far ahead that you lose track of where we are as a class.)
- Early work: Note that I will not typically return work prior to its deadline and, on occasion, not prior to the following meeting. While I encourage you to submit early, when you are prepared for and comfortable with it, the amount of feedback that I typically provide (esp. on statistics homeworks) means that returning graded work make make it too easy and tempting for some students to cheat. Additionally, I necessarily prioritize actual submissions over pre-submissions. I will thus grade work as soon after it is submitted as possible (prioritizing items due earlier over items not even yet due, and work submitted on time over work submitted late) and will post grades to the online grading reports (PDF, email, etc.), but will not return the actual work with my comments until at least the meeting at which the work is assigned.
excuses: Since many assignments involve use of a computer, you are advised
to leave ample time for inevitable disasters such as a system crash,
lack of lab seating, or lost files or passwords, none of which is an acceptable
excuse for late work. (You should always save early and often, make multiple
copies, and check for viruses.) I cannot be sympathetic to problems that occur
because you waited until the last minute, and simultaneously be fair to students
who planned ahead and completed work on time. Be aware that the labs will get
busier as the semester wears on. Remember that you can do all the work in other
labs (such as Sierra Hall 180, 303, or 392, or the library collaboratory), but
that you should save your work to diskette (early and often) in order
to make it portable.
- I exercise zero tolerance for academic dishonesty (including cheating and plagiarism) as outlined in the section on Academic Dishonesty and Student Conduct in the current Schedule of Classes. I
take any compromise of the CSUN Policy on Academic Dishonesty very seriously. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagairism as defined by the CSUN Schedule of Classes and Catalog Supplement. Facilitating academic dishonesty does of course include permitting another student to see your completed work, which they then reproduce in whole or in part and submit as their own. Cheating
or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus is listed in
Section 41301, Title 5, California Code of Regulations, as an offense for which
a student may be expelled or suspended.
on any assignment may result in an F for the course. This includes cheating,
fabrication, and dishonesty on exams and quizzes, as well as plagiarism on written
assignments: Do not use anyone else's words or ideas without clearly acknowledging
the source, including a complete citation of the original work.
- Penalties for academic dishonesty begin with a failing grade on the assignment. I have no hesitation giving zeroes to two submissions that appear identical, or similar enough that I suspect the two students worked together. In such an event, it is the students' joint responsibilty to account for any similarity: I will not remove an assigned zero unless and until I have heard from both of you, together, in person. Even then, however, note the first sentence above: Academic dishonesty includes facilitating academic dishonesty! If you let someone else copy your work, you're just as culpable as they are, and you will have both earned zeroes!
BASICS: Other items that may help you get going...
- Purchase: For some of my courses, you will be required to purchase a "clicker" (audience response system unit). You will need to have the same brand and model as is required; other brands and models will not communicate correctly with my receiver or software. So far, this has meant the TurningTechnologies ResponseCard (RF) unit, though refer to a particularly course's syllabus, which may be more current than this page.
- Options: The CSUN standard is a newer XR model that permits open-ended answers, self-paced exam taking and data collection in the field (go home and do 3 or 4 assignments, then upload your data to me when you return); but I don't make use of those functions, and the RF model is less expensive. Additionally, if you have an iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Mobile device, you may use a downloadable ResponseWare "app"; and if you have phone, PDA, or laptop with WiFi, and have a valid login for the university's WiFi network, you may log in to rwpoll.com for each quiz. Note that, for rwpoll.com or the use of any of the apps, you will need a "session ID", which changes each time; it is not a semester ID.
- Use: When required, clickers will be used to take attendance (in almost every lecture), for frequent quizzes (with instant feedback on your answers), for course evaluations (throughout the semester), for exam reviews, and for pauses during and games prior to some lectures.
- Batteries: It is your responsibility to acquire and have working batteries for a clicker just as you would for a calculator or any other course tool. Some earlier models were particularly prone to battery trouble, but you should take care in how you store any clicker and should have spare batteries on hand just in case.
- Problems: If your clicker is not working or not in your possesion for any particular class, I typically have a roll that you may sign, and I typically make allowances for adustments to attendance and quiz grades. However, these vary from course to course; please refer to the syllabus and second lecture for more details.
with disabilities who need accomodations must register with Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) office or the National Center on Deafness (NCOD). The DRES office is located in Bayramian Hall, room 110 and can be reached at (818) 677-2684. NCOD is located on Bertrand Street in Jeanne Chisholm Hall and can be reached at (818) 677-2611. You will need to complete
a services agreement each semester. Staff within the Center will verify the
existence of a disability based on the documentation provided and approve accommodations. If you qualify for accomodations due to a disability, please communicate your specific issue(s), need(s), and related expectation(s) within the first two weeks of class, preferably via the online intake form required in the first week of each course. (Alternative arrangements should not be needed for my exams, which are typically (and unless otherwise specified) online, open-book, open-note, with a week to take them.) Students who are approved for testing taking accommodations must provide a proctor
form to their faculty member signed by a counselor in the Center on Disabilities
prior to making testing arrangements. If you would like to discuss your need for accommodations with me, please contact me to set up an appointment.
- Religious observance: University policy requires certain accomodations for those students who have conflicts with respect to scheduled exams, assignments, or attendance due to the observance of religious obligations. If you will need any such accomodations, please communicate that to me as soon as possible - at least two weeks prior to any relevant date, and preferably via the intake form distributed on the first day of class.
addition to lectures, labs, office hours, and individual appointments, you are
welcomed and encouraged to make collaborative use of a variety of course-related
materials online, which will be introduced throughout the semester.
Resource Center (SSB 408), should you need particular instructional assistance.
Helpdesk (818-677-1400 and online) should you need technical assistance beyond
The current version of this page is online at