- As indicated in the
syllabus, e-mails must always be written in a professional format. This
means they must begin with a proper opening (Dear Instructor... ) and
closure (Sincerely... [and your official name]). Otherwise, you may not get a response.
- If you have e-mailed me outside the designated e-mail days, it may
take some time to respond to an e-mail.
- E-mails are never
accessed via mobile devices. This means an e-mail can only be read after
logging into a desktop computer, which is never a 24/7 deal. That is
why certain days of the week have been designated as e-mail days--see
the syllabus to find out what days.
- When sending an e-mail, in
the subject-heading you must always indicate (a) what class you are in,
and (b) what the content of the e-mail is about.
- Do not send me e-mails on matters I
have already dealt with in (a) the syllabus; (b) announcements on your
class home page; (c) rules for tests/quizzes; and (d) information on this page. You,
most likely, will not get a response.
- Two days during the week have been designated as e-mail days. (See the syllabus.)
2. Video File Format.
- For a small number
of you, after downloading a file, it may not play on your particular
machine because of the file format (HEVC encoded). This applies only to the few HEVC encoded files. For solutions click here.
3. Skipping Information on the Class Home Page
(a) Links to homework, and other critical information on the class home
page never gets removed. This also applies to older announcements.
(b) Therefore, develop a habit of ALWAYS, always, always, looking for a scroll bar on the
right hand side of a screen, and if present use it (before you do
anything else) to make sure that you do not miss anything from that
- (c) Regularly visiting the class home
page for announcements and assignments is absolutely essential in this
course--see the syllabus.
- (d) It is your responsibility to
to keep track of test dates, announcements; etc. (I think there are
quite a few free apps out there--such as Google Calendar--that can help you keep track of appointments. No?)
4. Options in Multiple-Choice Questions
- (a) The correct/incorrect options are fixed; they cannot be changed.
Just because you chose an incorrect option does not mean everyone else
chose the same option too. <--Read this sentence again.
(b) In extremely rare instances, there may be a question where everyone
gets it wrong. However, even in such an instance it does not necessarily
mean there was anything wrong with the options that were presented in
the question. It may simply mean that everyone did not do the relevant
homework (yes, this does happen); and hence they tried to guess. (See
also next point.)
(c) It is possible that in some rare instances a question may still be
problematic in some way (e.g. wording). To take care of the possibility
of such instances everyone will usually (not always) receive a certain
number of bonus points when the FINAL score is computed on the basis of
your preliminary score. In other words you would do not have to get all
questions correct in order to get a 100% on a test. In this scenario,
the number of bonus points will depend on length of test, difficulty
level of homework material, etc.
5. Failure to Finish Tests / Missing Tests
(a) To begin with, first go through the Rules for Quizzes/Tests/Exams available via a link on the class home page. Check out the forensic steps
that have to be taken, in order to discourage cheating. Some
after seeing the questions on a test and realizing they are unprepared,
will claim they had a technical glitch in completing the test by
temporarily disconnecting their internet. (Yup. dishonest people are
will then request a re-take of the test. This is not only cheating, but
it is totally unfair to other students.
In this course, it is not technically possible to open up a test, once it has closed, for any user who fails
to do/finish the test for any reason. It would require a make-up test (if you are allowed one), which would require
construction of an entirely new test. Repeat: If you are allowed to do a make-up
it will always require construction of a new
test. Why? Because, in this course, once a test closes on
Blackboard, it is no longer possible to re-open it because tests, per
school academic honesty recommendations, can not be open-ended (in
terms of date/time/questions). (Not all instructors appear to know this.) Therefore, if, in the rare instance, you are allowed a make-up
it will not be available until toward the end of the semester (yes, you
can stay on my case about this)--this will also allow me to look at
your course performance in general for the entire semester.
- (c) Please also note that university
rules require that if I give a break to one student I must give a break
to all students. Very often this is simply impractical.
- (d) Reminder: As per course syllabus, no incompletes will be given in this course.
6. Question about "Open-Book" Test Format
- Are the
tests open-book in this course? I would prefer they were not. However,
because this is an asynchronous course, there is no way for me to
prevent you from looking up material via your dumb phones. I am
therefore remaining silent on this question.
If an extra-credit test is scheduled then it will take the form of a
regular test, and most likely it will be available during exam week
last day of class. It may or may not be based on homework assigned
during the semester.
- Extra-credit means extra work for me;
Yes? Therefore, in order that people take this opportunity seriously
(instead of wasting my time), for the extra-credit test to count I may
require that you get a minimum of a B on it, in which case the test will
be worth two grade
levels--as in, for example, C to C+ to B- equals two levels.
- Alternatively, I may not ask you to get
a minimum grade on the test, and instead I would use the score to
replace the lowest score on your existing test scores (the assumption
being that you will do better on this test than on any previous test).
- Here is a question for ya: If you did
not have the time to do the homework for the regular tests during the
semester, how are you going to find the time for the extra-credit test?
8. Asynchronous versus Synchronous Courses
If this is an asynchronous course (see your syllabus for definition), with rare
exception, there will be no synchronous sessions of any kind via Zoom or
any other similar facility. (Office hours will be via e-mail only on the days specified in the syllabus.)
9. Accessing / Downloading the Homework.
- As per course requirements in the syllabus, you must download all assigned homework. For starters, not
all AV material is available via commercial channels, moreover (a) some
of the assigned films have been "processed" specifically for this class
in the sense that explanatory notes and other AV materials are attached
to them; and (b) I need to be able to keep track of
who is doing the homework. :)
- For a small number
of you, after downloading a file, it may not play on your particular
machine because of the file format (HEVC encoded). This applies only to the very few HEVC encoded files. For solutions click here.
a small number of you, a link to a homework assignment may result in a
message such as "We are sorry you do not have access to this
service... blah, blah, blah." This will happen with assignment material
located on Google Drive). First, this is a problem on your end, and it
has to do with your browser and/or your computer habits. Second, here
are some solutions to the problem. (Reminder: learning how to navigate
the internet in order to retrieve relevant and reliable information is part of the executive function skills that you need to acquire.)
few of you may experience sound problems on some feature films (usually
Part Two of a film), in which case please try the following steps: (a)
First, check to see if your computer system sound is configured at its
maximum within the operating system (Windows 10, Android, etc.). (b) Use
your phone to stream that part of the film and see if there is any
appreciable sound difference. (c) Check to see if the feature film only
(Part Two) is available through other sources to which you may have
access (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.). (d) If you are using the VLC media player
(highly recommended) on your computer, configure the volume to the
maximum. (e) If all else fails, send me an e-mail and I will try and
reprocess the film (very, very, very time consuming). Yes, you guessed
right: the sound will be O.K. on my end; otherwise I would not upload
the film. Yes?
not contact me at the very last minute about problems with accessing
assignments. I am not going to be impressed with your tardiness. You are
supposed to access homework at the scheduled time, making it easier to
resolve any problem you may have.
the way, here is a thought that has been going through my head: some of
you (or may be most of you) are into all kinds of social media stuff;
and yet you are so super intelligent that you can't even navigate around
your instructor's dinky website to locate class material. Man, what's
up with that?
10. Not Doing Well in this Course.
- This is
an online course, therefore, as indicated in the syllabus, you have to
have a lot of self-discipline. Chances are you are not doing the
homework exactly (repeat, exactly) as directed. See the syllabus and the Rules for Online Quizzes/Tests/Exams
available via the class home page. (A question for ya: if you are
accessing all the homework on the day of the test, or the day before,
when did you get the time to do all the homework effectively, if at all?
For example, if an entire film has been assigned, then it must be seen
in its entirety. Trying to pick and choose scenes is not going to work.
Additionally, you are required to watch the films TWICE with absolutely, absolutely no distractions--leaving a
couple of days in between. Yes, I can
check data on who is downloading the homework, and when.)
- There are
are only so many hours in a day; so how many credit hours are you
taking? Do you have a paid job? What does the syllabus say about this
- Compared to your other classes, this is a super easy class!
However, not doing your homework at all in this class, OR doing it at
the last minute, or not doing it as directed, is just not a good
idea. For example, test questions will appear to YOU to be "very
detailed." However, the fact that students do get grades ranging from
B's to A's proves that the questions are not "very detailed." Yes?
you are not a humanities/arts student then please remember you will
have to use a different study strategy compared to the one you use for
classes in fields such as engineering, math, biology, physics, and so
on. (Think of what subjects you were good at when you were in high
- The amount of work you are being
assigned in this class PER WEEK is relatively little; but if you wait to
do it until the last minute you will find that it is too much. You will
be overwhelmed! A reminder: I can access statistics that tell
me, for example, who is downloading the films, when they downloaded them; who is
streaming, when they streamed, how often they streamed, and who didn't
do the homework at all.
Regardless of which race you believe you belong to, please do NOT
racialize the epistemology on which this course rests. What does this
mean in practice? The attitude that since this course deals with knowledge
by and/or about black people it is not important enough to require diligence. <-- What does this word mean?
- If your homework included AV materials (films/videos) did you take any notes comprising one or two key words as each scene changed. Why not?
- The Rules for Online Quizzes/Tests/Exams has additional pointers on how to prepare for tests in this class. Have you looked at it?
- Do you know what the "Lazy Student Rule" is? (Look it up in the Rules for Online Quizzes/Tests/Exams.)
- Do you know what the "Internet Rule" is? (Look it up in the Rules for Online Quizzes/Tests/Exams.)
- It is impossible, if you do the homework exactly
as directed, to fail this course. A question for ya: if the statistical
data on when (and IF) you accessed the homework in relation to
announcements and test dates was investigated, what would emerge?
grades do matter, but not only for the reasons you think. Grades
measure more than your mastery of assignments. They also measure executive function skills, such as conscientiousness—which
includes such personality behaviors as “diligence, perseverance, and
self-discipline” (which is also part of what constitutes
“professionalism”). The teaching of executive function skills in schools
and colleges, which is a very important element of education, is part
of what is known as the "hidden curriculum." (See reading no. J(b)
from the Educational Success Packet--link on your class home page.)
- Other students are doing well in this course; is there something you are not doing that they are doing?
you are not doing well across tests that cover DIFFERENT
films/readings, etc. then the problem could not be with the tests. Yes?
Especially when others in class are doing consistently well across these