CLARIFICATIONS FOR ONLINE COURSES

1. 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 page.
  • (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?)

2. 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.
 
 3. 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 students, after seeing the questions on a test and realizing they are unprepared, will claim they had a technical glitch in completing the test. They will then request a re-do of the test. This is not only a form of cheating, but it is unfair to other students.)
  • (b) In this course, it is not technically possible to open up a test for any user who fails to do the test for whatever reason.  A make-up test requires 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).
  • (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. In a large class this is simply impractical.
  • (d) Reminder: As per course syllabus, no incompletes will be given in this course.

 4. 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.

5. 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 few HEVC encoded files. For solutions click here.
  • For 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.)
  • A 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?
  • Do 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.
  • By 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?

6. 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--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 issue?
  • 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?
  • If 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 school.)
  • 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.
  • Warning: 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?
  • Yes, 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.)

7. E-mails
  • (a) 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...). Otherwise, you may not get a response.
  • (b) If this is a large class and you have sent an e-mail outside the designated e-mail days, it may take some time to respond to an e-mail.
  • (c) 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.
  • (d) 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.) 

8. 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.