Departmental Policies for Classes

This page lists default policies for lectures in the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University. These policies hold, unless the course syllabus explicitly states different, or if extenuating circumstances are documented. Also all policies as stated in the course catalog (in particular sections 1.6-1.8) and the faculty manual apply.

Academic Integrity
Alternate Exams
Attendance
Cellphones
Complaints and Issues with the class
Disabilities
Documentation
Email and Email etiquette
Grading
Incomplete
Late submissions
Overrides
Parents
Time and Scheduling

Academic Integrity

Courses in the department adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy of the Colorado State University General Catalog and the Student Conduct Code (which can be found in section 1.6 of the course catalog).

By handing in homework, lab reports and exams you certify that this is your own work. You are encouraged to discuss homework solution strategies and laboratory write-ups with fellow students but the final write-up must be your own. (For example it is fine to get help that a certain integral can be solved with a particular substitution, but it is not OK to simply copy the details of the substitution from a sheet someone else wrote. If you are uncertain ask your instructor or explain in your submission to what extent the material handed in is other persons work.) Misrepresenting someone else's work as your own (plagiarism; this includes submitting work from a Solutions Manual or an on-line homework web site as your own), posessing or using unauthorized reference information in any form that could be helpful while taking an exam (for example a calculator not explicitly permitted), or doing WebWorK problems with the aid of a computer algebra system are examples of cheating. Students judged to have engaged in cheating may be assigned a reduced or failing grade for the assignment or the course and may be referred to the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct Services for additional disciplinary action.

Alternate Exams

Exams must be taken at the time announced on the syllabus or in class. The only exceptions are conflicts with university events (such as band practice or sports team competitions) or events beyond your control that cannot be rescheduled (e.g. hospitalization). In either case it is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor in due course (at least 10 days ahead of a conflict with a university events, or as soon as possible in case of a medical emergency) of this conflict and to provide written documentation.

Work commitments, travel plans, non-CSU sponsored events, graduations at other colleges, family celebrations, etc. are not considered valid reasons to request alternate exam arrangements.

In the case of coordinated classes taught by a GTA , any alternate exam accommodation must be approved by the faculty course coordinator.

Alternate exams can differ from the exam given in the regular class and accordingly might be curved differently. To avoid improper disclosure of exam material, students taking an early alternate exam are forbidden to discuss or disclose exam content to students who still write the exam later at the regular time; students taking a later alternate exam are forbidden to consult with students about the contents of the already written (and possibly returned) regular exam.

Policy on Final exams

Due to the central scheduling of final exams, there should be no overlap of scheduled final exams. The only exception is the rare case of students taking multiple Calculus courses at the same time. In this case, the student should sit the exam in the higher numbered course at the regular time and then the exam in the lower numbered course immediately afterwards in the department. The student must make special arrangements for this with the instructor in advance.

The university considers 2 exams on the same day a regular load, but allows for exceptions to be made for students who have 3 or more final exams scheduled on the same day. In this situation, the following precedence rules hold (this is a central university policy that also holds for departments outside mathematics):

  • Courses with common group exams (e.g. all multi-section courses in Calculus and Differential Equations) have precedence over courses with single-section exams.
  • In the Fall, courses take precedence according to their Alphabetic prefix (i.e. Anthropology has precedence over Mathematics, which takes precedence over Physics).
  • In the Spring, precedence is in reverse alphabetical order (i.e. Physics takes precedence over Mathematics)

The course with the lowest precedence will have to provide alternate day accommodation for the student. The selection of day/time of this alternate accommodation is subject to department and instructor constraints and might involve earlier exams or particular times.

Attendance

It is assumed that students attend all classes/labs/recitations associated with a course and therefore received all handouts given, and has heard all announcements made in class. If students miss classes it is their responsibility to inform themselves from fellow students about the material covered and any announcements made. Having missed a class is not an excuse for missing a deadline or not knowing a class policy.

Time and place of class sessions will be listed on RamWEB (though changes might be announced in class or on the syllabus). Times and places of exams will be announced in class or on the course web pages or on the syllabus. It is the student's responsibility to inform be aware of time and place of scheduled exams and to schedule travel to the exam appropriately to arrive there on time.

Cellphones

During all class events cellphones must be switched to a quiet mode. Students repeatedly violating this rule may be excluded from class and examinations.

During exams or quizzes, cellphones in addition must be kept inside a closed bag or coat pocket all the time. A cellphone taken out (even if it is only to check the time) or producing noise will lead to immediate disqualification from the exam.

Complaints and Issues with the Class

Despite our best efforts it is possible that disagreements about course content, course policies or grading standards might arise. We endeavour to resolve such issues. Typically,this is done most easily on the lowest possible level, i.e. closest to the instructor. Only if a discussion did not resolve the issue should it be taken to the next higher level. The order of command for this is:

  1. Course instructor. (In coordinated classes there might be a policy that issues concerning a students grade are handled only by the course coordinator.)
  2. The course coordinator (if any).
  3. The undergraduate director.
  4. The department chair.

If you decide to jump steps in this hierarchy, you may be simply asked to go back and first talk to the next person on this list. To make an appointment for a meeting with the undergraduate director or with the department chair please contact the departments front office.

Disabilities

Students with a documented disability are given the opportunity to write the exam at RDS. The policies for alternate exams hold correspondingly.

Documentation

In general, it is the student's responsibility to provide documentation to justify requests (e.g. doctor's note, note from CSU Tiddlywinks coach etc.) This documentation should be on letterhead paper that clearly indicates the issuing entity and the student's name. Electronic versions of documents do not need to be accepted.

For conflicts with university events this documentation must have been issued by a person listed on the University-Sanctioned Events Approval List.

Email and Email etiquette

Email is a convenient communication tool between students and instructors. As with any kind of communication there are however certain etiquette rules and expectations and just using email does not mean that usual rules of interaction can be abandoned. We reserve the right to ignore email that diverges extremely from accepted standards.

Email to a teacher should be like a business letter. Being too formal almost never is a problem, being too informal can be embarrassing. That means you should consider:

Think about why you are sending the email
Do you have a request? Do you need to convey information? Don't use email simply because it is easier to email than to look up information you could find in a syllabus, on the web, or in the textbook.
Appropriate sender identification
If possible send the email from you university email account (ename@rams.colostate.edu). This makes clear that it is a university email and (if necessary) even allows to look up easily information about the sender. Email whose sender is unclear (such as cooldude37@hotmail.com) might get caught in spam filters and be ignored.
Salutation
Dear Professor XXX (or even just Professor XXX) is always fine (and sidesteps issues such as Mrs. vs. Ms., or explicit academic titles). Hi often looks very unprofessional and Hey is borderline rude. Unless the teacher explicitly told you so, don't use first names only.
Subject line
The subject line should be clear and concise and indicate what the email is about. Vague subjects such as I need help or Math class are not helpful. Much better are explicit subjects such as Request for override into your MATH123 class or Request for meeting to discuss my class performance.
Language
An email is not IM, texting, Facebook, or trash talk. Avoid shorthand or internet acronyms. Use appropriate language, reflecting the fact that typically you are requesting something. Needless to say, the text should be grammatically correct and without misprints. If you don't care enough about the email to write it properly, why should the recipient care to reply?
Style
Be concise, on the point and don't ramble or whine. Use paragraph breaks. If you want to ask a question (or request something) do so explicitly (and don't make the recipient guess).
Make the recipients work easy
Include information that is likely to be needed to fulfill your request. For example when requesting a meeting indicate what times would (or would not) work. Make sure the email contains clearly what course you are writing about (the teacher might teach several classes and if they are large might not immediately remember your name).
Respect the recipients time
Don't request information that could be found on the course syllabus, the course web pages or which was announced in class (unless you checked with multiple students in the class and it was unclear to all of them). Many faculty receive dozens of emails a day already and have many commitments besides the class you are in.
Stay on the topic and stay respectful
Your pets, love life, personal hardships, etc.are not really relevant to most emails.
Sign off properly
Thank You, Best (wishes), or Regards are simple and easy ways to end a letter. Sign with your proper (the one on the class roster, not the one you use in private) full (first and last, in this order) name.
Leave off irrelevant footers
(such as Advertisements, Religious statements or cute quotes) -- you never know what offends.
Don't expect an immediate reply.
In the semester, most emails will be answered in two working days (and after three working days you can expect an acknowledgement if the subject is appropriate for an email) but in some cases a response can take longer, in particular if the question is not about the subject, but about individual performance in the course. (Please note that many faculty are not employed by the university over the summer term. Email requests between May 15 and August 15 therefore can take substantially longer.)
Explanation of class material or homework questions
Email is in general not a good medium for explaining class material or helping with homework problems. (The email built into WebWorK is to alert the instructor of issues with the system, not to request explanation about how to do the problem or why a students submission was wrong.) Questions about course material or how to do homework problems should in general be asked in person during office hours. Email of this kind will in general only be answered in office hour slots that do not have students attending. (I.e. email questions are given a lower precedence than questions from attendants.) Depending on the amount of such email it might not be possible to respond to all of them. Not having gotten a reply to an email question is no reason for extending deadlines on submissions.

Federal Privacy regulations prevent us from disclosing grade information by email or on the phone.

Grading

Grading issues in work that has been returned to students (homework, quizzes, midterms,...) must to be addressed with the instructor within 2 weeks after return of the work, unless a different time period is specified by explicit university or course policies.
Requests must be based on objective mistakes or diverging standards compared with other students in the same section, and the concrete issue(s) must be stated by the student. There is no option to request ``regrading'' based purely on discontent with the result.

Incomplete

An incomplete may be given only in very specific conditions that are outlined in the general catalog. This means an Incomplete (I) grade may be assigned, with approval of the teacher, the course coordinator (if the teacher is a graduate teaching assistant), and the undergraduate director, if the student documents that there were circumstances

  1. that were beyond the student's control;
  2. that the student could not reasonably have anticipated or avoided; and,
  3. that interfered significantly with the student's completing the requirement of the course.

Generally, the student must be on track to pass the course at the time the incomplete is requested. Written evidence (e.g., obituary notice or letter from physician) is most convincing. It is the studen't responsibility to provide this documentation. Negligence and irresponsibility are not extenuating circumstances. There should be clear and compelling reasons why the student could not have coped with the situation by withdrawing during the W-drop period. The grade of "I" may not be used simply to avoid a low grade.

If the instructor agrees, a Request for Grade of Incomplete form (available in the front office) must be filled out by student and instructor and be submitted to the undergraduate director.

Late Submissions

Submissions (homework, project reports, etc.) are due at the time given in class or on the syllabus. Late submissions will not be accepted. In the case of documented events beyond the students control contact the class instructor for alternate arrangements.

Overrides

Students desiring to enter a full section should wait list themselves in the desired section(s). The department will monitor enrollment sizes and if possible increase class capacity. You might be asked to attend alternate sections if there is uneven demand between sections.

Overrides for Calculus-type (MATH141, 155, 160, 161, 255, 261, 340) classes will be given by the front office. Overrides for upper-division classes will be given by the respective instructor.

Prerequisited for Calculus courses are not corequisites and we will in general not give such overrides.

Parents

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) severely limits the disclosure of information about students. Without a written, signed, release from the student we are unable to discuss course progress, grades, even the fact of enrollment in a course, with any person but the individual student.

Time and Scheduling

While most classrooms are equiped with some kind of clock, these are not always reliable or set correctly. Class and Exam periods are scheduled to the official time (the Departmental Front hoffice has an atomic clock receiver for this purpose) which might disagree with the time displayed in the classroom.

Should an examination room not have a functioning clock, we guarantee that the allocated time is given for the exam. We also will endeavour (but cannot guarantee) to provide indication of the remaining time at regular intervals. Misjudging the remaining exam time due to a lack of a working classroom clock is not a valid reason for regrading or curving an exam. Students who require correct time information during exams are encouraged to bring their own watch (not a cellphone as clock!) to the exam.