Grades and grading policies

The following will be a component of your final grade (percentage indicated in parenthesis):

Projects (50%)

There will be several individual projects based on analysis of issues raised by class speakers, with only a one or two page response. There will be two more substantial group projects, where you will collaborate with a group of 3-4 students on more ambitious tasks with the outcomes a report posted on the Web. All students in the group will receive the same grade. At the end of the semester, each student will be asked to rate the participation (quality and quantity) of the other members of their group, and that will yield a small component of the grade.

See the course calendar for project report due dates. Late projects will be accepted for 50% credit, as long as they are submitted within one week of the due date.

One Exam (30%)

There will be a single essay exam, coming approximately 2/3 of the way through the course (midway between group project due dates). It will be takehome open-book essay-style questions, with submission by email and with a word limit on each answer. You will be given 48 hours to complete the exam -- not because it will take this long, but to give you some flexibility to work around other committments.

See the course calendar for the exam date and time window. Late exams will be accepted for 50% credit within 24 hours of the due date and time.

Interaction (20%)

This component of your grade will be based on two forms of interaction with the class: In the classroom, and in the online discussion forum:
Each week your instructors will post a couple of controversial or interesting issues on the discussion forum. You are invited to participate in the subsequent discussion.. You are not expected to respond to every single issue, but those you find interesting and where you have substantive input. You should read all the discussion on the forum. You are also encouraged to post other issues of particular interest to you, as a new thread. Your activity in the discussion forum will be noted, both as to quantity (of both reads and generated messages) and the substance and quality of your contributions to the discussions.

You will use namecards in class so that the instructors can note the quality and quantity of your classroom participation.

Let the participation grades be D and C, then the net grade will be {0.25*D+0.25*C+0.5*max(D,C)}. Thus, if you choose not to participate in either D or C (say because you communicate better orally or in writing) then you can still reach 75% of the best possible grade.