Rights and Powers

Students’ Rights and Powers

  • Right To Be Confused: Any student or group of students, having found themselves confused to the point that they are unable to complete any assignment or procedure having to do with the class, may approach the instructor any time up to and including the day the assignment is due to talk about receiving an extension on the assignment. However, continually asking for extensions may result in the teacher suggesting specific changes to the way the student engages the class, and if such changes are not enacted, the teacher then has the right not to discuss extensions on future assignments. If the entire class finds themselves confused on an assignment, see “Rules for Discussion of Suggested Changes to Class” below for times to present this confusion as a class, but keep in mind that the same rules apply: if the class chooses to do this consistently the day an assignment is due, future extensions might not be granted.
  • Right To Suggest Changes to Class: if perceiving a problem with the class, any student or group of students may raise the problem in a public forum (the first five minutes of class or on the course website) or may elect another class member to raise the problem for him/her. Any student or group of students choosing to do this, however, also has to present a possible solution to the problem that provides a specific remedy. If anyone feels uncomfortable raising a perceived problem with the class in public, he/she may e-mail me or come to my office hours to present the problem/solution to me in person (or may elect another student to do so).
    • Rules for Discussion of Suggested Changes to Class: Discussion of a problem/suggested change for the class can only be raised during the first five minutes of class, and is limited to five minutes and problems may not be raised any other time during class. In the case of a fully-online class, discussion of a problem/suggested change is limited to one instance per week per student, and to no more than five comments or emails for each problem/suggested change. These measures are to prevent the class from disintegrating into a discussion of the class itself.
  • Right To Ask Questions: about any aspect of the class including homework, assignments, due dates, etc., at any time during class and especially during office hours or during an appointment outside class or via e-mail, and to have them answered in a satisfactory manner. Questions may be asked for any reason including but not limited to purposes of clarification, discussion, further explanation, etc., and must be answered by the instructor in a timely matter, though questions which seem to pertain to only a small amount of the class or to individual students, on rare occasions, may be fielded by the teacher after class or during office hours.
  • Right To Contest Mutual Understanding Agreement: This right is linked to the teacher’s right #3 below, which states that the teacher has the right to assume mutual understanding/agreement if he asks a question or poses a problem and is greeted by silence. The student, then, has the right to contest this, or to point out that he/she does not understand or agree with what the instructor has just said.
  • Right To Point Out to Teacher if you feel he is in violation of any class policy detailed in the syllabus, including this one (in a polite and tactful way). This right cannot be exercised during class.

Teacher’s Rights and Powers

  • Right To Make Changes, alterations and additions to/subtractions from the overall class, including: readings, assignments, due dates, etc. after first notifying and checking in with the class and hearing any oppositional viewpoints to the proposed changes.
  • Right To Call for Discussion of or if There Are any Questions about a certain problem, idea, concept, etc. that concerns the content or overall structure of the class. Discussion on the structure of the class itself shall be limited to those times laid out in the “Rules for Discussion of Suggested Changes to Class” under the Students’ Rights and Powers above, but time taken up for such discussion shall not replace students’ right to discussion of other issues relating to class.
  • Right To Assume Mutual Understanding/Agreement when the teacher is saying something. This right will usually be enacted after right #2 is exercised. For example, if the teacher asks if the class is understanding the content being presented or if the class agrees with a change made to the class and no one says anything, then the teacher reserves the right to assume that he is being understood/agreed with. This, of course, goes hand in hand with student right #4 above.
  • Right To Veto Suggested Changes to Class: Teacher has the right to veto, meaning not accept, any student or group of students’ suggested changes to the class, but in doing so he must cite teacher research, teaching experience, or some other factor (such as discussion with a colleague) as the reasons for his veto.
  • Right to Point Out to any student or group of students that the teacher feels they are in violation of this policy and to suggest changes in behavior (in a polite and tactful way). This right cannot be exercised during class.

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