Course support and e-mail policies

Original A. Alcorn; Last updated January 11th, 2018 by HP

E-mail contact policies

1. Be aware that if you e-mail about a course issue, it may be up to 3 (working) days before you get a reply from me. Please be particularly careful of this around assignment due dates, when many students may have questions.
2. If I can answer an e-mailed in 5 minutes or less, I will answer it by e-mail. If it will take more than that time, I WILL ask you to bring your question to ask me after the Tuesday lecture (Tuesdays 13:10-14:00, venue tbc). Be aware that what may seem like a simple, 5-minute question to you...may not be.
3. Please do not e-mail the course marker, <to be confirmed>. All assignment and marking queries should go to me, the lecturer.

course support policy

What is the purpose of meeting briefly after the Tuesday lecture?

As this course does not have a tutorial or lab section, this option is intended to be a "help desk" where students can ask questions about course content, ask for clarification on formative/summative feedback, etc. Students wishing to seek help at this time should first make sure that this is the right place for them to get help on their issue (see table below). If it is, you will need to e-mail me ahead of time about the issue you want to talk to me about.

Issue Who to contact
Personal issues (e.g. illness, family emergency, etc.) Your personal tutor
General teaching issues, degree programmes, departmental procedure the ITO
Course content and materials The lecturer (Helen Pain)
Course website Lecturer
Assignments, marking, and feedback Lecturer
Extensions to assignment deadlines (for individuals) The ITO and your personal tutor to explain the circumstances: s/he will liaise with the ITO. DO NOT CONTACT THE LECTURER ABOUT EXTENSIONS AS THEY CANNOT GIVE PERMISSION FOR THESE.
Student Seminar group issues Step 1: Speak to your group members and try to resolve things independently.
Step 2: Contact the lecturer if this issue is unresolved, describing what your group has already done to resolve the issue.

How course support works

If you have a question or issue appropriate to this you need to observe the following guidelines:

1. You need to have a specific "agenda item". I do not know where to start if you walk in and say "I feel like I am stuck!". I DO know where to start if you say "I think I understand how X works, but do not understand why it is supposed to be a good solution to problem Y." Note that if you say "I just do not understand open learner models, can you explain them to me?" I will probably ask you to be more specific. What do you not understand? Is it how they differ from other model types? When and why they are used? (I hope that clarifies the level of specificity that I mean).

2. You need to e-mail me ahead of the office hour (48 hours ahead-- that's Sunday at 13:00) to tell me what your question/ agenda item is. There are two reasons for e-mailing ahead: the first is that if many people have the same/ a similar question, I can e-mail the whole class about it. The second reason is so I have a general idea of how many people are planning to come to the office hour and can organise accordingly. 

3. If you have a more private issue, such as a problem with seminar groups, I will make sure to speak with you privately (if you have e-mailed ahead with your issue, that is!). For any other issues, be aware that I may be speaking to several students at once. 

4. DO NOT ask me to read outlines or drafts of assignments. I will not have the time do this. However, you are strongly encouraged to consult your classmates and to give feedback on each others' work. You can, of course, come in to ask about the assignment if you feel it is not clear what you are supposed to be doing. 

5. DO NOT ask me for "the answers" to anything. The answer is 42, everyone knows that.

If you have a question about the lecture we have just had that Tuesday, do not feel like this disbars you from talking to me after the lecture. I will do my best to address your question if there is time, and most weeks this should not be a problem. The exception may be in the weeks when assignments are due.

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