Course Policies, Absenses and Attendance.

tl;dr: It's a course that relies on peer-learning. That means you being in class is really important. Being absent will effect your grade.

The structure of this course makes it critical for you to be in attendance. The way we’ll learn is through sharing of perspectives in discussions, through case studies and (guest) lectures, through in class exercises, and through discussion/critique of the work we make. This means it’s beyond important for you to be in class and on time.


Plain and simple, you should be in every class.

There is however difference between excused and unexcused absenses. In most cases where you give some prompt or early notice, it’s considered an excused absence. Equally, if there’s exceptional circumstances (illness, etc.) you won’t be penalized for this.

If you need to miss a class for any reason, inform the instructor before the class if possible, and/or after the missed class. Unexcused absences can adversely affect your grade. You shouldn’t expect to receive a passing grade without regular attendance and participation in class. More than two unexcused absences means you will fail the course unless appropriate documentation is provided.

During class times, students are expected to give their full attention to the class materials, discussions and seminars. Students found to be consulting non-class related material, using their mobile phone or engaged in social networking will be immediately deemed absent.


Students must notify faculty in advance of planned absence for religious holiday or school-related event (i.e. varsity sports trip). Contact the instructor and the TA ideally before class if it’s possible and if not within 24 hours.

If there’s an unplanned absence for medical or personal reasons, let us know. Accommodations can be made attendance and course deliverables. In case of an extended absence for medical or personal reasons, contact the Senior Academic Advisor by mail, e-mail or phone, who will notify the appropriate faculty. Faculty reserve the right to request a formal document verifying a medical excuse.

If you have a planned, professional absence or will be attending a or school-related event, let us know as early as possible. Generally speaking, we’ll be very understanding and accommodating when you let us know ahead of time.

In all cases where you’ve missed a class, you’re responsible for understanding the course content and future deliverables. Make sure you meet with a classmate to find out what material you missed, ask to meet with the instructor or TA before the next class, or ask for help on the course Slack.


Lateness can also negatively affect your grade. But remember that any lateness affects the whole class. It is particularly disruptive to those presenting outcomes or during a review session; and it is particularly disrespectful to show up late to a guest talk. Being on time allows class to start promptly and for us to focus on your work. Be a responsible and good member of the learning community.


When you’re in class, pay attention. Students are expected to give their full attention to the class materials, discussions and seminars. Don’t be on your phone, texting, tweeting, emailing, etc. If you’re using your laptop, it should be for taking notes or class related activities. For everything else, it can wait. If a student is found to be consulting non-class related material, using their mobile phone or engaged in social networking, it will reduce your participation grade. Repeat offenders in a single class will be marked absent.

And if you’re asleep, you might as well not be in class. This counts as an absence.


While participation is not a graded component, it is expected. As part of the our learning community you are asked to be engaged, ask questions, contribute your insights and support your peers. This includes:

a) Attendance - being present in classes and maintain a strong record of attendance over the duration of the course; b) In-Class Engagement - being engaged in the classroom activities, actively and productively contributing to in-class discussions and project critiques; and c) Out of Class Engagement - being an active and productive contributor to the classroom slack, supporting peers online, sharing knowledge with the class, etc.

The expectations for strong participation in the class can be found in the following characteristics:

Attendance, Absences, Lateness and Effects on Grades

This does not apply to final presentations, and/or milestone critiques/reviews where external guests/clients are present


In this classroom, meetings and class sessions may be audio/video recorded for educational use by students with accommodations in this course. Recordings will be made available after class. Recordings may not be downloaded, redistributed, shared or used beyond this class.

Where recordings are made, this is not offered as an alternative to attendance, unless you have an accommodation. You are expected to be present during scheduled meeting times. Additionally no student may record any classroom activity without express written consent i.e. because the course will be recorded you are not given the permission to do so also.

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is expected at all time. Carnegie Mellon has a established as well-defined policy on this subject which can be found at:

In addition, students are required to uphold the Community Standards of CMU as summarized in the “Carnegie Mellon Code” and expanded up in the student handbook The Word.

It is the responsibility of the student to verse themselves with these policies. This, for example, requires the proper acknowledgement of any work used in course deliverables by appropriately citing sources. You should familiarize yourself with CMU’s policy for academic integrity, and carefully read the section on Plagiarism (even if you think you fully understand what it means).

All necessary and appropriate sanctions will be issued to all parties involved with plagiarizing any and all course work. Plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty that is in violation with these policies will not be tolerated, will result in failure of the course and, potentially, further disciplinary action.

Academic Accommodations

If you have a disability and have an accommodations letter from the Disability Resources office, I encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with me as early in the semester as possible. I will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, I encourage you to contact them at

If you are unwell and cannot attend class for a medical reason, accommodations for course deliverables and required attendance can be provided. In this circumstance, contact me as soon as possible and set up a time to meet (once you are well enough to do so) to discuss. It is recommended that you provide documentation (e.g. a note from a doctor) or if the medical issue will be ongoing, to work with the office of Disability Resources.


If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let me know.