Course Guidelines v2.7

Jon Ippolito
This document is subject to revision at the instructor's discretion. You can find an interactive version at


Slightly curved
A (10-8) Outstanding
B (7-5) Above average
C (4-2) Average
D (1) Poor
F (0 to -10) Failing
Negative grades
If you satisfy more than 50% of an expectation, you will receive a passing grade.
If you satisfy 50% of an expectation, you will receive a zero.
If you dip below 50%, your numerical grade will be negative. Examples:

A student who only gets half of the quiz questions correct gets a 0.

A student who gets none of the quiz questions correct gets a -10.

A student who gets A's (10) for the first three quizzes but skips the last will NOT get this:

(10 + 10 + 10 + 0) /4 = 7.5 = A-/B+

but this:

(10 + 10 +10 -10) /4 = 5 = B-

Completing work

Do get your assignments done on time. You can't catch up on missed conversation if the group has moved onto another topic.
Don't expect to submit a project after the end of the semester. Because of the nature of this class, the instructor will grant NO INCOMPLETES. If you haven't finished the work by the end of the term, you'll be graded on what you have finished. And if it's insufficient, you'll fail :(


Don't miss class. You lose half a point off your final average for each one-hour class you miss, and a whole point for each two-hour class.
Do talk to me beforehand if you know you'll have to miss time in class. We MAY be able to schedule remote make-ups IF we have enough lead-time.


Do raise your hand to ask me a question at any time. (You'll get equal participation credit for naēve or sophisticated questions!) But be prepared that I may choose to bracket your question in order to keep the discussion on-topic and on-time.
Do raise your hand to challenge my opinions or to correct factual errors. As John Perry Barlow says, "We are immigrants to cyberspace. Our children [i.e., YOU] are natives."
Do respect the views of others. As in a good e-mail list, keep controversy to a maximum but flaming to a minimum.
Do stand up and move around if the instructor gives you a break.
Don't just sit there when a break is called and check your Facebook account, at least not until after you have walked around a bit. The break is there to get your blood running.
Don't interrupt your fellow students during oral discussion—that's the instructor's job ;)

Personal constraints

Do see if you qualify for financial aid for a new laptop. Here's how:
  1. Ask the Computer Connection to send Velma a quote for the price.
  2. Bring the letter she prepares for Owen's signature to Financial Aid in Wingate Hall.
Do come see me if you have an especially difficult personal constraint--such as your own illness, or children or parents you need to care for. I may not be able to help, but I can probably direct you to someone who can. Students with disabilities can also do an end-run around me and go directly to the office of Ann Smith of Services for Students with Disabilities (581-2319).
Don't wait until these constraints affect your class work, however. By the time the dog ate your DVD, it's too late to earn my sympathy.

Sound effects

Don't let mobile phones, instant messaging, or other audible alerts go off in class. Learn to use the vibration setting—it's just as handy in class as in the bedroom. And another vocational skill you might as well practice now: if you're going to multitask, don't make it obvious.


Do bring your laptop to every class. Your instructor will let you know exceptions to this rule.
Do close your laptop as soon as class begins. Your instructor will tell you when to open it again.
Do buy a MacBook Pro laptop (if you haven't already). Maxed out on student loans? Call that uncle who told you how important college was for your future, and tell him how much value his loan will get you at educational discount.
Do feel free to run alternative operating systems on your MacBook. One reason for choosing this model is so you can run Gnu/Linux, Windows, or OS X on it. Consider virtualization software like VirtualBox (free) or Parallels ($$) to help. More recommended software.
Do make use of the various labs on campus, including Barrows, Lengyl, and these two Internet2-enabled ones:
The Collaborative Media Lab in Fogler Library

Features specialized audiovisual equipment and individual rooms

The Still Water lab across from 420 Chadbourne

For projects related to community and/or open access

Do feel free to use your computer, when allowed by your instructor, for relevant activities like to take notes, to look up Web sites related to an ongoing discussion, or to check a classmate's project for compatibility with your browser.
Don't use your laptop for distracting non-class business like surfing porn or checking email.
Don't use your laptop when your instructor declares a "laptop off" period, e.g. to focus on discussion or exams.

Class syllabus

Unless otherwise indicated, the instructor will be using an interactive syllabus, a self-contained HTML file that can be viewed in a Web browser. You can expand or collapse sections manually, or search for keywords; probably the most useful feature is Show Next Lesson.
Download the file so you can access the syllabus when you're offline, but re-download it if your instructor emails to alert you of new revisions.

Class email

E-mail from the professor
Important messages

Arrive in the your email box.

Syllabi and reference material

Are linked from the course conference folder.

E-mail to the professor or other students
Send to the course conference folder.
Other students may be able to answer your question before I get to it.
Select "Message>Sensitivity>Private" if you don't want me to copy the e-mail into a public space like a First Class conference.
Select "Message>Sensitivity>Personal" if you want to give me fashion advice or ask me out for a date.

General email

Make subject lines concrete (or at least suggestive)

Clarify deadline for assignment 5?


Just to let you know




Don't be hyperbolic

Inability to access my first class account



Respect people's time
Don't include a 30-line "signature"

If I want to read your poetry, I'll go to your Web site.

Be tactful (not necessary for class emails, but recommended for infrequent or formal correspondents)
Include people's names ("Hi Chris,")--for some reason it's gratifying for people to see their names in print--it sounds more personal.
Begin every email with "Thanks for your prompt response/your question/this feedback" etc.
More email netiquette.
Be efficient
Parse each question onto its own line--they're intimidating and easy to miss if you lump them in a big paragraph.
When responding to questions or issues in a previous email, only quote the relevant portions and type your replies under them. More.
Aim to minimize the number of back-and-forths. Leave things with a default state ("If I don't hear otherwise, I'll assume..."). You may also add one of these to the end of your email before an automatic signature is appended:
Also consider adding this when appropriate:
CC or BC third-parties instead of forwarding or writing new messages to keep them in the loop.


Naming conventions
When naming files to give to the instructor, include your name and some indication of the assignment. Remember that your instructor will receive a dozen or more files of the same exact format on the same day; make it easy for her to find yours.





My Homework

Capstone Essay

For more guidelines on naming files, see the "Naming Conventions" handout.
For big (>500MB) attachments sent to external addresses, send a first message saying that you are going to send it, then send the attachment by itself in a followup message/s. (You'll probably forget to attach them the first time anyway.) That way there is an electronic trail to show when you did it, but the attachment itself won't take up room in the recipient's inbox.
Drag large files (>1MB) and MP3s onto the address or subject line as external attachments, not into the First Class message window.
For normal assignments, copy-paste your text into the First Class message window. Only attach a NeoOffice or Microsoft Word document if the text has special formatting or is more than four paragraphs.
Attach only compressed formats.


.jpg, .png, .gif, .pdf


.bmp, .tif, .pict

Attach executable rather than source files, unless you want to review the source in class.


.swf, .png, .jpg


.fla, .ai, .psd

Posted online

Compress to "Web" dimensions



For copying to the instructor's computer

Compress to QuickTime or MPEG-4.

Intermediate resolution.

~10-50 MB.

For delivery on disc (CD or DVD)

Compress to QuickTime or MPEG-4.

DVD should autostart.

~720x480 (NTSC)


For your own archive

Keep original clips in full DV resolution for potential re-use.


Web-based homework
Unless I specify otherwise, please post urls to HTML and other Web-based preparations. (It's slower to launch and review attachments in class, and directories often get mangled in the process.) Exception: if you want me to debug your code, attach a single compressed (eg, zip) version of your files and folders.
If you need server space, you can use free hosts such as First Class for static pages, or your instructor can create a NMDProjects page for more advanced Web sites. (More on setting up a First Class Home Page and using