Common Syllabus

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Marc and Angel Hack Life, November 2010


The information and policies in this syllabus apply to all courses that I teach. Course-specific syllabus information is located in a separate document, to which you should refer as necessary:


I frequently make announcements and reminders of due dates and other important events at the beginning of class. Major announcements and updates will normally also be posted in the News section of this site. You are expected to check the News section on a regular basis for general updates and information.

Individual questions and requests may be addressed to me either in person or via email. I expect you to make an effort to find the answer to your question yourself before contacting me. Most of the information you will need for the course can be found either on this website or on the Perimeter College website. I will not respond to communications asking for information which is readily available online.

Note that tl;dr is not a valid excuse for not bothering to do your own research.

Discussion of Grades

College policy states that any “official” discussion between a faculty member and a student must be done using the college’s email systems (regular or iCollege) for privacy and security reasons. This does not mean that I will refuse to communicate with students via other methods, including social media, but it does mean that any kind of official notification must go through Perimeter College email.

College policy also states that all discussions involving personal information, specifically grades, must use a secure communications system provided by the college. The only such approved system is, according to the policy, iCollege. However, I am not nearly as confident in the security of the college’s email systems as our IT department and administration. Therefore, I will not under any circumstances discuss a student’s grades via email. Grade-related discussions MUST be done in person, during normal office hours.


  1. I hold regular office hours on class days, where any student can drop in to ask questions and get help. For summer semester, I also hold office hours online.
  2. I am also available outside of office hours for limited assistance via email, instant messenger, or telephone. Emails and phone calls will receive a response as soon as reasonably possible; however, at certain times, particularly weekends, it may be as much as 48 hours before I can get back to you. There is a con­tact form here on the web­site for send­ing emails — look on the right side of the menu bar for the “Email” link. Most contact information is posted online; additional contact information will be given out in class at the first meeting.
  3. Additionally, limited free tutoring in computer science may be available (pending funding) in the ISS lab on the top floor of the Learning Resources Center. The times when the computer science tutor is available are posted in the ISS lab and in the classroom. This is the only additional tutorial help in computer science provided by the college. The college does not provide referrals to or references for paid outside tutoring; if you need to find such an individual you will need to do so on your own.


Regular attendance is the most critical factor in your success in this class. I expect you to attend all classes and examinations as scheduled, and to remain in attendance for the full class period. I expect you to come fully prepared for class discussions, activities, assignments, and exams. You are responsible for all work covered in class. As per college requirements, attendance is taken at the beginning of each class, and rechecked at the end of class. If you arrive to class late or leave class early, you are NOT considered present for the class. Classroom attendance accounts for 5% of the students’ final grade.

Administrative Drop: If you do not attend any of the class periods during the first two weeks of the semester, you will be administratively dropped from the course.

Administrative WithdrawalIf you do not attend at least 66% of all course periods (arriving on time and staying until the end) before the end of the Roll Verification period (Sept 23rd, 2016) you may be administratively withdrawn from the course.  For classes that meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, this means you must attend at least 6 of the first 9 class periods of the semester to avoid administrative withdrawal. For classes that meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this means you must attend at least 7 of the first 10 class periods of the semester to avoid administrative withdrawal.

Make-Up Policy

There will be NO makeup tests and no extension to deadlines. In a case where a student misses a test due to illness, a death or serious illness in the immediate family, scheduled court appearances or other similar legal events, or an unexpected and unchangeable work conflict, the student may be allowed to substitute the final exam grade as the missed test grade at the instructor’s discretion. Students will be required to produce written documentation in support of their request (e.g. a note from the doctor or supervisor; a copy of a legal summons, etc.). Only one test may be replaced with the final exam.

Withdrawal Policy

October 11, 2016 is the last day for a regular withdrawal. Students are allowed to withdraw with a grade of W a maximum of three (3) times in the associate degree program at Perimeter College. The limit on withdrawals does not apply if a student withdraws from all classes during a term before the midpoint. However, students are allowed to withdraw from all classes prior to the midpoint twice without having their withdrawals count against them. Students who withdraw from a class after the limit has been reached will automatically receive a grade of WF in their classes. Several things to remember:

  • Although a W does not affect your institutional grade point average, a W does negatively impact your HOPE grade point average. For additional information on this, consult the Financial Aid Office.
  • If you withdraw after the midpoint, you will receive a grade of WF that is averaged as an F in your GPA.

Incomplete Policy

Assignment of incompletes by an instructor follows the university policy on incompletes. In particular, incompletes can be assigned at the discretion of the instructor and not the student.

  • The student must have completed most of the major assignments of the course (generally all but one).
  • The student must be earning a passing grade in the course in the judgement of the instructor.
  • A schedule for completion of assignments must be approved prior to the assignment of the incomplete.

Test Policy

All tests are proctored and are closed book and closed notes. All cell phones must be turned OFF. Students will not be allowed to use cell phones, Bluetooth, headphones or any listening device during an exam.


Assignments consist of all the in-class and outside work for a particular topic. The specific information for each assignment is found on the course schedule, both on the class day when it is assigned and the class day when it is due. You are responsible for keeping track of when assignments are made, when assignments are due, and what assignments you have or have not submitted to date.

Assignments must be submitted to the correct folder for that chapter; those submitted to another folder, particularly in an attempt to submit work after it is due, will not be graded.

Due Dates

All work is due as indicated on the course schedule. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of and keep up with due dates for work. NO WORK other than the final project (if any) will be accepted after the end of your last class meeting.

Requirements for submitting assignments

  • All activities and assignments, unless otherwise specifically stated, should be submitted through the iCollege Dropbox by the beginning of class on the due date.
  • Assignments submitted to the wrong folder will not be graded.
  • All work must be typed unless otherwise stated (which is extremely rare). Scanned handwritten submissions will not be accepted, as they are usually illegible.
  • Unless I am able to set up group folders in iCollege for a particular assignment, each student must individually submit their own copy of the work to the iCollege Dropbox. This is necessary because of the way iCollege handles the connection between the Dropbox and the Gradebook.

Extra Credit

This course already involves a substantial workload, and it is the instructor’s opinion that students need to focus on the work already assigned rather than taking on additional work. Limited extra credit opportunities are available as follows:

  • Extra credit may be available on selected assignments for work above and beyond the minimum requirements. Extra credit on assignments generally requires thought above and beyond minimum requirements for the course, and your answers are graded based on how well you support your answer. Simple yes or no answers to these problems will NOT be given credit.
  • Extra credit questions are often incorporated into the tests or on the final exam.
  • Note that friending me on Facebook/following me on Twitter will NOT earn you extra credit. They are, however, reasonable ways to communicate with me outside of class.

Content Standards

The course syllabus provides a general plan for the course; deviations may be necessary.

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Perimeter College at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take the time to fill out the online course evaluation.

Grading Scale

Letter grades for all courses are based on a standard 100-point grading scale, with

  • 90-100 = A
  • 80-89 = B
  • 70-79 = C
  • 60-69 = D
  • below 60 = F
  • withdrawal by midpoint = W (subject to the three-withdrawal limit)
  • student-initiated withdrawal after midpoint = WF

Computer Usage

Computers are provided in the classroom for enhancement of the educational process, not so that you can read your email/check Facebook/watch YouTube/browse the Web/do homework etc. during class time. I monitor your computer usage during class time. If I see that you are using the computer at which you are sitting inappropriately, I reserve the right to “lock down” the computer(s), no questions asked, no warning, no appeal.

Additionally, students are not allowed to modify or change the hardware configuration of any computer in the classroom in any way. This includes disconnecting the network cable from the computer at your seat in order to connect it to your laptop.

Conputer usage is subject to the provisions of the Perimeter College Computer Usage Policy at all times.

Cell Phone Usage

College policy states that cell phones must be turned off or set to silent during class. Students are not to receive or place calls or texts during class time.Any student whose phone rings, buzzes, or otherwise goes off during class is expected to bring cookies (non-store brand) to the next class meeting to atone for their disruption of class time.

Additionally, you are not allowed to use Bluetooth, headphones or any listening device during class.

If you are a “first responder,” an on-call IT staff person, have a loved one currently in the hospital, or have some other LEGITIMATE reason for having to take calls in class, please notify me the first day of class (or when this occurs) that this is the case. Otherwise, there are very few situations that cannot wait until the end of class for a response from you.

Veterans and Serving Military

Perimeter College honors its military and veteran men and women returning to pursue their educational goals. A Military Outreach Center is provided for them on the ground floor of Building H on the Clarkston Campus. Veterans, serving military, their dependents, and the survivors of serving military who are attending college are encouraged to avail themselves of a full range of college services and activities through the MOC. MOC resource tables are also located on all campuses to provide them with valuable information. The Center maintains a Military Outreach website at and their telephone number is 678-891-3025.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Perimeter College seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment.  If you have been the victim of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, we encourage you to report this.  If you report this to a faculty member, he or she must notify one of our college’s Assistant Title IX Coordinators / Student Deans about the basic facts of the incident (you may choose whether you or anyone involved is identified by name).  For more information please refer to our sexual misconduct website –

Student Accommodation Form for Disability Services

Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Center for Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Center for Disability Services of a signed Faculty Accommodation Notification and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructions of all classes in which accommodations are sought. The Center for Disability Services can be contacted at

  • Clarkston Campus, CB 1300, 678-891-3385
  • Decatur Campus, SF 2311, 678-891-2406
  • Dunwoody Campus, NA 2100, 770-274-5235
  • Alpharetta Campus, 678-240-6038
  • Newton Campus, Building 2N, Office 2405, 770-278-1316
  • GSU Online, 678-891-3385

Academic Honesty Policy (Cheating/Plagiarism)

The complete Academic Honesty Policy can be found in the Academic Conduct Policies and Procedures Section of the Student Handbook. See for the policy.

All work submitted for credit must be your own. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you plagiarize or make an attempt of cheating, you will receive a score of zero for the exam or a grade of F for the course depending on the severity of the infraction, and appropriate actions will be taken according to the University policy on plagiarism. Using a cell phone or any mobile devices during an exam or having other windows open during an electronic exam counts as cheating and will not be tolerated.

The Department of Mathematics at Perimeter College of Georgia State University has the right to regard finding unauthorized material in your possession/use or calculator memory or cell phone and having other windows open during any test or the final exam as cheating. If you cheat or make an attempt to do so, you may be allowed to complete the test but as a consequence, a score of zero will be assigned on the test. This score will not be replaced by the Final Exam score. You may receive an F for the course depending on the severity of the infraction, and appropriate action will be taken according to the University policy on academic honesty.

Unscheduled Closings

In the event that this class is unable to meet, due to an unscheduled closing of the university or campus for any other reason, any assignments/test that were due or scheduled will be due or given at the next available class date. Students are to monitor the News section of this website for further directions regarding the class and will be responsible for the material and assignments given here or in iCollege.

Additional Policies

The policies below are also part of this syllabus; therefore you are responsible for understanding and following them as well.

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