Course Policies

Policies for All Sections

All sections of **22 and **33 follow established learning outcomes (see the respective course goals), and all syllabi should include those outcomes. In addition to shared outcomes, in order to support the best learning and teaching conditions, the University Writing Program has adopted a minimal number of policies that govern all of its courses. Individual faculty members may revise these policies for tone, style, and degree of explanation, and some policies provide a range of supported options. Any revisions or specifications shall appear on the syllabus for a particular section of the class. However, all modifications shall be consistent with the program-wide policies. Alternatively, a syllabus may simply inform students that "The University Writing Program course policies pertain to this class," and direct students to this web page.

Student Engagement and Participation

The Writing Program expects students to be active and engaged learners, including through collaboration, and practicing a commitment to the material, their own writing processes, and to their peers. In a writing class engagement is visible in a number of ways, including participation in classroom discussion, online discussions, and other conferences and discussions outside the classroom, peer review feedback, group project contributions, and general efforts to improve not only one's own learning but the learning of the entire class. 

In courses that evaluate student engagement as part of their grade, instructors will articulate those criteria that are relevant. Ascertaining the level of engagement is up to the instructor, but example guidelines follow: 

"Average" engagement means that the student seems prepared, although he or she sometimes needs to be prompted to participate, and he or she is engaged with the work occasionally but infrequently. Generally, participation in discussion, online comments, and feedback on writing seem to encourage and support others in the class. However, even if the student generally remains silent, he or she is prepared and engaged. The student's presence is productive 

"Superior" engagement means that the student is always prepared, often adding additional insights to a class or online discussion, providing extensive feedback to writing, or doing additional work on group projects. Consistent, judicious, and empathetic engagement with the material and his or her peers and instructor demonstrate superior and active learning. This engagement may manifest in several consistently good comments or comments that bring in productive perspectives and outside sources in class discussion, or it may be insightful and extensive commentary in peer review. Students who take steps outside of the common classroom space to build a better learning environment demonstrate superior engagement. 

"Weak" engagement means that the student comes to class but that either he or she does not seem prepared or that his or her presence detracts from the quality of class experience for others. In other words, in whatever fashion, the student consistently (sometimes deliberately, sometimes not) disengages from classroom activities and discussion, perhaps to others' detriment. For example, this disengagement may take the form of sleeping, chatting with other classmates in a stream not related to the class activity, reading other materials, talking on a cell phone, messaging or other social networking activities, or browsing/surfing/engaging online when that is not the designed class activity. 


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Writing Program will provide reasonable accommodations to every student who has a disability that has been documented by Disability Services (303-871-2372).

  • Absences

    Because interaction with other students and the professor is a vital part of learning to write, the Writing Program expects students to attend every class meeting, scheduled conference, and online activity. Any absence will affect the student's performance and multiple absences (except those affiliated with official university events) are likely to have a dramatic negative effect on both learning and the student's grade. In the event of excessive absences (20% of class meetings or more), students should consider dropping the course and re-enrolling in a quarter during which they can devote the required effort. If an instructor determines that excessive absences have prevented a student from meeting the goals of the course, the student may fail. Students who miss class are personally responsible for learning about any missed material or assignments, either from classmates or from the course website. (See also "Late work.") Within the spirit of these guidelines, individual faculty members may articulate specific attendance policies.

  • Late Work

    Assignments are due when they are due. Late work will be accepted only at the discretion of the instructor, and work based on in-class participation cannot be made up. The Writing Program will support the following range of options concerning late work: 1) lowered grades, 2) delayed instructor evaluation or response, or 3) no credit.

  • Civility and Tolerance

    The Writing Program affirms, which in part "expects students to recognize the strength of personal differences while respecting institutional values." Because writing courses rely heavily on interactions among individuals, students and teachers must act in a manner respectful of different positions and perspectives. While civility and tolerance are vital in and of themselves, working productively with others, furthermore is an important rhetorical skill. Therefore the Writing Program will act to reduce behaviors that may compromise productive learning environments. These actions may range from informal conversations, to formal communications, to request action by the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards. 

    By definition, all of education depends on encountering new ideas and information. Some of these may conflict with individual's existing knowledge or perspectives. The Writing Program expects students to engage such materials thoughtfully, in ways that reflect the values and mission of the University of Denver. 

    Students must respect the classroom environment. In class, all cell phones and electronic devices shall be turned off. Unless specifically directed by the instructor, students shall refrain from sending email and instant messages, or from engaging in other activities (reading non-course materials, engaging in private conversations and so on) that disrespect the classroom environment and learning conditions for others. 

  • Plagiarism

    The Writing Program follows the Council of Writing Program Administrators policy "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism," which states, "In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source."  DU's Honor Code also maintains that all members of the University must responsibly use the work of others. Students who have plagiarized a project will receive an F on that project, and the instructor will inform the Director of Writing and the Office of Community and Citizenship Standards, which may take further action. Any documented acts of plagiarism after the first may be subject to more severe actions. 

  • Religious Accommodations Policy

    As part of its commitment to diversity and Inclusive Excellence, the University provides reasonable accommodations for students’ sincerely held religious beliefs or practices unless the University determines that such an accommodation would fundamentally alter the curriculum or academic program. Students are expected to examine the course syllabus for potential conflicts with religious beliefs or practices, and submit the Religious Accommodation Request webform to seek accommodation. Students who have conflicts with the overall class or experience schedule, such as the time and date the class is offered, are encouraged to find an alternative section for the class. For full details, including request process, visit the Religious and Spiritual Life web page.

  • Inclusive Learning Environments

    In this class, we will work together to develop a learning community that is inclusive and respectful. Our diversity may be reflected by differences in race, culture, age, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and myriad other social identities and life experiences. The goal of inclusiveness, in a diverse community, encourages and appreciates expressions of different ideas, opinions, and beliefs, so that conversations and interactions that could potentially be divisive turn instead into opportunities for intellectual and personal enrichment. 

    A dedication to inclusiveness requires respecting what others say, their right to say it, and the thoughtful consideration of others’ communication. Both speaking up and listening are valuable tools for furthering thoughtful, enlightening dialogue. Respecting one another’s individual differences is critical in transforming a collection of diverse individuals into an inclusive, collaborative and excellent learning community. Our core commitment shapes our core expectation for behavior inside and outside of the classroom.

  • Mental Health and Wellness

    As part of the University’s Culture of Care & Support, DU provides campus resources to create access for you to maintain your safety, health, and well-being. We understand that as a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug concerns, depression, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. If you or someone you know are suffering from any challenges, you should reach out for support. You can seek confidential mental health services available on campus in the Health & Counseling Center (HCC) and My Student Support System (My SSP).  Another helpful campus office is Student Outreach & Support (SOS), where staff work with you to connect to all the appropriate campus resources (there are many!), develop a plan of action, and guide you in navigating challenging situations. If you are concerned about yourself and/or one of your peers you can send a SOS referral. 

    More information about HCC, MY SSP, and SOS can be found at: 

  • Gender Violence

    Gender violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, class, age, appearance, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The University of Denver is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex (gender), including sexual misconduct, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. The Center for Advocacy, Prevention and Empowerment (CAPE) provides programs and resources to help promote healthy relationships, teach non-violence and equality, and foster a respectful and safe environment for all members of the University of Denver community. All services are confidential and free of charge. 

    For assistance during business hours, call 303-871-3853 and ask to speak to the Director of CAPE. After hours, please call the Emergency & Crisis Dispatch Line at 303-871-3000 and ask to speak to the CAPE advocate on call. 

  • Restriction of Audio or Visual Recording, Reproduction, and Distribution of Content in Online Courses

    At the University of Denver, we protect the intellectual property of all our faculty, and safeguard the privacy of all our students in online learning environments. To this end, students may not record, reproduce, screenshot, photograph, or distribute any video, audio, or visual content from their online courses. This restriction includes but is not limited to: 

    • Pre-recorded and live lectures 
    • Live discussions 
    • Discussion boards 
    • Simulations 
    • Posted course materials 
    • Faculty feedback forms 
    • Visual materials that accompany lectures/discussions, such as slides 
    • Virtual whiteboard notes/equations, etc.

Student Rights & Responsibilities

As we engage in online learning as an academic community, it is imperative to be respectful of all. Keep in mind that if any student is identifiable in an online class recording, this may constitute a violation of the educational record protections provided under FERPA. 

Students with disabilities who need to record classroom lectures or discussions must contact the Disability Services Program to register, request, and be approved for an accommodation. All students are advised that students may tape classroom activities for this purpose. Such recordings are to be used solely for individual or group study with other students enrolled in the class that quarter/semester. They may not be reproduced, shared in any way (including electronically or posting in any web environment) with those not in the class in that quarter. 

Students who violate this policy will be reported to The Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities and may be subject to both legal sanctions for violations of copyright law and disciplinary action under Student Rights & Responsibilities Policies.