The Chicago Center for Teaching provides the following models for classroom policies on academic integrity, disability accommodations, and the use of technology in the classroom. As you will see, there is a variety of ways to approach these policies, but we encourage you to always keep your students' learning in mind as you design your own. Often, students don't know what constitutes plagiarism, don't know where to go for help with accommodations, and might need access to technology in the classroom in order to fully participate. While each instructor will decide for themself how best to articulate their policies, we hope the models we include here will help you get started.
Sample Classroom Policies for Syllabi
- In this course, students are expected to produce original work. This means that all sources used in written work (including articles, books, chalk posts) should be properly cited. The College’s statement on academic integrity defines plagiarism as “[submitting] the statements or ideas or work of others as one’s own,” and makes clear that the penalties for plagiarism “may range up to permanent expulsion from the University of Chicago.” In this class, the penalty for plagiarism will be a failing grade. In the unfortunate event that a student is suspected of plagiarism, I will follow the guidelines set forth in The University of Chicago Student Manual. Go to https://studentmanual.uchicago.edu/Policies#Honesty for more information. If you are concerned as to what precisely constitutes plagiarism, refer to Doing Honest Work in College, which you received during your Core courses, or please ask me.
- Please note that an important element of academic integrity is fully and correctly attributing any materials taken from the work of others. Feel free to consult with me before completing assignments if you have concerns about the correct way to reference the work of others. More generally, please familiarize yourself with the University’s policy on academic honesty, which applies to this course. Of course, I do not anticipate any problems with academic integrity. In the unlikely event that any concerns do arise regarding this matter, I will forward all related materials to the Office of the Provost for further review and action.
- The University policy on academic honesty is central to the ideals that under gird this course. Students are expected to be independently familiar with the policy and to recognize that their work in the course is to be their own original work that truthfully represents the time and effort applied. Violations of the policy are taken seriously and will be handled in a manner that fully represents the extent of the policy and that befits the seriousness of its violation.
- It is your responsibility to be familiar with the University’s policy on academic honesty. Instances of academic dishonesty will be referred to the Office of the Provost for adjudication.
See also: Accommodating Students with Disabilities
- I am committed to creating an inclusive and accessible classroom environment for all students. Students who need disability accommodations should present the necessary paperwork to me at the beginning of the quarter, or as soon as such paperwork can be arranged. For further information, visit the University’s Student Disability Services Office website.
- The University of Chicago welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact the student disability services office, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, the disability services office will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. To begin this process, visit the SDS website at: https://disabilities.uchicago.edu/requesting-reasonable-accommodations.
- The College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Students should notify the Student Disability Services Office and their instructor of any disability related needs. For more information, see https://disabilities.uchicago.edu/. Any student eligible for and needing academic adjustments or accommodations because of a disability is requested to speak with the professor.
- The college will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. Students should notify the Student Disability Services Office located at 5501 S Ellis Avenue and their instructor of any disability related needs.
- If you have specific physical, psychiatric or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know early in the quarter so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will also need to meet with the Office of Student Disability Services located at 5501 S Ellis Avenue.
- If you have a disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please see me, and the Office of Student Disability Services so that such accommodations may be arranged.
- I encourage students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with me.
See also: Inclusive Teaching and Diversity
If you would like to learn about your students’ gender identities, please note that it is the University of Chicago’s policy that current students may elect to indicate their pronouns of reference in their student records. More information is available on the University Registrar website: https://registrar.uchicago.edu/records/student-profile-information/pronouns/
See also: Religious Accommodations in Teaching
Use of Technology in the Classroom
- You are welcome to use a laptop or tablet in this class as long as it contributes to your learning. This class, once again, is discussion based. This means that all students are expected to actively listen to one another in order to participate in classroom activities. If you are unable to contribute to the discussion or are otherwise distracted by your computer, cell phone, or tablet, I will ask that you refrain from using it in class. There will be some class sessions where we will use technology together, and in those instances, all students should make arrangements to bring a laptop or tablet to class. If you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch with me.
- Using personal electronic devices in the classroom setting can hinder instruction and learning, not only for the student using the device but also for other students in the class. To this end, the University establishes the right of each faculty member to determine if and how personal electronic devices are allowed to be used in the classroom. In this classroom, you will be asked to refrain from using any gadget with an on/off switch so that we can practice the skill of active listening. If you would like to be exempt from this policy, please be in touch with me.
- Access to the Internet can be a valuable aid to the classroom learning environment. You may be encouraged to use a laptop, smart phone, or other device to explore concepts related to course discussions and in-class activity. Keep in mind, however, that these technologies can be distracting – not only for you, but to others in the class. Please avoid the temptation of Facebook, texting, or other off-topic diversions.
- If you need a laptop, tablet, or any other device for taking notes or otherwise participating in class, that’s fine. However, please do not use a personal device for any purpose unrelated to our class. All devices should be silenced. Cell phones should be put away, except in the rare instance that I ask you to use them for an activity. I recommend that you power them down. If there is a serious need to leave your cell phone on, such as a family emergency, please put it on vibrate and let me know. If you leave the classroom to take a call, I’ll understand why. I routinely reduce participation grades for cell phone use unrelated to class.
- In recent years the saturation of cell phones, text messaging, and laptops has produced something I call the problem of divided attention. A March 25, 2008 article in the New York Times summarized recent studies of productivity in business settings. Researchers found that after responding to email or text messages, it took people more than 15 minutes to re- focus on the “serious mental tasks” they had been performing before the interruption. Other research has shown that when people attempt to perform two tasks at once (e.g., following what’s happening in class while checking text messages), the brain literally cannot do it. The brain has got to abandon one of the tasks in order effectively to accomplish the other. Hidden behind all the hype about multi-tasking, then, is this sad truth: it can actually make you slower and dumber. For this reason alone you should seek to avoid the problem of divided attention when you are in class. But there’s another, equally important reason: we technology-users often lose our senses when it comes to norms of polite behavior, and the result is that perfectly lovely people become unbelievably rude. For both these reasons, please turn off your cellphones or set them on silent mode when you come to class; it is rude for our activities to be interrupted by a ringing cellphone. Similarly, text messaging will not be tolerated in class; any student found to be sending or checking text messages during class will be invited to make a choice either to cease the texting or leave the classroom. You are welcome to bring your laptop to class and use it to take notes, access readings we’re discussing, and the like. You are not welcome to do social networking, check email, or otherwise perform non-class-related activities during class. Here’s my best advice: If you aren’t using it to perform a task specifically related to what we are doing in class at that very moment, put it away.* (*Written by Cara A. Finnegan, Associate Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)