Online Courses

Before you move forward with any online or hybrid/blended course, I suggest that you complete the short survey prepared by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) to help you in your decision to pursue online learning.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with an online learning environment. While the subject matter is generally the same as a face-to-face (F2F) course the differences in platform and delivery are frequently a challenge for some students. Online courses require you to be self-directed and organize your work differently than your previous experience in F2F classes. Online does not mean less structure or work. It is not an “easier” course than one offered in a F2F environment.

It is important that you consider a number of factors before you enroll in an online or hybrid/blended course. Those factors include time management skills, learning style and technology skills and access. Online learning anticipates that you are an active learner … someone who is motivated, self-directed and stays on task. If you prefer a more traditional lecture style learning environment where you use class meetings as an organizing structure to complete your assignments then an online course may not be the best choice. In my experience, considering these factors is an important prerequisite to enrolling in a course that offers an online or hybrid/blended learning environment.

You do not have to be physically present in a classroom or attend at a set time, or place, to take one of my online courses. There are no scheduled class meetings in my online courses. If you are enrolled in an online course, you need to be self-motivated and stay on task. All of our course interactions will occur in the cloud using Teams and Blackboard. That said, however, you will have assignments that must be completed when due. We will use Teams as our primary communication and collaboration platform. Please DM me in Teams if you need to reach me or have a question. We use Team for our video conversations, when necessary.

If you are concerned with your comfort level with an online learning environment, please DM me in Teams. I am happy to discuss your concerns.

Recording

Recording of classroom lectures, discussions, reproduction of web-based course materials and the redistribution of those recordings or other class materials for any purpose, without my written permission, is prohibited. My purpose is to assist in maintaining student academic integrity, to protect student and faculty privacy, to respect my rights to instructional materials, and to enhance compliance with copyright law.

Audio or visual recording, transmission, distribution of classroom lectures and discussions or reproduction of web-based course materials is prohibited, unless I have provided express written permission (on syllabi, course sites, email, or signed document), and all students in the class have been informed that audio/video recording may occur, and any guest speakers have also given permission. Permission to allow the recording is not a transfer of any copyright in the recording.

Any authorized recording of lectures or class presentations, distribution of classroom lectures and discussions or reproduction of web-based course materials, when authorized, is solely for the purpose of individual or group study with other students enrolled in the same class. The recording may not be reproduced, and/or uploaded to a web platform and/or environment that are publicly accessible or accessible to others not enrolled in the class.

Recordings of classes, course materials, or lecture notes, distribution of classroom lectures and discussions or reproduction of web-based course materials, when authorized, may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation, or for any purpose other than study by students enrolled in the class. Public distribution of such materials may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law, and/or University policy. Course materials include outlines, slides, presentations, readings, or any other content made available to students by me, including those made available through any course reserves system, learning management system, or equivalent.

It is not a violation of my policy for a student determined by the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) to be entitled to educational accommodations to record or adapt classroom lectures or course materials for personal study. Students entitled to accommodations including recording must provide written notification to me from DSS. The restrictions on third-party web and commercial distribution set out apply to these cases.

Students must destroy any approved recordings at the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in the class unless they receive the instructor’s written permission to retain them or are entitled to retain them as an accommodation authorized by DSS.

Violation of this policy may subject a student to disciplinary action.

N.B. Policies of other Universities consulted in preparing this policy include those from the University of Virginia and Rutgers University.

Plagiarism

Cheating Is WrongPlagiarism is wrong. I strongly advise against engaging in any activity that might be considered to be, or misinterpreted as, or appear to be plagiarism. This sort of activity includes using someone else’s ideas or work and representing it as your own, failing to properly give credit to a source of information and paraphrasing another’s work without credit, among others. Plagiarism also includes using the text or internet to find answers to quiz and/or exam questions and/or collaborating with others when completing a quiz and/or exam.

In the event you are not certain what constitutes plagiarism, you will find a good primer on the subject at plagiarism.org. Please visit the site and review its materials carefully.

If you are wondering if there any penalties for plagiarism please visit the Seton Hall statement on Academic and Professional Integrity.

In the event that I discover that you have engaged in plagiarism you will fail the course. If I come to the conclusion that you knew, or should have known, that your submission was not properly sourced or because you negligently did not take the steps necessary to avoid plagiarism you will fail the course.

One last thing … .

if you are enrolled in my course then you have agreed to conduct yourself in accord with this policy on plagiarism. There is no opt-out alternative!

Engagement

Engagement, i.e., attendance, preparation, participation and successful, and timely, completion of course deliverables, is mandatory. You will not succeed in our course if you do not engage.

It’s that simple.

Your performance will improve if you attend class regularly, are well prepared AND participate effectively in the learning environment, whether F2F or digital.

Yes  … it IS that simple!

You are an important part of the team, including your professor and classmates, that create an effective learning environment. Your engagement in our course learning environment plays a significant role in my assessment of your performance, in other words, the grade you earn in our course. Our course will demand a substantial investment of time and effort and so will require a significant amount of preparation. You need to be self-motivated and stay on task in order to succeed. Dr. Jeffrey Bennett has developed some terrific “Hints on How to Succeed in College Classes” that I strongly suggest you review before we begin our course.

I will take attendance every time we meet in class. I will even take attendance if we have a class meeting in a virtual environment using a video conferencing platform. While our meetings will consist of both lectures and discussions, I am not a big fan of the “Sage on the Stage” model of teaching. Discussion will be the primary form of interaction in our course. Of course, those discussions will be both F2F and digital. We will use a variety of technology supported platforms to support or interactions, both in and out of class meetings. Your engagement in our digital discussions, whether enrolled in a F2F or web-based course, will also be an important part of my assessment of your performance.

Remember … if you are consistently unprepared, or even underprepared, it will be very difficult to take full advantage of our course learning environment. That lack of engagement is a lost opportunity for you and will reflect poorly when I assess your performance.

The Engagement Rubric below has been adapted by Professor Sara Calhoun Davis from The Teaching Professor and forms the basis of assessment of your course engagement.

Engagement Rubric

A

B

C / D

F

Peer Interaction

Actively supports, engages, and listens to peers (ongoing)

Makes a sincere effort to interact with peers (ongoing)

Limited interaction with peers

Virtually no interaction with peers

Preparation

Fully prepared for every aspect of the course

Mostly, if not fully, prepared (ongoing)

Preparation is inconsistent

Rarely or never prepared

Participation

Plays an active role in discussions (ongoing)

Participates constructively in discussions (ongoing)

When prepared, participates constructively in discussions

Comments vague if given; frequently demonstrates lack of interest

Contribution to Class

Comments advance level and depth of dialogue

Relevant comments are based on assigned material

When prepared, relevant comments are based on assignments

Demonstrates a noticeable lack of interest on occasion

Group Dynamics

Group dynamic and level of discussion are often better because of student’s engagement

Group dynamic and level of discussion are occasionally better, but not worse, because of student’s engagement

Group dynamic and level of discussion are sometimes disrupted by student’s engagement

Group dynamic and level of discussion are often disrupted by student’s engagement

You can influence my assessment of your course engagement in a positive way by
  • Becoming more active and/or making more effective comments that raise overall level of discussion and set examples for others, and
  • Asking thoughtful questions that will enhance discussion and engage peers, and
  • Listening carefully to, supporting, and engaging your peers in discussion. This will essentially improve others’ learning experience.
That said, you can also influence my assessment of your course engagement in a negative way if you
  • Do not engage in the course regularly, through attendance, preparation and participation, even though you meet attendance requirements. Even though you may have submitted assigned work, your contribution will not have added to the course discussion, or
  • Dominating discussions, thereby restricting others’ participation, and
  • Disrupting others’ opportunity to listen and/or participate, or
  • Making negative, offensive, and/or disrespectful comments during discussions, or
  • Violating the privacy of individuals, or
  • Using electronic devices such as, but not limited to, a cell phone, tablet, or computer for personal or unrelated coursework during class unless instructed to do so. There are no exceptions.

Deliverables

Reading

You will have reading deliverables for each class meeting … they must be completed before you arrive for class. If you are not prepared for class it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to engage effectively in our class. If you consistently do not engage effectively in class discussions it will have a negative impact on your performance and, therefore, my assessment of your performance. Your success in our course will require you to actively participate in the discussions that we conduct in person and in the cloud. The difference between engagement in a F2F and an online course is really about the platform.

Writing on a Digital Platform

Many of you may be unfamiliar with writing in a digital platform. Since this may be the first time that you will work in a digital platform I suggest that you review Professor Gerald Lucas’ essay, Writing Top Ten, as a starting point. If you are unfamiliar with the appropriate way to source your digital writing, and most of you will be, please review his discussion of Digital Citation for additional guidance on citation when using a digital platform. Since the correct use of hyperlinks will be important to your success in our course discussions I recommend that you consider his advice on using links in your digital writing.

When you use digital platforms to support your submissions you must incorporate multimedia (audio, video and images) in all of your writing deliverables. It is important for you to transition from thinking in terms of text on paper to a text+ environment. As Bo Ren suggests in his essay Why I Believe in Text,

“The future of text is going to be text+ (text + multimedia e.g. photos, videos, gifs, podcasts etc). … readers and users want text+ for a faster, more immersive, gratifying consumption experience. Multimedia stories are the future of text.”

If you have never used Teams before, visit the Microsoft Teams for Education – Quick Start Guide and video training for Teams.

Writing and Research

Many of your course deliverables will involve research and writing. Those assignments will also require that you meet both content and form requirements. I describe the requirements of each deliverable in terms of minimums to provide you with the opportunity to exceed those minimums. Most deliverables involve the use of digital platforms to deliver the content you have developed.

The content requirements are straightforward. You must provide a thoughtful, substantive and well-reasoned submission that draws upon the course readings and materials and that details your perspective and analysis of the implications of the issues raised in the question(s) posed. It is also important that you address the ethics issues raised by the assignment. You must also include sources sufficient to support all aspects of your submission.

The content requirements represent a significant expectation of performance. I may set a minimum requirement for the number of sources used in your submissions. I expect that your sources will be sufficient, both in quality and number, to support the breadth of analysis that I have described above.

The form requirements are equally straightforward. These form requirements are generally described in terms of a minimum word count and the use of live, in-text hyperlinks in lieu of footnotes/endnotes (please see Writing on a Digital Platform above). When you use digital platforms to support your submissions you must incorporate multimedia (audio, video and images) in all of your writing deliverables.

My assessment of your submission will be based upon the extent to which you meet the minimum requirements as to content and form required by that particular deliverable. You can improve your prospects for a strong outcome by exceeding the minimum requirements of the deliverable, i.e., expanding the scope of your content and analysis of the question posed, including addressing potential ethics issues, broadening the scope of the sources used to support that content and analysis, and meeting the form requirements outlined above.

It is important to remember, though, that if you simply meet the minimum requirements the result will be an average grade.

Writing deliverables will be completed using a digital platform unless otherwise specified. Please see your course syllabus for the specific assignment requirements.

Do not post a Word document or Google doc unless the deliverable specifically requires it.

Connectivity

When taking a quiz or exam, please be certain that your broadband connection is reliable and stable. My students in past semesters have occasionally experienced connectivity issues. In the past, this type of connectivity problem arises as a result of an interruption in your connection (a hiccup in your broadband connection) to Blackboard or where the test has opened in a new tab or window. When that happens your connection times out in the first tab/window while you are working in the second. That has the same effect as the first possible cause … your connection to Bb is interrupted. Your quiz/exam stays active in the second tab/window but stops recording questions because the connection was interrupted due to the timeout in the first tab/window. Your best option is to be sure that your browser opens the quiz/exam in the same tab/window where you originally logged into Blackboard.

Most frequently connectivity issues arise when using Wi-FI particularly when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. It is best if you avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots when taking a quiz/exam. Be certain that your Wi-Fi connection is strong and stable. I suggest, if possible, that you connect your computer directly to your Internet source (router) via an Ethernet cable. This should assure that you have a stable connection while completing the course assignments.

If your connection is interrupted, I suggest that you exit Bb, login again, try to reenter the same quiz/exam attempt and finish the quiz/exam.

In Class

What should you bring to class … in addition to yourself?

First, the course text or any materials required for that class are a must. It is always a good idea to buy the course text (if one is required) early in the semester. If you have not purchased the text, you will not be able to complete the reading assignments and then you will not meet my expectations related to in-class participation. That will not be good.

Next up is your device of choice (laptop, tablet, mobile) to bring to class. We will be actively using technology to search for answers to the questions raised during our discussions. Just be sure you can function in a class environment with the device you carry that day. Small screens and keyboards are occasionally difficult to work with under the wrong circumstances.

Finally, bring something to take notes. Many prefer to take notes using a device but you may prefer to use paper (a venerable technology in its own right) to take notes in class. Whatever works for you … go for it!

Assessment

This information is related to my undergraduate courses. I suggest you review it carefully before your course begins.

Performance

I describe my expectations for your performance in my classes in the Deliverables and Engagement pages of this section. If you have not reviewed them yet, please take a moment and review them before proceeding with this section.

I have very high expectations for performance for my students. I expect that you will bring your best efforts to all of your interactions with your classmates, our course and with me. I presume that you are attending college, and our course, because you are interested in your future success.

You are constructing the platform on which you will build your professional, and personal, lives. That should be sufficient incentive to encourage you to invest in the learning environment we are developing, and those involved in that learning environment, to the fullest extent possible.

Please approach this experience accordingly.

Deliverables

All of my deliverables have hard deadlines. If you miss a deadline you will receive no credit for that assignment. The excuse of “my dog ate my homework” or its 21st century equivalent “my computer crashed” are not acceptable. “I forgot” or “I didn’t calendar the deliverable” or “I didn’t set a reminder” or “I had other assignments due” do not work for me … nor will they work for you.

It is important that you provide your analysis of the issues presented by any deliverable … whether that is a discussion board, journal post, blog comment or POV. Simply regurgitating the content of the question or article is not acceptable … think back to your first book report in elementary school … since I already know what happened in the book you do not really need to tell me again. It is infinitely more important that you demonstrate your understanding of the issues presented and their relevance in context.

My assessment of your submissions will also be based upon the extent to which you meet the minimum requirements of the deliverable. Most deliverables will be described with minimum word and source counts. Page counts are irrelevant when working in digital platforms so the minimum word and source counts will provide you with an expectation framework. You can improve your prospects for a strong outcome by exceeding the minimum requirements of the assignment. And remember that simply meeting the minimum requirements will result in an average grade.

OMG … Technophobia!!!

PLEASE do not tell me that you “are not a technology person” … we are clearly past the point where a lack of familiarity with technology is a good idea or at all acceptable. Since Fear of Technology
we rely on these devices and platforms you should be certain that your mobile device is connected to your SHU email and calendar accounts as well as Teams.

This site and Blackboard are not optimized to play well with Internet Explorer. I suggest that you use either Firefox or Safari as your browser.

That said, mine are not IT courses … they are courses that examine different areas of law. It happens that we will use a variety of different technology platforms to support our work … much the same as you will in your personal and professional lives.

I may be able to assist you with a hardware or software issue. However, it is your responsibility to be sure that both are in good working order. Be certain that your computer’s operating system, browser(s) and the variety of installed software is up-to-date,  If something isn’t working … get it fixed  … in a timely manner. That’s why we have PC Support Services and a Help Desk.

You are responsible for “figuring it out” when it comes to the “how to” aspects of a project. If you don’t know how to do something … “Google it!” … or, of you don’t want to be tracked use Duck Duck Go for search.

In fact, many of my past students have told me that mastering the art of “figuring it out” was both an unexpected and beneficial experience and a critical learning outcome in my courses.

Grading

Remember, as I noted above, that I have very high expectations for performance for my students. I expect that you will bring your best efforts to all of your interactions with your classmates, our course and with me. That will require you to do your best work in our course.

As I note in the Deliverables page, my assessment of your submissions will be based upon the extent to which you meet the deliverable’s minimum requirements as to content and form. You can improve your prospects for a strong outcome by exceeding the minimum requirements for that deliverable, i.e., expanding the scope of your content and analysis, including addressing potential ethics issues, of the question posed,  broadening the scope of the sources used to support that content and analysis, and meeting the form requirements outlined above.

It is important to remember, though, that if you simply meet the minimum requirements the result will be an average grade.

If you fail to participate at all, or do not meet the deliverable’s deadline, you will receive zero points and a grade of “F” for that deliverable. If you only partially meet the deliverable’s requirements you will earn a maximum grade of “D”. If you meet the deliverable’s requirements your submission will be evaluated and assigned a grade subject to the Grade Ranges described below.

I generally do not accept late submissions for credit unless you have experienced a real emergency. I will consider your reasons for missing a deadline if you submit them for my consideration in a timely manner via a Teams DM. That said, a real emergency does not arise if you miss the assignment or deadline because you did not calendar it, or you experienced a conflict that was avoidable or you simply forgot the deadline.

Grade Ranges

This table describes the range of points assigned to a particular grade.

A 95% – 100% C+

77% – 79.9%

A-

90% – 94.9% C

73% – 76.9%

B+

87% – 89.9% C- 70% – 72.9%

B

83% – 86.9% D+

65% – 69.9%

B- 80% – 83.9% D

60% – 64.9%

F

< 59.9%

Teaching And Learning

Teaching and learning is a collaborative enterprise. All who participate in a learning environment have responsibility for its success. That responsibility demands that everyone bring their best efforts to the experience, engage fully by having prepared in advance and being ready to challenge and be challenged.

My approach to teaching and learning is certainly not unique. All of us who teach, I believe, seek to create challenging learning environments for our students, help them to better understand difficult subject matter, consider the ethical challenges raised by that subject matter and, finally, help them to evolve into productive citizens who contribute to their communities.

I am not an “easy” professor. I am a challenging teacher who, while maintaining rigorous standards, is also readily available to help students meet those challenges. I create, with your assistance,  learning environments that will raise the bar on your performance expectations.

I invest a great deal of time developing methodologies that integrate both standard and cutting edge information technologies into my courses. I have migrated all of my courses to digital platforms that allow me to introduce alternative delivery methods for assignments, communication, teamwork and subject matter delivery. Since 2004, the digital platforms I have integrated include wikis, discussion boards, digital journals, videoconferencing, text messaging, eReaders and a variety of mobile platforms. This effort supports my commitment to integrating applied and experiential approaches with the theoretical.

Finally, I fully expect that we’ll have some laughs along the way.

Communication

I am accessible most of the time. Please visit here for details.

Teams

I use Teams as the primary communications platform for all of our course communications. When you enroll in one of my courses you will join the Teams workspace team before our class Microsoft Teams logomeets for the first time. Teams is part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite. If you are unfamiliar with Teams, it is an online platform that allows for text-based discussion, video conferencing and/or audio calls. Teams is associated with your SHU-issued account and authenticates via your SHU network credentials.

It is important that you update your O365 profile before we begin. Please visit here for help updating your profile with current information, including your profile picture. Download the apps for desktop and mobile for a much better experience. When you have installed the apps please leave them active on your desktops (as you do with Outlook) so that you will receive course notifications. If you have never used Teams before, visit the Microsoft Teams for Education – Quick Start Guide and video training for Teams.

Etiquette

Respect is essential in our various forms of communication. If you are participating in my course then I expect that you will do so with enthusiasm but always with proper decorum. Slang, Etiquettecursing, texting – style acronyms are inappropriate in any interactions in our course. Proper grammar and spelling must be used at all times. Please also use appropriate grammar in all communications and always specify the course and subject matter in the subject line, e.g., “BLAW2301 / Discussion Board #2” or “Smith vs. Jones”, not “yo!” or “hey prof”. For further information on Seton Hall University’s code of conduct, please refer to the Student Handbook.

Electronic Devices

ALL electronic devices must be must be silenced during class meetings, either F2F or virtual.

Parent & Guardian Inquiries/Communication

If I receive any inquiries from parents/guardians regarding your performance in this course, I will first discuss the matter with you, the student. I will not engage in any discussion with parents/guardians until I have done so and received your permission, in writing, to respond to the inquiry.

Before We Begin

There are several deliverables that you must complete before our course begins. You will find them below. Please complete them at least 48 hours before our course launches.

Teams

We will use Teams to support our course communications needs. Teams is part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite. If you are unfamiliar with Teams, it is an online platform that allows for text-based discussion, video conferencing and/or audio calls. Teams is associated with your SHU-issued account and authenticates via your SHU network credentials. It is important that you Microsoft Teams Logoupdate your O365 profile before we begin. Please visit here for help updating your profile with current information, including your profile picture.

We have all experienced lost emails, misplaced documents and other organizational disruptions when using email to support a team working on a project. Having everything in one place helps us to work together, rather than jumping around between emails, IMs, texts and a bunch of other programs. Everything you share in Teams is automatically indexed and archived, creating a searchable archive of all of our work. I have used Teams to support communications (text, audio, video, file sharing, etc.) in my courses and have learned that it is a terrific communication tool that helps everyone be more productive.

Please complete the following steps in Teams no later than 48 hours before our class begins:
  • Update your O365 profile and be sure to include a profile picture that is easily recognizable as you.
  • Download the apps for desktop and mobile for a much better experience. When you have installed the apps please leave them active on your desktops (as you do with Outlook) so that you will receive course notifications.
  • If you have never used Teams before, visit the Microsoft Teams for Education – Quick Start Guide and video training for Teams.

Since Internet Explorer does not play well with Blackboard or this site and Google uses Chrome to track everything you do on the web, I suggest that you use either Firefox or Safari as your browser for all of your coursework.

Please install and test Teams no later than 48 hours before our course launches.

Introduce Yourself

Complete this deliverable by posting to the Introductions channel in our Teams workspace.

Introduce yourself to your classmates in the Introductions channel in Teams. In your post, please address the following topics or anything about yourself that you Keep Calm and Wave Hellowould like to share with the class so that we can get to know you better.

  • What degree and concentration are you pursuing?
  • When do anticipate completing your degree?
  • What are your professional affiliation(s)?
  • Hobbies and interests?

Post your Introduction in the appropriate channel in our Teams workspace no later than 48 hours before our course launches.

Learning Contract

Complete this deliverable by posting to the Learning Contract channel in our Teams workspace.

Student Learning ContractsPlease read through the materials included in this site including your course syllabus, my Course Policies and the Plagiarism page. Once you have completed your review, post in the Learning Contract channel in Teams that you have reviewed and understand the Course Policies, including your course’s requirements and the plagiarism policy as well as the Seton Hall pledge and your agreement to act in accord with those policies, requirements, and the pledge, while enrolled in our course.

Post your agreement to the terms of the Learning Contract in the appropriate channel in our Teams workspace no later than 48 hours before our course launches.

Media Test

You will work with a variety of different file types while working in our course. Please test the files below to view a sample video (with sound) and open a .PDF file.

Sample video/sound | Leadership Flyer

If neither work, you will need to install the appropriate software. Click theses links to find downloads for VLC Video Player and Adobe Reader.