This course adheres to PSU’s Fair Grading Policy.

For most college courses, you’re graded on both the labor of your work (how much time you’ve spent to produce work) and the quality of your work (whether something you’ve produced is “A-quality” or “B-quality.” However, such quality can be subjective, as it changes from course to course, assumes that all students enter the classroom with the same knowledge and abilities, and assumes that all assignments work equally well for all students.

For all my courses, I’m going to only grade the labor of your work. This approach is often called “ungrading.” For me, ungrading means that if you complete enough work, you’ll get an A for the course. Incomplete assignments take away from your final grade according to the following chart.

GradeRequired ProjectsRequired Weekly PostsRequired Weekly CommentsRequired Conferences and Peer ReviewsGPA
Total in Course3
A382844 . 0
B272433 . 0
C162022 . 0
F0< 5<1600
Ungrading for Dr. Helms’s courses

In other words, to receive a B in this course, you should complete all three projects, at least seven blog posts, at least 24 comments, and at least three one-on-one conferences and/or peer reviews.

You won’t receive any letter or number grades for this course beyond the 6-week grades and the end of the term. No assignments will be graded in a “traditional” way. Instead will use a simple course spreadsheet (see below) to keep track of which assignments have been completed and turned in. 

There will also be a few self-evaluations that will help you know how you’re doing and help me understand what’s going well for you and what’s not.

Plus and Minus grades will be assigned if your work is in between categories. So, if you’ve missed the requirements for an A, but you’ve exceeded the requirements for a B, you’ll have earned a B+ or an A- for a course, depending on how much work you’ve completed. (PSU does not grant A+ grades for courses.)

The Course Spreadsheet

You will submit work to the course spreadsheet when you think it is ready (and you’ve met all of the assignment requirements). I will review it and “green-light” it if I think it is also complete. If I do not green-light your work, I’ll let you know what I think you need to fix/address/keep working on. You can keep working on an assignment until you get a green-light (up until the end of the semester), but assignments without a green-light do not count towards your final course grade.

Projects submitted by the appropriate deadlines listed on this course site will receive written feedback. If these assignments do not receive the green-light, we will negotiate a new deadline and the work may be revised.

Projects and weekly posts may be turned in late at no penalty, up until Dec 17. However, while late work may receive a green-light, I reserve the right to provide limited or no written feedback for such work. After Dec 17, please contact me to discuss all missing work (if you haven’t already).

Academic Honesty and Deadlines

This course adheres to PSU’s Academic Integrity Policy. While cheating, plagiarism, and other types of academic misconduct are serious issues, in my teaching experience such issues arise because students have been backed into a corner by stress, by unexpected life events, and by deadlines.

As such, deadlines for all assignments are flexible rather than ironclad. If you find yourself in a position where you feel you cannot honestly complete the work, please email me. I am happy to renegotiate assignment deadlines and parameters to fit your situation and your interests. In this sense, it is much better to ask for permission than for forgiveness.