SFU 313: Policies


SFU’s official policy is that you must submit all major assignments in order to pass the course, regardless of your calculated grade: both essays, the annotated bibliography, and the final exam.



All assignments and tests will receive letter grades, not percentages. The grade scale is as follows:

Letter Grades Four-Point Scale Percentage
A+ 4.3 95%
A 4.0 90%
A- 3.7 85%
B+ 3.3 80%
B 3.0 75%
B- 2.7 70%
C+ 2.3 65%
C 2.0 60%
C- 1.7 55%
D 1.0 50%
F 0.0 0%

NB: This course does not use percentages, nor ultimately does the University. Those percentage values are just for your edification.


Essay Grades and Comments

I mark essays on a seven-category matrix. You receive a grade in each category (A, B, C, D, or F), and the average of all seven is your grade for the essay. The categories are as follows:

  • Argument (Arg): thesis, logic, clearly defined conclusions, absence of fallacies
  • Evidence (Evi): clearly defined premises, appropriate quoting/citing
  • Structure (Str): proper intro and conclusion, clearly defined sections, explicit organisation/sequence
  • Language (Lan): topic sentences, clarity, concision, formal writing style
  • Grammar (Gra): absence of mechanical errors
  • Format (For): adherence to MLA formatting, including citation: parenthetical and bibliographical
  • Total Impression (Imp): cleverness, originality, complexity, depth

When you receive your essay, there will be comments on the page, corrections in the sentences, and the email will contain a table with grades in each category. It will look like this:

Log Evi Str Lan Gra For Imp Grade
B A A A B A A A-

There will be no summary statement on your paper unless I feel one is necessary. The notes in the margins are my comments.



All essays are due at the beginning of class (5:30pm, Tuesday), after which the essay is “late.” Late essays take a -1 penalty per day (including the day on which they were due); that is, an “A” becomes an “A-“, a “C-” becomes a “D”, etc.

I accept all essays by email, and I return them by email. Send a text file in one of the follow formats:

  • .pages (Apple)
  • .doc or .docx (MS Word)
  • .odt (Open Office)

Hint: When you write your essay, use the features of your word processor; put the header in the header, double-space your paragraphs using the spacing function, etc. The transition from your computer to mine will disrupt the formatting.



You get one (1) free extension per semester. You can invoke it right up until the assignment is due, literally at the beginning of class, and it moves the due date one week. You do not need to explain why you need it. If you need another extension, then you must provide documentation of an injury/illness or personal emergency.


Academic Dishonesty

The function of education is to expose students to new knowledge. The function of assignments and tests is to see if the students have absorbed that knowledge. Therefore, claiming the contributions of others is the exact opposite of learning. It maintains ignorance, and ignorance is the enemy of education. Academic dishonesty thus includes the following activities:

  • Cheating: giving and/or receiving unauthorised assistance in any exercise or examination
  • Plagiarism: representing the words or ideas of others as if they were your own
  • Falsification: inventing or falsifying information, citation, or data in any exercise
  • Multiple Submission: submitting substantial portions of any academic exercise more than once for credit without the prior approval of the instructor
  • Complicity: facilitating any of the above actions or doing anther student’s work
  • Interference: hampering other students from performing their assignments

The consequences of academic dishonesty include, but are no limited to, failing the assignment, failing the course, or expulsion from the university. The exact consequences depend on the severity of the offence and whether the student has committed multiple acts of academic dishonesty.


Attendance and Lateness

You are ultimately free to miss a class if you wish to, but I do take attendance to determine your Participation mark, so I don’t encourage it. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate; do not ask me to summarise a four-hour lecture for you in five minutes). If you’re late for a class, just enter the room as quietly and respectfully as you can.



When you send me an email, remember that I’m an English professor, so use full sentences and proper spelling. Also, start with a greeting (e.g., “Hello, Orion.”), and use a subject line that describes the content of the message (e.g., “Eng 199: Essay #3, citations”). Do not respond to an old message with a new question and retain the old subject line; it’s confusing.


Classroom Etiquette

It should go without saying that the only way we can have useful discussions in class is if we’re basically respectful towards each other. That means that we avoid interrupting and talking over people, we phrase criticism constructively, and we refrain from all racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted remarks. We will discuss race and gender in class, but we do so respectfully.