Animal Minds :: FAQ

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, ask in person or using Piazza.

How should I attend class sessions?

My goal as an instructor for class sessions is to create an environment where everyone has an opportunity to learn. My policies on classroom attendance all boil down to respecting your classmates. We will set guidelines for in-class behavior, including use of devices, on the first day of class.

You should also reflect on what activities and features of your environment make your learning most effective. Did you know that taking verbatim notes requires over 30 distinct cognitive operations, none of which really help you retain information? Strategies based on outlining or concept mapping are more effective because they require you to use the material as you’re hearing it. You may also want to investigate research on the role of attention and memory, starting with this video by UVA Psychology professor Dan Willingham.

Attendance at lectures is not taken, but lecture material may not be covered in readings and is likely to appear on the test. Lecture

Why don’t you post lecture slides online?

As noted in the previous section, good note-taking is one of the most effective learning strategies, because it requires you to prioritize concepts presented in the lecture and think about how they relate to each other. Unfortunately, this is not something you can develop if you have the expectation of being able to see the material after the class.

I recognize that many students are not used to attending lectures that require active note-taking, and may respond in panic by trying to get everything down verbatim. If this sounds like you, remember that I will always provide you an opportunity to engage with important concepts more than once – in homework, reading quizzes, and review sheets.

What are the exam policies?

Exams are administered through Collab, so bring a device to midterms and the final.

Alternate test times for midterms may be requested for varsity athletic or legitimate academic reasons; requests must be made and approved at least 5 days in advance. Otherwise, students who miss a midterm and have an excusable justification (e.g. death in the family or incapacitating illness with hospital/physician verification) may take a single, comprehensive make-up test in place of the final. Except in case of emergency, approval to take the make-up test must be requested before the test that will be missed.

You are required to take the exam in the classroom unless you make previous arrangements.

What is the policy on late work?

Pre-class quizzes are due at 10 AM before class, and late submissions will not be accepted. However, quizzes that were missed before a student enrolled in the class will not be counted for or against the final grade.

Late homework assignments will receive a penalty of one letter grade per day, unless an extension is arranged before the due date or an emergency prevents submission. Technological failure is not an emergency.

How are letter grades assigned?

Grade assignments follow the following fixed scale:

A 93 - 100
A- 90 - 93
B+ 87 - 90
B 83 - 87
B- 80- 83
C+ 77 - 80
C 73 - 77
C- 70 - 73
D+ 67 - 70
D 63 - 67
D- 60 - 63
F 0 - 60

Your grades will reflect your proficiency and excellence on course objectives, not your performance relative to anyone else, so grades will not be curved. If you’re concerned about your grade, keep track of your progress early on and get help if you aren’t achieving at the level you want to.

I’m on the waitlist but I really need to take this class! Can you add me to the class?

Unfortunately, the Psychology Department does not use course action forms, so if you’re on the waitlist, the best you can do is show up to class for the first week or so to see if enough people drop to allow you to enroll. You can access the Collab site even if you are on the waitlist, so you should complete reading quizzes and other assignments in case you are able to enroll.

What accomodations are available for students with disabilities?

My goal is for everyone in the class to have an equal opportunity to learn and to demonstrate their knowledge. Students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Contact the Student Disability Access Center (434-243-5180) for more information or to arrange accommodations.