For all courses I’m teaching…

LAST UPDATED: 2014-08-25

la règle du jeu / renoir


I. Aims and objectives
II. Expectations
III. Responsibilities
IV. Grading criteria
V. Plagiarism
VI. Late work
VII. Extensions and making up for missed work
VIII. Tests and examinations
IX. Quick links to UBC rules, policies, and procedures


See specific description for this course.

It/we also hope to provide you with, as a bonus,

  • a love for learning
  • some enjoyment and pleasure
  • an awareness of the potential of language and literature to open up other worlds to you, and to provide an infinite resource of comfort and consolation: through “geeking out” with French words, turns of phrase, seeing how the languge is constructed… leading you to different ways of thinking about the world, seeing it from a different perspective.
  • = useful life skills, whatever life you choose to lead and wherever life takes you after this course

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What you should expect from this course:

  • an interactive format, that will include some short lectures
  • discussion, work in groups and individually, intensive writing in a workshop style
  • reading, in the full sense:
    —reading, rereading, thinking while reading, making notes, rerereading, etc.
  • writing, every week:
    —most of this will be short, and it is intended to be non-traumatic but intensive
  • to learn:
    —through a combination of lectures, discussion with peers, and your own independent initiative
  • to learn to enjoy and maybe even love learning
    —(especially via linguistic geekery)
    —for this is what “education” is
    —and a major step towards becoming, in the longer term, “educated” and a philologist and/or philosopher
  • to have—it is seriously and strongly hoped—some fun

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(In proper 18th-century social-contract style.)

You will be expected to:

  • attend class
    regular attendance is expected of all students
    —unexcused absences and late arrivals will drastically affect your final grade
    —attendance is one of your obligations as a UBC student: UBC Policies and Regulations > Attendance
  • be courteous, respectful, and tolerant of others:
    —generally behave in a decent civil human way
    —know and act in accordance with University, Faculty, and other applicable rules; and be familiar with principles of justice and fairness, and their application to everyday life
    —before speaking or acting, consider the consequences and think of your fellow students (and their possible reactions and sensitivities)
    —think, similarly, of other fellow human beings such as faculty and staff: remember that your instructor is a person too
  • bear in mind that your instructor has limits:
    —An instructor can only do for one student what they can also do for every other student in the class/course; and not do something for one student that they could not also do for every other student (ex. individual tutoring). This may mean making decisions that go against a student’s individual self-interest, when acting in the interests of the greater good.
    —There are some times when your instructor will not be accessible and available. Instructors (and coordinators, and other faculty) are not customer-service-bots. They will be unable to read and answer emails while doing other work that requires concentration: ex. teaching, preparing classes, and marking. Please also remember that instructors are humans and need to rest (evenings, nights, weekends), the better to work with you. Respecting your instructor as a human is therefore also in your own intersts.
  • work and be attentive:
    —attend class in an active, attentive manner
    switch off electronic devices in class at certain times, when asked to do so in the interests of an attentive working environment for the common good (= for you, your fellow students, and your instructor).
    Reasons why: Anne Curzan, “Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops.” Lingua Franca: Language and Writing in Academe. (The Chronicle of Higher Education blogs: 25 August 2014).
    Individual instructors’ policies on the use of electronic devices in the classroom will vary.
    think and ask questions
    —be interactive: participate and contribute, this contributes to part of your final grade (ex. FREN 101, some quizzes)
    —prepare for class: have the requisite texts, and have read (and in most cases reread) them in advance
    —complete the required assignments
    —do so without cheating or other low, disreputable, underhand, unethical, or illegal means
    —do so in a timely manner: late work will be penalized, and will not be accepted once it is a week late (unless covered by medical or other acceptable official certification)
  • communicate (and be communicable)
    —check your email frequently, and check this site regularly;
    —keep your email contact information up to date with UBC IT; this is also one of your obligations as a UBC student, as per Student Declaration and Responsibility
    —communicate in a timely fashion with your instructor (or the coordinator, if appropriate) if you are absent, ill, suffer a mishap, and/or—especially—if this will impact on the due handing in of work or sitting of examinations
    NB: PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR COURSE + SECTION IN YOUR EMAIL SUBJECT LINE (otherwise your email will go into a general inbox and be read later; it may even land and malinger in spam)
  • one final responsibility: you will be expected to try very hard to have a generally positive and sunny outlook, and to be of a cheerful disposition

Your instructor promises to

  • attend their own classes
  • be courteous, respectful, and tolerant of others
    —(as above, the same rules for all of us)
    —be fair and just and humane, to all students
    —apply principles of justice and fairness:
    An instructor can only do for one student what they can also do for every other student in the class/course; and not do something for one student that they could not also do for every other student. This may mean making decisions that go against a student’s individual self-interest, when acting in the interests of the greater good.
  • be attentive:
    —be open to questions and requests for further explanations
    —be patient, non-judgmental, encouraging, kind, and sympathetic
  • work:
    —in class: to participate and be prepared
    —comment on, mark, grade, and return your work in a timely manner
    (usually a week after that work’s submission)
    —mark justly and fairly, in the same way for all students
    —include useful and constructive comments as needed
    —hold weekly office hours (usually one hour per course)
    —make time to go through corrected work with students, in office hours or by appointment
  • communicate with you
    —in a timely fashion on any matters pertaining to the course:
    —for example, composition topics will be emailed between one and two weeks before their due date
    —read email regularly during usual working hours:
    Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (except when incompatible with work, ex. while preparing classes, teaching, and marking)
    —respond to your emails within 24 hours (48 hours if you email between Friday evening and Sunday evening), sooner depending on the urgency of the matter
  • try very hard to have a generally positive and sunny outlook, and to be of a cheerful disposition


There are “good behaviour” rules that apply to all UBC employees. If you are a teaching assistant, research assistant, or other student worker, this includes you. WorkSafeBC also applies to UBC employees, and indeed to all workers in all workplaces throughout British Columbia, so it’s worth knowing about, for everyone:

UBC information on preventing bullying and harrassment
UBC Respectful Environment Statement
→ other pertinent UBC policy documents and links to WorkSafeBC resources

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zéro de conduite / vigo


For compositions / written work with an individual, subjective, creative component:

10 points = language (“le fond”) :

  • the required length
  • the correctness of your French grammar and spelling
  • the use and variety of sentence structures and vocabulary learned in this course

10 points = content (“la forme”) :

  • the use and variety of sentence structures and vocabulary, used experimentally, ex. complex sentences… even if it isn’t completely correct:
    → stick your neck out: be brave! be bold! be beautiful!
  • organization, structure, sense, style, content-material, creativity, and interest:
    → let your hair down: be witty! be wild! be wise!

This next part won’t necessarily be relevant for the specifics of all courses, but it may be useful for your other courses and it’s part of my general “Rules” statement. I’m leaving it in here, just in case.

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Plagiarism robs you of what you think and what you can learn. Avoid it. Please be reminded that your education includes academic integrity. Unattributed use of someone’s else work (book, journal article, newspaper clip, online material, etc) and other demonstrated incidences of plagiarism will result in penalties ranging from an F course grade to expulsion from the university when the incident is reported to the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline.

This is a part of your formal relationship with the University. See further:

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Late work WILL BE penalized:

  • -20% for the 1st day or part thereof, counting from when I open my email the morning after your homework is due in. Warning: I usually get up early! *
  • plus another -10% per day thereafter *
  • so:
    -10% if it’s up to 1 day late;
    -20% if it’s 1 day late,
    -30% for 2 days late,
    -40% for 3 days late,
    etc. *

No late work will be accepted once 1 week has passed after the deadline.

  • These specific mark deductions are the course co-ordinator’s policies; in multi-section courses such as FREN 101 & 102, policies may vary from instructor to instructor. Please consult your instructor to check.

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  • students may not do extra work for extra credit; nor may the percentage of marks allotted to any portion of the course be changed.
  • extensions and alternate / make-up versions (ex. tests, on which see section VIII below) are subject to negotiation, and not guaranteed or to be taken for granted
  • ONLY if asked for in advance, in writing (email me), and with supporting documentation (following University guidelines on what counts). I usually liaise with Arts Academic Advising (or other Academic Advising office, if you are in a different Faculty) or ask you to do so youself: this saves you some time and trouble seeing every prof for every course…
  • in advance, when possible: except for exceptional circumstances such as accidents, of course!

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les quatre cents coups / truffaut


On the chapter tests (if applicable, ex. this is the case for FREN 101 & 102), midterm (if applicable, ex. this is the case for FREN 101 & 102), and final examinations:

  • in certain circumstances (medically-certified illness, etc.) a make-up version can be arranged: this will be a different test or exam from the one sat by the rest of the class
  • ONLY by arrangement and in consultation with your instructor
  • OR in consultation with other third parties, in other circumstances, as appropriate: ex. performances, sports competitions, job interviews, etc.
  • and ONLY with supporting documentation that you have taken to Academic Advising, and once your instructor has received confirmation from Academic Advising that you had good reason for your absence; ditto for other third parties, in other circumstances, as appropriate

Supporting documentation: what counts?

These rights, rules, and responsibilities are in addition to, not instead of, all policies and guidelines as supplied by the University, Faculty of Arts, and Department of FHIS. Some rules may change along the way; this should always be for good reason and be done in a reasonable way.

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