Attendance & Participation


Attendance is mandatory for this class. You are allowed two absences. If you are absent for more than two, you may make up an additional one absence by meeting with at least one of the instructors to make up the class session.  Further absences will result in the deduction of a third of a point from your final grade. If you miss a class, we do not need to know the reason why unless it is because of a death in the family or a religious holiday.

Lateness disrupts the entire class, especially in a small discussion course like ours. If you are more than 15 minutes late, we will mark it as half an absence.

While attending class requires you to use a computer and have regular access to broadband internet, we recognize that technologies fail and are ready and able to adapt to changing circumstances and challenges that you might face during the semester. Below are a few strategies for handling technological challenges relating to joining in the class videoconference sessions:

  • If your internet connection appears unstable, turn off your video as it will save bandwidth
  • If your internet connection drops or isn’t working, you can call into class using the meeting phone number (this is not meant to be a good solution for an entire semester’s worth of classes, but it works in a pinch)
  • If your microphone stops working or you are in a noisy place, you can mute yourself and  participate in discussion using the chat feature in Zoom
  • If you are in a location or space with a lot of distractions or that you don’t want the rest of the class to see, you are welcome to use a class-appropriate Zoom virtual background.

You are responsible for communicating with us if things go awry and you need to find another way to participate, and we will work with you to make that happen. 


Active participation in the course is required and 15% of your overall grade. Also see the attendance policy for information about absences and how they affect your overall grade.

Join class prepared to discuss the readings due that day and having explored the tools we will be learning. Plan on expressing your ideas, frustrations, questions, and confusions using your voice during class whenever possible. This is a small, discussion-based class, so we have the opportunity to delve deeply into issues.

Participation also extends to the online portal to the course, the Intro DH MSU 2019 Mattermost network. Mattermost serves as the central point of non-verbal communication during and outside of class meetings. You periodically will be required to post something in Mattermost before class about the readings and assignments. Doing so on time will count toward your overall participation grade. 

When you are unable to speak in class (due to e.g. technology issues, anxiety, things going on around you, needing more time to collect your thoughts), you are encouraged to engage in discussion via Mattermost. Doing so will count toward your participation grade but cannot fully replace spoken discussion during class. 

Mattermost is also a space for airing questions and comments and sharing ideas and resources that don’t come up in class.  It is also a great place to share tangential thoughts and ideas that diverge from the main discussion but that you would like to share. Contributing to the conversation in Mattermost will help improve your participation grade.