Policies

Below is a set of ground rules specific to discussions held in class and online.  These are important to remember so that every member of the classroom feels respected and safe when discussing topics that are sometimes personal and powerful.

  1. Listen actively — respect others when they are talking.
  2. Speak from your own experience instead of generalizing (“I” instead of “they,” “we,” and “you”).
  3. Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks — focus on ideas.
  4. Participate to the fullest of your ability — community growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice.
  5. Instead of invalidating somebody else’s story with your own spin on her or his experience, share your own story and experience.
  6. The goal is not to agree — it is to gain a deeper understanding.
  7. Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses — they can be as disrespectful as words.

It is now your job to create an additional class ground rules.  If you chose not to add a rule, please elaborate on one of the rules presented above.  You are encouraged to reply to other’s suggestions about these rules, and if we reach a consensus, it will be added to the list.  Please submit your responses no later than MONDAY February 3rd, 2015 to receive credit towards your course grade.

83 thoughts on “Policies

    1. AAlmond Post author

      Ok Anthony- I hear this. Could you possibly elaborate? I’m curious about ways that a professor or student can distinguish appropriate vs inappropriate use of cell-phone in class when it’s happening. I also wonder, what is the best response to inappropriate use of the phone? And I think that maybe it doesn’t need to be ‘called out’ each incident–but maybe every so often as a reminder. For some people, a type of ‘addiction’, if you will, makes it very difficult for students to stay of their phone. How can we help this (as a class)? Great discussion point. I would like to know what others are thinking.

      Reply
  1. jeanmariee94

    Instead of adding a new rule, I would like to elaborate on policy number 6. A lot of professors want to teach you what they know, have you memorize the information, and test you on it. I look forward to having a class where I am encouraged to voice my opinions, rather than conforming to someone else’s views. I feel like I will get a better understanding of the subject this way.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Absolutely. Happy to hear this. I certainly want to share with you the ideas, factoids, experiences, and theories I know— but it’s a two-way street. You-the student- are a vital part of the equation. Think of this: you need me and I need you to accomplish the goals described in the course objectives. No one can do it alone. That is the beauty of education!

      Reply
  2. Mdelie16

    Personal experiences within the classroom should stay within the classroom and be kept confidential. If you feel the need to share someone else’s story outside of the classroom, names should be kept anonymous

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Well put. Confidentiality is key! It also touches on the idea of ethics, values, and relationships. (General education outcome of the course). Let’s keep this in mind, and add to the policy list!

      Reply
  3. Chamirah Farley, RN

    I would like to elaborate on policy #6. I think its extremely crucial to present with an open-mind, and willing to learn and be acceptive of the perspectives of others. Simply by listening to another individual serves as an opportunity to learn and expand one’s horizons.

    Reply
  4. Nawang N. Sherpa

    Do not interrupt when someone is sharing his/her ideas. It is better to wait until the person completes with whatever he/she has to say or else the topic might get diverted when different ideas/thoughts come into play.

    Reply
  5. Li

    I think nonverbal communication is important, and we have to be aware of it when we have a face to face discussion with others. Nonverbal communication includes facial expression, voice tone, gesture, and eye contact, and there are cultural differences in nonverbal communication. Knowing the differences can help us to create a respectful environment of discussion.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Absolutely- there are differences both cultural and individual related to non-verbal communication. If you need to better understanding someone, a question is always a good place to start.

      Reply
  6. Dherrera

    We cannot guarantee that the personal experiences shared by students will in fact be kept confidential; therefore students should be given the opportunity to be ommited when certain topics are too personal( perhaps the professor can give two different color index cards that a student can place on their desk indicating whether they want to participate in the discussing for the topic being disscussed)

    Reply
  7. Henry M.

    Participate to the fullest of your ability — community growth depends on the inclusion of every individual voice.
    Participation can help gain more confidence and gain more experience for future purposes. Everyone should always do what they can to help themselves and help others.

    Reply
  8. Keven Deng

    I would like to elaborate on policy #3 concerning challenging of one another. The one thing I have noticed in my past experiences of classroom discussions is sometimes topics get very heated so to speak and personal attacks against an individual rather then a topic occurs. So to prevent issue there should be some sort of mediator for such if situations get to heat

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Staying focused on the topic is something that as a professor I work very hard on. Having the help of the class is fantastic when it comes to this topic!

      Reply
  9. Raz

    I’d like to elaborate on policy #4. By creating a comfortable trusting atmosphere, that would help everyone feel comfortable enough to speak up. By everyone sharing their voice, that would help and give hope to any closed minded thoughts anyone has. We should break through any of our closed minded thoughts and push towards open non-judgmental growth towards understanding each other in our own respectful light

    Reply
  10. iespinoza

    I totally agree with Dherrera. I believe that each individual should be responsible with the amount and sort of information that she/he is willing to share in the classroom. Thus, we have to be prudent when disclosing anything personal and take into consideration that not everybody has the same discretion standards even when specific rules are set.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      This is quite important— just because you are willing to share (or vice versa and you’re the quiet type) do not expect your classmates to feel the same way as you. We will have to take a leap of faith when disclosing that all people respect the rules– this risk (or leap) is well worth the overall learning experience that the class is intended to offer 🙂

      Reply
  11. Sayma

    Policy #1 is one of the skill that many people fail unintentionally. It’s very important to listening to the person when they’re talking. it’s also important to not interrupt someone in the middle of a discussion. If the another person want to share their ideas with the class then it can wait until the other person finishes talking.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      So true. A good skill to get in the habit of is jotting a question down as it comes up and not being critical of whether or not you get the chance to address it. This habit is a good one! You are being given the chance to express yourself and ask questions here on OpenLab! So if you miss your chance to blurt it out in class—here is an entire community eager and willing to have that conversation with you 🙂

      Reply
  12. Milka Ng

    I cannot agree more to policy #6 -The goal is not to agree — it is to gain a deeper understanding.
    Everybody have a different point of view on anything, and it’s impossible to make the whole class agree to one idea ( obviously if they do, they are not participating )
    We want to share and listen to other’s comments, also respecting. During class discussion, everybody’s idea matters. The more we discuss, the more we understand.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Openness in a thing of beauty. Much like OpenLab, we have the ability as a class to create meaning of our experiences through sharing.

      Reply
  13. Sadiquah

    The college classroom is a diverse room of people. As an individual of particular beliefs, practices, and morals it is normal for us to cling to, and agree with people that have similar thoughts and ideas as us. Individual ideas should always be respected in the classroom whether or not you agree with it. Every idea is important and unique. Keep negative comments to self and only comment if it benefits the class discussion.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Avoid using negativity as a way to communicate. Ever heard this one “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? Well the same goes here– we can talk about the negative and out of respect for everyone’s individuality, we should avoid being negative when doing so.

      Reply
  14. matty65

    I really think that this rule is probably one of the more important ones on the list especially for our purposes of gaining greater understanding of one another. We’ve all hear generalized statements such as, “They do this” or, “They don’t do that.” Who the heck is “they”? I’m an individual. I think that if we are successful, over the course of the semester, we’ll find that once we strip ourselves of generalizations we are all more similar than we would ever dare to believe.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Right on! I encourage the use of “I” statements for that very reason. We ARE more similar that we dare to imagine— this idea is elaborated upon in the first installment of Race: The Power of an Illusion. I am sure you will enjoy it!

      Reply
  15. Rpalma89

    in addition to policy 1 and 5. We should consider the classroom a place of different perspectives. We may not all look eye to eye on certain topics but we as a class should be open to listening to different opinions and ideas. By respecting others opinion ideas people should be aware of our body language such as tones, they way you look at people, over even falling asleep during class. People should be non-judgmental if others are sharing personal stories. Its all about being open minded and listening to others. At the end we are all adults and should act like it during class hours.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      That’s what I’m talking about. Different perspectives can share a common goal– that’s exactly what a classroom and what discussion boards here on OpenLab are for. Well put. 🙂

      Reply
  16. Jibriel

    I like to elaborate on rule number 1, which is actively listening because it is very important, especially in a classroom environment that others listen closely when someone is taking and understand what is being said before responding with an appropriate answer. That’s why I think active listening has been listed as the number 1 rule in our class policy.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      That is a great point- if you are listening actively, your responses to one another will be more meaningful, appropriate, and developed.

      Reply
  17. benny

    i think all the policies are great and i would like to elaborate on #1 i would also like to add that we make it a point to make one person talk at a time and not try to talk over each other, and also to be respectful to other students by not talking when the professor is talking, because i learn by listening and i get distracted when more than one person is talking at a time.

    Reply
  18. bmyrthil22

    I would like to expand on policy number 3. A lot of times when Students challenge each other by not always agreeing some may take it personally , its ok to disagree, we learn more from each other when we challenge our fellow classmates to think outside the box. We all have different beliefs and come from different walks of life, but that is also the upside to being in a diverse class like this. By end of the semister we’ll have gained a lot of knowledge about ourselves and each other.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      It is a good point you raise- trying to keep things in the context of learning and not taking them personally. This will be something important for all of us to practice.

      Reply
  19. dorcas

    I will like to comment on policy # 4 about class participation. Participation in class is a very important part of learning. If you comment, other people can learn from your comments and you can learn from others too. Some of us may not feel comfortable to speak out in class but if we make extra effort to go beyond our comfort zone, we will be able to do it.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      I like it– go just a bit out of your comfort zone. Look right here, for example, your fellow students would like to hear what everyone has to say. Keep this in mind as time passes and we begin to identify folks who always have a contribution. While we may learn to grow tired from a frequent-contributor, remember that their voice is valuable.

      Reply
  20. Kar Lee

    I would like to make a point on policy # 3 about don’t be nervous and stay focus on ideas. It is important to ask for clarification if something were not sure on question that is talking about in class. Make sure we are on the right track and stay focus on topic. The best way is to ask question and critique ideas directly but not the people thoughts.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Good- the best way to stay focused is to make sure you’re on the same page as the class/professor. The best way to do this is with a question. Let’s see how many hands go up today…

      Reply
  21. Alla P

    #4 – Participation is important and necessary, but boundaries need to be respected. Some things are too personal or painful to share with a group of strangers. Nobody should feel obligated, pressured or forced to share these parts of their life – if they do so, it should be of their free will.

    My comment is not coming from the same place as dorcas’ – I have a big mouth and I’m not afraid of attention, but there are parts of my life that may come up in our class discussions that I do not feel comfortable with my classmates knowing about.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Agreed! Use your discretion with the topics and ideas you chose to share. Maybe some personal stuff would be best shared in paper form. You can always put something down on paper, or incorporate it into one of your 3 writing assignments. It is safe there.

      Reply
  22. Rajpreet Sandhu

    Hey folks ! Good to read all this cool stuff.

    My view about policy 1 – That’s a very good point, if you listen actively to others you learn a lot and it requires shedding off your ego (which is not an easy thing). If you want a blend of professionalism inside you, you’ve got to shed off your ego and learn to accept things and make yourself better with each passing day.

    Policy 2 – That’s a genuine point. When we generalize something we actually stereotype (now it is up to you to think if you think stereotyping is good or bad). I would give you an example of this: On the front cover of our textbook you might have noticed a picture of a man standing on one leg doing meditation or trying to meditate, people do that a lot in Asia but all the Asians are not like that. There are a lot of people in Asia who believe in Christ, and probably a lot of people who do meditation but they sit on a chair and not stand on one leg at all.

    Policy 3 – Challenging one another from learning point of view is a good thing, that’s in fact healthy learning cause you learn a lot. But all the parties who are involved in discussion need to keep their cool to get a good output and not try to let others down.

    Policy 4 – Sure.

    Policy 5 – I think my response to policy 3 applies here as well.

    Policy 6 – Sure, you may like somebody but may or may not agree with the person. Gaining deeper understanding is good if you are creative but if you are not creative then deeper understanding can be actually harmful to you or others in the community. Creativity is very important. Creativity + Deeper Understanding = Awesomeness.

    Policy 7 – I agree with this point as we should not be hating anybody through body language because it is all God’s creation.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Your comments remind me of a sign posted outside of my former gym’s front door: “Check egos here.” We should always try to leave our egos at the classroom door so that we are fully able to grow and learn.

      Reply
  23. rssp044

    I would like to add one more point to policies that we should not judge others according to our understanding. The other person might be better than we think or might be worse than we think, so judging somebody can create a negative impact.

    Reply
  24. IrinaF

    Elaborating on policy number 3 which is “Do not be afraid to respectfully challenge one another by asking questions, but refrain from personal attacks — focus on ideas.”

    Be courteous to other students that are in class, which doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to agree with everything that is being said. However, your point will be much more credible if conveyed without rudeness, aggression, or hostility.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      It’s as as simple as the Golden Rule: “Treat others that way you want to be treated.” (Not the way they treat you, but the way that you want to be treated)

      Reply
  25. Leonel

    I strongly agree with Policy #1. I believe that we all should be very respectful to each other all time, especially when someone is expressing their thoughts. We should listen, and if we have something to say, we wait for our classmate to finish talking. Some people, including myself, don’t like when someone else jumps into a discussion because they get to impatient and interrupt others. I believe that’s very disrespectful.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      I am reminded of an elementary school teacher I had, Mrs. Palmer. She’d say “Listen up: that means ears open, mouths shut.” She was on to something…

      Reply
  26. alicia

    i think all policies are great and especially Listen actively — respect others when they are talking is so important because it will help everyone to understand and learn from others, and share more ideas.

    Reply
  27. shenelle

    A new policy could be to pay attention so that you don’t repeat what someone else said before you, because if you do that means you obviously weren’t being actively involved in the class discussion. However, it’s is ok if you add on to someone else’s idea.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      I have to agree— it’s the worst when someone re-shares an idea just described by someone else simply due to the fact that they were not listening. Do your BEST to listen rather than to think of what you’re going to say after the person is done. It will take practice.

      Reply
  28. thierno

    i would like to comment on the point #4. The participation of everyone in the discussion will produce a diversity of opinions as we all come different intellectual and cultural backgrounds. And this is the key to make our learning experience as enriching and lively as possible. That’s why it’s incumbent on each and everyone of us to make our setting a safe space for different points of view.

    Reply
  29. Donna Liu

    I wanted to elaborate on #7 more “Be conscious of body language and nonverbal responses — they can be as disrespectful as words.” I always went by the rule always think before you speak, because you may or may not hurt somebody with your words. With that said, I highly agree with being aware with your body language/nonverbal responses, because they can hurt someone just as much as words can.
    I.E. speaking to someone while flailing arms and pointing at them is rude.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Good example. Please demonstrate to one another that you are interested and invested in hearing that thoughts of others. And, if one day in class, you aren’t, be sure NOT to let it show I suppose.

      Reply
  30. daniel quiles

    The goal is not to agree — it is to gain a deeper understanding.

    i think this policy is perfect , and it should go beyond the lesson. it should work between classmates. im pretty sure this semester a lot heads will clash considering some the topics and i think that we should respect another student stance and try to understand where he/she is coming from.

    Reply
  31. Taurey

    Hello everyone. I feel that we are already a small unfamiliar family that’s gaining each others trust with every lecture and assignment. Listening & learning about one another is one of the things that truly makes a course that much more memorable as well as enjoyable . I would love to gain from all of your experiences but unfortunately our meetings aren’t very long and our discussions are so interesting, I have already noticed that time seems to fly by.
    I would like to elaborate on our first policy “Listen Actively” . As much as we want to share our thoughts I am requesting that we as a team be mindful of our own …. talk time … and try not to dominate the class because may takes away from others opportunities to get their ideas out.

    Reply
  32. Chunn

    Sorry for the late post.. just got my citytech email.

    In regards to policy #7 which is important, some people do hand-gestures or some sort of body language when the person are very into the topic involved in and may not be able to control or subconciously doing these things that may make one another uncomfortable. Having that person restricted from that may possibly prevent him from being more active in class. Instead, we as classmates should be more open in regards to some type(not all) body language, not ignoring but to accomidate to it

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      This is an interesting point. Gestures are part of the way in which we communicate. So while the goal is not to stifle them, it is important to remember that we need to remain respectful of one another. Very nice comment… and I thrilled that you got your CityTech email up and running!!

      Reply
  33. Einstein$13

    I am replying to policy number 1 listen actively. There are a lot of times people are hearing someone speaks and they said that they are listen, “better yet listening actively”. what is the difference between “hearing” and “listen actively”. To hear someone speak is to not paying attention to their words or the person for that matter. people hear a next person speak and hear one word they ready to reply without finish hearing the complete thought. however, listen actively is just the opposite. It is when a person speaks and another person attentively give that person their undivided attention, analyzing the speaker idea as well their point of view before replying. It is a skill. There are a lot of misunderstood that could have been resolve if people had STOP LISTEN ACTIVELY before replying because sometimes certain comment do not deserve an answer. I believe listen actively is the skill that we need to practice in other to be good at it.

    Reply
  34. AAlmond Post author

    Lizet wrote:
    I agree with number 5 , it’s important to be open minded an not judge others. for others to respect our point of view or understand our opinion we need to share our experiences for others to analyze your situation. We all have experienced different situations in life, therefore we all have different opinions of them. Sometimes invalidating someone’ else’s story may intimidate them or upset them.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Emmanuel replied:
      May I add this to the above listed policies – Respect and tolerate political, social, economic and cultural differences. It undoubtedly makes us all safe and secured.

      Victoria replied:
      I want to elaborate on policy number 2, I find it effective that we are able to focus more on our own experiences instead of other people’s experiences. For instance, many of us as students even when we are writing essays I feel like the focus of “I” is not honored by, therefore having the chance to be able to share out loud will help us connect and understand each other.

      AAlmond replied:
      Yes— there is much to be learned by exploring and describing experiences. This is not to say this is a “fluff course”. It’s far from it. It does mean that you will have to take responsibility of the material and not think that the entire course is just us kickin’ it in Midway, telling stories. Expression is fun, but it can also become challenging when working towards a common goal, like the objectives and learning outcomes described in the class.

      Reply
  35. Altenor

    Well, I think policies or new policies, in my opinion, are like laws to be applied to do what is supposed to do regarding the situation in order to make whether one another happy or make things rights. At least I can say, frankly, policies are recipients for good conducts in any institutions to make things work.

    Reply
  36. Ashley Golden

    I would like to discuss policy #2 I think we should be very careful when using words such as “us, we” because it can really offend someone. We have to remember we are all different individuals that come from different types of cultures. What one might say, may offend someone of a different culture. As for policy #3 we shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions because you never know if someone has the same questions and is too shy to speak. Also again, we should challenge each other but not in a negative way.

    Reply
  37. Chander Raj

    Oh man, policy number 6 got me. I had professors in my previous semesters who didn’t take no for an answer. They didn’t like being questioned thus the class had to agree so that we can move on to new material. A relationship between a professor and a student should be engaging in a dialog in which both sides question the given situation. There are times when students are right and the professor learns from the students so that he/she can correct themselves and teach his/her new students with more backed up information.

    Reply
  38. Veronica

    8. Let the other person conclude their complete thought before responding with your own. Raise hand to participate in a discussion, so when that person finishes their statement, the next person can be called on to avoid interruptions.

    Reply
  39. Keila Gordon

    I agree with policy #6, but there may be some difficulties with the wording of it. Although you may not agree with someones ideas or opinion, it does not necessarily mean its wrong. Everyones opinions are relevant and should be valued. Instead of saying “the goal is to disagree”, why don’t we argue “the goal is to challenge.”

    Im so sorry this is incredibly late i did not see this assignment!

    Reply
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