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As we explore different modes and genres for writing in health and medicine, each unit will reflect a particular sub-discipline or perspective related to health and medicine: the medical sciences, the social health sciences, and narrative medicine, a subset of the health humanities. Additionally, at least one of these units will integrate an oral communication component, and at least one will integrate a digital literacy component.

This course will function on a simple point grading system. Further details and assignment handouts will be provided via Sakai for each major assignment, etc. listed below:

Note: There is no final exam for this course.

The assignment prompt for each unit (which contains instructions and grading rubrics for the unit’s two feeders and the unit project) is on Sakai at Resources and then in a subfolder labeled for that particular unit. They are also posted to the appropriate pages on this website for each unit.

The assignment prompt for your course blog post is on Sakai at Resources>Course Website Resources, and it is also posted to the Home page of this website.

There is also an extra credit assignment prompt for writing in business (application materials for health/medical opportunities) on Sakai at Resources>Extra Credit: Writing in Business, and it is also posted to the Home page of this website.

Feeders (and your course blog post) will be graded based on completion, timely submission, and attention to assignment details. Unit projects will be evaluated by rubrics developed by the instructor according to UNC Writing Program standards and individual assignment expectations. Each unit assignment prompt contains clear instructions and specific grading rubrics for each feeder and unit project for that particular unit. Refer to those to guide your work.

Daily homework assignments will be individually graded based on completion and timely submission and will consist of working drafts of your projects, brief reflections on assigned readings, and other small assignments relevant to our current topics in the course.

Note: For all assignments, if I provide a required word count, remember that bibliographies at the end of your composition, titles of assignments, and header content (your name, the name of the class, page numbers, etc.), do NOT count toward the stated requirement. Revisit the specific assignment prompt for that assignment and/or contact me for clarification as you compose but before you submit your assignment.

To calculate your overall participation grade, I record a daily participation grade for each student for every single class session based on the following criteria:

  • Attended all class sessions and conferences
  • Arrived on time and fully prepared
  • Engaged during class discussions and other activities
  • Actively participated in group/partner work
  • Completed all peer review activities
  • Displayed significant investment in the revision process
  • Note: If I notice you are not fully engaged or are engaged with non-class activities, your participation grade for the day will be severely lowered. Additionally, being disruptive earns an automatic participation grade of 0 for the day.

Whether we are doing group work, peer editing, having a class discussion, or taking a trip to the library, you should be alert and willing to participate in all activities. Not being on task, checking social media, failing to engage with the day’s material, or failing to bring a draft to class will significantly lower your participation and/or homework grade. Participation grades may also be lowered for inappropriate or disruptive behavior during class.

Final letter grades are determined based on the following scale:

  • A (93-100)
  • A- (90-92)
  • B+ (87-89)
  • B (83-86)
  • B- (80-82)
  • C+ (77-79)
  • C (73-76)
  • C- (70-72)
  • D+ (67-69)
  • D (63-66)
  • F (below 63)

I will use traditional rounding to determine grades that fall between whole values. Any mixed number with a decimal value of five tenths or higher will round up to the next whole number. (For example, 92.5 will round up to an A as a 93, but 92.4 will not.)



Attendance is expected. Missing class will impact your participation grade. Missing a class session (or disruptive behavior during a class session) will earn you a 0 for your daily participation grade for that day. No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings, except for these University Approved Absences:

  1. Authorized University activities
  2. Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by the Accessibility Resources and Service Office (ARS) and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC)
  3. Significant health condition and/or personal/family emergency as approved by the Office of the Dean of StudentsGender Violence Services Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC).

Please communicate with me early about potential absences. Please be aware that you are bound by the Honor Code when making a request for a University-approved absence. For more information about the University attendance policies (and what to do if you feel you have extenuating circumstances regarding your absence), see


Late Assignments

Each assignment should be completed and prepared in the correct format for submission on the day it is due. This includes homework, drafts, presentations, and final drafts of feeder assignments and unit projects. Unless otherwise specified, daily homework assignments and larger projects will typically be due via electronic submission through Sakai by 11:59pm the night before the class for which the assignment is listed. For instance, homework for class on Thurs. Sept. 2 should be submitted by 11:59pm on Wed. Sept. 1. Late submissions of daily homework assignments will significantly affect your homework grade. Failing to submit a draft for an in-class workshop will affect your homework grade as well as your daily participation grade since you will be unable to participate in our in-class workshop that day. Regarding graded assignments such as your blog post, feeders, and unit projects, I will typically not accept late submissions. Plan ahead to prepare for potential conflicts or submission/technical issues so you can avoid them. If your assignment is late or is going to be late, I urge you to communicate with me immediately and submit the assignment as soon as possible to see if we can determine a work-around to potentially minimize how much it hurts your grade.

Most drafts and assignments will be submitted electronically. Before your final submission of any assignment, double-check your work and make sure you’re submitting/posting the correct document. It is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your assignment was submitted/posted successfully, is accessible, and appears in the correct format, etc. I will not accept excuses involving “technical glitches” or “uploading errors.” It is your job to upload or submit your assignment and then click to open your submission (see what your audience is going to see) and double-check to confirm that the correct document was submitted and that it was submitted successfully, appears correctly, and is accessible to the appropriate audiences. Once the deadline for an assignment has passed, I will simply grade based on the document available from your submission. If you want to resubmit before the deadline but have trouble doing so, email me at

Despite all of the above, I do recognize that life happens, and sometimes, extenuating circumstances may prevent you from completing an assignment by the deadline. If you feel you cannot complete an assignment by the deadline, speak with me, and we might be able to work out a reasonable timeline that accommodates you. I do not offer extensions, but I might grant one upon your request. I will consider granting extensions on assignments up to 48 hours before the due date. Do NOT contact me the night before the assignment is due and expect an extension. I will only consider granting extensions for reasons I consider valid. Requesting an extension does not guarantee that you have received one; you have not been granted an extension unless I have explicitly stated that I am granting one to you on this specific assignment. This class moves quickly, and each assignment builds upon the previous one, so even if you are granted one extension, be sure to stay on track with the assignments that are due next.


Receiving Grades and Feedback

Whenever I return a graded assignment back to you, my feedback will be inserted into the document using the “comments” function in Microsoft Word (or in some similar manner). Usually, my final comments will be more summative comments about your submission as a whole. At the end of that document, I will also insert the grading rubric for that assignment, noting where you gained or lost points, and providing your final grade on that assignment. Please be sure to download that document and save it to your device for future reference. Even if you received a high grade, be sure to read through all of my comments and look at the grading rubric to see where you gained or lost points. Please also note that not all of my comments are necessarily negative. Make a note of what you did especially well, not just where you lost points.

I should note that, on rare occasions, I won’t necessarily provide written feedback as thoroughly as I do for other assignments. If you ever want more thorough feedback or explanations regarding my feedback, I’d be more than happy to provide it at your request.

Remember also that, as you are drafting and receiving feedback, it’s important to understand that I (and your peers) can only comment on so much; that’s beneficial for you. It’s important for you to apply the feedback you receive to other areas of your drafts (both current ones and future ones) as well as to apply what you are learning from the assigned readings and our in-class activities as you move through your writing process. For instance, if I note an issue in your use of commas, I don’t necessarily comment on it every time. Look through your draft to find other areas where you made the same error.

You should always read through all feedback you receive and take that feedback into consideration as you move forward on your current writing project and future writing projects both in this class and beyond. The feedback on any individual assignment will be helpful on future writing projects in this class and beyond. A lot of the teaching and learning in this class takes place through the feedback I provide on your writing assignments. Remember, the final step of the writing process is to look at your feedback, reflect on it, learn from it, and use it moving forward. Even if you received a high grade, still look at my feedback to see where you did especially well and where you could improve.

It is also your responsibility to monitor your Sakai gradebook for any errors or discrepancies in grades and to bring those to my attention in a timely manner.

If you ever have any trouble accessing your graded document or my comments or if you’d like clarification on my comments or your grade, etc., please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to address those with you either via email or via an individual meeting.



Next syllabus item: What I Expect from You