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General Syllabus Information 

Applicable to All Courses Taught by Charles Kwiatkowski

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last updated Friday August 14, 2009 06:12:53 PM

This information applies to all of my courses. See your course specific page for information regarding Meeting Times, Textbook, and Topics Covered.

PRINT THIS PAGE AS WELL AS YOUR SPECIFIC COURSE SPECIFIC INFORMATION. This helps to save the college money on paper and lower tuition costs.

Attendance and class participation.

Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) mandates students attend all class meetings. This includes both lecture and lab. Attendance is part of your class grade, typically 4 points per week. Attendance *may* be taken in the form of a pop quiz, so bring a pencil (or pen) and paper with you to every class. These pop quizzes exist primarily to provide me an assessment of how well you are grasping the course material. Quizzes may be given at the start or end of lecture so be punctual.

You are expected to attend for the full lab period. You may be excused, with permission, when you have completed ALL of your homework (not just the nearest due). I have been known to give a quiz at the end of lab without a prior announcement. You may be marked as absent if you leave with being excused.

If you come in late, remind me that you were late BEFORE we leave class that day, preferably before I leave the podium. This is so I may give you half credit for attendance. Failure to do so will result in you being marked absent for that day. As much as I care about you and your education, I cannot remember whether or not you arrived late after class has ended.

We may do assignments during class. If you miss that class, you will NOT be able to make it up. 

Note: You will be called upon in class. Be prepared to answer questions on the current topic and the current reading material. This is part of your obligation.

Withdrawal policy

According to IVCC, you may withdraw from this course with instructor permission.

You may withdraw from this course for any reason you like. I shall not shame you nor chide you for dropping the course, but I may inquire why. The only exception for this rule shall be for people who have left their lab partner "hanging". This applies only to classes with labs. See your course specific info for more detail or ask me for clarification. 

Note: Just because you stop showing up for class does not grant you a grade of I (incomplete) or W (withdrawn). You must promptly contact me in order to receive a grade of I or W.

For Fall 2009:

Friday, August 28 is the last day for refund.

Friday, November 6 is the Last Day for Student Withdrawal

Personal advice: Education is not a race. There is no shame in strategic retreat. Drop the class in which you are performing the worst in, not the one you like the least. Always aim to keep your grade point average high as it will take you farther than how long it took you to complete your degree/certificate/program.


You will be graded by percentage of points earned. Grading is as follows, unless otherwise indicated on your course specific info.


100 points each. Approximately one per topic.

Midterm Exam:

250 points

Final Exam:

250 points

Attendance & Pop Quizzes

Attendance is usually worth 4 points per week. Late arrivals are given half credit, by student request.

Quizzes may be up to 10 points per session.

Grade scale:

90-100% A

80-89% B

70-79% C

60-69% D

< 60%   F

Note: Grades are not rounded up or down. Example: if you end up with an overall course grade of 89.99%, you have earned a B.


Flash (Thumb/Jump) Drive

You are REQUIRED to purchase a thumb drive of at least 512M. You can use this drive to store info from other courses as well. I strongly dislike drives that attempt to install software automatically when plugged in. If possible, please disable the autorun software. If you need help doing so, the CRC can assist you.

Use this flash drive to store your files as you work. This is so you may easily bring your work to me if you have a question. Back up your thumb drive to your U: drive frequently in case you lose your thumb drive or it is damaged. This way, you always have your latest work on your thumb drive, in case you forget to backup before leaving class.

I suggest backing up your flash drive to your U: drive at least every time you are about to leave the lab or bring me a question.

As always, only YOU are accountable for the integrity your files and equipment.


I rely heavily on Blackboard for my courses. As a student, you are expected to review the Blackboard guide found here. Also, some notes about Blackboard:

1. You are expected to keep your contact information, including phone number and email address, up to date in Blackboard. This is so I can send updates to you about your class.

2. When taking an online assignment in Blackboard with True/False, Multiple Choice, etc. questions, remember to save your work frequently (at least every 5 minutes). Also, you must successfully submit your work when finished. You will know if your submission was successful if you either receive a grade for the assignment or an exclamation mark  ! . If you do not receive either, you need to try again or call the help desk. Unsuccessfully submitted items are given a grade of zero. You are responsible for your usage of Blackboard.

3. Sometimes, you may see a grade of -1 on an item. This does not mean you have a negative score. Rather, a -1 means I have received your work and have not completed grading it. You will NEVER receive an actual score lower than 0.

4. Sometimes, you may see a grade of just 1 point, where the potential points are much higher. This usually means I was unable to open your file. In most cases, I give just one week for you to bring the correct file to me for full grading. Failure to promptly give me a file that I can use will result in the grade of 1 point remaining as your grade for the work. The best way to guard against this is to attempt to open the file in Blackboard after you have submitted it. I can show you how if you need help.

4. When submitting files, you are allowed to submit only once. Make your submissions carefully.

5. Do NOT submit via email unless directed to. Improperly submitted items receive a grade of 0.

6. If submitting a file, please check to ensure that it was submitted OK. You can do this by clicking on the link for your file. If it opens OK, it is probably OK. If not, please let me know ASAP. This will save a lot of time when I am grading your work.


I will sometimes distribute class information and announcements via phone or email. You are responsible to keep your phone number and email address in Blackboard and Webadvisor up to date and accurate.

Please try to check your account within an hour of coming to class as I intend to send notice of unforeseen, last minute changes via email.

Personal recommendation. You may use whatever email service you like. I use Gmail from Google because it has a web interface and over 7 gigabytes of account space (as of 8/15/2008).


You may expect 1 homework assignment for each topic (chapter) in class. Typically, this works out to about 1 homework per week. This is typically broken into a knowledge part, with true/false and multiple choice questions, and a hands-on part where you actually use the topic to solve a problem or do something.

If you know you are going to be absent, you can submit prior to the deadline via Blackboard or email. Blackboard and email are open 24/7.Late assignments will be accepted only with PRIOR permission. After teaching for years, I realize that things come up that may prevent you from completing your work on time. If you suspect this will be the case, we need to have a real-time discussion, via face-to-face conversation, phone discussion, or IM. Emailing me or just leaving a voicemail is insufficient. Be prepared to explain WHY you are late and deserve extra time when everyone else is expected to make the deadline. 

The golden rule applies here: the more considerate you are to me, the more I can be to you.

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar ALWAYS count.


There will be a total of 2 exams during the semester, one at the midterm, and one at the end of the semester. Exams are normally given online. However, I highly suggest that you bring a #2 pencil in case we have a written exam and you need to make corrections, or if you need to do scratch work. I shall supply paper for scratch work, but will collect it at the end of the exam.

I reserve the right to assign seating and to change seating.

When handwriting, always bring your best penmanship. Illegible answers will be given zero credit.

Calculators, PDA's, Cell Phones, laptops, iPods, and other electronic devices are not allowed during exams unless otherwise specified.

Again, spelling, punctuation, and grammar ALWAYS count.

When "Time's up" is called, you are to stop and submit your work no matter how far along you are. If you are caught writing (even your name) after time is called, your exam will immediately be thrown away, and you will be given a grade of zero.

There are no “make-ups” for exams. No exams are dropped.


You are expected to attend all class meetings. If you are unable to attend class for some reason, you are expected to call (not e-mail) or IM me A.S.A.P. and explain why you were absent.

Failure to do will result in an unexcused absence. Email regarding absences is ignored.

Additionally, you may not be considered excused depending on the reason. Examples of inexcusable absences include:

1.      I was out of town on vacation

2.      I was sick (and you have no doctor's note).

3.      I overslept. 

Remember, the more considerate you are towards me, the more considerate I can be towards you.


Policies regarding cheating may be found under the heading of “Academic Integrity” in the IVCC Student Handbook.  Students should become familiar with these policies and abide by them. 

Furthermore, don't even think about cheating. Cheating is not tolerated at all.  Although I encourage you to collaborate and discuss ideas and concepts from this class with others, you are responsible for your own work. A (all too) common example of cheating is to work together collectively in a group and each member turns in his/her copy of the same document. This is completely unacceptable.

When you cheat, you insult my intelligence.

My responsibilities

As your instructor, I am expected to assist you with questions about the class. I am also expected to be punctual. This includes starting class on time, and not keeping you late. However, lecture may run late on occasion to cover necessary material. You should also expect your work to be graded promptly. Expect 1 week from the due date for me to return materials to you.


Lecture shall begin promptly at the assigned time. I ask that you refrain from asking me questions while I am at the podium before lecture starts, as I am usually setting up. This also ensures that everyone in class has a chance to hear the question and answer.

Questions about HW assignments may be deferred to lab (if possible) . You can expect lecture to last until the assigned end time. Do not immediately begin packing up your belongings before the end of lecture. 

PC Usage

If you have a PC in front of you during lecture, it should be used ONLY for one of two things:

1. Following along with the lecture's slides, code, etc.

2. Working on an in-class assignment.

Do not work on homework while I am lecturing. This is considered rude.

Do NOT "surf", check email, or play games during class. You may be asked to leave if caught doing so. If this continues to be a problem, further action may be taken.

Lab (if applicable)

This is where you are expected to work on your homework and labs. Also, this is where I answer questions about your HW. You may expect to need extra time outside of lab to complete your assignments.

Lab is also where I try to get grading done. Often, I like to call you over during grading so you can better understand why your grade is what it is.

You are advised to backup files on your U: drive. Through the miracle of technology, you may access your U drive from off campus. Directions for off campus U: drive access may be found here under the section Accessing Files Via NetStorage.

You are expected to bring your textbook(s) to all class meetings and lab.

If your class requires the use of software on CD, such as SAM or LabSim, you must bring it with you. Sorry, but I don't have extra copies. My advice to you is to make a backup copy, which you can do once legally, and leave the original at home.

You may opt to also work on your homework assignments at home. This is fine, but know that:

1. If you have a question or a problem with the assignment, we may not have time to meet to solve your problem before the assignment is due.

2. You are responsible for the operation of your equipment. This means that you will not be given any special treatment if it your hard drive crashes, printer malfunctions, etc.

3. I do not debug over the phone or via email.

4. You are still expected to attend lab.

5. People who work on their assignments in lab tend to achieve higher grades than those that work at home.

Emergency Closings

IVCC has instituted a new system to notify you via text (SMS) or email in the event of an emergency closing, such as severe weather, water main break, etc. The service is free. To sign up, go to www.ivcc.edu/alerts . Keep in mind, this service only notifies you of the college closing, not individual classes or office hours cancellations.

It is my understanding that you can sign up for either text or email, but not both. My suggestion would be to sign up for text alerts as you most likely have your cell phone with you, so you can be notified sooner.

Free Software

That's right, free. Well, not exactly, The catch is that you have to have an email address that ends in .edu . The good news is that as an IVCC student, either full or part time, you already do. You can find out how to access your student email account at http://www.ivcc.edu/crc.aspx?id=4040 . My suggestion is that once you are able to use your student email, you forward all of your mail from your student account to your most frequently accessed account. Again, the CRC can help with this.

After your account is setup, you can go to IVCC's page at the Microsoft Developers Academic Alliance at http://msdn08.e-academy.com/elms/Storefront/Home.aspx?campus=ivcc_ot . From there, you can download software such as Windows XP, Windows Vista Business Edition, Visio, and other software. Remember to save your registration code as you will need it when you install the software.

If you have a slow Internet connection at home, the IVCC library has *some* software already saved on CD, so you only need to get the registration code from MSDN AA. Then, you can install from the CD.

Note: As of this writing, Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint) are not available through MSDN AA.

Discount Microsoft Office

You can get Microsoft Office Ultimate, which includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc., legitimately for $59.95 at http://theultimatesteal.com . If you have a slow Internet connection, you can also order a DVD containing Office Ultimate for a little more. Again, you need to use your student email account to qualify.

My wishes

You might not believe it, but I want for you to succeed. I want for you to have a career you are satisfied with, at a good pay rate. It is mainly for this reason I am teaching. To prepare you for this, I will do what it takes to meet these goals. This includes being as tough as necessary. However, although it is not a required job duty, I am happy to discuss your career ideas, goals, and plan. I am happy to mentor.

Disability Statement

If you are a student with a documented cognitive, physical or psychiatric disability you may be eligible for academic support services such as extended test time, texts on disc, notetaking services, etc...  If you are interested in learning if you can receive these academic support services, please contact either Tina Hardy (tina_hardy@ivcc.edu, or 224-0284) or Judy Mika (224-0350), or stop by the Disability Services Office in        B-204. 


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