FAQs

When do I use CCLE, and when do I use the class website?

Use CCLE to access readings (that aren’t linked from the website), to submit assignments, and to take the final. For everything else, use the class website.

I’m going to be absent. Should I let you know?

No, you don’t have to let me know. Everyone is allotted three absences for the quarter, which you can use as you wish. I suggest you reserve them for unavoidable absences, like illness or emergencies, but it’s up to you.

Why do you even count absences?

You undoubtedly have your own opinions about whether it’s worthwhile for you to attend class. But attendance isn’t just about you. The dynamic of a classroom is a collaborative effort, and it’s important that you contribute to this effort, respect your classmates, and honor our shared discussion space by attending class regularly.

Why won’t you accept late work?

I need to spend my energy preparing for class and helping you to succeed. Deducing the truth or falsehood of an excuse is not an appropriate role for an instructor and disrupts my teaching schedule.

The no-late-work policy emphatically includes blog posts and comments; not only is it unacceptable to submit your blog post or comments during class, it’s also disrespectful to your classmates and to me.

Why aren’t you letting us pick our own research topics?

It’s true, in previous years, teams have selected their own topics. This was great in a lot of ways, but I’ve changed the assignment a lot this year. Most significantly, you’re working intensively with a humanities dataset. It’s not easy to find these datasets, and once you do find them, it’s not easy to get them into the right shape for manipulating. Since we only have 10 weeks, and I want you to be able to do meaningful research, I’ve pre-selected the topics for you.

That said, I think it’s also just really valuable to know that anything can be interesting if you research it carefully and immerse yourself in it. You are UCLA students. You can learn about anything.

Why aren’t you letting us form our own groups?

Again, it’s true, in the past, I’ve allowed students to form their own groups. And I do want you to enjoy working with your fellow group members. But it’s even more important to me that everyone in the group develops his or her skills. We’ve observed that when group members have marked differences in technical skills, then more technically adept team members will naturally take on more technical responsibility. It’s just faster and more efficient that way. But we want all team members to push each other to learn more. So we’re attempting to form groups of similar skill levels. Don’t worry about comparing yourself to your classmates. Everybody starts somewhere, and everybody’s here to learn!