universityguidelinesMinimum Grades

To retain the clear academic standing you’ll need for continuing your degree studies and for graduation, you must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA), which is the average of the grades you attain for individual courses.

Generally, the university’s minimum GPA is 1.67, which roughly translates to a minimum average grade of no lower than C. The School of Journalism maintains additional requirements for students in the four-year program, including a minimum grade of C in first-year reporting courses and successful completion of a grammar test.

Full details of the rules are in the university’s Calendar. While the rules in the current version of the Calendar apply to students entering in the current year, every student graduates according to the rules that pertain to the Calendar of the year in which s/he was admitted to the program.

Email Policy

All students in full-time degree programs are required to activate and maintain a Ryerson University central Matrix email account, which shall be the official means by which they will communicate with the university. Procedures for student activation and use, as well as the Ryerson Student Computing guidelines, are available on the Ryerson University website, found here.

You must regularly monitor your email account.  Every account has a quota that controls how much mail can be stored. If you allow email to build up beyond that, the mail system will start rejecting new email. To avoid this, check your account regularly and delete any mail you no longer need. Mail you want to keep but that does not have to reside on the mail system should be moved to your computer.

Key Dates

Several dates through the year comprise important deadlines affecting timetable choices, payment and refund of fees, and more. See the Calendar for a list of these dates.

Governance and Appeals

When a student or an instructor feels the rules have been broken, there are a number of steps available to resolve the problem. Some deal with curriculum and teaching issues, while others are best described as academic problems due to external pressures.  If you have issues or difficulties, please begin by reviewing the School of Journalism’s bylaws.

Course Management

There are basic rules which apply to every course offered at Ryerson. These are generally covered by the University’s Course Management Policy. Every student should be familiar with the policy, which gives minimum requirements for the content of course outlines and what they must contain, the provision of timely and constructive feedback, and the nature of grading and evaluation.

Course Outlines

Students will be provided with a course outline by or at the first meeting of every course; the information in this outline should be discussed at the first class. Outlines may be supplemented by more detailed information during a course. Outlines must include:

  • Name and number of course; semester and year, prerequisites, and exclusions, if any.
  • Faculty member’s name; office location and scheduled office hours; office telephone number; email address; faculty/course website(s) if available. (If any of these factors is unknown when the outline is prepared, the information will be provided in writing at the beginning of the course. Student consultation hours may be posted or disseminated by other means.)
  • Method of posting grades and, if necessary a statement of the process by which an individual student may request that his/her grades not be posted.
  • Any instructions or limitations on student use of email for faculty contact.
  • Calendar course description and a synopsis that informs students of the course’s academic focus and scope; course objectives and/or intended outcomes; and topics with their tentative sequence and schedule.
  • Texts and reading lists
  • A description of the teaching method(s) that will be used
  • A schedule of any field trips or required activities outside of class time.
  • In addition to any general statement required by department/school policy, each outline must include a statement on specific academic issues related to the course. These may include, but are not limited to any requirement for the submission of work to an electronic plagiarism-detection service (Turnitin). When an instructor has reason to suspect that an individual piece of work has been plagiarized, the instructor shall be permitted to submit that work to any plagiarism-detection service.
  • Specific details on any Information Technology requirements for courses using IT in course work, assignments or exams.
  • Specific requirements for field placements, if appropriate.
  • Information must be given on related department/school policies; where relevant information is available through handbooks and/or websites, course outlines will provide direction to these.
  • Students should be reminded that they are required to adhere to all relevant University policies, such as the Student Code of Academic Conduct.
  • For courses involving research with human subjects/participants, the guidelines of the Research Ethics Board concerning Undergraduate Students as Researchers must be clearly referenced.
  • A list and tentative schedule of all assignments, tests, exams and other work to be graded, and general descriptions of these. (More specific information on each assessment will be provided by the course instructor as early in the course as possible.)
  • The weighting of each assignment, test, and/or other unit of evaluation; snap tests or other unscheduled evaluations should be part of the grading scheme, if applicable.
  • An indication of approximately when the first test results/term work will be returned to students.

Assessment and Feedback

Constructive feedback refers to any type of instructor response that serves to inform, guide, encourage, and/or instruct the student in respect to relevant course work or related aspects of her/his learning endeavour. Students should also be able to assess their progress as early as possible. With the exception of some final year project/thesis courses, it is expected that there will be at least two, and often three, components per semester to the evaluation scheme. Ideally these should be of two (or more) different types. All student term work should be graded and returned with reasonable promptness.

In the case of tests for which the faculty member will retain the question paper, students should receive feedback on the content of the test, not just a numerical grade. Where an assignment or test requires students to build directly on the proficiencies developed through an earlier assignment/test, they should have the benefit of feedback on the earlier work before the subsequent due date. At least some graded work will be returned to the student prior to the final deadline for dropping courses without academic penalty and course outlines will provide an indication of approximately when the first graded project(s) will be returned. In cases where a course does not lend itself to early feedback, this should be clearly noted on the outline.

Final exams are not returned, but are retained for six months. Grades on assignments, tests and exams may be posted by numerically sorted student identification number after at least the first two digits have been removed. Instructors must inform students of the method to be used in the posting of grades; students who don’t want their grades posted must inform the instructor in writing. For more information on examinations, see the university’s Examination Policy.

Students will receive their final course grades only from the Registrar. Final course grades may not be posted or disclosed anywhere by an instructor.

During the semester, it is sometimes necessary or desirable for a faculty member to revise the plan of student evaluation contained in the course outline. When this is the case, the faculty member will discuss the changes with the class; make such revisions as early as possible and confirm the changes both orally and in writing (i.e., handout or posting to course website). When a change involves only the extension of a deadline, a minimum of one week’s notice is normally required. In the case of other changes, students will be given as much notice as possible, normally at least three weeks, in order to adjust their course work plans. Once students have begun work on a particular component, changes will be made to that component only under extraordinary circumstances.

Should a student miss an assignment or mid-term test for a valid and verifiable reason, the weight of that assignment or mid-term test cannot be placed on the final exam, or any other single assessment, if this causes either to be worth more than 70 per cent of the student’s grade. In the case of emergencies such as faculty illness, the chair/director of the teaching department (or a designated course co-ordinator) is responsible for restructuring the evaluation scheme, if required. Normal periods of notification may be waived in such circumstances.

In the Fall and Winter semesters, the last week of classes and the subsequent Saturday and Sunday before the examination period are to be free of all tests and examinations. Take-home examinations may be handed out during the last week of class, but cannot be due until the end of the first week of examinations.

Group Work

The amount of group work to be allowed in a course and procedures to ensure that students are afforded sufficient individual assessment should be established. Fair, appropriate and timely procedures must be developed for students who encounter difficulty with their working group.

It is recommended that group work for which a student does not receive an individual assessment not constitute more than 30 per cent of a course grade. Some journalism courses, particularly in broadcast, require a great deal of work in teams. This may raise the amount of group work being evaluated for your final grade to a higher level than is usual in other courses. For the final-semester course in television, it may approach 100 per cent.

Course Variation

Course descriptions and overall objectives must be consistent and there should be comparable assignment structures and grading schemes in all sections of the same course. All sections of courses offered by the School of Journalism will have course outlines, marking structures and evaluation techniques as identical as possible.

Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

The School of Journalism supports the use of the Student Learning Support Centre, where students can get advice and co-ordinate any necessary services and adaptations – both in academic areas and in the physical environment. The Centre staff work in co-operation with departments at Ryerson to ensure that students with disabilities receive the services they need, such as:

  • parallel tests and exams
  • audio taped books
  • testing for learning disabilities
  • appropriate equipment and software
  • TFF/TTY
  • personal attendants
  • note taking
  • taped lectures
  • sign language interpreting
  • use of equipped exam/study rooms
  • educational assistants

Students in need of assistance are invited to check out the Student Learning Support Centre’s website or visit them on the 4th floor, Student Learning Centre
Phone: 416-979-5290
Fax: 416-979-5094
aasadmin@ryerson.ca

Teaching Issues

If you believe that an instructor is teaching a course inappropriately or is in some manner not fulfilling his or her obligations (particularly those covered in the Course Management Policy), you should first ascertain whether any of your fellow students share your concern; ideally, several of you should approach the instructor privately.

If you seem to be alone, it is still preferable to attempt to discuss the matter with the instructor. Providing specific suggestions (“It would be helpful if you would present some samples of stories that are working”) is generally more productive than saying something such as, “I don’t like the way you teach.”

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your talk, you should next take your concerns to the undergraduate program director and/or the chair of the school. In the event that you are still unsatisfied, you should approach an academic council representative to bring your complaint to the next council meeting.

Plagiarism:

Plagiarism occurs when one offers someone else’s work as one’s own. Students may not submit as their own work anything that includes, without acknowledgement:
– material copied from any other source;
– any previous work of their own;
– any work that was written or edited by anyone else, or for which the student has received outside assistance (excluding help that is provided by the university, e.g. through instruction, seminars, or the Writing Centre).

Students should also routinely distinguish between their own original research and reporting on research done by others; this should be done through a form of attribution that is appropriate to the medium for which the work is intended. Ryerson’s Student Code of Academic Conduct contains a strict statement of policy on plagiarism, and this policy applies within the School of Journalism. But because plagiarism in journalism is especially serious, the penalties for plagiarism within the School of Journalism may be harsher than elsewhere.
As set out in the Ryerson code, penalties for plagiarism are levied by the instructor after a determination of academic misconduct has been made. The minimum penalty is a mark of zero on the assignment and a disciplinary notice on the student’s record, which remains in force for at least two years.

Advice and Help

While there is never an excuse for cheating, students who do so often report that they felt overwhelmed by deadlines, multiple assignments or other pressures. They then find out, too late, that they have made their problems far worse by cheating. The faculty strongly advises students who are feeling challenged in this way to consult with their instructors, mentors or counsellors, rather than yielding to a temptation to take a step that will have dire consequences for their academic and later careers.

Student Guide to Avoiding Academic Misconduct

The following document outlines how to avoid the pitfalls of Academic Misconduct.  You may download it here.

Student Guide to Avoiding Academic Appeals

The following document outlines the process, procedures, and restrictions surrounding Academic Appeals.  You may download it here.

Medical Documentation

Students should make sure they are familiar with the university’s forms and policies when seeking accommodation due to medical problems. When submitting a Medical Certificate you must also submit an Academic Consideration Document Submission Form.

Religious Observance

The School of Journalism is proud of its religiously diverse student body. Students who having consulted a course outline are concerned about a conflict due to religious observances should meet with their instructor, and be aware of the university’s forms and policies.