PMU199S

Getting help

Contents:-

In distress?

If you are currently feeling distressed, please go here:-

General advice

If you find yourself struggling to complete work assigned by the due date, please talk to me in office hours or privately. I am here to help, (a) because it is my duty and (b) because I actually like helping students. Lest anyone think that all physics professors are scary dragons: I am not; you can breathe easy! In person I work hard to be accessible to my students. Also, I know from hard experience how tough it can be to overcome adversity at university. The sooner you communicate with me when you are in difficulty, the better the job I can do of assisting you. I have moved minor mountains to accommodate exigent personal circumstances of several students during the past seven academic years while teaching this course, so your likelihood of getting a fair hearing is very good. If something bad suddenly happens to you, such as an illness, injury, bereavement or other majorly negative life event, then please reach out and seek help. The student Health and Wellness Centre is a good place to start.

Accessibility accommodations

My general policy is to grant requests from Accessibility Services (AS), whenever feasible. I recommend that you show this webpage to AS staff before they send me a letter, to give them an idea of what accommodations are feasible in this particular course. Please submit all AS requests at least one week before the pertinent due dates, to allow logistical planning.

Illness or injury

Standard UofT policy is that students experiencing illness or injury should see a Physician, Surgeon, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Psychologist or Dentist and have them fill out a Verification of Student Illness or Injury (VSII) form. Independently, I recommend taking personal notes for your own records, like you would in a lab book. Careful documentation makes discerning patterns easier, which in turn affords more confidence in requesting help from a college registrar or accommodations from a course instructor.

Note that the VSII form concentrates on only the timeline and severity of the illness/injury. The reason for this is that those are the only two factors that matter for the creation of altered grade weighting (for missed homeworks) and/or appropriate make-up work (for missed exams) to cover the exceptional circumstances. Private medical details are none of the instructor's business, and you should not have to disclose them in order to get accommodated fairly.

Deadlines

Deadlines for achieving certain core competencies via essays, etc. are important because they help provide scaffolding for your learning. This is the primary academic reason why you should plan to respect deadlines for turning in graded work. Procrastination tends to snowball, making delays cascade and go nonlinear. For my part, I make a genuine effort not to be a deadline terrorist, and I encourage taking advantage of my office hours to get tips on any aspect of coursework.

The Instructors' Handbook makes clear that instructors must turn back a certain percentage of the final grade to the whole class by the drop deadline. I adhere to that rule strictly, with time to spare, because it provides important academic transparency for students. The only exception may occur when a student has obtained an incompatible extension on term work.

Extensions

In the spirit of further transparency, here are my rules on extensions.

  1. Graded works are due in class by 2pm on Wednesdays. You may hand them in up to one day late without penalty. After that grace period, the penalty per day is 5%, up to a maximum of six additional days.
  2. Each student gets one Golden Ticket per semester, which permits handing in one essay or presentation draft up to one week late, no questions asked. You must inform me that you are using your Golden Ticket at least one week before the relevant due date.
  3. Re-weighting term work to cover the missing grade is the primary remedy available; the other is to re-weight onto the midterm and/or final exam.
  4. Extensions beyond (a) grace period, (b) Golden Ticket, or (c) AS requests may be granted in exceptional circumstances, at my sole discretion. Documentation like the VSII form helps make a case more convincing, as does requesting an extension before the last minute. Present me with a good case for leniency and I am likely to grant it. In the past, I have moved minor mountains to support students in a jam!

I hope this information helped. Let me know what else I can do to support you in reaching your academic goals.
 
-- Prof. Peet.