Guidelines/Ground Rules

Guidelines for Assignments

With the exception of the group presentations/media screenings, all assignments for this course must be submitted electronically using the BlackBoard system. A single file or document must be uploaded by Friday 11:59pm the week the assignment is due. PDF format is preferred, although Word documents are also acceptable. No matter the format, the document you upload must be named according to the following structure:
(e.g. Grimes_INF1001_Assignment1.pdf)

All assignments should be written as clearly and cleanly as possible (i.e. watch the typos, grammar, hanging sentences, etc.), in a formal but accessible academic language. The “look and feel” should be professional. Here are some formatting suggestions:
      Typed, single or 1.5 space, 11 or 12 point font, one-inch margins, page numbers in the upper or lower right hand corner.
      Align paragraphs in a standard way and avoid superfluous indentation.
      No cover page required, but be sure to include your full name, the course code & your student number on page 1.
      Total word count should be indicated at the end of the essay.
      Use of footnotes/endnotes is permitted, but these should be used sparingly.

NOTE: Assignments that do not meet a minimum standard (in terms of legibility, formatting and proofreading) will be returned for re-submission, with late penalties in full effect.

The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is the most commonly used in academic writing in the social sciences. I recommend that you use APA for this course, as it's good to get used to the style that you will likely be using over the course of your graduate career (and beyond). That said, if you think you have a valid professional reason for using another style, you are invited to talk to the instructor at least two weeks before the assignment is due and request that an exception be made. Permission to use referencing styles other than APA will be granted on a case by case basis, but only to students who make arrangements in advance.

The key here is that quotes and sources must be properly and consistently cited, using:
(a) in-text citation (including author name(s), year and page number); and
(b) a full list of references or bibliography at the end of your paper.

This is a necessary component of academic writing, as well as a good safeguard against inadvertent forms of plagiarism.

Students can always use original images in their assignment. They can also include copyrighted images as long as they follow the Canadian Copyright Act’s current exceptions for fair dealing, in that the images must only be used for the purposes of criticism or review, and each image must be accompanied by:
(a) the source; and
(b) the name of the author(s) (if given in the source)

Acceptable Secondary Sources
As graduate students, you will be expected to use a majority of academic (i.e. peer reviewed) sources when writing your term paper. Students are very much allowed, but not at all limited, to use course readings and other sources referenced in lectures in their own papers. Additional sources and relevant journals that are recommended by the instructor are also acceptable. However, students are strongly encouraged to track down those resources that are best suited to their specific area of interest or inquiry, rather than rely too heavily on those provided in class.

Media texts (books, comics, television episodes, films, videogames, websites, etc.) can be used and referenced as needed, but should always be treated as artifacts of study and analyzed accordingly. Here's a good position to adopt:

"The materials of popular culture may become raw materials for our creative expression, vehicles for exploring aspects of our own personalities, and shared points of reference to facilitate social interaction. Anthropologists and historians look at artifacts as materials that encapsulate the values and practices of another culture. We can look at the contents of mass media as artifacts that help us to better understand our own culture. In both cases, though, deciphering an artifact’s meanings is a complex process, because the same artifact may serve multiple purposes, operate in multiple contexts, and become invested with multiple meanings." Reproduced from Henry Jenkins’ (2000) Children’s Culture Study Guide (URL:

For cutting edge information, news, announcements, etc., popular press articles are of course acceptable. But these should be used to supplement or update rather than replace peer reviewed sources, and should never be used to explain a theoretical concept. They should also come from credible, verifiable sources, who have the credentials (whatever these may be) to back up their claims. Online sources are fine, as long as you can determine who wrote the content and for what purpose, and are prepared to defend the author's credibility and expertise if questioned. My definition of “expertise” is flexible. For example, if you're looking for parents’ reactions to the Harry Potter phenomenon, an online forum where fathers, mothers and other caregivers discuss the Harry Potter books and films is an excellent source of "expertise."

Late Papers
Unless a formal extension has been negotiated with the instructor in advance of the due date, late assignments (defined here as an assignment submitted after the deadline) will be penalized by one full letter grade per week (e.g. from A to A-), for a maximum of two weeks. After that point, late assignments will no longer be accepted. Furthermore, late papers will not receive detailed feedback or comments.

Extensions on assignments within the term must be negotiated in advance, and may require supporting documentation (e.g. doctor’s note). Students must email requests for extensions to the instructor at least 24 hours prior to the due date. Exceptions will only be made in extenuating circumstances. Extensions beyond the end of the term in which a course is taken are subject to the guidelines established by the School of Graduate Studies (Which can be found here:


Grading for this course will follow the iSchool’s official Guidelines to Grade Interpretation of letter grades, as well as the University’s policy on Graduate Grading and Evaluation Practices. These sources define grades in the A range as “excellent” and grades in the B range as “good.” Please refer to the guidelines for detailed descriptions of these categories. Assignments will normally be graded and returned within 2-3 weeks of submission.

Ground Rules

1) Each student in this course is responsible for keeping up with the course materials, which includes (all) the required readings, as well as topics, debates and concepts discussed in class. 2) Students are expected to attend lectures and to take their own lecture notes. 3) You are expected to participate in class discussions, and are encouraged to use your laptops/mobile devices during class to look up relevant information that will contribute to the discussion in a meaningful way. 4) At all times, however, remember to be respectful of the instructor and of your classmates – turn your phone function off, turn off the sound on your computer, and be sure not to browse any websites that may be offensive or illegal, or that might be deemed irrelevant to the task of taking this course. 5) Students should arrive on time and are expected to stay for the duration. 6) If you miss a class, you are entirely responsible for obtaining any information or materials given in class, either from your classmates or online. 7) Unauthorized recordings of the lectures are not permitted. 

Students with a Disability or Health Consideration

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability or health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach the instructor and/or the Accessibility Services Office ( as soon as possible. The Accessibility Services staff is available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner arrangements are made - the quicker we can assist you.

Writing Support

The SGS Office of English Language and Writing Support provides free writing support to graduate students. Services are designed for both native and non-native speakers of English, and include non-credit courses, single-session workshops, individual writing consultations, and online resources. Students are encouraged to use these services as needed.

Academic Integrity

The iSchool has a strict zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism, as defined in section B.I.1. (d) of the University’s Code of Behavior on Academic Matters. Before you embark on any of these writing assignments, please make sure that you:
-       Consult the University’s site on Academic Integrity:
-       Acquaint yourself with the Code and Appendix “A” Section 2;
-       Review the material you covered in Cite it Right;

-       Consult the site How Not to Plagiarize: