My Course Policies

Best Ways to Reach Me

  • Slack DM (preferred): @srossmktg
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  • Phone: x45305 or Google Voice: 413-274-4227

Table of Contents

My Style

Yes, this is college, yes, this is business school, but I try to approach my classes in being both transparent and flexible. I try to ensure my assignments are tied to course goals, as to not waste your time. I try to give insight as to why assignments are created the way they are so you’ll be able to complete them accordingly. I try to recognize the demands of all your courses converging at once– often alongside family and work commitments. I try to build rapport with students so you recognize we professors are also human beings. In return, I hope you’ll extend the same courtesies to me so I can ensure the course is valuable for everyone.

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I am looking to make this course accessible to all. To do so, I welcome individual conversations on how to I can either improve personal accessibility and we can plan how best to make accommodations, or improve accessibility for all and I can work to make the course more universally accessible.

Aside from that, if you determine you need formal, accessibility-related accommodations, you may register with Disability Services (located at University Crossing, Suite 300, 978-934-6800, or email and have them notify me of your eligibility for accommodations.

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Mental Health

College life is not necessarily easy. As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning. These might include strained relationships, anxiety, high levels of stress, alcohol/drug problems, family issues, feeling down, or loss of motivation.

Certainly, COVID and its personal effects have added to the complexity of mental health issues. The Wellness Center is here to help with these or other issues you may experience. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do– for yourself and for those who care about you. The Wellness Center is located on the third floor of University Crossing. To make an appointment with Counseling Services, call 978-934-6800 (choose option #1 outside business hours). An on-call crisis clinician is available 24/7 by calling 855-890-2879. Additional resources can be found on the UML Hotlines page, as well as through the UMatter2 page.

While I am a professor, I don’t believe human-to-human empathy should be a radical concept and welcome an open line of communication to how things are going. As one of the Manning School of Business Faculty Mental Health Advocates, I’m not a mental health professional, but I’ll be candid about my own mental health experiences as encouragement.

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Academic Honesty, Cheating, and Plagiarism

Even in business, ALL work that’s paraphrased or taken verbatim from an outside source must be attributed to that source. Not doing so can lead to career– and sometimes, legal– troubles (e.g., former German Education Minister Annette Schavan’s case, journalists Jonah LehrerJayson Blair, and Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism allegations, and even Call of Duty skins being ripped off).

Here’s the general rule of thumb I recommend: If it’s a direct quote and/or a reasonable person would not be expected to know the fact/argument/evidence, you must provide credit to the source. You may still use the information, but it needs to be credited.

Meme says: To whoever keeps answering tests correctly and putting them on quizlet, you da real hero.... NOPE

I take academic dishonesty personally. Any instance of academic dishonesty will receive an “F” for the course and be reported to the Office of the Provost for further disciplinary action. Academic dishonesty comes in many forms including, but not limited to, copying another student’s exam or homework assignments, plagiarism, and using Internet material without proper referencing. If you’re still unsure how to appropriately credit/cite a source, please use the phenomenal Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) as a resource or ASK me.

All non-group assignments and testing are to be the work only of that individual without help or guidance from any other person, unless instructed otherwise. If you’re not clear as to what constitutes academic dishonesty, please clarify with me or read more about the university’s Academic Integrity Policy.

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My Tentative Academic Integrity Policy for a Responsible Use of AI-based tools (such as ChatGPT):

The beta release of Dall-E-Mini in July 2022 and ChatGPT in November 2022 are among many tools using artificial intelligence. There is a good possibility that using tools like these are going to become an important skill for careers in the not distant future. In the meantime though, it’s going to take a while for society to figure out when using these tools is/isn’t acceptable. There are three reasons why:

  • Work created by AI tools may not be considered original work and instead, considered automated plagiarism. It is derived from previously created materials from other sources that the models were trained on, yet doesn’t accurately cite its own sources.
  • AI models have built-in biases (ie, they are trained on limited underlying sources; they reproduce, rather than challenge, biases, offenses, and factual errors in their underlying sources).
  • AI tools have limitations (ie, they lack critical thinking to evaluate and reflect on criteria; they lack abductive reasoning to make judgments with incomplete information at hand), functioning more like a “word calculator” than a substantive creator.

Given these (important) ethical caveats, some scholars in computational sciences debate if the hype over AI-based tools— especially as “automated plagiarism” tools– should be heeded at all. For the time being, I’m tentatively, pragmatically augmenting my academic integrity policy with a policy regarding a responsible use of AI-based tools in my class. This policy was developed from a response by ChatGPT-3 (2023) and edited on critical reflection by me:

Academic integrity is a core principle at UMass Lowell and it’s vital that all students uphold this principle– whether using AI-based tools or otherwise. For my class, a responsible use of AI-based tools in completing coursework or assessments must be done in accordance with the following:

  1. You must clearly identify the use of AI-based tools in your work. Any work that utilizes AI-based tools must be clearly marked as such, including the specific tool(s) used. For example, if you use ChatGPT-3, you must cite “ChatGPT-3. (YYYY, Month DD of query). “Text of your query.” Generated using OpenAI.”
  2. You must be transparent in how you used the AI-based tool, including what work is your original contribution. An AI detector such as GPTZero may be used to detect AI-driven work and assign (human) originality scores.
  3. You must ensure your use of AI-based tools does not violate any copyright or intellectual property laws.
  4. You must not use AI-based tools to cheat on assessments.
  5. You must not use AI-based tools to plagiarize source material without citation.

Violations of this policy will be dealt with in accordance with UMass Lowell’s academic integrity policy. If you are found in violation of this policy, you may face penalties such as a reduction in grade, failure of the assignment or assessment, or even failure of the course. Finally, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the academic integrity policy and take the necessary steps to ensure that your use of AI-based tools is in compliance with this policy. If you have questions, please speak with me first, as we navigate together how best to responsibly use these tools.

ChatGPT-3. (2023, January 10). “Write a syllabus policy about the academic integrity of students using ai-based tools.” Generated using OpenAI.

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Meme of Marshawn Lynch at press conference says: I'm just here so I don't lose points.

Courses work best when everyone’s around and we’re all engaged with the material. However, sometimes people get sick, emergencies occur, you’re having a terrible day, there’s a university event, or you’re having to take care of a family member (I have two school-aged kids whose school schedule can be unpredictable) etc… no questions asked.

I always welcome the courtesy of a heads-up, but I don’t take formal attendance other than to learn names/faces. Your presence can significantly affect your overall course engagement grade though, so if you need to miss a lecture or two (or three), engaging on Slack in your absence is an option (especially since lectures will be posted to Slack for you to engage with).

I learn all my students’ names/faces and take note of who’s around and who’s not. In the case where I note repeated, excessive absences, I reserve the right to adjust the engagement grade beyond what is outlined in the course requirements. If you cannot attend class for an extended period, or if you experience life-altering circumstances and cannot attend class, you may wish to seek advice from the Advising Center about withdrawing from the course.

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Toy Story meme where Buzz Lightyear says to Woody: Assignments Assignments Everywhere

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on their due date. I don’t accept assignments by e-mail unless specified. Failure to meet due dates result in an automatic zero for the assignment. If, for valid reasons, dates cannot be met, please let me know in advance (not after the fact!).

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In-Class Tech Etiquette

Your ecard meme: Teachers know when you're texting in class, kids. Seriously, nobody just looks at their crotch and smiles.


We all use our devices. But critical and analytical thinking take a hit once screens are out. Some colleagues of mine published research in 2017, finding that the mere presence of your smartphone on a table cuts down cognitive resources and attention (for even more, I recommend “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, Jul/Aug 2008, The Atlantic). Research also finds evidence college students taking notes by hand outperform and remember more material than students taking notes on laptop. And then there’s the distraction it causes to the rest of the class that’s paying attention to whatever’s on your screen. If I find devices are being used for other purposes such as WhatsApping, Tweeting, checking scores, TikTokking, Among Ussing, Snapchatting, etc., I reserve the right to switch to a NO DEVICE policy (with exception).

Additionally, I’m requesting no earbuds/earphones during class. I can sympathize with using devices, but willfully plugging your ears with music (or phone calls?) is a major signifier of disinterest and is discourteous if you’re expecting mutual respect from me.

No earbuds image

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Zoom Etiquette

If you’re livestreaming via Zoom, etc, I’m strongly requesting (but not requiring) the courtesy of turning your webcam on so I can see you. I am totally okay with you showing up in pajamas from home. I am totally okay with an appropriate, mutually respectful virtual background camouflaging your room/house, etc. The same mutual respect afforded in the classroom should also be afforded out of the classroom. Things feel a lot less “close” when I’m talking to black squares on the screen.

As far as audio goes, please mute your mic if you’re not speaking . If you don’t want to verbally interrupt, use the reactions on Zoom (or a note on Slack) and I’ll call on you that way once I see it (which could be delayed).

Zoom of Twitter posts. Person 1 says "Zoom teaching is making me appreciate the aggressive nodders in my classes. When everyone's on mute it's so weird not to get verbal feedback." There's an Elmo gif. A person responds to the OP "I've always been grateful for the nodders. But now, in the Age of Zoom, I'm extra, super, and almost desperately grateful for the nodders."

Any Zoom lectures may be recorded for asynchronous viewing. If you do not wish to be recorded, you may view the lecture at a later time.

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  1. Slack DM is the best way to reach me for personal issues. The course Slack channel is best for issues that may be class-relevant. If a reply is appropriate, I will try to respond within 48 hours.
  2. I’m more than willing to answer questions, however out of respect for my family, I may not respond past 9pm.
  3. Check Slack frequently (or just turn on Slack notifications on your phone) for communications/materials. Though business users tend to be on Slack all day, I try to use it in moderation.
  4. If you find you’re falling behind the class at any time, please please PLEASE speak with me. I understand complex, personal situations arise in our lives and will work to help achieve learning outcomes. But, if I’m unaware of difficulties, or if I don’t hear that you’re struggling with the course, I assume you understand the material and assignments and will evaluate you accordingly based on the work I receive. It’s better for all of us to preempt a potential problem by communicating with me earlier, rather be left panicking after the fact.
  5. Due to student privacy issues, I will not discuss any topic that pertains to a student (enrolled or non-enrolled) with parents, spouses, children partners, legal guardians, or employers. I will not accept grade disputes from parents, legal guardians, spouses, children, partners, etc., or third-parties. Please do not have any of the aforementioned people contact me to discuss student issues. You are responsible for you.
  6. Although technology has become an integral part of our lives, with it comes complications. Barring an entire system outage, last minute computer malfunctions, printer problems, and email mishaps are no excuses for late material. Please be prepared and protect yourself by managing your time and constantly backing up your work in multiple places (such as Google DriveDropbox, etc.).
  7. Additionally, the university has 1TB of cloud storage through Microsoft OneDrive. Make sure autosave is turned on.
    • Protip 1: default the autosave directory to your cloud storage, as they usually allow you to recover deleted files, too.
    • Protip 2: write in a word processor or use a form recovery extension like Typio (Chrome and the latest version of Microsoft Edge) or Form History Control (Firefox), in case you accidentally close your browser while working. Should you have a problem, please notify me immediately and without hesitation.

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