Absence for Religious Observances
Students unable to attend classes or participate in any exam, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of their religious beliefs are excused from such activities. These students are to be given the opportunity to make up the work missed, provided that this does not create an unreasonable burden on MIT. In addition, no adverse or prejudicial effects will result because students have made use of these provisions, see Policies & Procedures Section 9.12.2 Student Absence for Religious Observances.
Because instructors' attitudes toward collaboration vary widely, students are often confused about expectations regarding permissible academic conduct. Different cultural values and priorities regarding academic honesty increase the need for clearly stated expectations. Failure to clarify expectations often contributes to cases of academic dishonesty brought before the Committee on Discipline.
Early in the term, faculty members should clarify in writing expectations regarding permissible academic conduct. While some expectations are obvious, gray areas exist where standards vary across subjects and departments. MIT Academic Integrity provides guidance for ensuring responsible academic behavior.
For some students, a particularly troublesome area is the question of working together on problem sets and other homework assignments. The use of old solution sets or lab reports presents a similar problem. Because homework assignments have two roles — helping students learn the material and helping instructors evaluate academic performance — it is not always obvious how much assistance from old materials, if any, the instructor finds acceptable. Course syllabi should explain precisely the faculty member's expectations about the nature and extent of any collaboration or assistance from old materials they permit or encourage. If assistance from old materials is permitted, the instructor should be certain that the materials are available to all students equally.
If a faculty member believes that a student has violated expected standards of academic honesty, s/he has several available courses of action. For more detailed guidelines, see Section 10.0 of Policies & Procedures, on academic and research misconduct and dishonesty.
Faculty should report actionable cases of academic dishonesty to the Office of Student Conduct at x8-8423. Within each department, a senior member of the Faculty, such as the department head, should be available to provide guidance to faculty members and students in cases of academic dishonesty. In addition, assistant and associate deans in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, the Division of Student Life, and the Office of Graduate Education as well as the Ombuds Office, are available for consultation with students, faculty, and department heads.
Copyright Permissions for Course Readers
In accordance with Federal copyright laws, MIT requires individual faculty to obtain all required copyright permissions for material contained in their course readers (Policies & Procedures, Section 13.0). To encourage compliance with these regulations, MIT Copytech has established a Copyright Service to assist faculty and staff in obtaining proper copyright permissions. When given six to eight weeks lead time, the Service will forward copyright request forms to publishers, track responses, and process royalty fees.
Disabilities Services Offices for Students
As required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, faculty share in the Institute's responsibility to make a reasonable effort in providing effective alternative means for qualified students with disabilities to fulfill course requirements. Specifically, faculty are responsible for working with the student and Disabilities Services staff to identify and provide reasonable accommodation for academic access and assessment. As members of the Institute community, faculty must maintain confidentiality on a need-to-know basis with regard to disclosure of information related to students with disabilities. For more information, please contact Kathleen Monagle, Assistant Dean, Student Disability Services (x3-1674, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Guidelines for letter grades are defined in Section 2.60 of Rules and Regulations of the Faculty.
The factors which determine the awarding of grades in any particular subject will necessarily be affected by the scope and level of that subject. In relatively elementary subjects, the mastery of particular skills will often be of primary importance, whereas in more advanced subjects, more complex considerations may enter into the evaluation.
However, the grade for each student shall be determined independently of other students in the class, and shall be related to the student’s mastery of the material based on the grade descriptions below. This means that, for example, a student whose work merits a grade of A will receive an A, regardless of the grade assigned to any other student in the class. Grades may not be awarded according to a predetermined distribution of letter grades. For example, grades in a subject may not be allocated according to set proportions of A, B, C, D, etc.
The Faculty wishes to make it clear that in determining a student's grade, consideration will be given for elegance of presentation, creativity, imagination, and originality, where these may appropriately be called for.
Modifiers of + and - are allowed on the grades of A, B, and C. These modifiers are only for internal grade reports. Term and cumulative averages (internal and external) shall be calculated without modifiers.
The grade of I indicates that a minor part of the subject requirements have not been fulfilled and that a passing grade is to be expected when the work is completed. When a grade of I is reported, the instructor must also provide additional information including the anticipated completion date, grade to date, and what the default final grade would be if no other work were to be done in the subject. By the last day of the regular term during which the work was to have been completed, instructors must submit final grades based on the work completed. If no final grade is submitted, the default final grade indicated when the I was initially assigned will be entered on the student’s record as the final grade. No grade of incomplete may be assigned to any undergraduate in the semester in which he or she graduates and all grades of Incomplete must be resolved prior to graduation.
Online Subject Listings
The class schedule is available online and can be searched by topic, requirement, or class time.
Prerequisites are used to indicate the sequence in which subjects are to be taken and the base of knowledge on which a particular subject will build. Before taking a subject, a student should complete any prerequisite(s) listed in the catalogue description for that subject. (Co-requisites, which are listed in the catalogue in italics, are to be taken concurrently.)
Once prerequisites and co-requisites are included in a subject listing, it is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that the subject is taught at that level. At the first class, instructors should reiterate the prerequisites and co-requisites, and describe acceptable substitutions.
Students who do not have the stated prerequisites should obtain the permission of the instructor. Instructors may request that the Registrar's Office identify students without prerequisites, and in some cases, screen them from the subjects. If the instructor allows a student to waive or make a substitution for a prerequisite, it is then the student's responsibility to master any missing background material in a timely fashion so that the content of the subject does not change for other students in the subject.
The instructor may determine that a student does not have the required preparation and knowledge to take a subject and may, with the help of the Registrar's Office, exclude the student from the subject.
Some departments require students with a D-level performance in certain prerequisite subjects within the departmental program to do additional work or to retake the prerequisite before proceeding with the follow-on subject.
Privacy and Student Information
MIT’s policy on the Privacy of Student Records sets out the responsibilities of all MIT community members relating to the release of and access to student records under FERPA. Faculty members should be mindful that students’ privacy can be violated inadvertently and give careful thought to how information regarding grades and performance is conveyed and secured. Full information about the policy is available here.