Contacting the Instructor


• Some students — especially recent high-school graduates! — seem to be afraid of their instructors, seem to consider them as "the enemy." And, frankly, some instructors — although hopefully none you'll ever encounter here at NOVA! — seem to act pretty unapproachable and scary. I'm not one of those. I do this work because I truly enjoy meeting and dealing with students — and, not only that, I consider being available to you outside of classroom time to be part of my job. Please don't hesitate to contact me when you feel that you need to or want to.

• If for any reason you miss a class session, the "Attendance Policy" section of the syllabus requires you to inform me of the reason for your absence by 9 PM on the day of the absence. (Please understand that I will neither teach you nor summarize the work you missed, although you'll be responsible for all notes given and homework collected and assigned during your absence. In addition to contacting me, you may also need to contact a classmate who takes excellent notes as soon after the class session as possible. Some of the notes and assignments may be available on this website, but that material is intended to supplement the classroom time, not substitute for it. In case of a conflict between class info and website info, the class info will always take precedence, so "but that's not what it says on the website" isn't a legitimate excuse.)

• Even when you're not required to contact me, there may be times when you'll want to. If you have questions about material which was discussed in class while you were there, if you're not sure how to complete a homework assignment successfully, if you want to discuss a specific grade you received or your overall standing in the course — these are all great reasons to be in touch. Especially if you have any problem with the course or with me, please try talking with me before you withdraw or complain to anyone else. I've found that most student problems can be resolved in a simple conversation — but only if we actually have the conversation!


• FACE-TO-FACE: My office is in HEC 204A. I have regularly scheduled office hours, and I'm very good about keeping them. (If I'm not there during my scheduled hours, I probably just stepped out to run a quick errand, and I'll be right back.) If my scheduled hours are inconvenient for you, I can often be available other days and times by appointment. In addition, I will usually be in our classroom early and I won't usually be in a hurry to leave when class is over. You're welcome to talk with me before or after class. If we meet only once a week, we'll take a break during every class session, and that break time is for you, not for me, so you can feel free to talk with me then, too.

• TELEPHONE: During my office hours, I can be reached by phone at (703) 948-2793. If I'm talking face-to-face with a student when you call, I'll pick up and ask you to call back. If I don't pick up during my office hours, I probably stepped out to run an errand either call back in a couple of minutes or leave a message. If you want to call outside of my office hours, that's fine again, leave a message, and I'll get it the next time I'm in.

• EMAIL: You may email me at 24/7, no restrictions, but you must use your NOVA email account. Use "CST [Course Number] Student" as your subject line (i.e., "CST 110 Student," "CST 126 Student," and so on). No matter which course you're enrolled in, please sign your message with your preferred name, and address me by my preferred name, which is Josh. If you email me from your personal mail account, NOVA policy requires that I neither read nor respond to your message. If you use an incorrect subject line, forget to sign your message, or address me by any name other than the name of my preference, I probably won't respond. I check my email regularly, so if you follow the instructions you should receive a response (if you ask for one) within 24 hours (and usually much sooner than that!).

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