Author Archives: Juliet O'Brien


Course syllabus & schedule:
—week-by-week schedule / timetable, including assessed work

Course materials:
—information on the required textbook, with online component, that you will need for this course

Course materials (2): online:
—information on how to access and use your e-book and the online exercises

Revision guides:
—for the chapter tests and final exam, plus extra revision materials on iLrn

folon-birdbookSEE ALSO:

Horizons resources for compositions:
—verb conjugation tables, p. 447-52; the general index on p. 487-90 may also prove useful
—French → English lexicon: p. 453-72
—English → French: p. 473-86

FHIS Learning Centre:
—for help

Resources for French
—useful for compositions: online dictionaries, how to type French accents, iLrn troubleshooting, French & Francophone resources in Vancouver and further afield

Academic advising:
—For all Faculties and Schools

UBC resources




French placement:
—Which French course to take?
—Is FREN 101 the right course for your level and requirements?
—If not, which one would be more appropriate for you?
—What to do if a class/section is full?
Undergraduate French Advising (Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies)
—and their FAQ

● Questions about language & distribution requirements:
Faculty of Arts > Academic Advising > Degree requirements: the language requirement
NB: you may satisfy the language requirement with any of thirty-odd languages taught at UBC (not just French); by taking (a) course(s) up to the requisite level, or by taking a proficiency test; the latter is also an option for languages not offered in UBC courses
—If you are not in the Faculty of Arts (Commerce, Engineering, Music, Science, etc.) and have questions about language and distribution requirements, please consult Academic Advising in your home Faculty or School

THE MAIN “HELP” PAGE: UBC resources & useful links
—Where to find information and support for everything in UBC life:
help with French inc. tutors (not free), FHIS Learning Centre (new! free!! fabulous!!!)
academic advising
access and diversity
being an international student
—UBC policies and procedures, rules and regulations, and the Ombuds office

FREN 101 contact information

COURSE INFORMATION: what, how, when, where, etc.


… and “why”

Syllabus (I) & schedule
—course description, syllabus (required materials, modes of assessment and distribution of marks, work and expectations, advice and assistance, policies), week-by-week schedule

Syllabus (II): THE RULES:
—Aims, objectives, expectations, responsibilities, grading criteria, plagiarism, extensions, tests and exams, and quick links to UBC policies

Course materials:
—information on the required textbook, with online component, that you will need for this course

Class times and locations, & contact information:
—Includes links to the UBC Student Service Centre Course Schedule

Revision guides

LAST UPDATED: 2018-04-23


QUIZZES = you may find it useful to prepare using the the vocabulary pages at the end of each chapter and the ebook’s audio flashcards

TEST 1 = on ch. préliminaire + ch. 1

TEST 2 = ch. 2

TEST 3 = ch. 3

TEST 4 = ch. 4

FINAL EXAMINATION = everything up to the end of ch. 4


folon-yestothoughtGENERAL GUIDANCE

The good news about FREN 101 & 102 exams is that you should not have any revision to do; none of the sorts of “studying” that are needed in some other kinds of course and academic field.

French is a language; and language-learning is more like music or sport than, say, biology or economics. Language-learning is cumulative—with new knowledge building on previous acquisitions—and happens and is reinforced through regular practice. If you have been to class, worked in class, and worked on your online exercises outside class: ideally, doing some French every day: then you should be well prepared for all the quizzes, tests, and exams in FREN 101 & 102.

What more can you do?
Work on the online exercises: revision for tests and exams is one of the reasons you have multiple attempts and no deadline for them!

You can also do other exercises in iLrn (these are optional, in that they do not count towards your grade), and redo exercises worked on in class from the textbook (and indeed other exercises from the textbook too; these, too, are optional and do not count towards your final grade).

Work in shorter intensive stretches (maximum 20 to 30 minutes), with regular breaks. Set an alarm or a timer, to ensure that you have a break for at least 5-10 minutes every hour. Eat. Sleep. Exercise, especially outdoors in the fresh air. (If your parents and other family tell you this all the time: give them a hug from me.)

Read, watch, and listen to some French every day: even 5 minutes of skim-reading newspaper headlines online. Any French, from any Francophone place, on any subject. This is also a good excuse to watch a movie in French (in French, preferably with sub-titles in French too).

BONUS: some useful practical general tips and advice from Timothy Gowers (Mathematics, University of Cambridge) > scroll down to “General study advice”


“Self-tests” and “Practice” in iLrn may be helpful: I would recommend doing these together with one or two other students. These are mainly intended for practice before the final exam, rather than chapter tests, but if you are working with some other students in a study-group this is good material on which to work.

The “Reprises” sections at the end of some chapters, accompanied by their videos and exercises. These are in iLrn > Media Library > pick whichever chapter you are working on, or go through them all one by one > “Les Stagiaires.”



The final examination

LAST UPDATED: 2018-03-31

UBC Coyote's official message of goodwill to all for final examinations (28 November 2014)

Image source: Facebook > UBC Coyote


  • 24 April 2018
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • SWNG 122



  • your UBC student ID
  • a pen (I would recommend bringing three new ones that you’ve already tested out)
  • water, if you wish
  • (for revision, not for the exam) one index card of notes, using just one or both sides*
  • a spare layer of clothing in case you get cold during the exam (cardigan, hat, etc.)
  • basics such as keys, outerwear, umbrella,…

* NB: this is an exam preparation tip / suggestion and these are NOT cue-cards or notes for the exam. No notes or books or materials are allowed in the exam itself (as should be clear from the exam format, practice exams, etc.). If trying to do last-minute revision, doing so from one pre-prepared index card is better (and writing that index card is very good preparation in its own right) than bringing all your notes, textbook, etc. with you.


  • textbooks, notes, revision materials
  • cellphones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, and other electronic devices


This is what I usually tell students, in all classes, for exam preparation:

1. Sleep. At least 8 hours/night, every night. Sleep plays an essential role in the consolidation of memory.

2. Electronic visual blackout before sleep. At least an hour with no electronic light-sources (i.e. screens). This should help you to sleep. Listening to music, however: yes. Actively encouraged: especially if it’s in French! Music should also help you be happier and calmer.

3. Eat well and regularly.

4. Exercise. Make sure you’ve at least stretched for 5 minutes every hour. Including during exams. This keeps your core muscles working and your airways open; especially around your upper torso and shoulders. We will remind students of the passing of time during the exam, and one reason for that is to give us a reason to remind students to stretch out a bit.

5. Cramming at the last minute is not advised, for three reasons:

(a) Most of your work is done during term, in the virtuous cycle of teaching-and-learning. This is reinforced by FREN101′s online exercises. There is little material that you can cram at the last minute, without taking drugs of a sort that also risk messing up memory. French is unlike academic areas that depend on learning facts by heart, by rote, in a mechanical robotic way.

(b) French is like most other academic subjects in that, at a university level, in order to do well you will/should also need to show evidence of reflexion, of independent thought. This entails active new thinking during the exam.

(c) French, like any language, requires regular continuous work and practice. The way it is learned is more like music than is is like other Arts/Humanities subjects. An analogy: if you had a piano recital, you wouldn’t do nothing at all and then cram 18 hours’ practice the day before.

6. Some of the best revision you can do before tests and exams is testing yourself. One of the best tests of your knowledge is your capability to explain something to another person. As I always tell me own students / section around week 3 of class: it is worth getting into study-pairs or groups (but keep them small: 2-4 people) as soon as possible, and definitely well before the middle of the term. In my experience, many people do this anyway. Meet regularly over coffee/tea (and maybe cake, du gâteau). Quiz each other. This can be done at any time, and continues to be beneficial in the week before a final exam

7. Make sure you know where your exam is taking place, how to get to it, and how long that will take.

8. Make sure you know where the nearest bathroom is. Pay a visit before the exam.

9. Arrive at your exam early (at least 20 minutes before the start), preferably including at least 10 minutes’ walking in your itinerary to get some oxygen into your brain (but not running).

10. Don’t bring anything with you that you don’t need for the exam itself. Especially no notes, revision guides, textbook, etc. They rarely help. You’re better off spending those last few minutes before the exam doing deep breathing. Some people meditate. Do whatever works for you, something calm that involves breathing slowly and deeply, good for your heart-rate as well as your blood (and brain) oxygen levels.

BONUS: some useful practical general tips and advice from Timothy Gowers (Mathematics, University of Cambridge) > scroll down to “General study advice”


Your are expected to know these: it is one of your contractual responsibilities and obligations when you registered as a UBC student.



Course materials (2): online

LAST UPDATED: 2018-05-11

In this post, you will find information on how to access and use the online version of Horizons, including your e-book and the online exercises. Your e-book and the online exercises for Horizons, along with some other supplementary materials, are at an external website (not on the UBC system): at the iLrn Heinle Learning Centre, at



Online exercises stay open all term—right up to the final exam—and you have multiple attempts for each of the assigned practice exercises.



  • iLrn guide (1): introduction: how to use your book key to set up an account and access your online exercise assignments, e-book, and other iLrn resources (self-testing, flashcards, etc.)


1. Please go to

2. Using your 16- to 19-character “book key” online code (provided with your textbook, if you bought it at the UBC Bookstore), set up your account with a username and password.

3. Next, enter the following information:
Our course = FREN 101: summer 2018
Our course code = 

4. Next, add yourself to the appropriate “class”: this is the section you’re in.

5. Once you’re in, you will see your “workstation,” where you will be able to access (amongst other things) the online exercises that have been set for you.

6. To work on your online exercises throughout the term, and to consult your e-textbook, annotate it, etc.: go to

PLEASE NOTE: in accordance with BC privacy law (FIPPA):

  • in the “required information” sections (= items with *) you DO NOT have to disclose and use your full name, or indeed your real name and email address. You can use a pseudonym (just make sure to tell your instructor what it is, so they can give you marks for the worm you have done).  Refer to iLrn guide (1): introduction for further details on what to do here.
  • in the other (= no *) sections, you DO NOT have to fill out any information
  • But: in the drop-down menus for “country,” “province,” and “time zone” please select “Canada,” “BC,” and any of the time-zones that are Pacific Coast/GMT-8. That last item helps, to ensure we’re all in the same time-zone: otherwise you might find that you’ve missed a deadline for an online exercise!
    An example follows below, of how the FREN 101 coordinator filled out her profile (her password, by the way, is not “change”…):



These exercises are worth 10% of your final grade.

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  • “Assigned” exercises are those that are marked (on your final attempt), and that mark will go towards your total mark for the online exercises.
  • Your online exercise mark will only be calculated at the very end of term (after the final exam).
  • the due date for assigned exercises is the day of the final exam; the date currently set is that of the end of the exam period, and that date will change once the final exam date is published.
    There may be some variation from section to section and instructor to instructor; this will be clear when you look at your iLrn Workstation.
  • Practice exercises can be repeated several times over the course of the term.
    The exercises that have been set accompany and reinforce the work we’re doing in class.
    You can also use them for practice and revision for tests and the final exam.
  • It is recommended that you do some exercises (not necessarily all of them!) a first time after you have covered the material concerned in class: ideally, later that day.
  • You may find it useful to run through the week’s material more roughly and rapidly at the end of the week, and/or the start of the next week (ex. Friday and then Sunday before a next class on Monday (or Monday before Tuesday’s class, etc.)).
  • You may find it helpful to do some exercises, and/or to redo others, for revision before a test on that chapter. And then, similarly for revision purposes, in the revision period after the end of classes and before the final exam.
  • “Unassigned” exercises are not marked, and do not contribute to your grade. You are free to work on them too, if you so wish, for extra practice.
  • All of the assigned online exercises are worth 10% of your final grade:

NOTE ON THE BEGINNING OF TERM: Because this is before the end of the period in which students can add and drop courses without incurring a “W” on their transcript, you aren’t required to do any online exercises until the add/drop period has passed. But the online exercises are open from the very beginning of term, so if you want, you can start working on them.


  • iLrn guide 2: the online exercises: where to find them, which ones to do, why, how they are graded, when to do them (and when to stop), how often, suggested sequence and pace
    = PDF, opens in a new window, can be downloaded
  • iLrn guide 3: extra practice: going beyond the regular set exercices, how to use iLrn for extra practice and revision


iLrn useful links
—FAQ, user guides, support: useful for online exercises and any iLrn troubleshooting


LAST UPDATED: 2018-05-08

la règle du jeu / renoir


I. Aims and objectives
II. Expectations
III. Responsibilities
IV. Grading criteria
V. Plagiarism
VI. Late work, extensions, and making up for missed work
VII. Missing or rescheduling tests and examinations
VIII.Quick links to UBC rules, policies, and procedures



There is a lot of information here below. That is because it is intended to be as comprehensive as possible, in the interest of helping you. There are also links to selected parts of UBC’s rules and regulations (carefully gleaned for pertinence) and to further information sources of and associated with the University: all in all, there is a lot to read. (There may also be Easter Eggs.)

The “search” button and the standard “find” / “spotlight” functionality may be helpful 🙂

You are reminded that students are expected to be cognisant with University rules and regulations: this is part of the contractual agreement every student enters into with the University when they register. The same goes for any course and programme.

“tl;dr” is not a defence, nor an excuse, nor generally acceptable at the university level. This is a good and positive thing because of…


You are responsible intelligent adults. I (O’Brien) expect you to think, act, and communicate accordingly. You should expect me and everyone else you deal with at the University to do so too: this gives parity and mutuality to our academic work and intellectual relations and interactions.

UBC’s motto, tuum est—“it is yours”—is a reminder of what a university is and what universities have been for their long history: a unified scholarly community, with scholars of various sorts—from first-year undergraduate students to senior professors and librarians and archivists—united in the adventure of scholarship. You are as much a part of that as anyone else, with the same obligations of good scholarly citizenship. We all reap the benefits: individually and immediately, and as a larger entity over a longer time.

See further: the Golden Rule (via the Wikipedia) and [update 2017-09-14] the University’s policy on academic freedom:



See also: specifics for this course, in the syllabus.

It/we also hope to provide you with, as a bonus,

  • a love for learning
  • some enjoyment and pleasure
  • an awareness of the potential of language and literature to open up other worlds to you, and to provide an infinite resource of comfort and consolation: through “geeking out” with French words, turns of phrase, seeing how the languge is constructed… leading you to different ways of thinking about the world, seeing it from a different perspective.
  • = useful life skills, whatever life you choose to lead and wherever life takes you after this course

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What you should expect from this course:

  • an interactive format, that will include some short lectures (= live performance explanation, commentary, and analysis leading up to asking questions so as to open up full discussion)
  • discussion, work in groups and individually, intensive writing in a workshop style
  • reading, in the full sense:
    —reading, rereading, thinking while reading, making notes, rerereading, etc.
  • writing, every week:
    —most of this will be short; in a variety of forms; intended to be non-traumatic but intensive
  • to learn:
    —through a combination of lectures, discussion with peers, and your own independent initiative
  • to learn to enjoy and maybe even love learning
    —(especially via linguistic geekery)
    —for this is what “education” is
    —and a major step towards becoming, in the longer term, “educated” and a philologist and/or philosopher
  • to have—it is seriously and strongly hoped—some fun

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(In proper 18th-century social-contract style.)

You will be expected to:

  • attend class:
    regular attendance is expected of all students
    —unexcused absences and late arrivals will drastically affect your final grade
    —attendance is one of your obligations as a UBC student: UBC Policies and Regulations > Attendance
  • be courteous, respectful, and tolerant of others:
    —generally behave in a decent civil adult human way
    —know and act in accordance with, University and other applicable rules (ex. the law); and be familiar with principles of justice and fairness, and their application to everyday life
    —before speaking or acting, consider the consequences and think of your fellow students (and their possible reactions and sensitivities)
    —think, similarly, of other fellow human beings such as faculty, student TAs, and staff: remember that your instructor is a person too
  • bear in mind that your instructor has limits:
    —An instructor can only do for one student what they can also do for every other student in the class/course; and they cannot do something for one student that they could not also do for every other student (ex. individual tutoring). This may mean making decisions that go against a student’s individual self-interest, when acting in the interests of the greater good.
    —There are some times when your instructor will not be accessible and available. Instructors (and coordinators, and other faculty) are not customer-service-bots. They will be unable to read and answer emails while doing other work that requires concentration: ex. while teaching you, preparing your classes, and marking your work.
    —Instructors are humans and need to rest (evenings, nights, weekends, public holidays, midterm break, and when the university is closed), the better to work with you. Respecting your instructor as a human is therefore also in your own interests.
  • work and be attentive:
    —attend class in an active, attentive manner
    switch off electronic devices in class at certain times, when asked to do so in the interests of an attentive working environment for the common good (= for you, your fellow students, and your instructor).
    Reasons why: Anne Curzan, “Why I’m Asking You Not to Use Laptops.” Lingua Franca: Language and Writing in Academe. (The Chronicle of Higher Education , 2014-08-25).
    Individual instructors’ policies on the use of electronic devices in the classroom will vary.
    Exception: if you need to use a laptop, or if you are using one to help another student, for bona fide Access & Diversity reasons
    Individual instructors’ policies on the use of electronic devices in the classroom will vary. (O’Brien policy: you may use any devices you wish and you may record my class—audio only—for educational purposes, and not for sharing outside this class or for sale.)
    think and ask questions
    —be interactive:
    participate and contribute, this contributes to part of your final grade (ex. quizzes in FREN 101)
    —prepare for class:
    have the requisite texts, and have read (and in most cases reread) them in advance
    —complete the required assignments
    —do so without cheating or other low, disreputable, underhand, unethical, or illegal means
    —do so in a timely manner:
    late work will be penalized, and will not be accepted at all once it is a week late; individual instructors’ policies may be stricter still. Late work covered by medical or other acceptable official certification is another matter and discussed further in VII. Late work, extensions, and making up for missed work (further down).
  • communicate (and be communicable):
    —check your email (the account you have on record with UBC) frequently, and check this site regularly
    —keep your email contact information up to date with UBC IT;
    this is also one of your obligations as a UBC student, as per Student Declaration and Responsibility
    Ex. 1: Debrett’s on email etiquette and on the conventions of written correspondence.
    Remember that email is closer in form to the traditional letter than it is to the text message: be that personal, professional, academic, or in any other area of communicative interactivity.
    Ex. 2: the Emily Post Institute: Email etiquette Dos & Don’ts and Further advice on email and texting
    —communicate in a timely fashion
    with your instructor (or the coordinator, if appropriate) if you are absent, ill, suffer a mishap, and/or—especially—if this will impact on the due handing in of work or sitting of examinations
    —exercise consideration and common sense:
    bear in mind that your instructor and the coordinator will not be reading or able to respond to emails received while they are teaching; nor immediately before it starts because they will be doing pre-class preparation, walking to class, and setting up; and not while conducting quizzes, tests, and examinations.
    (otherwise your email will go into a general inbox and be read later; it may even land and malinger in spam)
  • one final responsibility: you will be expected to try very hard to have a generally positive and sunny outlook, and to be of a cheerful disposition

Your instructor promises to

  • attend their own classes
  • be courteous, respectful, and tolerant of others
    —(as above, the same rules for all of us)
    —be fair and just and humane, to all students
    —apply principles of justice and fairness:
    An instructor can only do for one student what they can also do for every other student in the class/course; and not do something for one student that they could not also do for every other student. This may mean making decisions that go against a student’s individual self-interest, when acting in the interests of the greater good.
  • be attentive:
    —be open to questions and requests for further explanations
    —be patient, non-judgmental, encouraging, kind, and sympathetic
  • work:
    —in class: to participate and be prepared
    —comment on, mark, grade, and return your work in a timely manner (usually around 1-2 weeks after that work’s submission; times may vary depending on your instructor’s other work, about which your instructor should keep you informed as necessary)
    —mark justly and fairly, in the same way for all students
    —include useful and constructive comments as needed
    —hold weekly office hours (usually one hour per course)
    —make time to go through corrected work with students, in office hours or by appointment
  • communicate with you:
    —in a timely fashion on any matters pertaining to the course:
    for example, composition topics will be emailed between one and two weeks before their due date
    —read email regularly in usual working hours in term:
    Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (except when incompatible with work, ex. while preparing classes, teaching, and marking)*
    —respond to your emails as soon as possible; usually within a couple of days (but if you email between Friday evening and Sunday evening or on public holidays or outside term: then on the next working day), sooner depending on the urgency of the matter*
  • try very hard to have a generally positive and sunny outlook, and to be of a cheerful disposition

* These are the course co-ordinator’s email policies: in multi-section courses such as FREN 101 & 102, email policies may vary from instructor to instructor. Please check with your instructor.


There are “Golden Rule / good behaviour” rules that apply to all UBC employees. If you are a teaching assistant, research assistant, or other student worker, this includes you. WorkSafeBC also applies to UBC employees, and indeed to all workers in all workplaces throughout British Columbia, so it’s worth knowing about, for everyone:

UBC information on preventing bullying and harrassment
→ UBC Respectful Environment Statement
→ other pertinent UBC policy documents and links to WorkSafeBC resources

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zéro de conduite / vigo


A note on marking (for everyone, students and instructors alike). Marking scales should be used fully (0-100%): not “relative to perfection,” nor “in comparison with a native Francophone,” nor “hazing à la française” ; but also not “being nice to encourage you and because you work so hard and you’re such a decent, pleasant, intelligent human being.”

It is human nature to vary, and so some classes/sections—and indeed whole courses, from year to year—will vary, naturally, in their mean, median, mode, and range; but classes tend to produce a standard normal curve or a Poisson, and a mean somewhere between 67 and 78%. As in all UBC courses, grades may be adjusted/calibrated (including specific assignments: ex. if a test is too hard/easy), but there is no obligation to “curve the grades” (= grade to a bell curve with a predetermined average). (Instructors should apply common sense and judgement, and if in doubt consult the coordinator.)

For compositions / written work with an individual, subjective, creative component:

half of the points = language (“le fond”) :

  • the required length
  • the correctness of your French grammar and spelling
  • the use and variety of sentence structures and vocabulary learned in this course

half of the points = content (“la forme”) :

  • the use and variety of sentence structures and vocabulary, used experimentally, ex. complex sentences… even if it isn’t completely correct:
    → stick your neck out: be brave! be bold! be beautiful!
  • organization, structure, sense, style, content-material, creativity, and interest:
    → let your hair down: be witty! be wild! be wise!

This next part won’t necessarily be relevant for the specifics of all courses, but it may be useful for your other courses and it’s part of my general “Rules” statement. I’m leaving it in here, just in case.

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Plagiarism robs you of what you think and what you can learn. Avoid it. Please be reminded that your education includes academic integrity. Unattributed use of someone’s else work (book, journal article, newspaper clip, online material, etc) and other demonstrated incidences of plagiarism will result in penalties ranging from an F course grade to expulsion from the university when the incident is reported to the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline.

This is a part of your formal relationship with the University. See further:

Proper citation is of course permitted, actively encouraged, and a vital part of academic work and indeed any intellectual engagement. It is a different beast from plagiarism. Do consult University policies further on this point; if in doubt, contact your professor and discuss with them directly. Here is O’Brien’s full definition, for practical purposes, of what is not plagiarism.

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  • If you miss a class or an assignment, the first thing you should do is talk to your instructor or the coordinator. We are here to help. Extensions or make-up versions may, in certain circumstances, be possible.
  • Late work WILL BE penalized. Work will not be accepted once it is a week late. Exceptions: if you have been granted an extension (on which see further below).
  • Further particulars may vary from course to course and instructor to instructor. Please consult your instructor to check what their policy is. It may vary from the very liberal (= work accepted up to a week late) to the strict (= no late work accepted at all).
  • Students may not do extra work for extra credit; nor may the percentage of marks allotted to any portion of the course be changed
  • Some kinds of work of an interactive live kind cannot be redone if they have been missed (quizzes, labs); they may in exceptional circumstances be replaced by an equivalent substitute assignment, to be discussed and agreed with your instructor
    = no make-up quizzes or in-class exercises
  • Extensions to the due date for an assignment and alternate / make-up versions are subject to negotiation; they are not guaranteed or to be taken for granted; their scheduling is also subject to negotiation, to fit with the student’s, their instructor’s, and the coordinator’s work
  • Extensions are ONLY possible if asked for and approved in advance, in writing (email),
    AND with supporting documentation (in most circumstances, following University guidelines on what counts)
    AND (in most circumstances) liaising with Arts Academic Advising (or other Academic Advising office, if you are in a different Faculty). Your instructor and coordinator can help you here, we work with Advising a lot. You will need to see Academic Advising yourself: this is a good thing because it saves you the time and trouble of seeing every prof for every course…
  • Extensions must be discussed in advance, when possible: except for exceptional circumstances such as accidents, of course!
  • Don’t hesitate to contact the coordinator, if in doubt just ask!

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les quatre cents coups / truffaut


On tests  (if applicable, ex. this is the case for FREN 101 & 102) and final examinations:

  • In certain circumstances (medically-certified illness, etc.) a make-up version can be arranged: this will be a different test or exam from the one sat by the rest of the class
  • AND with supporting documentation that you have taken to Academic Advising, and once your instructor has received confirmation from Academic Advising that you had good reason for your absence; ditto for other third parties, in other circumstances, as appropriate: ex. performances, sports competitions, job interviews, etc.

What counts as an acceptable reason for missing and rescheduling a test or exam?

  • accident or illness: in most circumstances: see Academic Advising
  • short-term illness or other impediment to your coming in to campus (ex. colds, flu, menstruation, migraine): talk to your instructor or the coordinator
  • a continuing medical condition: see Access & Diversity)
  • a conflict with religious observance
  • university business: representing UBC in an artistic performance or a sporting or games competition, debate, Model United Nations, etc.; training, community service, a placement, or a practicum that is an integral part of a UBC course
  • personal calamity, bereavement, urgently taking care of a family member, and other human emergencies
  • some other situations might also count: don’t hesitate to contact the coordinator, if in doubt just ask!

Supporting documentation: what counts?

  • consult your Academic Advising office
  • a certificate of illness completed by either the attending Student Health Service physician or provided by a family physician
  • religious accommodation
  • see also: UBC Policies and Regulations: Academic Concession
  • proviso: different conditions may apply if you are registered with Access & Diversity or if you are in the process of requesting a concession, with Academic Advising: then we (= your instructor and the coordinator) liaise with them on appropriate changes to make, working together with them and you, on an individual case-by-case basis
  • don’t hesitate to contact the coordinator, if in doubt just ask!

These rights, rules, and responsibilities are in addition to, not instead of, all policies and guidelines as supplied by the University, Faculty of Arts, and Department of FHIS. Some rules may change along the way; this should always be for good reason and be done in a reasonable way.

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Congratulations: you made it to the end of over 3,000 words’ worth of pernicketiness.

It could all have been simpler… yet so very much worse …
imageSource: Ask the Past

There is one very last thing, last but not least, the one rule that rules them all and in the darkness binds them. Remember that your instructor(s) love you. We love everything and everyone that’s part of the great scholarly adventure that is university, and that includes teaching and includes you. We are here because we are curious and constantly marvelling; we find students wonderful and we care about you, about your intellectual development and about you as fellow human beings.
Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 6.41.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-28 at 6.43.02 PM
Jane E. Dmochowski, “10 Things This Instructor Loves” (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2015-08-19): click here to read on, including full details of these “10 Things” …

French accents

Also known as: diacritical marks, diacritics. French accents matter: they are an integral part of the language and its alphabet, of how words are spelled—like any other letter—and of the meaning of words: not just for decoration (though yes, they can look pretty). See further: this item on about French accents, and the Wikipedia article on the French alphabet (from which you can copy-paste accents too…)


1. On tablets and smartphones with a touchscreen keyboard: rest your finger on a letter until further options appear in a pop-up box, then click on the appropriate accented letter

2. Windows:

3. Apple:

Tip 1: go to SETTINGS, add US (International) keyboard, and ensure the little character palette always appears in the top-right hand corner of your screen in case you need to simply drop in or copy-paste characters.

Tip 2: if you are on iPhone or iPad: if you go into “settings” you can add a French keyboard, and switch as needed between different language-setting keyboards. This does switch your keyboard from QWERTY to AZERTY, though: but becoming keyboard-multi-gestural is not always that hard!

4. Linux, others, and general information:


Tip 1: if you are on an Android phone
(I haven’t tried this with Windows and other smartphones and smaller devices): if you go into “settings” you can add a French keyboard, and switch as needed between different language-setting keyboards. This does switch your keyboard from QWERTY to AZERTY, though: but becoming keyboard-multi-gestural is not always that hard!

Tip 2: Chrome / Chromebooks:
The free extension utf-8 provides a character palette, from which you can select accents to drop in or copy-paste.

Tip 3: Chromebooks:
Go to SETTINGS > keyboard settings > Language & input.
Change your keyboard to US International (you may find it also helps to add US Extended).
When the International option is on, you’ll see INTL in the bottom right-hand corner. If you don’t, click SHIFT-ALT to switch keyboards. You will find that when you use keys also used for accented characters (ex. ‘), if you need to use that key for its usual purpose (ex ‘= single quotation marks, or for the possessive in English), you need to type a space after hitting that key.
Keyboard-adding and -switching can be done with as many keyboards as you want: ex. adding in Chinese, Arabic, etc. and switching between them as needed.


I’ve tested this on a Windows desktop and a Chromebook. On a Chromebook, some other key combinations are also possible, but involve either exactly as many finger-movements or more, and may be harder to remember and learn.

First, ensure you are using the international keyboard.

ACCENT AIGU [ex. é]:
á = single-quote ´ + a
é = ‘ + e
í = ‘ + i
ó = ‘ + o
ú = ‘ + u

Á = ‘ + shift-a (held down together)
É = ‘ + shift-e

à = ` + a (`= top left-hand corner, same key as the ~)
è = ` + e
À = ` + shift-a

â = shift-^+ a (^ = on the same key as 6)
ê = shift-6 + e
 = shift-6 + shift-a

ç = ‘ + c

ä = shift-‘ + a
ë = shift-‘ + e
Ä = shift-‘ + shift-a

æ = ctrl-shift-& + a (& = on the same key as 7)
(Chromebook) alt gr + z (alt gr = right-hand alt key)
œ = ctrl-shift-& + o
(Chromebook) alt gr + k