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Can I change my advisor?

Advising is one of the important aspects of being in a Master of Arts program. Sometimes advising is quite quick because you know what you want, and you've done copious amounts of research into the courses that you want to take, and other times it's a bit longer because you are looking for that advice from your advisor.  Either way, an advisor is available for you as soon as you start in our program!

 

In the beginning, you are assigned an advisor by the program coordinators (me or Evy), but that doesn't mean that you need to stick with the same advisor throughout your course of studies!  Each of our professors has a different specialty, so you might decide you want to have another professor because your interests much more closely align to what the professor's interests are.  You can, at any time, switch advisors!  All you need to do is the following:

 

1.  Have a look at our faculty listinghttp://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/appling/faculty

Even though their profiles are brief, these profiles give you a better idea of what the professor's interests are, what courses they teach, and what areas some of their scholarship is in.

2.  Pick a professor as a potential advisor.

The faculty listing lists more people than we have advisors.  Only some faculty do advising.  Here is who is an academic advisor:

  • Carhill-Poza, Avary (avary.carhillpoza@umb.edu)
  • Chun, Christian (christian.chun@umb.edu)
  • Etienne, Corinne, (corinne.etienne@umb.edu)
  • Gounari, Panayota (panagiota.gounari@umb.edu)
  • Leider, Chris (christine.leider@umb.edu)
  • Sclafani, Jennider (jennifer.sclafani@umb.edu)
  • Urbanski, Kimberly (kimberly.urbanski@umb.edu)

You should contact one of these professors to see if they would be able to have you switch advisors and for them to be your advisor.  

3. Once you get the all-clear - please email me (aplingonline@umb.edu) to let me know that you will be switching advisors, and I can make a note of it :)

 

That's it! :)

 

 

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Course Incomplete Policy

The purpose of this InfoPost is to articulate the Applied Linguistics department policy on course "incompletes"  or "INC"

A grade of Incomplete (INC) is not automatically awarded when a student fails to complete a course. Incompletes are given at the discretion of the instructor. They are awarded when satisfactory work has been accomplished in the majority of the course work, but the student is unable to complete some course requirements as a result of circumstances beyond his/her control. These might include serious illness or extreme personal circumstances. The student must negotiate with, and receive the approval of the course instructor in order to receive a grade of incomplete as soon as they know they will not be able to complete course requirements; a copy of a written agreement between the faculty member and the student specifying the work to be completed and the terms and deadline for completion must be kept on file in the program office. This form is also submitted to the Registrar’s office so that the INC can be processed.

 

IMPORTANT: The student must have completed a significant portion of the course requirements and assignments (at least 70% of the required work, including course participation, term papers, and other course assignments) in order to be considered for an Incomplete.

If the student’s course record is such that they would fail the course regardless of the missing work and the emergency falls within the Withdrawal deadline, the student should consider withdrawing from the course in order to avoid the negative impact on their GPA.

 

If you are receiving the grade of incomplete (INC), depending on the contract you signed with your instructor, you are allowed up to one year in which to complete the course. The deadline will be set by your instructor, taking into consideration your circumstances, the amount of missing work that needs to be completed, as well as university deadlines. After a one-year period, if a grade is not submitted by the faculty member, a Failure will be recorded, turning the grade on the transcript to an IF. After the end of this period, the student must re-register for the course, pay for it again, and complete all its requirements in order to receive credit and a grade. The new grade must be submitted to the Registrar by the grading deadline for that semester, i.e., by the end of the next fall for the fall semester incompletes. The grade for any course not completed by this deadline will be converted to the grade of 'IF'. You may only sign up for, and receive a grade for, the same course twice.

 

Please Be Aware that:

  • It is your responsibility to contact and/or meet with your professor as soon as an emergency arises that prevents you to meet the course requirements. Your professor is not responsible for “offering” you an INC because you “disappeared” from the course.
  • It is also your responsibility to fill out the necessary paperwork, collect signatures and turn it to the Main Office.
  • Make sure the contract and terms of completing the course are determined. Two copies of the Incomplete Contract Form must be returned with proper signatures to the Applied Linguistics Department Main Office, one for department records and one for the Registrar’s office.                   
  • Incomplete grades in graduate courses are processed by the Office of the Registrar after receipt of the signed Incomplete Contract.
  •  You should follow up with faculty to make sure the terms of the contract have been met and a grade has been submitted within the proper time limits.
  • Individual faculty members have the right to set more stringent timetables for completion of course requirements than the general one-year. Your professor is not required to offer the full year for you to complete the missing work.

 

INC/IF Registration Policy

Any graduate student who has accumulated 4 or more INC or IF grades will be considered not to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, will be placed on probation, and will normally be barred from registering for additional classes until the INC/IF grades are cleared. Additional registrations may, however, be approved by the graduate program director and Dean of Graduate Studies.

 

Your instructor will have copies of the Incomplete Contract form that they can share with you.  The department of applied linguistics (applied.linguistics@umb.edu) also has blank forms if you need them

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Congrats on commencing your first semester in the Applied Linguistics Online Program! :-)


This info-post has been a long time coming, but before I wrote it I wanted to collect some frequently asked questions from you and your fellow peers that came before you in order to put together a more comprehensive write-up!

In your first semester, the Applied Linguistics program registered you (or will register you if you're reading this before it's done) for two introductory courses so that you don't have to worry about registration.  So, what’s next, you might ask? Well, the fact that you are reading this means that you are on the right path! 

The first thing that you should do is to read the main posting located in the New on-Campus Student Information group.  The information there deals mostly with administrative aspects of the program. This post is meant to address the more academic-related matters of studying in Applied Linguistics.

One big thing to do, before classes start, is to order your books. We usually aim to have textbook information for Spring semester available by December 20th, and Summer and Fall course information available by May 1st.  We usually post an announcement in the Announcements Block of this site (if you click on the Homepage menu item, you will see announcements top and center). By providing you with textbook lists early on, you have an opportunity to find the cheapest prices, and also to thumb through the books to get a feel for the material.  When I was a student, I took the opportunity to read texts for fall courses over the summer; this made my fall semesters feel a little less compact :)

 
Once you have textbooks ordered, the next big thing is to make sure that you are able to log into your student email, into WISER, and into Blackboard.  The credentials for logging on are the same across all three systems (UMB email and password).  


In the New Student Information Group, there are instructions for accessing email.  Simply login one time to make sure things are working.  Once you check this out, you should also get a library barcode (instructions to do so are in a discussion in the New Student Info group).  


OK. With all this prep-work done, what about classes? What should you do to get prepared for classes (and attending classes on campus)?


First, we have some helpful information in our FAQ!  Second, a number professors (but not necessarily all) usually send a quick introduction email (check your UMB emails!) the week before classes begin to welcome new students to the course and to make them aware of any class-specific tips and strategies.
If you can think of more questions - please email applied.linguistics@umb.edu and let us know!

I thought I was signed up, but I don't see anything in Blackboard yet. What's going on?

If the semester has not begun yet, it's normal not to see anything in Blackboard.  Courses do not show up there until the first day of the semester.  If the semester has begun, and you still don't see courses there yet - do contact us to troubleshoot!  As always our email is applied.linguistics@umb.edu.

How much interaction is there with professors?

Professors are highly interactive in our on-campus courses; it is extremely rare that you will be subjected to a lecture of any kind. By and large, students can interject and ask questions as problems arise. Most in-class instruction involves some measure of dialogue and peer-to-peer interaction. Moreover, professors are ready and willing to expand upon any topic that you are either having trouble with or find particularly interesting.

Each professor holds regular on-campus office hours should you require more assistance, have any personal questions, or would like to strategize about short-term or long-term course or program goals.


What does an average class look like?

The average class is small to medium sized; thus, you will never be packed into a room or overwhelmed by swarms of classmates whose names you’ll never know. Classes are 2.5 hours long and run one day per week. (Some professors provide a break in the middle to allow people some time for stretching, water, bathroom escapades, and snack-fetching). Moreover, all of our classes run in the evenings to ensure that those who work fulltime (especially teachers) do not have to adjust their daily routine too radically.


What is the outcome of this program? I want to know what this program would prepare me for. Is it more theoretical or practical?


Broadly speaking, our entire curriculum revolves around language and literacy and is very much anchored in the discipline of applied linguistics. We do cover methodology for teaching language, but we don't go in depth for classroom management techniques, or tackle specific content (i.e. social studies curriculum, teaching math to ESL students, etc.). So, our program is somewhere in the middle of the road, between theoretical and practical. I am an alumnus of the program (on-campus) and from my own experiences, some courses go more toward the theoretical, and some go more toward the practical. In recent years we've also expanded our research options, so if research is something you think you might want to pursue, do contact our Thesis Coordinator!


How is assessment done? What methods of evaluation do the professors use? Do students receive GPA/letter grades as in other programs?


This depends. Participation in class is a common factor in all of our courses. Beyond that there are exams, papers, group projects, presentations, annotated bibliographies and many more methods. This really depends on the subject matter of the course. Students do receive letter grades (and they have a calculated GPA) like all other programs.

How much time of studying does it take per course?

This really depends on the learner. Each course is 3 credits. The usual formula is that students study/prepare for 4-5 hours for each credit, each week. So, if a student is taking 1 course, the student should be expected to spend 12-15 hours each week working on materials for that course (2.5 hours of class attendance + outside of class activities such as doing the readings, watching any assigned video materials, participating in discussion boards, researching and writing papers, etc.). Granted, some weeks will be lighter than others, and some people are speedier readers than others. These are just general guidelines to help you plan your weekly schedule.

What is the campus like?

UMass Boston is located on the Harbor Point peninsula next to the JFK Library and Museum. Campus Center faces the water, and there are walking trails (The Harbor Walk) along the ocean on three sides. UMass Boston is in the midst of an architectural overhaul; three modern buildings have been erected over the past ten to fifteen years, including University Hall which just opened in 2016.

Where and how do I park?
As long-term building plans continue to unfold, how and where to park has become less straightforward. By and large, Bayside Lot on Mt. Vernon Street (about a half mile from campus) always has spots available at any time of day. Moreover, there is a free shuttle bus that regularly runs from Bayside Lot to the Campus Center.


There are also lots that are closer to the school (no shuttle bus necessary!), but spots in these lots are less reliably vacant. Such lots (“D” Lot, Beacon Lot, and the parking garage beneath Campus Center) surround many of the main campus buildings and should not be difficult to find. However, if you are traveling during rush hour, you may get bogged down in campus traffic if you try to access these lots.
Parking at any of these lots costs $6 per day. You will take a ticket upon entering and will pay as you leave. You also have the option of purchasing a plastic card that is pre-loaded with daily passes. This method (if you can afford the up-front fee) results in a slightly cheaper fee per day of parking.  A good resource to have handy is the Parking & Transportation website of our university. This site will provide you with important information as the parking situation changes on-campus.

What other kinds of paperwork do I need in order to study on campus?
If you are enrolling as a full time graduate student, UMass Boston mandates that you provide a vaccination history. If you have not received all mandated vaccinations, you will have to do so prior to the beginning of your second semester. You should receive information about vaccinations from University Health Services prior to the beginning of your first semester.


If you have trouble supplying proof of vaccination but you are sure that you have received all appropriate vaccinations at a previous point in time, Health Services can in some cases take a blood sample to determine whether or not you still carry the appropriate antibodies. This is a quick and (relatively) painless procedure that can be performed on campus.

What is ALSA and what does it do?
ALSA stands for the Applied Linguistics Student Association. It is a voluntary (and free) association of APLING students. ALSA is responsible for hosting interesting speakers, putting together study groups for various classes and/or examinations, and organizing parties (sometimes just for the sake of it!). Moreover, ALSA is extremely receptive to new ideas or student event/hangout proposals. If there is anything that you want to see happen while you are a Master’s student in our program, let one of the ALSA leaders know; it is likely that they can make something happen.


If I’m moving into the Boston area for the first time, what should I know?
If you are coming in from out of state (or from out of the country) to study with us at UMass Boston, you will need to know a few things about how Boston works.

 First, you will have to secure some form of housing for yourself as UMB does not offer any on-campus housing. Some students elect to live in one of the large apartment complexes adjacent to campus (Peninsula Apartments and Harbor Point Apartments), while others elect to live in various neighborhoods in the city (Allston, Brighton, Savin Hall, and Dorchester are favorites). UMB hosts a Department of Student Housing—so if you need help figuring out where to start, send an email their way.


If you will not be bringing a vehicle with you to Boston, you will have to make use of the MBTA, Boston’s system of public transit. This consists of various bus and train lines that cover, for the most part, the entirety of Boston and many of its suburbs. A one-way train ticket on the MBTA costs $2.75 (or $2.25 if you get a Charlie Card), so budget accordingly. If you think that you will be using the MBTA quite frequently, you can instead purchase a Monthly LinkPass for $85, which comes with unlimited rides within the city. Drop by the customer service desk at one of the major subway stops and ask about your options.

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As always, if you found this post helpful please click on "like" :-) If you have suggestions for this FAQ please email us your suggestions to applied.linguistics@umb.edu and we'll incorporate them!

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Congrats on commencing your first semester in the Applied Linguistics Online Program! :-)

 

This info-post has been a long time coming, but before I wrote it I wanted to collect some frequently asked questions from you, and your fellow peers that came before you, in order to get a more comprehensive write-up!

 

in your first semester the Applied Linguistics program signed you up for two introductory courses, so you don't have to worry about registration.  So, what's next you might ask?  Well, the fact that you are reading this means that you are on a good path!  The first thing that you should do is to read the main posting located in the New Online Student Information group.  The information there deals mostly with administrative  aspects of the program. This post is meant to address the more academic related matters of studying in Applied Linguistics.

 

One big thing to do, before classes start, is to order your books. We usually aim to have textbook information for Spring semester available by December 20th, and Summer and Fall course information available by May 1st.  We usually post an announcement in the Announcements Block of this site (if you click on the Homepage menu item, you will see announcements top and center). By providing you with textbook lists early on you have an opportunity to find the cheapest prices, and to also thumb through the books to get a feel for the material.  When I was a student (campus program) I took the opportunity to read texts over the summer for fall courses, this made my fall semesters feel a little less compact :)  

 

Once you have textbooks ordered, the next big thing is to make sure you are able to log into your student email, into WISER, and into Blackboard.  The credentials for logging on are the same across all three systems are the same (UMB email and password).  In the New Student Information Group there are instructions for accessing email.  Just log in once to make sure things are working.  Once you check this out you should also get a library barcode (instructions are in a discussion in the New Student Info group).  OK. With all this prep-work done, what about classes? W1hat should you do to get prepared for classes?  First we have  some answers from our FAQ! Secondly, a number professors (but not necessarily all) send a quick introduction email (check you UMB emails!) the week before classes begin to welcome them to the course and make them aware of any class specific tips and strategies. If you can think of more questions - please email applied.linguistics@umb.edu and let us know!

 

I thought I was signed up, but I don't see anything in Blackboard yet. What's going on?

If the semester has not begun yet, it's normal not to see anything in Blackboard.  Courses do not show up there until the first day of the semester.  If the semester has begun, and you still don't see courses there yet - do contact us to troubleshoot!  As always our email is applied.linguistics@umb.edu.

 

How much interaction is there with professors?

The greatest concern of students that are studying online is that would be an isolating experience. One thing that is important to learners is the ability to collaborate with classmates and make connections with professors. How is this achieved when studying online? Just like in on-campus courses, there are different methods and styles of teaching. We have some professors that take the "hands off" approach, so that they don't stifle meaningful student interactions, and we have other professors that get really involved in classroom discussions. This depends, in large part, on the learners themselves and the group dynamics in the classroom. Students get feedback in their assessments and have contact with the faculty that way, but participation in discussion boards varies on a course-by-course basis. Learners connect with one another through weekly discussions, group projects, and through our community on this website


Are there online lectures or is it simply watching videos/reading books independently?
Again, this depends on a course-by-course basis.

There are asynchronous videos where students watch short lectures and read materials independently, and then convene in online discussions forums and group projects in order to discuss and go over the material. Our program doesn't use "live" lectures because we have students distributed in all US time zones, as well as Europe and Asia. This would make live lectures with the entire class an impossibility :-) Most interactivity is achieved via assignments and discussions on discussion forums between fellow learners and the faculty member teaching the course.

 

What does an average class look like?

It's hard to really pinpoint an "average" class. Different subjects lend themselves to different formats in terms of how each class unfolds. The only real constant is that our courses are about 14 weeks in length in the fall and spring semesters.  Classes usually are setup as weekly modules and students usually have one week to undertake the activities that are associated with that module, which usually includes readings, discussion forum postings, and assignments.

One of the things that I see as a pitfall for new online students is that they leave the "online" component until the last moment. They usually read the textbook materials, they work on the assignments, but they don't participate in the forums throughout the week. Then they log in on Friday (a day or two before the module ends) and they are confronted with 100+ forum posts (and then they freak out a bit) :-) The key to successful forum participation is to make time, every day, to check the forums. I think that 30 minutes in the morning and 30-45 minutes in the evening should be more than enough. This way you can read what you classmates have posted, you can respond to them, and you can keep up with the discussion. You don't have to respond to everything that is posted by your classmates, so if you log in one time, read everything, and decide that you don't have anything to write back in that session it's perfectly fine.


What is the outcome of this program? I want to know what this program would prepare me for. Is it more theoretical or practical?
Broadly speaking, our entire curriculum revolves around language and literacy and is very much anchored in the discipline of applied linguistics. We do cover methodology for teaching language, but we don't go in depth for classroom management techniques, or tackle specific content (i.e. social studies curriculum, teaching math to ESL students, etc.). So, our program is somewhere in the middle of the road, between theoretical and practical. I am an alumnus of the program (on-campus) and from my own experiences, some courses go more toward the theoretical, and some go more toward the practical. In recent years we've also expanded our research options, so if research is something you think you might want to pursue, do contact our Research Coordinator!


How is assessment done? What methods of evaluation do the professors use? Do students receive GPA/letter grades as in other programs?
Just like with on-campus courses, this depends. Participation in class is a common factor in all of our courses. Beyond that there are exams, papers, groups projects, presentations, annotated bibliographies and many more methods. This really depends on the subject matter of the course. Students do receive letter grades (and they have a calculated GPA) like all other programs.



How much time of studying does it take per course?
This really depends on the learner. Each course is 3 credits. The usual formula, for a regular 15-week semester, is that students study/prepare for 4-5 hours for each credit, each week. So, if a student is taking 1 course, the student should be expected to spend 12-15 hours each week working on materials for that course (readings, videos, discussion boards, papers, etc.). Granted, some weeks will be lighter than others, and some weeks will be heavier depending on the topic or what is due. Also, some people are speedier readers than others, or may have prior knowledge that helps them progress a little faster. These are just general guidelines to help you plan your weekly schedule.

 

 

 

 

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As always, if you found this post useful, please click on "like".

If you have questions not addressed by this info post, do send us an email at applied.linguistics@umb.edu and we'll address those, and add to the FAQ as necessary.

 

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Can I back out of the capstone?

So this is a common question that comes up every now and again with the capstone.  You have completed your comp-exam permission form (aka Capstone-Exam RSVP), you have been studying hard, but on the day of the exam you decide that maybe you are not ready. What to do?

 

I know that the capstone can be stress inducing, I've been there :)  One of the things that we tell our students is that it is possible to not take the comps, even if you signed up for them!  If you don't feel confident on the day of the exam, it's still OK to back out and take them in a subsequent semester! Do not feel pressured to come and take the exam if you don't feel adequately prepared; or if something has happened in your personal lives that is draining away your concentration.

 

If you do decide to not take the exam, please email us at applied.linguistics@umb.edu and let us know. This way we can sign you up for the program fee which maintains you as an active student and allows you to take the exam in a subsequent semester.

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Can I transfer courses into the program?

One of the questions that comes up every now and again is whether or not students, both those who are newly matriculated and those who are not, can transfer credits from other institutions. The answer is it depends.

Applicants who have completed graduate course work at other accredited institutions may transfer toward the completion of a UMass Boston graduate degree up to 6 credits from such courses in which the applicant received a grade of B or higher. Applicants who have completed graduate course work at UMass Boston as a non-degree student may transfer toward the completion of a UMass Boston graduate degree up to 6 credits from such courses in which the applicant received a grade of B or higher. These courses may be accepted for transfer provided that they:

  • Have not been used to fulfill requirements for another degree or certificate;
  • Were earned no more than seven (7) years before matriculation in the program into which the  student wishes to transfer credit.
  • All grade must be a B or higher - P (pass) is not acceptable grade.
  • Transferred courses cannot be used to substitute core courses, they can count only as electives.
  • Prior course work must be equivalent and relevant to course work offered in the program for transfer credit to be awarded

The combined total of courses transferred from other institutions and from UMass Boston courses taken as a non-degree student may not exceed 12 credits.

Accepted students who wish to take non-degree courses in the semester between acceptance and matriculation that will take them over the 6-credit transfer limit may petition their program director to grant them a Pre-Matriculation Transfer Waiver. Students should consult with their advisors about transferring credits. Transfer credit is subject to the final approval of the graduate program director and the Registrar

If you believe that the courses you would want to transfer please email syllabi for the courses, along with a rationale for transfer (a few paragraphs should do) to applied.linguistics@umb.edu

Degree-seeking students should consult with their advisor before enrolling into courses in other institutions to ensure that these courses are transferable.

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As always, if you find this information helpful, please "like" it by pressing the little "like" icon.

If you have questions about this, please post a question in the New Student Orientation Group.

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NOTE:  This information only applies to learners who matriculated prior to the fall of 2019 and have not  already waived the field experience requirement. The curriculum has been updated and the field experience is no longer waiveable as of March 1, 2020.

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It is my understanding that in the past students generally submitted their Field Experience Waivers right before their last semester.  You can, of course, do this, however if you believe that you are eligible for a Field Experience Waiver, it's best (in my opinion) to get that taken care of as early as possible.  Why?, you ask.  Well, when you waive the Field Experience (APLING 690) you still need to take an elective in its place.  If you wait until the last minute to apply for a waiver you have to take any ol' elective offered in the spring.  If you take care of the waiver earlier on, you have a choice of electives to take in its stead.

 

So, what do you need to get the waiver?

If they are currently teaching or have taught in the recent past.

In order to obtain a waiver you need to get a letter from a supervisor stating that you have taught for their institution, on formal letterhead.

 

The letter should include:

  • Institution Name
  • Your supervisor's name and title
  • Your name
  • What time frame you were teaching for them
  • Evidence of a minimum of one year fulltime teaching experience in an ESL, bilingual, or foreign language setting.
  • What language courses were you teaching? (e.g.: FRENCH101, Introductory Latin, Intermediate Greek, ESL 1)
  • How often were you teaching these courses? (e.g.: ESL 1, every fall; ESL level 3, Every other fall)
  • Was the teaching part time or full time
  • How many hours spend on average per week in the classroom
  • If you had department mandated office hours, how many hours per week did you have office hours?


The letter should be written on official letterhead and should include the contact information of the person signing it.
Keep in mind that this is not an evaluation of your teaching, simply an acknowledgement that you are employed as a teacher by this institution currently, or at some point in the recent past.

 

Please mail letters to:
Department of Applied Linguistics
Attn: Online Program
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125, USA.

 

 

Please scan and keep a copy of this letter for your own copies.  If you would like to email a PDF copy to applied.linguistics@umb.edu (which the original paper copy makes its way to us via post) this is OK too :-)

 

If you have questions, please let us know!

 

AK

 

PS: If you find this blog post helpful, please hit the "like" button :)

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