Lesson Weekend

Below is our student handbook. Please read it thoroughly before your first day of class, and review regularly throughout the program, and as need arises.

Student Handbook


Table of Contents

Welcome


Welcome to Epicodus! We're so excited you're here. Before class begins, there are some things we'd like you to know to make the most of your time with us. We'll start with the big picture.

The Big Picture


General Philosophy

Any experienced developer will tell you that the more you learn about programming, the more you realize just how little you know. The specific languages, tools, and approaches you'll learn here are much less important than the general skills of solving problems. 

Successful programmers embrace the limitations of what they can know, and get good at figuring out what they don't know. They develop a mindset in which not knowing the answer isn't a source of anxiety, but rather an opportunity to learn and explore.

Our best advice is to not think of Epicodus as a place to learn Ruby, React, C#, JavaScript, or some other language or tool. Instead, think of it as a place to learn how to learn.

Growth Mindset

As part of your pre-class work, you'll read about the growth mindset. Here's a quick explanation made of excerpts from that article:

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows.

Neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.

Our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.

People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure.

Mindsets can be taught; they're malleable.

If you have a growth mindset - if you enjoy challenging yourself and view your failures as opportunities to learn, not mistakes to be ashamed of - you'll be much more successful at Epicodus. Work on developing a growth mindset. Your teachers will help guide you in that direction.

An important part of this growth mindset is to measure your progress against yourself, and not against other students. It's unlikely you've previously used your brain as intensely as you will at Epicodus, and getting used to this kind of a mental workout is hard enough without adding the pressure of comparing yourself to others. Everybody has their own way and pace of learning and retaining information, and often that pace ebbs and flows throughout the class. Go at a pace that's right for you, and avoid comparing your progress to other students'. 

Code of Conduct

At Epicodus, students spend all of their time working together, in pairs and often in groups of pairs. We have observed that, in both learning and practicing software development, people learn more and write better software when working together than when working alone.

Such close collaboration requires that students at Epicodus commit to supporting and respecting each other.

To participate in Epicodus, you must agree to:

  • Be kind to others. Most of the time, this should be easy. (If this is something you have trouble with on a regular basis, you shouldn't enroll in Epicodus.) Occasionally, this will be difficult, especially with people you don't like, or with people who have not been kind to you. Nevertheless, under all circumstances, you agree to be kind to others.
  • Assume others' good intentions. When someone does something that feels unkind to you, assume that person has good intentions. Perhaps they did not mean to be unkind. Perhaps they are in a bad mood. Perhaps you did something that hurt them without realizing it.
  • Help other students be kind to you. Intention is different than impact. Even when you assume others' good intentions, others' behaviors and actions can impact you in negative ways. If someone does something that hurts or offends you, talk to them about what they did and how it hurt you. If you are not comfortable talking to them, ask a teacher or friend to help you talk to that person.
  • Respect people's differences. Students at Epicodus are of diverse races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, religions, economic statuses, and many other differences. Don't assume anything about someone's ability or personality because of such differences, and don't say anything hurtful about who they are. If you aren't sure if something might be hurtful, don't say it. Do not make assumptions about a person's gender pronouns and use the gender pronoun the person requests such as she, he, or they.
  • Don't make others feel uncomfortable. Different people have different feelings and expectations about sex and romance. Sexual harassment can take many forms and it can be difficult to anticipate what conduct may be offensive or unwelcome to others. Be respectful to your classmates: if you aren't sure if something will make someone uncomfortable, don't do it.
  • Work hard and stay focused. The highly collaborative nature of the class means that your classmates will be relying on you to come to class for the entire day, every day, for the entire course, unless you are sick or have a personal emergency. During class, stay focused on your work. Turn off your cell phone and don't check email, Facebook, or any other website that does not relate to the work at hand.
  • Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep on school nights. Eat well. Exercise for at least 20 minutes every day, even if it's just walking. It will make you a better coder, and a better teammate to your classmates.
  • Treat school the way you would a job. Epicodus is training for a career, so treat other students with the same professional courtesy you would co-workers, and your teacher and other staff with the same respect you would a work supervisor.

Hopefully, this Code of Conduct is how you strive to behave anyways. If it is not, you should probably not enroll in Epicodus. The Epicodus staff will have the final say in the interpretation of this Code, and if they decide you have violated it, they will ask you to leave the class.

Epicodus is an opportunity not just to learn web development, but to practice working closely with others. On the rare occasions that you find such close collaboration difficult, we hope this Code of Conduct will be your guide.

All students and staff must follow our Code of Conduct. If you violate the Code of Conduct, your teacher or another Epicodus staff will talk with you about what you did, why it violated the Code of Conduct, and document the meeting by sending you an email. If you violate the Code of Conduct a second time, you will be expelled and may not re-apply.

Epicodus's management may, in their sole discretion, deem your first violation malicious and expel you without previous warning. Examples of malicious violations include using racial slurs or making threats of violence.

If you've witnessed or been subject to behavior from another student that violates Epicodus's Code of Conduct, please inform a staff member.

We realize that you may experience a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, but that isn't a clear violation of the Code of Conduct, and that you may not feel comfortable sharing with a staff member. In this type of situation, you may fill out our anonymous complaint form. This form is anonymous and the information you share cannot be used to take concrete action against a student, such as determining a Code of Conduct violation. However, Epicodus staff may use this information to inform the student of the impact of their action and ask them to be mindful of that impact in their future behavior.

Class Structure


Pairing

Most days, you'll spend most of your classroom time at Epicodus pair programming, in which you'll share a computer, keyboard, and mouse with another student. We've found pair programming to work really well in our classroom for several reasons:

  • You catch each other's' mistakes, typos, and bugs.
  • You learn to communicate about your code.
  • It forces you to look at your code from another's perspective.
  • Knowledge, ideas, and approaches diffuse quickly around the classroom.
  • Working with someone else keeps you focused and productive.
  • It's fun and you get to know your classmates really well!

From past classes, we've seen that teamwork and communication skills are more important than coding skills when it comes to applying for jobs. So use pairing as a way to intentionally build your skills in these areas!

All that said, pairing has its drawbacks, the main one being that some of your pairs will learn  at a different pace than you. Your goal should be to find other students who work at about the same pace as you. Some days you'll pair "up" with somebody who understand the concepts better than you: take these opportunities to learn from your pair. Some days you'll pair "down": take these opportunities to better cement your own understanding by explaining to your pair.

Pairing is a requirement of attending Epicodus. If you aren't able to pair for some reason, such as an odd number of students, notify your teacher at the beginning of class. Working solo counts as being absent from class, and the attendance policy applies regardless of whether you miss class by not showing up or by not pairing and participating fully.

Make sure you try to find pairs who are relatively close to your level of understanding. If you always pair down, you won't push your limits. If you always pair up, you'll find that even if you think you understand a concept, you won't be able to implement it yourself. If you have a couple days in a row where your pairs haven't been well-matched, talk with a teacher and they can help you find a good pair for the next day.

Less frequently, pairing can be difficult because of different learning styles or personality conflicts. Take some time to talk to your pair about your learning style before you start: do you take a lot of notes, talk things through before starting, or explore lots of tangents? Finding out about your pair's style and discussing what to do if you have different approaches or priorities can help you avoid conflicts later. If you do end up in a situation where you're feeling frustrated or uncomfortable, your pair is probably feeling that way too. Take a deep breath, take a break if you need to, and then talk about it with them. It's tough, but it's better than suffering through the day: talking about it will relieve the tension. Ask a teacher if you need help having that conversation. Remember that everybody will have difficult pairs, especially at first. But it's worth it, especially when you find people who you work really well with. 

Until the end of the class, when we'll work on larger projects, you'll switch pairs every day. Finding pairs can be tricky and awkward, especially at first. To help you out, you can find pair suggestions in our student portal, Epicenter. We'd also suggest that you ask your teachers for recommendations, as well as other students you've paired well with.

We want everybody to feel part of our community Epicodus, and we have seen that sometimes some people who are part of minority groups don't feel as included. One thing we've seen in some classes is students forming cliques that members of minority groups don't feel included in or comfortable around. An easy way that you can help keep that from happening is switching pairs every day, and resisting the temptation to pair with the same people over and over.

Class and Homework Format

The only way to become a programmer is to spend a lot of time programming, and Epicodus is designed to maximize the time you spend actually programming.

For classwork each day, you'll be assigned a new project, and each day, you'll work with a different pair (towards the end of the program, you may work on longer projects). For homework, you'll have approximately an hour of lessons introducing you to new concepts and tools. Some days will have lighter or heavier loads of lessons to read, depending on the week's material. You're expected to go through the lessons on your own but not to code along with them or understand them completely. If you have the time, it is recommended to code along with the homework. Likewise, there are no lectures in class - that's what the homework is for. Each weekend will also have a set of lessons that you'll need to read through before beginning work in class the following week.

For our full-stack programs, there will be a career services related curriculum that runs aside your coding assignments. For the full-time full-stack program, the calendar for that can be found here. For the part-time full-stack program, the calendar for that can be found here. There will be time set aside during class to complete these assignments.

It's crucial that you spend the time to read the lessons before class, so you and your partners can use your time together most effectively to implement those concepts. It is unfair to both your pair, and yourself, if you do not come to class prepared.

Assessment

At the end of most weeks, you'll work alone on an independent project that will help you make sure you understand the topic covered in the course section and identify any gaps in your knowledge. You shouldn't ask other students or your teachers for help.

For the full-time full-stack program, you'll have all day Friday to complete your individual project from home. You are expected to work between 8am and 5pm.

For the part-time full-stack program, you will have all weekend to complete your individual project. You are expected to work a minimum four hours on this project.

The following week, your teacher will give you feedback on your project either in person, on a video call, or in writing.

Career services assignments will all have dedicated time in class to work on them. Advisors will discuss the assignments with students ahead of the dedicated class time, and give feedback on assignments in the following week. The assignments for career services can be found in Epicenter in the Internship course.

Each assignment contains several objectives. Your teacher or advisor will assess whether your project meets each objective all of the time, most of the time, or none of the time. You must meet all of the standards most of the time or all of the time in order to pass. You must submit your project by the specified deadline. If you do not meet the objectives by your first submission deadline, you'll need to resubmit your project.

The resubmission deadline is always 10 days after the project was initially assigned. If your project is not passing all objectives by the resubmission deadline, you'll be marked as having unmet requirements and you will have one additional week to meet all objectives on your project by the final deadline.

If your project is not passing all objectives by the final deadline, 17 days after the project was initially assigned, you will be expelled from the program. You will also be expelled if you're marked as having unmet requirements a third time. At Epicodus's discretion, you may be invited to re-join the program at a later date.

Academic Honesty

The code reviews we do for your individual projects is the main way your teachers can see where your skills are at, and the only chance for you to get feedback on your individual work to make sure that you're learning what you need to know to be successful after graduating. If you copy someone else's work, you lose out on that feedback about your work. And if you graduated by passing off others' work as your own, you'd not only be setting yourself up for failure at their job, but your failure on the job would also hurt the reputation of all other Epicodus students.

For these reasons, it's extremely important that you submit only your own work for individual projects. Students found to have copied others' work or received help from others will be expelled.

The Role of Teachers

Most of programming is getting stuck and figuring out how to get un-stuck, so asking for help is a balance between struggling with a problem for long enough to build your own problem-solving skills, and not spending too much time and frustration on any one problem. A good rule of thumb is to spend 20 minutes trying to solve a problem yourself before asking for help. Another tip is if you're frustrated and nothing seems to be working, take a walk and get away from your computer screen for a little bit. You'll be amazed at what your subconscious can figure out when you let it rest.

An important skill to develop at Epicodus is understanding other people's code. So before you ask a teacher for help, you'll ask another pair of students, to give them a chance to try understanding your code and helping you figure out what to do.

When you do need help from a teacher, you'll find that they will ask more questions than provide answers - their goal is to help guide you to the the next step, rather than give you the solution outright. Sometimes, you may even find that if you ask two different teachers for help on the same problem, they give you two different suggestions. Although it can be frustrating at the time to not just get the answer to your problem, our alumni have always thanked us later for making them work through it. And when you come up with the answer yourself, it's much more rewarding!

Before you ask for help, make sure that you have gone through the lesson on debugging for the language you're working in and how to ask for help . Then, put in a help request at the help site for your class (your teacher will tell you on the first day). There are no limits on the number of questions you can ask, and there are certainly no "dumb questions", so long as you have taken the time to try to figure it out yourself.

Teachers are not available outside of class hours - your problem-solving struggles should happen during class, so there should be no need to contact your teachers outside of class. Please respect their personal time by not asking them to stay after class to help you.

Remember, the most important skill you'll learn at Epicodus is how to solve problems. Your teachers are merely your guides along this path. 

The Role of Advisors

In addition to your teachers, you will have an advisor dedicated to your cohort that will help set you up for success in your job search. Your advisor works with you from the time you begin at Epicodus until you find your first job in the industry.

You'll interact with your advisor on a regular basis throughout class. Each week, your advisor will give an informational talk on a topic related to the career services side of your education at Epicodus. They'll also be assessing all non-technical assignments. You can expect to meet individually with your advisor periodically throughout the class to check in about your progress, conduct mock interviews, and answer any questions you have about the job market. Your advisor will also coordinate your internship at the end of class.

Once you've graduated, your relationship with your advisor doesn't end! They'll check in with you regularly throughout your job search for any assistance and support you might need, whether that's goal setting, application material reviews, or having an accountability buddy to help stay motivated.

While there are regularly scheduled times to meet with your advisor, please don't hesitate to reach out to them as a resource throughout and after the program.

Attendance

To be counted as present, you must be in class, pairing, not late or left early.

Your attendance record will appear on your transcript, which will be sent to internship companies as part of the match-making process. We want to encourage you to take days off when you need to, so if your attendance is above 90%, your transcript will say “Epicodus requires students to attend class at least 90% of the time. This student met that requirement.”

Signing In Late and Signing Out Early

Signing in to class 15 minutes late or more counts as being tardy. Signing out earlier than 15 minutes counts as leaving early, as does signing out more than 30 minutes after the end of class. Each counts as missing half of a day. If you sign in late and leave early on the same day it counts as being absent.

Allowed Absences

For full-time full-stack students, if you are absent more than 5 days of class, a teacher will talk to you about your attendance, remind you of this policy, and send you an email. You may be expelled if you are absent more than 10 days of class, or are absent 3 days in one week. Staff may make an exception to this policy at their discretion. No exceptions will be granted after 15 absent days.

For part-time full-stack students or students enrolled in the 6-Week Intro to Programming Course, Sunday classes count as two days. If you are absent more than 10 days of class, a teacher will talk to you about your attendance, remind you of this policy, and send you an email. You may be expelled if you are absent more than 20 days of class, or are absent 3 days in two weeks. Staff may make an exception to this policy at their discretion. No exceptions will be granted after 30 absent days.

For part-time students enrolled in the 9-Week Intro to Programming Course, if you are absent more than 3 days, a teacher will talk to you about your attendance, remind you of this policy, and send you an email. You may be expelled if you are absent more than 5 days of class, or absent 2 days in one week. Staff may make an exception to this policy at their discretion. No exceptions will be granted after 10 absent days.

Your allowed absences are available for you to use for any reason. You may need to use them if you're sick, need a mental health break, or have a personal emergency. You are also welcomed to use them to work solo (without pairing with another student). If you choose to work solo, you are still welcome to attend class and ask questions of your teachers and advisors.

Communicating with Your Teacher

If you are absent, you should notify your teacher by email as soon as safely possible. You do not need to disclose the reason for your absence to any staff member or fellow student, though you are welcome to do so. If you are absent from class (or arrive late or leave early), it is up to you to make up whatever work you miss.

If you forget to sign in or out, you may request to have your attendance corrected no more than twice during the program. After those two fixes, your teacher will not make any additional adjustments to your attendance.

If you need to take a leave of absence, Epicodus staff can arrange for you to re-join a later cohort.

Attendance Honesty

It's a shame we have to say anything about this at all, but if you sign-in and then leave, have a friend sign in or out for you, falsely indicate you are pairing, or otherwise represent that you have attended class when you have not, you will be expelled from Epicodus and may not re-apply.

Reporting Attendance to Financial Aid Programs

If you receive financial support from a government program that requires progress reports or a daily attendance report, please ask your advisor at Epicodus to help get you that information.

Standup

Each day starts with a short "standup", where everybody in the class stands in a circle and has a chance to share news, events, and anything else of general interest to your classmates. Teachers also use standup to make announcements.

Tutoring/Mentorship

If you'd like extra one-on-one help outside of class, we have a list of community members and Epicodus alumni who are available as tutors/mentors in the student forum.

Continuing After Week Five

For our full-time classes, in the fifth week of class, if you've passed all of your code reviews, complied with our attendance policy, and followed our code of conduct, you'll be invited to continue with the remainder of our program.

If you don't pass your code reviews in the first five weeks of class, we may invite you to join the next cohort at no additional cost. We'll extend this offer to repeat no more than twice.

It's not out of the ordinary for students to find their first job even before they finish class, and we would never want someone to feel like they had to choose between accepting a job and getting to graduate. In the event that a student has successfully passed 10 assessments and the offer is for a job in-field, we may at our discretion waive the remaining graduation requirements.

Holidays

Epicodus is closed for these holidays:

  • New Year's Day (Note: Epicodus will be closed the first week of the year in 2020.)
  • Martin Luther King Jr Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • The week of Thanksgiving
  • The last week of the year

Internships and Jobs


Career Services and Internship Program Structure

Career coaching and internship preparation is integrated throughout the Epicodus full time program. From day one, you'll have a dedicated student advisor who will walk you through creating polished, professional, job-search ready resumes, cover letters, and your LinkedIn profile. You'll meet with your advisor multiple times throughout the program to review these materials and have a chance to practice doing a mock interview. Towards the end of the program, you'll begin applying to jobs and preparing for the internship.

When it comes to finding employment after graduation, we find that students are most successful when they take career prep assignments just as seriously as they take coding. For that reason, career materials follow the same academic policies outlined in the Assessment section of the Student Handbook. If you've passed all of your career reviews on time, you'll move on to the internship class.

In the first two weeks of your internship class, you'll have additional application prep help, go through several interviews with host companies, be matched with a host, and complete any prep work your host assigns. After the first two weeks, you'll begin your five-week internship. All internships are coordinated to take place immediately after your coursework ends. You will not be able to postpone the internship and take it at a later time.

The internship design is up to the host, but all have two common elements: at least 30 hours per week of programming or programming-related work as well as an experienced programmer available to you for at least 30 hours per week as a mentor.

As part of your internship application process, you'll send your attendance and transcript to the host companies you interview with. For complete information about the internship, see our student internship agreement.

Internship Eligibility

If you successfully complete your first four classes and have maintained a record of good attendance and pairing with other students, you will continue into your internship preparation.

Due to many employers' requirements, you must be authorized to work in the United States to participate in the internship program.

Job Hunting Support

After you finish your internship and graduate from Epicodus, our career coach will call and email you at least once a week to check in, until you find a job. If you want to delay your job search or aren't planning to look for development work after Epicodus, let us know so that we don't waste your and our time trying to contact you. If, after 3 emails and 2 phone calls, you do not respond to us, we will stop trying to provide job search assistance.

Please note that while Epicodus staff are dedicated to providing comprehensive career services, staff are unable to provide LinkedIn recommendations.

Facilities


After Hours Access and Security

There are security cameras that record our classroom at all times.

Portland Building Access

If you would like to use our facilities before 7am or after 9pm on weekdays, or at all during weekends, you will need a keycard.

Seattle Building Access

Our building is open 8am to 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. You will be issued a keycard on your first day of class at Epicodus.

Keycards

There are no initial fees for the keycard, but if you lose or do not return it on your last day of class, there will be a $25 charge. If you return your keycard within 90 days of the last day of class, you will receive a $15 refund.

If you misplace your key card, for security reasons, please let an Epicodus staff member know immediately so we can deactivate the card.

Transportation

Portland

If you bike to class, you can lock your bike in the parking garage beneath the building. (To help keep things clean, bikes are not allowed in our office.) Enter the garage on Harvey Milk between SW 5th and 6th Ave. There are bike racks in the garage, as well as indoors in the basement: go in the glass doors, go through the door to the right of the elevators, and turn right through hallways until you reach the bike lockers.

You'll need a keycard to access the indoor basement bike storage, as well as the first floor fitness center. To have your keycard enabled for these facilities, fill out this form for the bike storage and/or this form for the fitness center and email them to [email protected]

If you drive, parking can be difficult to find and expensive. Some students park on the east side around SE 12th and Ash, and then either bus over or walk (about 25 minutes walk). If you want to try parking downtown, there is a list of lots and prices at portland.bestparking.com . There is no parking available at our building.

Public transit is often much easier and cheaper than parking. A daily pass for the MAX is $5, which is about half of what most lots charge. TriMet has a list of Park & Ride areas for the MAX and bus lines. Parking is free at Park & Rides, but some fill up very early.

Seattle

If you bike to class, there is a bike room available in the basement of the building. Please ask your teacher for the access code.

If you drive, parking is very expensive. You can find a list of lots and prices here.

Cleanliness, Fragrance, Smoking

The Pacific Northwest is notorious for its hippie sensibilities, but please keep others' comfort in mind as you consider your bathing habits and deodorant use during class. Similarly, refrain from using perfume and scents, as others may be sensitive or simply not enjoy those smells. E-cigarettes, like regular cigarettes, must be smoked outside. Remember, pairing puts us all in close physical proximity.

Personal Devices, Internet Use

During class, we require that you put away your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and any other devices. While there may be times when it seems like it would be helpful to have a second device, from our experience, we've found that it all too often becomes distracting and disrespectful to your pair, other students, and teachers.

The only exceptions are that if you have a laptop, you're encouraged to bring it on Fridays for your code reviews, during the last week of class for your capstone project, and on Thursdays when when you're working on job applications during React. Your teacher will notify you about these times when it's appropriate to use your laptop.

You also may not check email, social media, or any other website that does not relate to your coursework.

If you disregard these rules, a teacher will remind you once about them in person, and send you an email documenting the conversation. If you disregard these rules again, you will be expelled from the program.

Equipment

Cubbies are available by the front door. Since our doors are unlocked during the day, we recommend you not keep any valuables in them. To keep items from being forgotten for long periods, anything left in them over the weekend will be moved to the lost and found.

All of our desks are set up for standing or sitting on the stool-height chairs we've provided. You can adjust the height of our desks by pulling out the handle and cranking it. While you may not have used a standing desk before and they do take a little getting used to, we've found that most of our students come to appreciate the option to alternate between sitting and standing and the improved circulation and energy that this little bit of movement provides. Having desks at standing height is also very helpful for our teachers, as leaning over to sitting-height desks all day is a big strain on the back. So in general, please do not replace the stool-height chairs with lower chairs without talking to a staff first. That said, we recognize that the provided stools are not the ideal shape for some body types and people with certain back conditions, so if you need to use a different chair, please talk to a staff member and we'll be happy to accommodate you. If at any point you do move chairs or any other furniture, please put it back in its original place before you leave.

Our chairs sometimes come loose. Please let a teacher know immediately if this happens, so they can replace it for you and tighten it. Continuing to use the chair will damage it.

We use mice and keyboards with ergonomic designs. Like our standing desks, the equipment takes a little getting used to but yields huge health benefits in the long run, helping prevent wrist injuries that many programmers experience after a few years of work. Some of the keyboards and mice have batteries. There is a battery charger for our rechargeable batteries on the northwest side of the classroom.

Shut down your computer at the end of every day. When you log out, restart, or shut down Epicodus computers, they will delete all of your changes, so remember to back up your code before you finish.

Food

Lunch is from noon to 1pm. You are welcome to take snack breaks at any time.

There is a kitchen area with microwaves and fridges. Keep all food and drinks without lids (except water) in the kitchen area, as the rest of the office is carpeted and spills are inevitable. Do not leave dishes in the kitchen, as there is not enough space for everybody's items; you can store them in your cubby instead. Everything in the fridge is thrown out each Friday evening or over the weekend. Dishes left in the kitchen will be put in the lost and found under the kitchen counter.

Alcohol is not allowed at Epicodus.

Lunch Speakers

Most Wednesdays we have guest speakers during lunch. Most of the talks are about working as a developer and related topics. Attending these talks is optional but highly recommended.

Bathrooms

Students may use bathrooms on Epicodus's floor and the floor above.

Gender diversity is welcome at Epicodus. Everybody is welcome to use the restroom that best fits their identity. A single stall restroom is available to the right of the men's restroom on the Portland campus. A gender neutral restroom is available on the sixth floor in the Seattle campus.

Accommodation

Epicodus is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities and other needs. For example, we have provided alternative assessment schedules for students with learning disabilities, and have made schedule adjustments for students with occasional transportation issues. On the other hand, we aren't able to accommodate requests that would result in a student being unable to meet graduation requirements, such as waiving assessment requirements, or would result in major disruption to other students, such as regularly arriving significantly late on days when students are pair programming.

Please request accommodation as soon as possible after being accepted with your advisor and/or teacher. We will ask for documentation from a healthcare provider when applicable.

Some of our classrooms are located in tall buildings on floors higher than ground level. In the case of an emergency, students may need to take the stairs to evacuate. If you have mobility issues that would impede your ability to evacuate via the stairs, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange accommodations ahead of time.

Staff Offices

If you need something from a staff member who isn't your teacher, send them an email. Please do not come into staff offices without an appointment, as staff members typically have very busy schedules.

Other Policies


Discrimination and Harassment

Respect for students' and staff's diverse backgrounds is a cornerstone of Epicodus's Code of Conduct. Epicodus prohibits discrimination against or harassment with regards to any local, state, or federal protected classes towards its applicants, students, employees. Protected classes include race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, receipt of public assistance, and protected genetic information.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed, please notify our President, Michael Kaiser-Nyman, in writing at [email protected] Any person unlawfully discriminated against, as described in ORS 345.240, may file a complaint under ORS 659A.820 with the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. Epicodus's policies governing employees will be enforced in situations where instructional staff or other school personnel have been found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior.

Giving Feedback

We want to hear your thoughts! There are several ways for you to tell us if something is or isn't working well. We use your feedback to improve our curriculum, teaching, and our processes in general.

Weekly Survey

Each week you will fill out a survey when you turn in your independent project. The survey is an opportunity to give anonymous feedback on curriculum, teaching, and the week overall. Your responses are not tied to your name or personal information.

Feedback on LearnHowToProgram.com

There is a feedback button in the lower right corner of the screen on LearnHowToProgram.com. If you don't see it and you're using an ad blocker, turn the blocker off. This is the best way to give feedback on a specific page of the curriculum. Make sure your feedback is specific so we can address it. If something doesn't work as well as it could (or if a lesson is particularly great!), use this button to let us know so we can improve it.

Direct Communication

We encourage you to communicate directly with our staff if you have any concerns at all. You're always welcome to email or have a conversation with your teacher, advisor, or any other staff member, and we will keep that communication confidential to our staff. If you are bringing up a negative experience you had with another student, we will ask you how you want us to address it and will ask permission before involving anybody else.

  • If you have any concerns about your classwork, curriculum, or another student, please reach out to your instructor.
  • If you have concerns about the teaching staff, the teaching department, or curriculum, please email the Director of Teaching, [email protected]
  • If you have concerns about advisors or the advising department, please email the Director of Student Services, [email protected]
  • If you have any concerns about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies or curriculum, please email the Director of Student Services, [email protected]

Anonymous Complaint Form

If you've witnessed or personally experienced behavior from another student that has made you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, and you don't feel comfortable telling a staff member yourself, you are welcome to use our anonymous complaint form.

Grievance

If for any reason you feel a student or staff member has violated the Code of Conduct, or if Epicodus is not meeting your needs in any way, please talk with your teacher, advisor, or any other staff member. If you aren't able to resolve your grievance in another way, email our President directly at [email protected] with the subject "Student Grievance" and list your specific grievances with supporting documentation. Epicodus will review your grievance and respond in writing within 15 days.

Oregon

If you have exhausted our interal grievance policy and 15 days after emailing our President your grievance has not been resolved, you may contact the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, per the state-required language below:

Students aggrieved by action of the school should attempt to resolve these problems with the appropriate school officials. Should this procedure fail students may contact:

Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission
Office of Post-Secondary Education
3225 25th Street SE
Salem, OR 97302

After consultation with appropriate Commission staff and if the complaint alleges a violation of Oregon Revised Statutes 345.010 to 345.470 or standards of the Oregon Administrative Rules 715-045-0001 through 715-045-0210, the Commission will begin the complaint investigation process as defined in OAR 715-045-0023 Appeals and Complaints.

Washington

If we are not able to help you, you may contact the Washington State Workforce Board, per the legally-required language below that you sign during your enrollment process:

Washington law requires private vocational schools to inform students how to file a complaint. By signing the grievance policy you acknowledge this process has been explained to you. Below are the next steps the school must take in discussing this policy with you, along with information about the complaint process.

First, a school representative must discuss the school's complaint policy with you. Following this discussion, you will be provided with this policy to sign. After you sign the form, the school will give you a copy for your personal records. The school will also keep a copy on file.

  1. The school has described the grievance and/or complaint policy to me.
  2. I understand that the policy can also be found in the school catalog.
  3. I know I should first try to resolve a complaint or concern with my instructor or school administrator.
  4. I understand nothing prevents me from contacting the Workforce Board at 360-709-4600 at any time with a concern or complaint, and complaint forms are: http://wtb.wa.gov/PCS_Complaints.asp.
  5. I understand that I have one year to file a complaint from my last date of attendance.
  6. I further understand that in the event of a school closure, I have 60 days to file a complaint.
  7. I also understand that complaints are public records.
  8. Finally, I acknowledge that details about the complaint process, my rights, and any restrictions on the time I have to file a complaint can be found at http://wtb.wa.gov/PCS_Complaints.asp

Student Files and Privacy

Epicodus keeps copies of student transcripts and other documents indefinitely. You can access your student files on your Epicenter account.

Epicodus staff will not release any information about you without your written permission provided by email, including whether or not you are (or have ever been) an Epicodus student, except:

  • to your parents if you are under 18;
  • if required to do so by a judicial order or subpoena;
  • appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;
  • specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
  • appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; and
  • organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school.

For any inquiry about you other than those above, including from employers, Epicodus will request your written permission before responding.

You may request that Epicodus correct records which you believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If Epicodus decides not to amend the record, you may request a formal hearing. If Epicodus still decides not to amend the record, you may place a statement in your record setting forth your view about the contested information.

Epicodus complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Mental Health Resources for Students

Sometimes Epicodus students can experience mental health challenges. This could be an ongoing challenge that you’ve experienced before or it could be a new difficulty resulting from managing the stresses of life while in an intensive program of study. Either way, we want you to know that mental health concerns are common and nothing to be ashamed of and that mental health support is available should you need it. The following list is by no means exhaustive and there are many more resources out there than it would be possible to list here. That said, we hope this gives you a place to start if you are looking for support and don’t know where to begin. If you need academic support or accommodation around mental health concerns, please reach out to an Epicodus staff member so we can collaborate on how to best support you in this program. Your mental and emotional wellness matter, so please take good care of yourself!

Hotlines and General Resources

Therapy Resources

Sliding-Scale Resources

Lesson 12 of 12
Last updated April 6, 2021