Course Syllabus

Instructor: 
Michael Aparicio

Contact Information: 
Canvas: If you prefer, you can contact me by sending a message through Canvas. Or...
Email: maparicio@santarosa.edu
Office: Emeritus 1516
Phone: 527-4439

Spring Hours 
Monday: 
8:30am-9am: Office Hour 
9am-10:30am: Phil 6 
10:30am-12noon: Phil 21
12noon-1pm: Office Hour

Tuesday: 
9:30am-10:30am: Office Hour 
10;30am-12noon: Phil 6 
12noon-1:30pm: Phil 3 
5:30pm-6pm: Office Hour 
6pm-8pm: Phil 3 
8pm-8:30pm: Office Hour

Wednesday: 
8:30am-9am: Office Hour 
9am-10:30am: Phil 6 
10:30am-12noon: Phil 21
12noon-1pm: Office Hour

Thursday: 
9:30am-10:30am: Office Hour 
10;30am-12noon: Phil 6 
12noon-1:30pm: Phil 3 

Friday: 
9:30am-10am: Office Hour 
10am-12noon: Phil 3 
12noon-12:30pm: Office Hour

My scheduled office hours are "Drop in."  There is no need for an appointment.  Most weekdays, I also will be available for appointments at other times. Don't hesitate to ask.  

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The course familiarizes students with a number of skills used to think critically. After a brief introduction, we will fine-tune our ability to 1) recognize statements, 2) recognize arguments, 3) distinguish between an argument's conclusion and premises, and 4) identify different types of arguments. These skills will be used to fine-tune our ability to assess arguments. Upon completion of the course, successful students will be able to identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments encountered in day-to-day life.

 

COURSE EXPECTATIONS

PARTICIPATION You are not graded for your class participation.  However, participating in our daily class meetings is a precondition for our learning process. For this reason there are four (4) participation expectations. 

First, you are expected to attend class.  Any student missing at least 10% of our class meetings will be considered "excessively absent," in violation of the college's "Attendance policy," and expected to attend an office meeting to determine if the student will be dropped from the class. 

Second, you are expected to attend class promptly.  Tardiness is a form of disruption.  If you are tardy, you are expected to comply with any instructor directives, which may include an after-class meeting, sitting in front of class, or leaving class.  If you are tardy and find a note on the classroom door, you are expected to comply with the directions on the note.   Any student failing to comply with a directive or repeatedly disrupting the class will be suspended from class as defined in the college’s Rules and Regulations: http://www.santarosa.edu/for_students/rules-regulations/ .  Any class meeting during which a student is asked to leave or from which a student is suspended will count as an absence. 

Third, you are expected to behave in a way that is consistent with the college’s Academic Integrity policies, Discrimination policies, Sexual Harassment policies, and Student Conduct policieshttp://www.santarosa.edu/for_students/rules-regulations/ .  Please note: “Disruptive behavior” includes any behavior that distracts the instructor or any student (including you) from the course’s stated educational tasks. This includes, but is not limited to, 1- tardiness, 2- leaving the room during class, 3- use of a cell phone or other electronic equipment, 4- eating, 5- "side talking," and 6- passing notes. If you are disruptive, you are expected to comply with any instructor directives, which may include an after-class meeting, seat relocation, or leaving class. Any student failing to comply with a directive or repeatedly disrupting the class will be suspended from class as defined in the college’s Rules and Regulations. Any class meeting during which a student is asked to leave or from which a student is suspended will count as an absence. 

Fourth, our class is a facilitated classroom learning experience.  While electronic devices can be useful for note-taking, they are distracting to the students using them, the students nearby, and often the instructor.  As a result, once class begins, electronic devices may not be used in class.  Exceptions will be granted for students who have accommodation needs or other warranted and responsible requests.  Any student failing to meet these expectations will be suspended from class

Please remember, our classroom is for the purpose of learning.  The moment you enter the classroom you are expected to comply with our class's participation policies. 

WEEKLY PRACTICE A key to our course's learning process will be practice.  You are not graded for your practice.  However, good practice skills will provide essential preparation for our graded assignments. 

Weekly Online Practice: There will be weekly recommended and ungraded online practice examples designed to assist our efforts to learn our critical thinking skills.  Most weeks this will include Flashcards, Tutorials, Handouts, and Practice Quizzes. 

GRADED ASSIGNMENTS Our class includes three different types of graded assignments.  They will be the only measures used to determine how well you are learning in our course. 

Weekly Online Quizzes There will be weekly required and graded online quizzes. Each quiz will assess your ability to demonstrate all of the skills we've learned up to that week of the semester. 

Mid-Term Exam: There will be a required and graded mid-term exam.  The exam will assess your comprehensive understanding of the skills we've learned up to that point in the semester. 
Final Exam: There will be a required and graded final exam. This exam will assess your comprehensive understanding of the skills we've learned during our semester. 

GETTING STARTED

Please begin by buying our course textbook, reviewing our course website, and completing all of Week #1's tasks listed on our course schedule, which is found in the modules section of this web site.

 

IMPORTANT DATES

Each week's required and recommended tasks are listed in our course schedule. Please remember that, in the end, you are responsible for knowing each assignment's due date and completing each assignment promptly.

 

TEXTBOOK

Critical Thinking, Bassham, Irwin, Nardone, and Wallace, McGraw Hill.  Please note- The textbook is sold in the bookstore. If you happen to buy it online, make sure, 1) It is not the first edition or international edition; 2) You have the textbook before the first day of class. 

 

GRADING

Weekly Online Quizzes: You will earn two points for each correctly answered quiz question.  Combined, your quizzes are worth 400 points. 

Mid-Term Exam: The mid-term exam will be worth 200 points. 

Final Exam: The final exam will be worth 400 points. 

In total, you can earn up to 1000 points.  Your grade will be based on the percentage of these points that you earn: 
A: 90%-100%
B: 80%-89%
C: 70%-79%
D: 60%-69%
F: 0%-59%

No other considerations will determine your semester grade. 

Please remember ... 

NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED 
YOU MUST HAVE PRIOR INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL TO RE-SCHEDULE ANY ASSIGNMENT. 

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THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN YOUR GRADE IS YOUR OWN WORK. 

 

EXTRA-CREDIT

Extra-Credit Quizzes: Each student is allowed up to three (3) "Oops."  An "oops" is a make-up quiz that replaces a quiz grade.  To replace a quiz grade, come to my office within seven days of that quiz's due date, and I will explain how to complete the make-up quiz You may complete up to three (3) make-up quizzes. 

In addition, the last week of our semester, there will be an extra-credit quiz. The grade you earn on it will replace your lowest quiz grade.  

Mid-Term Exam: You may improve your mid-term grade by completing the extra-credit mid-term exam at the end of the semester.  If the grade you earn on this assignment is higher than your mid-term grade, then the grade you earn on this extra-credit assignment will replace your mid-term grade.

These extra-credit opportunities are designed to consider improvement and minimize the impact of occasional failure. No other considerations will determine your semester grade.

Remember ... 
YOU MUST HAVE PRIOR INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL TO RE-SCHEDULE ANY ASSIGNMENT. 

NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED 

 

 

ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Critical Thinking discussions, activities, and assignments frequently involve questioning one’s assumptions. The goal of this self-examination is not to persuade you to change your beliefs. Rather, the goal is for each of us to fine-tune our ability to identify, analyze, and assess arguments, no matter how controversial the topic. To promote an environment in which each of us feels comfortable doing this, it will be important to understand, appreciate, and value each other’s academic freedom. Toward this end, both the instructor and students are expected to honor the following policies: 
Student Academic Freedom Policy  Every student has a right to pursue instruction objectively. This includes, but is not limited to, having instruction which distinguishes between general knowledge and the instructor’s personal opinion, having instruction which acknowledges the existence of plausible opposing opinions, and being evaluated using only the standards noted in this syllabus. In addition, every student has a right to instructional methods which are conducive to his/her academic freedom. While a student’s presuppositions may be questioned by the instructor or other students, and the student may be expected to question his/her presuppositions, this shall be pursued in a manner that is consistent with each student’s freedom:  1. To inquire;  2. To explore difficult and controversial material within official course descriptions;  3. To access any available information relevant to the official course descriptions;  4. To express differing opinions with students, faculty, staff, and administration;  5. To demonstrate, learn, and defend critical thinking skills;  6. To demonstrate, learn, and defend intellectual honesty;  7. To learn in an environment free of intimidation and censorship; and  8. To be graded solely on considerations that are intellectually relevant to the subject matter as articulated in the course’s official course description and described in the course’s syllabus. 
Faculty Academic Freedom Policy  The instructor has a right to pursue instruction objectively. This includes, but is not limited to, having the freedom to state personal opinion, having the freedom to ignore or identify implausible opposing opinions, and having the freedom to evaluate using solely the standards noted in this syllabus. In addition, the instructor has a right to use instructional methods which are conducive to academic freedom. As such, the instructor not only has a right to question a student’s presuppositions, allow other students to question a student’s presuppositions, or expect the student to question his/her presuppositions; but, so long as instruction is pursued in a manner that is consistent with each student’s academic freedom, the instructor shall be free:  1. To inquire; 
2. To present and explore difficult and controversial material that is relevant to the official course descriptions;  3. To present and explore any information that is relevant to the official course descriptions; 
4. To express differences of opinion with students, faculty, staff, and administration; 
5. To demonstrate, teach, and defend critical thinking skills; 
6. To demonstrate, teach, and defend intellectual honesty; and 
7. To teach and interact in an environment free of intimidation and censorship. 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Hopefully this syllabus has provided a good introduction to our course's resources, expectations, and policies.  A key to successfully completing the course will be understanding each.  If, at any time during our semester, you have any questions about our course, including questions about our resources, expectations, and policies, don't hesitate to ask before class, after class, or during one of my office hours.  My office is close to our classroom in Emeritus 1516.  

Course Summary:

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