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The course's goal is to fine-tune our ability to deliberate over philosophical issues, concentrating on questions concerning the nature of The Good Life. We will read about (and in most cases from) ten thinkers: Socrates, Epicurus, Epictetus, Augustine, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Marx, DuBois, Carson, and Noddings. However, the course could have focused on different thinkers; for, in the end, it not a course about them or even the question "What is the Good Life?" They are examples of Philosophy. The course is an introduction to Philosophy.
PARTICIPATION You are not graded for your class participation. However, participating in each week's required tasks is a precondition for our learning process. For this reason, there are two participation expectations.
First, you are expected to complete our weekly required assignments. Any student missing over 10% of our assignments will be dropped from the class. Counting quizzes and exams, we have 30 graded assignments.
Second, you are expected to complete our assignments promptly. Do not procrastinate. If you procrastinate and experience technical difficulties, I consider your procrastination a more significant cause than the technical difficulty. After teaching for over 25 years, I no longer concern myself with distinguishing between good excuses and poor excuses. Each student is allowed to submit up to three weeks' quizzes late. No exceptions! To learn more, go to this syllabus's Extra-Credit section.
Please note: If you know in advance you are likely to miss a deadline and contact me earlier enough for us to problem-solve, I will make a reasonable effort to work with you. Sometimes I will allow for an alternative way of completing the work. Sometimes I will reschedule the deadline in advance. The proposed solution will depend upon the nature of the problem. This will not count as one of your three late submissions.
GRADED ASSIGNMENTS: Our class includes three different types of graded assignments. They will be the only measures used to determine how well you do in our course.
Quizzes: There will be three different kinds of online quizzes. Every time there is a required reading assignment there will be a graded Reading Quiz. You may take this quiz only one time. The score you earn on that submission will be that Reading Quiz grade. In addition, most weeks there will be a Review Quiz asking randomly selected questions from past Reading Quizzes. You may take this Review Quiz as many times as you wish. Your highest score will be that Review Quiz grade. Lastly, before our exams, there will be a type of review called a "Name That Philosopher Quiz." It will ask you to identify which philosopher is associated with a specific theme from our class. You may take this Name That Philosopher Quiz as many times as you wish. Your highest score will be that quiz's grade. All Reading Quizzes, Review Quizzes and Name That Philosopher Quizzes are untimed. That is, while they have due dates, you may take as long as you wish so long as you submit the quiz by 11:59 pm on that date.
See our course schedule (aka, Modules) for each online quiz's due date.
Mid-Term Exam: There will be one (1) mid-term exam. The exam's 30 multiple-choice questions will be based on our previous weeks' online quiz questions. The exam's essay question will be based on our previous weeks' Review Questions. The exam will be timed. You will have 2 hours to complete and submit it.
Final Exam: There will be a final exam. The exam's 50 multiple-choice questions will be based on our entire semester's online quiz questions. The exam's essay questions will be based on our entire semester's Review Questions. The exam will be timed. You will have 2 hours to complete and submit it.
Please note that your Mid-Term essay and Final Exam essay should focus on themes from our Review Questions. You may write about a different theme only if you request and receive timely approval. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about selecting your essay's themes.
Please begin by buying our course textbook, reviewing our course website, and completing all of the tasks listed under "Getting Started" on our course schedule.
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. Prior approval must be arranged to re-schedule any assignment's due date. No excuses. None! See the Extra-Credit section to learn how to deal with a missed quiz.
We have one required textbook:
Charles Guignon, The Good Life, Hacking Publishing, 1999.
Any other required or recommended reading will be online sources accessed through our class web site. There also will be weekly online videos found through our class web site. To confirm each week's required and recommended resources, review our course web site's semester schedule (i.e., Modules).
Quizzes: You will earn one point for each correctly answered quiz question (i.e., Reading Quizzes, Review Quizzes, Name That Philosopher Quizzes). 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.
Semester Grade: Your semester grade will be determined by applying your total points to the following scale:
A: 90% and above B: 80%-89% C: 70%-79% D: 60%-69% F: 0%-59%
Extra-Credit Quizzes: Each student is allowed up to three (3) "Oops." An "oops" is when you submit one or more quizzes late for any given week. To use one of your three "Oops," contact the instructor within seven days of that week's due date, and I will explain how to complete the tardy work. You may complete only the quizzes that were not completed on-time. You may not re-submit a quiz that you already submitted.
The course's grading policy is designed to consider improvement and minimize the impact of occasional failure. No other considerations will be used to determine your semester grade. Remember the single most important factor in your grade is your own work. Ultimately only you can change this for the better.
NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED
YOU MUST HAVE PRIOR INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL TO RE-SCHEDULE ANY ASSIGNMENT.
While we are not having class discussion this Fall 2020 term, we still can and hopefully will communicate with each other on our weekly Online Office, through the Canvas messager, and potentially through email. As always, I cherish our academic freedom and will enforce the college's Academic Freedom policy.
Philosophical 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 that 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 that 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 that 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 the 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 contact me and ask.
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.