CORE 151 L
Important! In order to be eligible for full credit on the Class Partcipation portion of your grade, you must start by posting two messages to the class discussion board. One will act to confirm that you have read and understood the syllabus and course schedule; the other will include personal information which will be available to your classmates. This must be done by midnight Friday, August 31, or you will not be eligible to receive full credit for Class Partcipation. Here is what you must do:
207 Hascall Hall — x7696
Philosophy and Religion Department
113 Hascall Hall — x7681
MW 2-3, and by appointment.
If you need to reach me outside of office hours please email me or call my office number and leave a voice message—be sure to leave a phone number or email address at which you can be reached.
The Epic of Gilgamesh - A. George, trans.
The New Oxford Annotated Bible, NSRV, 3rd Ed. - M.D. Coogan, ed.
The Iliad - Homer; R. Lattimore, trans.
Five Dialogues - Plato; G.M.A. Grube, trans.
The Golden Ass - Apuleius; P.G. Walsh, trans.
The Nature of Things - Lucretius; F.O. Copley, trans.
Beowulf - S. Heaney, trans.
Click here or above to access reading and event schedule.
Reading. You are expected to read the assigned material before it is presented in class. This does not mean skimming. This means reading critically—making an earnest effort to understand what the author is saying and how she is saying it, noting where you have questions, disagreements, confusions, etc. Feel free to write in the margins of your books, or, if you plan on selling them back, keep reading notes. This will help you in understanding the reading, passing the reading quizzes, participating in discussion, and writing papers (see below). You should always bring the relevant books to class.
Writing. Often the best way to understand something (e.g.: an author’s ideas, your own ideas) is to try to clearly write it out in your own words. There will be various forms of graded writing assignments—all designed to enhance class discussion and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the material and your ability to approach it critically. For more detail see the section on Assignments and Grading.
Discussion Participation. This class will be a balance of lecture and discussion, hopefully favoring discussion. On some topics I will have to lecture in order to build the background knowledge necessary for a good discussion. Even during the portions of class when I am lecturing, I encourage you to raise a hand, ask a question, and potentially start a class discussion. Occasionally we may split into small groups for discussion. We may, once in a while, use the Blackboard on-line discussion boards. Consistent, thoughtful participation will gain you full credit for this portion of your grade. There are things I can do to ready you for discussion, but in the end it is up to you to go for it—the more discussion we have, the more fun the class will be.
Critical Thinking. If you are doing well in the above three areas, then you are probably doing well with critical thinking, too. What I mean by ‘critical thinking’ is not just the expression of opinions, likes, and dislikes. Anyone can say what they believe, or react to what another believes. In some cases (hopefully many cases) you will have strong feelings about what we are reading or discussing. These strong reactions are good, but they are only the beginning. We want to do more than just express our reactions. Thinking critically requires (1) clearly and accurately expressing the relevant claims, (2) examining and questioning (both the reasons for and consequences of) others’ and (especially) one’s own beliefs, (3) developing and being responsive to alternative views, (4) trying to support or reject such views on the basis of evidence and argument, and (5) being willing to accept the outcome of such inquiry.
Attendance. The only way you will do well in the four areas above is by consistently attending class. More than one or two absences will negatively affect your grade, both by impeding success in the areas above, and by negatively impacting my assignment of your final grade. When you have good reason for being absent from class you should communicate with me as soon as possible concerning your circumstances.
Assignments and Grading:
Unannounced Reading Quizzes. There will be approximately 6-8 unannounced quizzes consisting of 1-2 very short answer questions designed to test basic comprehension of assigned reading. These are closed-book and will occur in the first 5 minutes of class. Thus, if you are late or absent on the day of a quiz, you will fail the quiz. Missed quizzes cannot be made up. Your lowest quiz grade will be disregarded. (Occasionally I may give a longer, open-book question.)
Short Papers. There will be 2 papers, 5-8 pages in length, one before midterm, one after. I will inform you of the exact due date at least 2 weeks ahead of time. The papers will involve (1) demonstrating an understanding of the reading and discussion and especially (2) demonstrating the ability to critique texts and ideas. Papers will not be accepted late. Click here for some notes concerning writing and grading.
Midterm and Final Exams. There will be two exams including identification, short answer, and essay questions. See the Course Schedule.
Assignment % of Final Average Reading Quizzes 15 Class Participation 15 Paper 1 15 Paper 2 20 Midterm Exam 15 Final Exam 20
Assignments are graded on a 0 to 4 point scale, with 0 being unsatisfactory (F), 2 being satisfactory (C), 3 being good (B), and 4 being excellent (A). Papers will not be accepted late. Click here for some notes concerning writing and grading.
Final Grade will be determined by your Final Average and factors such as attendance and improvement over the semester.
Please be on time to class. It is impolite and distracting to walk into class once it has already begun. Please do not start putting your books and papers away until the class is actually over. This, too, is impolite and distracting. In fact, I really hate both of these behaviors, so if you want to stay on my good side… Having said that, I realize that people are sometimes late. It is likely that I will be late at least once. Keep it to a minimum. If ever you know that you will be late, miss class, or have to leave early, let me know ahead of time.
Use my office hours. I will be in my office, or in the P&R Department in Hascall Hall, during the allotted time. This time is set aside for you, do not be timid, do not feel as if you are intruding upon me. We can, of course, make appointments to meet at other times, days, or places.
The more you communicate with me—regarding how quickly the class is moving, how difficult the assignments are, whether you will be late or miss a class, whether you are having trouble, etc.—the more smoothly the semester will go for all of us. Never hesitate to ask a question in class, even if you must interrupt me to do so. Never hesitate to approach me before, after, or outside of class.
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