Judgment about the progress of your work is based on the quality and depth of critical and constructive thinking exhibited on tests, quizzes, homework, position paper, and message board. Your course grade is determined by averaging the points you achieve from the following scores:
Your final course grade is assigned according to your final average.
Judgment about the progress of your work is based on three test scores, a quiz average, and a writing average. The course is essentially performance-based and consists of a progressive series of concepts to be learned and mastered. For this reason, few students can do well in this course by ``cramming'' before exams.
All grades during the semester will be posted on the philosophy server. Mid-term grades will be posted on Lander's Blackboard. Students should realize that the mid-term grade is only used to indicate their approximate progress at the point in time that the grade is issued and the mid-term grade is not a factor in computation of the student's final grade.
Normally, the course is not difficult if you attend class, keep up with the reading and notes daily, seek help on the message board, and do not attempt to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time. A six-part distillation of notes on ``How to Study'' for this course is available on the Web at
and is well worth checking.
Tests are usually a combination of objective, short answer and problems. The subject-matter is primarily based on the reading, lecture notes, and specially assigned homework. In general, if you understand how to do the homework problems, you will do well on tests.
Even though tests are based on questions from the homework and reading assignments, the tests are neither based exclusively on memorized facts nor based exclusively on objective information derived from memorized arguments. Instead, the emphasis given in tests is on the operation and active transformation or manipulation of the concepts learned. Occasionally, some particularly difficult optional questions are included for extra credit.
On essay-type questions, be sure to answer with complete sentences; answers provided as lists of phrases or the names of concepts, alone, do not reflect an understanding of the subject and usually will be given little, if any, credit. Example tests, quizzes, and lecture notes, are online at
Quizzes can consist of three different kinds of work: (1) announced in-class quizzes, (2) unannounced in-class quizzes, and (3) special homework problems assigned.
In-class quizzes are short specific questions written in class on an explicit philosophical topic or argument. The quiz topic is usually announced in advance of the quiz, and the topic has been thoroughly explored in a previous class. For some example quizzes, see
Your quiz average is based on the highest 5 scores from at least 7 quizzes offered.
Your final course grade is assigned according to your final average as described above in the subsection ``Grades.'' The number of hours advised to study given below is usually an accurate guide to how well you will do in this class. If you study only for tests, your doing well in the course is doubtful. Many students assume they can do well in philosophy without doing homework and without studying outside of class because they have been able to do so in other high school or college classes. Since these students have become habituated to passing courses without much study, they are often alarmed to discover our philosophy course is substantially different from what they have expected.
Other than some occasionally offered intriguing problems in class, exceptionally good position papers, and more difficult problems on tests, no other opportunities for extra credit are offered in this class. Subjects and problems for this course have been chosen on the basis that they are the best and most important introduction to beginning study of logic. ``Extra Credit'' assignments are problems or projects in additional to class requirements--not a substitute for, or a make-up of, missed class assignments.
The Philosophy Forum is an important part of obtaining help in real time from your classmates and your instructor. You are encouraged to post questions, problems, or answers on any topic relating to the course policies, procedures, or homework of our philosophy class. Your post is placed directly on the Philosophy Web and can be immediately accessed by anyone in the world. The Ethics Board on the Philosophy Forum is a good place to obtain a pre-evaluation of your homework, to seek answers to homework problems, solve procedural questions, and get help on your paper.
The purpose of the Philosophy Forum is to discuss the daily class activities of our ethics course: critical comments, position papers, homework questions, homework answers, housekeeping matters, class procedures, assignments, test dates, and class policies. (Cookies must be enabled on your computer for you to be able to use the Philosophy Forum--normally, this is the default configuration of most computers.)
Next, click the ``Login'' button. See Figure 2.
Important: Unless you enter your real name on your PROFILE page your posts cannot be tabulated, and your posts cannot be credited. Any information entered here is available to the anyone in the class or, for that matter, anyone in the world. You need not give out any personal information if you choose not to do so.
If you click ``Options'' at the top of any page after you have logged in, you can find out how many times you have posted as well as find out about other personal data. To do so, click ``Info'' on the same line as your username on your PROFILE page. See the composite screenshot in Figure 5. Next, click on the ``Posts'' link for a list of all your messages. Also, if you wish, as noted above, you can type in a different, more friendly password. Remember to scroll way-down to the bottom of the page and click ``Change'' or your changes will not permanent.
Your short ethics position paper can be one of the topics chosen from the list online at
or a topic of your own choosing approved in advance by the instructor.
Your paper or project is to be posted to the Philosophy Forum Ethics Papers where other students can comment or ask questions online about your paper by posting messages underneath it.
Your position paper can be a reasoned defense or a critique of an ethical thesis. It should not be done as a research paper or a collection and arrangement of diverse sources. Instead, your paper should exhibit two central characteristics:
The expression of your opinion or feelings, although important in its own right, must be supported by rational argument or justification (with supporting details) acceptable to a reasonable person. Your position paper should consist of the following parts:
Here's a quick outline of some of the ways ideas for your paper can be found:
You may access your grades online at any time on the philosophy server (not Lander's Website Blackboard) with a username and password from this course as described below (not your Blackboard username and password).
Username: Your username for the course is the first letter of your first name followed by your complete last name in lowercase letters and without spaces. For example ``Lauren Bouchett Satterfield'' would have the login username of ``lsatterfield'' with no limitation of number of letters as with some email programs.
Password: Your password is your Lander L-number (without the hyphen). Type a capital L followed by eight digits: e.g., Lxxxxxxxx.
Where to Log In: From the Philosophy Homepage, under the gray heading entitled ``Class Grades,'' click on the yellow link ``Current Grades Online'' as shown in Figure 6. When the GRADES LOGIN page loads do the following:
Our course is not difficult if you keep up with the assigned work. At the very beginning of the course, you need to ask yourself if you can spend a minimum of three hours a week studying for your Ethics course. If work, heavy course load, or family responsibilities interfere with this minimum number of study hours, you should not attempt this course.
When you seek help during office hours, the first items I will check are your posts and questions to the Philosophy Forum, your class notes, book notes, and homework problems--so that I can know where to begin. When a student claims he or she did not understand the subject well enough to ask any questions, take any notes, or attempt any homework, I am usually left with the impression the student has not yet attempted studying. In this regard, a good place to see how to study in our course is the ``Notes on How to Study'' on the Web at http://philosophy.lander.edu/study-topics.html. In past semesters, many students have found these study tips helpful.
If I do my job correctly, our ethics course will be one of the most valuable in your university career.
Lee Archie 2010-08-31