Your grade in this course will be determined on the basis of four (4) evaluations -- three exams and your composite paper/class participation.
Each of these course evaluations will be given an equal weight in the determination of your final course grade. Each of these evaluations will be based upon a maximum score of 100 points. At the end of the semester the sum total of all four of your scores will be divided by the number 4. Your final course grade will then be determined by your course average as follows:
A = 92.0 and above
Exam material will be taken from BOTH assigned readings and class presentations. And while you may anticipate some overlap of class lecture and discussion materials with readings, there will be a substantial amount of new materials introduced into the classroom presentations. The practical implication of this is that classroom participation is absolutely vital to your prospects of receiving as high a grade as you would like to earn.
Each of the class participation components is briefly described below:
Class panel discussions and papers are all indicated in the syllabus as assigned readings in the Schroeder edition Taking Sides. Each reading states what the issue is. For example, the first of these presents the issue… "Is it Ever Appropriate to Spank a Child?" Everyone in the class is required to do one of the first four panel papers as well as one of the second four panel papers; the due dates for each of these panel papers is clearly marked in the course syllabus and are due in class during the class period that the debate is scheduled for.
This means that you must plan ahead and decide which of the panels you will be submitting papers for. Failure to submit any of the required short papers will result in a forfeiture of 40 points for each. No late papers will be accepted. These panels are all listed and dated in the course syllabus as well as being posted at the Panel Papers section of the web page.
Separate from but in addition to the writing component of this course, each panel session will have an assigned group of students presenting oral arguments for either the "yes" side of the debate or the "no" side of the debate. Each student will be expected to present one clear oral argument supporting whatever side of the question has been assigned. Panelists may introduce a different argument from the ones presented in the Schroeder text so long as it is relevant to the question under debate. After both the "Yes" and "No" sides of the panel discussion have been presented, the designated "Judges" will each tell the class which side of the debate they have found to be more convincing and cite at least one reason why they are taking that side.
If you cannot be in class the day that you turn in your panel paper, you may have it delivered to me by whatever method you select, but you will nonetheless receive a 10 point participation deduction and this paper must be delivered to me sometime during the day for each it was due. Understand that there are no extra-credit papers; you are in college now; please do the required work.
All the paper assignments may be found at the Panel Papers section. If for some reason you are unable to access the web site printed on this course syllabus, you are welcome to stop by my office and pick up a paper copy. All of these short paper assignments must be type-written and should be between two and three double-spaced pages in length.
There is no need to type the questions themselves on your submitted short papers---simply be certain to number all essays appropriately as they correspond to the question number. These paper assignments are structured in such a way as to focus your thinking upon some of the more critical issues raised in the clashing points of view. You are expected to demonstrate an ability to sort through the, sometimes fragmentary, arguments provided and identify what the author or authors are not telling you that is relevant to the question being debated. Other times you are asked to evaluate the quality of the source of the information that is being cited "as proof" that one claim is superior to the conflicting claim. In short the most important part of this exercise is to exhibit critical thinking and I am looking to see you demonstrate this in both your oral arguments and your written papers.