Your grade in this course will be determined on the basis of four (4) evaluations -- three exams and your composite 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 semester's end, your total point accumulation will be divided by the number 4. Your final course grade will then be determined by your resultant 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.
There are no extra-credit provisions in this course; you are now in college; please do the required work.
There will be a total of six short issue paper options from which you are required to choose two; these short issue papers appear within the course syllabus and are spread throughout the semester; each short issue paper has an assigned due date appearing within the course syllabus. The only time that short issue papers will be accepted is on the exact date that they are listed as due and there will be no exceptions to this rule. [Please note that everyone is required to do one of the first three short issue papers as well as one of the last three short issue papers. There are no exceptions to this rule either.]
The spontaneous class questions have a multitude of purposes, but you will be rewarded with full credit provided that you attempt to answer the question. However, for each question that you fail to make a genuine attempt to answer, you will forfeit 10 points, and if you are absent from class when you are called upon, you will likewise forfeit 10 points from your total class participation grade.
Whatever your total class participation score ends up being for the semester will then constitute your fourth course grade. This score will represent 25 percent of your final course grade.
The issue paper assignments may be found on my web page under the heading “Issue Papers”. If for some reason you are unable to access the web site printed on the 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 two to three double-spaced pages in length, and you are required to answer all of the questions listed for that particular issue. There is no need to type the questions themselves on your submitted papers---simply be certain to give the number of the question for which you are writing an answer. These paper assignments are intended to focus your thinking and so you need to be prepared to question the accuracy of the information provided and to consider what the source of the information is.
In answering the questions you are expected to demonstrate an ability to sort through the, sometimes fragmentary, arguments provided and identify, where it is appropriate, what the authors are not telling you that may be vital to the question. Other times you are asked to evaluate the quality of the source of the information that is being cited by the author in support of his or her argument. In short the most important part of this exercise is to exhibit critical thinking. By the time you have finished writing your papers and reading all the assigned pages, you should have enhanced your critical thinking abilities.