Is lecture attendance required?
Yes. And 25% of your grade will be earned based on ungraded assignments given during lecture.
Is discussion section attendance required?
No. However, if you are struggling with/have questions about/greatly enjoy the material, go to discussion section. Also, you will have a group project due at the end of the quarter, which you will be able to work on during discussion sections.
What if you can't make it to lecture?
Let Michael or me know ahead of time.
Can you make up in-lecture assignments?
Only if you let Michael or me know you will miss lecture ahead of time and if there is a legitimate reason for missing lecture.
What is a legitimate reason for missing lecture?
Since you will be letting Michael or me know beforehand why you will (or might) miss lecture, we can discuss it then.
What is on the tests?
Multiple-choice and short-answer questions (1-3 sentences). No essays.
Is Test 2 cumulative?
Mostly, no. You will need to understand concepts from the first half of the course, but you will only be tested on material from the second half.
Will the material on the tests be mostly from lecture or mostly from the readings?
Both. You will receive study guides for both tests that will help focus your efforts and address this. However, it isn't possible to do well in this class without doing the reading, i.e., just knowing material from lecture isn't enough.
Will you have to write any papers?
What is the group project?
The short answer is that you will collaborate on a Google Doc with 2-3 other students. You will receive the particulars of the assignment on May 6.
What if one of the group members doesn't contribute?
Each group member will grade the participation of every other group member, which will count for 5 of the assignment's 35 points. So a failure to participate will be penalized.
Will there be any other group assignments?
Not per se. However, students who have taken this course previously have found it helpful to work in their groups on the study guides for the tests. The purpose of the groups is to give you an opportunity to help one another with the material.
How do you know what group you are in?
You will receive an email during the second week of class letting you know.
Do you have to get the textbook?
Yes and you must bring it to class.
The book is also on reserve at Shields library if you really don't have $10 to purchase it. As long as it doesn't break copyright, you can photocopy the chapters we are covering and bring those to class.
Do you have time to order the book rather than purchase it from the bookstore?
Yes. The readings from week two are posted online.
Will lecture slides be used during class?
Will key points be written on the board?
Some of them.
Really? That's it?
Yup. When things aren't clear in lecture, please just raise your hand and ask a question. You can always just ask: Can you say more about that? If you would like a particular point written out on the board, do likewise. Also, select lecture notes will be posted after lectures have occurred under Lecture Materials at the end of each week. These can be used as a comprehension check.
What should you write down when taking notes?
That, of course, is up to you, but a helpful way to approach it is like this: Don't try to transcribe everything that is said in lecture (like a stenographer). Instead, think of your goal as trying to follow the plot of a movie that you will later have to describe to a friend. The notes you take should be about pivotal events and especially meaningful lines of dialog rather than about every little detail of every scene. If you find that you simply cannot follow the plot (that is, the lecture), raise your hand and say so.
The Subject Matter
Do you need to know anything about philosophy or science to take this class?
No and no. We are starting from scratch.
Is it hard to get a good grade (B+/A-/A) in this class?
Not really. At least, it isn't designed to be. The material can be challenging, but if you do the reading, come to class, work through the study guides, and collaborate with your group, you should be able to get a good grade.
Is it hard to get a bad grade (D/F) in this class?
No. It's quite easy to do poorly in the course. The course rewards steady, consistent work. The flip side of this, however, is that failing to put in the work makes it easy to get a bad grade.
Waitlist & Conflicts
If you are on the wait list, can you get into the class?
Maybe, but we have to wait and see whether others in the class drop first.
Can you get a PTA number?
The philosophy department will issue PTA numbers starting April 27. The reason for this is that the Registrar requests that we wait until the day after the last drop date, which is April 24.
What are your chances of getting in to the course from the waitlist?
Probably pretty good, but there are, unfortunately, no guarantees. The course is capped at 60 students. The maximum capacity of the lecture room is 70 seats. If more than 60 and fewer than 70 students want to take the course, typically the additional students can be accommodated. But, again, there are no guarantees.
If your discussion section time conflicts with another course, can you still take this class?
Maybe. Discussion section attendance is not required, but Schedule Builder and SISWEB will not allow you to schedule conflicting courses. You can request a waiver from the instructors of the courses that conflict, which I will grant. See: https://registrar.ucdavis.edu/registration/schedule/restrictions.cfm. However, this process requires getting a PTA number, which won't happen in the first two weeks of class, anyway.