Is lecture attendance required?
Yes. And 25% of your grade will be earned based on ungraded assignments given during lecture.
What if you can't make it to lecture?
Let me know ahead of time.
Can you make up in-lecture assignments?
Only if you let 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 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 in week three or four.
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?
The dividing up into groups will take place in week 2, at which point you will be assigned to a Group Google Doc.
Will lecture slides be used during class?
Not slides, but notes and visual aids will be shown in class.
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.
What will be posted to the Lecture Materials portion of the website?
Lecture notes and videos shown in class will be posted there as well as links to material mentioned in passing during lecture. This latter material will be under the heading "Mentioned in Class (optional, i.e., you don't have to read these)."
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?
Eh, depends. 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.