Issues in Philosophy

OK , here is my very best advice concerning how to approach this course and do well.

Read all the introductory materials.

Explore the site

Read over the requirements for this course very well.

Get prepared somehow to put in 9-12 hours per week on the course at the computer and reading .

This time doubles in the SUMMER session so it would be 18-24 hours per week!

Time at the computer would be spent reading and writing and lots of thinking , thinking , thinking in between.

Ask questions of the instructor concerning assignments.

Ask questions of the instructor concerning the lessons.

Ask questions of the instructor concerning the key questions.

Ask questions of your fellow students concerning the key questions.

Get your written assignments in on time.

If allowed to revise the written assignments to raise your grade, plan to do so.

Take all topics and questions seriously, but not that seriously. That is to say , you should realize that they are important; important enough to have changed the course of events and helped to shape our social world. But they should not cause you to become overly concerned or worried sick over this.

Have fun! Philosophy is something I must do because it is in my nature to ask questions and attempt to look at things in different ways. It would be very boring if Philosophy was just the same old stuffy and dry questions and ideas. I hope to show you that it is far from that. Philosophy springs from that place deep inside our minds that gets disturbed by uncertainty, contradictions and inconsistencies, paradoxes, ironies, metaphors, sufferings and great joy and magnificent beauty.

So, be prepared to work but prepare to explore and to be challenged and to be entertained a bit as well.

In my estimation the hardest part of this course is findng the time. Studies show that lots of people who take online courses do so because of time considerations. So this is a key factor in determining what a student will be able to do and that in turn has direct bearing on how well someone will do in this type of course (nearly any course , for that matter.)

The Professor's Role in this Course

Remember at all times that I am attempting to have the class form a Learning Community in which people interact and assist one another.  I am also attempting to develop the learner's critical thinking skills and the skills for acquiring knowledge and evaluating information.  This being the case I shall often respond to questions with other questions intending to have the student go further in the thought process.  I shall not be an information dispenser or the source of all official answers to be memorized as the correct answer.  I shall be a coach, an assistant, an instructor.  I am not a cheerleader.  Sorry, that is not my nature.  I will seldom merely praise performance that is what is expected.  I may note very good performance and achievement and model behavior.

Coach  This class is basically a skills development class. The learning objectives set as goals that you will become more careful and critical thinkers.  You will develop skills in critical thinking and in the dialectical process of thought and argumentation.  My role is to assist that development. I am similar to a swimming coach.  I'll point out the basic strokes and positions and then encourage and support you as you do the exercises.  I can get into the pool with you from time to time to demonstrate the skills but that will not make you better swimmers.  Only swimming will do that.  The LEARNING COMMUNITY is where you do the practicing of the skills and your classmates should INTERACT with you and you with them in the development and expression of critical thinking.

Answering questions and addressing concerns: I will check your Private E-mails (for private matters) and the Ask the Professor postings (for course related questions) nearly every day (sometimes twice a day!) and make it a point to get back to you immediately with the answers to your questions. If I do not answer your question promptly, let me know.

Monitoring and Evaluating the Discussions: I attempt to read every comment made by every student in the discussions. I enjoy the interplay, and I jump in occasionally, but I cannot respond to each comment, and indeed I have found that to be a hindrance to open discussion among students. I will correct any misunderstanding about Philosophical Principles or on how to apply them to situations.  I do NOT evaluate postings based on correct or incorrect but on how well participants are trying to INTERACT and to ask for assistance and offer assistance and contributions to the discussions.

Evaluating Written Assignments: The written assignments in this course will be read and graded after all papers have been submitted. I will evaluate them promptly and provide you with feedback as soon as possible following the due date.

Posting Progress Reports to the Web: Beginning with Module 2, I will update your Progress Reports in the GRADES web page after each module. The Progress Report will report your grade and the 'perfect grade' for each graded component of the course. You will always know where you stand in this course. My software allows me to track the number of posts as well as the frequency of your logons. You may examine your Progress Report on the GRADES web page and print it out at any time.  After several modules I shall post projections of final grades based on your performance thus far. You may improve your performance having learned where you have not been performing so well and thus earn a higher final grade than projected.

Contact me :  by Telephone 718 281 5038 or in the class site under talk with the Professor.


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