STUDENT REVIEWS OF THE ONLINE COURSE

 PL 11 ISSUES IN PHILOSOPHY   SUMMER  2001   

Subject: This course

I definitely got what I wanted in this course. That was to understand more of what philosophy was about. I think I am in a better position to contemplate the existence of God, souls, etc..., and it was absolutely worth the time, effort and labor that I put into it. 

The only thing that I can think that would make this course better, (and I doubt it would be possible because of the nature of the course), would be to initiate a type of instant message feature that would enable instant feedback on comments made by the students. This way a discussion could take place without having to wait for a response from an individual, and possibly losing your train of thought. As I said before this probably couldn't happen because the course is designed so that everyone doesn't need to be logged on at the same time. Maybe a solution would be to designate a specific time of the day where students could log on and participate in and instant message type of dialogue. I don't know if that would be possible or not, but it might make for more interesting discussions. 

Other than that I was quite satisfied with the way the course was run.

 Subject: great idea

Great idea.  You know I was thinking of something very similar.  I kind of thought in the beginning that it might be that way (with the instant messages). 

Subject: Great Idea...

That would be great. Even if it was just for an hour every week or two. I would enjoy it even if it wasn't something that credit would be given for. It would be cool to pop in a chat with the other students. It certainly would help coordinate thoughts.

I think that it would be more like a class setting if all students needed to be logged on at the same time, but for me I work and have an infant so the best time for me to go on was early in the morning, late at night or on Sundays.  I think that logging in when you can is very beneficial to the online program.

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Subject: Suggestions

I hate to admit it, but I needed to have a dictionary alongside my lap top as I was reading the modules.  The course is difficult enough, I thought at the beginning, without having to look up every third or fourth word just to make sense of what was being discussed. 

As the course progressed, however, I found I needed the dictionary less and less and was actually making sense of the lectures and discussions more readily. 

The discussions were exhilarating!  The course layout was so convenient...I could log on two or three times a day, even after being out all day, if I wasn't tired, I found I was anxious to see if any of the students had responded to my comments or questions. 

This was a tough course, probably one of the toughest, if not THE toughest I have ever taken.  But I stayed with it because I knew it would make me a better person for it.  I was really curious to see what part philosophy could actually play in my life.  I needed to stay with it to find out. 

While I don't think I will feel or realize all of the effects immediately, I know many of the issues we discussed, the opposing views I was exposed to, and the truthful, consistent prodding by the professor to think, think, think WILL have a lasting effect on how I view and ultimately deal with situations which arise in the future. 

I have developed a new motto:  question, don't just settle.

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Subject: Dictionary

You are absolutly right, and don't be ashamed to admit it. I have put more miles on my dictionary in the last eight weeks than in the last eight months!! But as I said before, it was so worth it. I have also improved on my typing skills to boot!

 Subject: the course

This course was NOT what I was expecting!! I have taken many other online classes and this one was the toughest by far.  BUT.... I did gain the most knowledge with this course.  It was knowledge that I do not think I could have learned from reading a textbook.  I obviously learned from the readings and to do the papers, but finding out others opinions was much more beneficial to me than anything else.  In other courses we would make one discussion question for the week or 3 days and that would be it.  Not many read others input, it was too much of a pain to download into a word document (to be honest) But how this class was set up with the discussions questions it was much more effective.  This class to be honest was a real challenge for me.  One that I almost wanted to give up in a time or two.  But i stuck through it, I worked through the grades, and the discussions when I thought everyone was not with me on the same thought path.  And IT WAS WORTH IT!!  Thanks guys!!!

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Subject: Keri

I know what you mean about this being a tough course.  But we got through it, and that's what counts.  Now we can all add the word tenacious to our character traits.  And we have Professor Pecorino to thank for his persistence in not giving up on us. 

Best of luck to you.

 Subject: Not what I expected...

I expected this to be pretty easy, but I had to work my butt off to achieve the level of grade that I did. After thinking about this course since my last post I decided that maybe a different text book should be used or at least another one should be added to help the students get a better grasp on the material. I know that would add a few extra chapters of reading per week, but I for one would find it very beneficial and I bet a few others would as well.

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Subject: Reading

I don't think any more reading is required.  I do think that it could be "not required but helpful"  but more required reading for a 3 credit course is too much.  I think!

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I too thought about quitting this class, but the discussions were lively and I decided to stay and become a survivor!

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Subject: This course

This course was definitely hard work. It seemed worth it though. The discussions were a lot of fun and I looked forward to seeing any responses when I logged on. I actually felt more open in the discussions because we were just online. I think Mark had a great idea and if instant messages would be possible I would try to do that. I often lose my train of thought when I have to go back the next day to read others responses or what I was saying. This course was very convenient and gave us all a chance to do the work at our own time and our own pace. The modules were easy to access and follow. I found the whole experience very thorough. I find myself now looking at things very differently then when I started the course. All the discussions about God, souls, ethics, they were all thought provoking and have changed my way of thinking.

Subject: Course

I definitely got more out of this course than I thought I would.  The reading got to be a bit tough, but I think that is just because it was a seven week course and we had to jam everything in. 

I would have enjoyed having a few "live chat" sessions set up; where we can all "talk" and get feedback instantly from our classmates.  Other than that, I can't think of any other improvements.  Once you walked through the steps of the set-up (and set up your folder) and once you learned how to navigate around the folders, it was easy.  It was very convenient having sites linked to the text pages so that we could read them.  There was a lot of additional references given out for us to read.

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Subject: Grade A course

I really liked this course a lot.  I definitely got more out of it than I had ever expected to.  I really liked everything about how it was run and set up.  The one thing I guess I could complain about, though not really because I did enjoy it, was that some of the readings were quite long.  Only really some of the links, but maybe it was a psychological thing.  I found the readings in the main module text much more easier and enjoyable then some of the lengthy links.  Maybe if the links were in the main module part I wouldn't have thought them as difficult.  Or it could be the professors way of writing that I found easier to read.  But overall I would rate this a grade A course.  I especially liked the disscusions with other classmates.

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Subject: Lauren

I also found that the lengthy readings were a bit tedious. I chalked that up to reading on the computer screen and not the actual book itself. I found my eyes going buggy and needed to step away for five mins. to clear my head. But as you said, it was more of a slight inconveniance than a problem. Besides, we did have the option of going to a library to get the materials, but chose not to.

Subject: Mark

I know what you mean about reading from the computer screen.  After the first week I developed a twitch in one eye.

I started copying the modules and found it a lot easier to read when it was in hard copy form.

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Subject: Mark

I thought I was the only one who didn't really enjoy the course links. In this type of course, the students cant really speak privately to find out what we are all thinking. My eyes would start to get fuzzy and go cross after a while of reading the links. Mark you are correct though, we could have gone to the library. Its kind of nice to hear that someone else thought the same as I did.

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Subject: a little problem

I read the text online too, maybe that's why I had a little trouble.  It's good to know I'm not the only one that found the reading a little troublesome.

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Subject: Readings

I also found the readings to be quite long, but I think that was because this was a 7 week course.  If it were a shorter course we would have had more time to read the text and it probably would have be broken down into many more modules.

Subject: This Course...

I'm not sure I would change anything about this course. I came into this course just trying to earn a good grade. I didn't care one bit about taking anything from it. After two months of discussions and struggling with essays, I took a lot from this course. This course was very hard yet everything that we did, every topic that we touched upon was interesting enough to make me take that extra step. Had this been another course, I probably would have dropped before the second week was through. I'm not sure what it was, but there was something here that made this course special. I don't think it should be changed.

Subject: Make the course better? I think it is great!

Okay.  I think this course is very well structured.  I feel that the response time was appropriate and efficient, the lecture notes were well structured and the professor was great at answering questions.   

I do agree with the dictionary idea though.  I was stuck with a lot of the words.  I was also another one with the dictionary open at all times.   

What would work the best would be the instant message idea.  To go on a certain time.  I find that some students must be on when I am on, because our response time is so fast.   

I did not know what to expect in the learning area of this course.  I was told that philosophy would be helpful in everyday life and that I should definitely take it.  I didn't know what I was going to learn but I did learn a lot. 

The labor at first was a lot.  I did consider dropping it thinking I would not have enough time.  But I learned how the professor liked things and I learned how to write my essays efficiently .  I also learned time management, and how it would work in this class. 

I didn't necessarily find answers to questions i had, i found a way of thinking that was effective and was easy to accomplish in everyday life.  I find myself asking more questions and trying to figure things our in greater detail.  Thank you to all students who participated in answering these questions we all have. And that you to the professor who showed us the way!!!

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Subject: this course

I liked the discussions, I think they were very illuminating about how people think, and it also forced me to think and re-evaluate my usual opinions about things, it forced me to stop and ask a question: why do I actually believe that, or act as if that was what I believe?

the reading were sometimes repetitious between mini-lectures and the links that were provided, so it was requiring more time,

also if we discuss certain philosophers and the link is going on and on about his biography and titles of his works etc but does not really say what his ideas were , this is not what I expect from a link.

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I agree with you about some of the readings being the repetitious. I did however find that it helped some what in driving some of the information home. A good amount of this stuff was a tough read, at least for me.  ________________________________

Subject: Evaluation of course

I think at first this course was overwhelming to me - perhpas I could have used a little more encouragement - I felt like I was not getting it - but as time went on it became clearer. I started to see things that I was not able to see at first. I found myself obsessed all day thinking about getting home & getting on line to see the discussions & see who had responded - Mark's idea about instant message feature would really help with the flow of discussions.  The outline & modules were very helpful as were the course expectations.  The mix of readings & discussions helped to move things along.  The discussions definitely helped with the written assignments.  I think this course was stimulating and got my mind to start working harder - I can get lazy & comfortable at times - this made me move! It made me think & I am still thinking each & every day!

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Subject: true true....

I think how people responded so fast helped the discussions, but if you did not have access to a computer for one day, I felt like I was behind.  Like I said, I have taken many online classes and all of them work so differently, but this class of how the discussions were were the most useful.  In this one class I am taking now, people comment things, but in a word document, so every time you have to open a Microsoft word document, and I tend not to open them all because it takes o long, I like how this was instant and you fast it took you to sign on.  I also did need a little bit of encouragement, after the Plato discussion, I thought I was totally lost and there was no hope.  But I figured that soon enough it would be like a switched and everything would make sense.  Well everything did turn like a switch.. I am not sure if it all made sense, but I am still learning!!

Subject: Kerri

That's exactly the way I felt - a bit lost at first - but as time went on some things seemed to click - I really enjoyed reading the discussions - it really added to the course

Subject: I agree

I felt that at the beginning I was overwhelmed. Usually, I am a good writer and reader and what ever I handed it was not good enough.  As we really got into it I felt that I did understand a little better.

Subject: course

I came into this course with a set of beliefs that I thought would stay with me forever but I am leaving with an open mind and no one set of beliefs.  I think this course was great and opened my mind to a entire new outlook on everything.  I thought the workload and how the class was set up was great and their is no need for changes.  I feel all the goals of the professor and of myself were met.  I feel the best part of the course was the discussion areas where we each were able to converse with each other and ask questions.  It helps a lot to see what other people think because that helps us open our minds to other things. This class def.  helped me learn how to go about getting the answers to the questions that I ask.  Even though half of them may never be answered.  

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Subject: The course

When I first signed up for this course I did not take it because it was required for graduation (for me its not).  I took the course because it was about a subject that I knew nothing about and I wanted to see if I liked the material before I took any other courses like this later in life.  I did not expect the course to require so much time, but I do understand why time is needed.  This course covers many topics in a short amount of time.  I liked the whole online format of the class and I had no problems with it.  I think having the lecture materials linked to other websites worked out really well.  Many of my in-person classes at school use books that have web links that no one ever uses and I got a chance to see what they offer.  The were a lot of discussions in this course and it was hard to keep up with all of them, but I understand that this is a summer class and it is quicker and more demanding than a full semester class.  I think having students cite passages from their text is not needed for an online class, since many of us did not buy the text book.  But if I had to take this class all over again I would encourage every student to buy the textbook, because it would make it a lot easier to read and study the materials.

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Subject: Discussion 2

            There are issues that arise that create a conflict between individual rights and the rights of the group.  The issue of wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is one example that draws many different social theories into the spotlight.  The arguments vary far and wide.

            A utilitarian would say that if people wearing helmets brought the most amount of happiness to the most amount of people, then that is the direction the government should be directed, on the other hand if the opposite were true then the opposite approach should be taken.

            A libertarian would approach the issue by asking if wearing a helmet dealt with a threat to their security or their property.  Since an individual wearing a helmet does not have any bearing, the government should not get involved.

            A Rawlsian feels each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive total system of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar system of liberty for all.  Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both:  to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, consistent with the just savings principle, and attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.  So as long as people were equal under the law it would be justified to make such a law.

            A Marxist feels that all property belongs to the state and that it is the governments job to be sure that all people are treated the same regardless of class.  Such a thing as a helmet law would be dictated by what the government felt was best.

            While there are many theories that deal with personal versus group rights, it seems as if there is no clear answer

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Subject: bettering the course

I took this course because I needed three credits.  I just had a baby and wanted to try to get back into the swing of things so that I can graduate possibly next summer.  I found this course challenging and there were times I wanted to give up, but felt that I was caving in to the pressure.  I enjoyed learning about the topics covered.  I think for the beginning of the course, learning about the philosophers like Socrates, Plato etc., I had trouble reading the text and the lecture notes.  I did not understand what was being said in the readings.  I think if you can elaborate a little bit more for those who really don't get it, it would be easier to answer questions that are being presented for answering.  Also, I found towards the end of the class I started doing a little better because you broke out piece by piece what you wanted answered in the essay.  At the beginning I felt that the question was very open and a couldn't get precise enough to answer the question the way you wanted.   

Overall, I am glad the class is over, but glad that I was able to take something from it.

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