Welcome to PHILOSOPHY 1 Online
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
(THIS COURSE USES THE ANGEL LEARNING COURSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM)
"Well, something much more painful than a snake has bitten me in my most sensitive part -- I mean my heart, or my soul, or whatever you want to call it. It has been struck and bitten by philosophy, whose grip on young and eager souls is much more vicious than a viper's and makes them do the most amazing things."
Instructor: Barbara Upton
Campus email: firstname.lastname@example.org (but all course email should be done through ANGEL). I will NOT return calls or email for information that is available in this syllabus.
Office location: Art Lab 7, the "L" shaped building near the library and under the large oak tree. The door outside of the building will say "English Offices" and my office is the first one on the left.
Office hours: MW 11:00 AM - 12:40 PM and TTH early afternoon by appointment. No appointment is needed during regular office hours. If you want to meet at some other time, please contact me and we can try to make arrangements.
Campus phone: 408-741-2458. You can leave a voice message at this number. Remember to give your name, phone number, and which of my classes you are enrolled. I'll return your call as soon as possible.
When this class is finished, you should be able to:
Disabled students: West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request. Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.
The works of Descartes, Hume, Mill, and Plato assigned for this class are classics and thus available in many editions and translations. Cahn's book contains all of these writings so it is a good source to use for the course readings on these philosophers. There are also links within the syllabus and/or Lessons for most of the works in Cahn's text. Required reading for this class also includes a number of hyperlinked materials written by the Philosophy Department instructor, Sandy LaFave. These include many pages listed in the online study guide and the Angel "Lessons" area. The URL for the online Study Guide is
EXPECTATIONS REGARDING STUDENT CONDUCT
I will use our class entry page (under "Announcements") in Angel to post general announcements and Angel's internal email system for personal communication. Make sure to check both of these sources when logging into the course so that you don't miss any important messages from the instructor.
I will ordinarily NOT email outside of Angel. Students often change their external email names and addresses in the course of the semester. As long as you are enrolled in the class, however, your Angel email address will be stable and I will use that.
I will expect you to read all Discussion postings within Angel, and use Discussions to ask me questions about philosophical content, unless there is some compelling reason your question needs to be handled privately. This allows all students in the course to view both the question and answer, which then helps to clarify certain philosophical ideas for the rest of the class and also avoids having me to repeatedly respond to the same question. You should not ask me about issues already handled within a general announcement or Angel Discussion.
Naturally, you are welcome to chat and exchange private emails with one another.
Most students use computers to write their essay assignments. For an online class, you are, of course, expected to access course materials using the Internet. You need reliable computer access. If your ISP suddenly goes out of business, or your disk crashes, or your puppy pees on your modem, or you experience some other personal hardware issue, you are responsible for having an emergency alternative computer access plan. Know in advance where you can go (library, Internet cafe, friend's house, workplace) if your primary system fails!
Any direct quote or close paraphrase without proper citation — any use of someone else’s words without giving proper credit — is plagiarism. In addition to the usual kinds of plagiarism (stealing sentences, paragraphs, papers, etc. from books or journals or web sites), it is also plagiarism to “answer” an essay question by cutting and pasting sentences from the study guide or required texts for this class; this material must be cited along with any other sources being used!
Any student who violates the academic code (e.g., by cheating or plagiarism) will, at minimum, receive a grade of F for that assignment or test. This rule is rigidly enforced.
According to the catalog, instructors may drop students “... when accumulated hours of absences exceed ten percent of the total number of hours the class meets during the semester.” Since this is an online course, this criteria is difficult to apply. However, if an online student does not log into the course for more than two weeks, this will be considered enough hours missed to justify dropping this student. But the main responsibility lies with the student. If you want to drop the class, it is YOUR responsibility to do so.
The last day to drop with a W is usually about one month before the end of the semester. Check the Schedule of Classes for the exact date.
Please notify me immediately if you have a documented learning disability and require extra time on quizzes or exams. I am happy to give you extra time if (1) a DSPS counselor can verify your disability; AND (2) you notify me IN ADVANCE.
Grades will be based on the following:
Each quiz covers all reading listed in the "Preparing for Quiz N" section of this Syllabus. For example, the reading for Quiz 3 includes all ten items mentioned in the section "Readings for Quiz 3" in the file Quiz 3 Material.
In addition to true/false, fill-in, and definition questions, quizzes also will contain at least one short essay question. Possible essay questions are included in each "Preparing for Quiz" file, under the heading "Objectives for Quiz". For this class, “short essay” means at least one or two complete sentences. A few quizzes contain longer essays (at least 100 words). Although I give essay questions in advance, I do NOT give sample essay answers in advance.
Quizzes are not all worth the same number of points.
Online students take quizzes interactively within Angel. Students can begin quizzes any time in the period of 23 hours and 55 minutes on the appointed days, from midnight to 11:55 PM. However, once the student begins taking a quiz there is a limit to the amount of continuous minutes available to finish it (The specific amount is listed with each particular quiz). In case you need the maximum amount of minutes offered for completing a quiz, be sure to set aside this amount of time to take it without interruptions.
Be sure to SAVE your answers! You can change an answer as much as you like before saving it, so you can correct typos or wrong answers. But you must SAVE your final answer to each question, and you must, as a separate step, SUBMIT the quiz for grading. I will give extra time on the first quiz, so you can get used to the quiz interface.
The Angel quiz interface is quite straightforward, and it generally works reliably. I will make allowances for technical problems only if they are due to the error of the instructor or the Angel system, and all or most students are affected. I cannot troubleshoot your individual hardware or software issues.
IMPORTANT: Precise, careful writing is extremely important in philosophy, where we discuss complex subjects and draw fine distinctions. The student is expected to write his or her essays in complete sentences using standard English. Sloppy writing (careless spelling, grammar, punctuation) detracts from content. If your essays contain more than three obvious errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation per essay, I will subtract points.
Remember the rules regarding plagiarism, please! Since you will receive most of the possible essay questions in advance, you are welcome to write your essay answers in advance. If it's hard for you to write good essays "on the fly," you are welcome to compose your essay answers in advance and cut and paste essays you have written into your quiz. DO NOT cut and paste essay answers from the study guide, other course materials, or from any other source, except materials you have written yourself. It is OK to include direct quotes in your essay answers in order to reinforce a point you are making, as long as every quote is properly cited, but your essay should consist primarily of your own words.
Each student must write his or her own essay answers; philosophy is not done in groups, so the "group work" model is not allowed. You may, of course, work with other students in the composition of your essay answers, and online students are welcome to post possible essay answers in the Discussions area for other students to critique.
On fill-in answers, misspellings of philosophers' names or vocabulary words count as errors. Make sure to proofread your answers before submitting the quiz.
You can use whatever accessory materials you like while doing the quizzes; i.e., quizzes for this class are open-book, open-note. However, remember there is a time limit for each quiz.
Because of the flexibility built in to the quiz system (see below), quizzes must be taken on the appointed day; in other words, there are no make-ups. Furthermore, I give no extra-credit assignments.
Final ExamThe final exam is comprehensive, 50% objective and 50% essay. Note the heavy weighting of essay questions in the Final Exam!
Online students take the final exam entirely within ANGEL. You access the Final Exam exactly the same way you access quizzes. All students get maximum continuous two hours for the final exam.
The essay portion will consist of three questions. ANGEL randomly selects your three essay question choices from the list of final exam questions. You must answer TWO of the three questions. You cannot answer more than two questions. If you answer more than two essay questions on the final exam, your third answer will be ignored. It's a good idea to read the final exam questions early in the semester, and even to write outlines of answers in advance, while you are working on the relevant questions.
Since the essay portion will comprise 50% of the total points on the final, you should plan to write much longer essays than you have been writing for the quizzes. Your essay answers should be as complete as possible. Adequate final exam essay answers can easily run five or more blue-book pages (single spaced).
Calculation of Final Grade
There are 150 quiz points total. The quizzes constitute 80% of the final grade. The final constitutes 20% of the final grade, and is thus worth the equivalent of 38 quiz points. The maximum number of possible points for the class is thus 188.
Although the maximum "raw" grade on the final exam is 100, the maximum number of points you can receive is 38 (20% of the total number of points). That is, if you get 100 on the final exam, you get 38 points; if you get 90, you get 32 points, etc. You can figure out your points once you get your raw final score by the following formula: (your raw score)*38]/100
I use the following formula to compute your final grade:
Therefore, in terms of points:
Note that in the calculation of your final grade, you have about 30 points of “play”: that is, you need only 80% (not 90%) of quiz points to receive an A, 70% (not 80%) for a B, etc. In other words, the grading formula in effect allows you to drop at least two of your lowest quizzes. It is to your advantage, however, to take ALL quizzes, because the more quizzes you take, the more points you accumulate. No quizzes are dropped automatically.
Credit/No Credit Option
This class can be taken for credit/no credit. This means that if you get an A, B, or C, you get a final grade of CR and 3 units; otherwise, you get NCR and no units. You must declare your intention to take the class with the CR/NCR option during the first two weeks of class. Please let me know in writing (email is OK).