Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:



1 FALL 2010 UGS 303 Syllabus 1 TIP SIGNATURE COURSE UGS 303 THINKING ABOUT THINKING IN THE DISCIPLINES MONDAY 3-4 PM (BUR 106) UNIQUE # 64710: WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY 12:00-1:00 AM (PAI.4.28) UNIQUE # 64740: WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY 2:00-3:00 PM (PAI.4.28) Instructor Dr. Jane Richards Huk Office: GRG 234E Office Hours:* Fri. 9:00-10:00 am Phone: Course Description This course will introduce you to different ways of understanding the world around you. We will focus primarily on how three different types of disciplines go about doing this, namely, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. By the end of the semester, you will have developed greater insight into how you tend to think and solve problems. You will also have developed your ability to take other people s perspectives into account, to find information that you need when you need it, to work collaboratively on a shared intellectual goal, and to get your ideas and beliefs across clearly and effectively. These abilities will evolve in the context of readings, lectures, in-class activities, assignments, and a semester-long social science research project of your own design. Course Format Mondays: This course has two types of weekly meetings one large lecture (Mondays) and two small seminars (Wednesdays and Fridays). Every Monday we will join your entire TIP Scholar cohort in a dialog with a distinguished faculty member. Each professor will introduce his or her perspective on his or her discipline. Wednesdays and Fridays: On these days, we will meet as a smaller group (about 25 students or so). At these times, we will engage in discussion and activities to bring lecture topics and readings to life. We will also talk a lot about your social science research project ( Meeting of the Minds ) and what you need to know to make the most of that experience. Attendance You can t get much out of this course if you do not attend every day. On Wednesdays and Fridays in particular, your absence will affect other students as well. This is because the quality of our meetings how interesting and engaging they are depends on everyone showing up and participating in class. Participating means both talking and listening. Much of what you get out of this course comes from listening to what your fellow students have to say. You will learn a lot from each other if you stay mentally engaged in class. *Or by appointment if you have class/work/etc. during this time period.

2 Course Readings/Resources UGS 303 Syllabus 2 Much of what you will learn from this course will come from your finding your own sources of information. However, here are readings/resources that will be provided for you: UT BlackBoard Web Site Many class materials and announcements will be posted on the course BlackBoard (BB) site: Check this site regularly. Once per day (at night) is a good rule of thumb. You will be responsible for any information posted on this site whether I mention it in class or not. Besides many class handouts and required assignments, additional required readings will be posted on BB in the course documents folder. A caveat on BlackBoard: Not everything handed out or discussed in class can be posted, so you need to touch base with me/another student if you miss a day of class. For example, some class material comes up organically in discussions, so in-class notes are all you will have. As well, some handouts are not available in electronic form or appropriate to post on the web (due to copyright issues). A note on BB: The main links that I will be using are: Syllabus, Documents, and Assignments. It is up to you to figure out how to use BB. Use online tutorials and/or contact BB staff if you want assistance. Note that many of your assignments for this course will be submitted electronically through BB and via hardcopy you bring to class. Most readings will end up in the Readings folder in Course documents. Google Docs Much of what you do for this course involves working in groups. For instance, as a team, you will prepare oral presentations and written documents. To facilitate your ability to do this without having to physically meet every time, use Google Docs, an online collaboration tool. Access it via this site: Follow the instructions for setting up an account. There will be a page set up for your Meeting of the Minds team project (described a little later in this syllabus). However, you and your team are free to set up other pages for other projects. Play around with it once you set up your accounts. That s the best way to figure out how to use it. What the Internet is Doing to our Brains: The Shallows, a book by Nicholas Carr. Buy this wherever you d like. (The UT co-op will have several copies available for purchase.) Freakonomics, a book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Buy this wherever you d like. It is also available electronically through the UT Library, but you can t take notes on that copy. (The UT co-op will have several copies available for purchase.) A glossary of critical thinking terms/concepts (called a Lexicon ) that will be available on BlackBoard in the Readings folder Additional Readings At various times over the semester, you will receive additional required readings. They will be handed out in class or posted on BlackBoard only. Some of these readings will be websites, so only a link will be provided. Whatever form they take, a due date will be provided so that you know what to read by when. This date refers to the day by which you should have finished that reading. (In case you were wondering: These readings are not

3 UGS 303 Syllabus 3 provided right now or listed in the syllabus because they are chosen on the basis of (a) how the lectures and seminar discussions unfold, and (b) what kinds of questions students raise in class.) If you miss a class, you need to find out whether a required reading was assigned that day. Your UT account Because of the pace of this course and the fact that we don t meet as a small group on Mondays I will occasionally provide feedback/grades to you over in the evenings and/or on days our class does not meet. Because I need to use BlackBoard to send out all class s, I will have to use whatever address UT has on file for you. So, be sure you check that account for s from me. Staplers & Assignment Preparation There are a lot of assignments in this course, so buy a stapler. Multiple-page assignments that are not stapled will be returned to you. Do your final checking/organization (collating pages, proofing, stapling, putting your name on them, etc.) before class. Projects/Assignments 1. Meeting of the Minds Research Project (400 points or 40% of your course grade): Each mentor group will collaborate as a team on research project. This project will entail teaching yourself a lot of material and applying ideas and skills discussed in class and your readings. The MoM project allows you to come up with your own ideas, which you will test by collecting and analyzing your own data. All group members will share the grade received on each component of the MoM project unless otherwise noted. Refer to the Meeting of the Minds instruction packet for specific instructions about MoM. (You will find this in the Assignments folder on BlackBoard.) There are a lot of parts to this project that get turned in on different dates. As you ll see, this project is going to require a lot of teamwork and planning. There is a penalty for late parts of the MoM. The amount of points per day will be noted on the instructions. 2. Short Reflections (100 points or 10% of your course grade): At various points during the semester, you will be given a question-- or a few interrelated questions that you will answer by reflecting on your own thoughts, memories, and material from the course. You will do these individually. They generally require applying the material to your own life. Instructions and more details for each reflection will be posted on BlackBoard in the Assignments folder a few days before the assignment is due. There is a penalty for late reflections. The amount of points per day will be noted on the reflection instructions. 3. Other Assignments (200 points or 20% of your course grade): At various points during the semester, you will be given other assignments that ask you to apply course material in ways that build specific skills. Some of these assignments will done in your mentor group and some will be done individually. Instructions and more details for each assignment will be posted on BlackBoard in the Assignments folder a few days before the assignment is due. There is a penalty for late assignments. The amount of points per day will be noted on the instructions. 4. Final Reflection (100 points or 10% of your course grade): This take-home assignment is administered near the end of the semester. It will ask you to apply concepts and ideas from the course to real world situations you might face in everyday life. It will be posted on BlackBoard in the Assignments folder, probably five to seven days before the due date. You will do this on your own

4 UGS 303 Syllabus 4 not with your mentor group. There is a penalty for late assignments. The amount of points per day will be noted on the assignment instructions. 5. Class preparation/presentations (200 points or 20% of your course grade): To help you get the most out of class meetings, you will be given a few pop quizzes during the semester. These will not be announced in advance. However, they usually correspond to days when we will discuss a reading that you will have been assigned. You will also be asked to present periodically some aspects of books we will be reading in the course. You will usually do this as a group. There are no make-ups for these assignments. Instructions and more details will be posted on BlackBoard in the Assignments folder in the Course Documents folder 6. OPTIONAL Upgrade Assignments (maximum of 20 points added to your point total): Frequently, students want an opportunity at the end of the semester to raise grades that are close to a grade cutoff. I have a specific policy about this: If you wish, you can earn the right to have your final grade determined by a more lenient cutoff. The key point here is that this is done BEFORE you find yourself in a tight situation. I call this an upgrade policy. Typically, I will offer about eight upgrade opportunities over the course of the semester. You will find out about these in class and/or from the BlackBoard site for the course. You need to complete five of these opportunities to get the lenient cut off. The lenient cut off lowers the cutoff for any given grade by 20 points. If you end the semester having only completed four upgrade opportunities, then you re out of luck. You don t get the lenient cut off. It s up to you to keep track of how many opportunities you need to take advantage of to get the more lenient cut-off. On the next page, you will see how doing the five upgrades can affect your grade: Point Cut Off Without Upgrades Point Cut Off With Upgrades A (90%) 900 points 880 points B (80%) 800 points 780 points C (70%) 700 points 680 points D (60%) 600 points 580 points *Note that no TIP UGS 303 sections use +/- grading. You just get an A, B, C, D, or F. Special Accommodations If you plan to miss class due to observance of a religious holiday, please let me know by the end of the second week of classes. You will not be penalized for this absence, although you will still be responsible for any work you will miss on that day. Check with me for details. UT provides academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. At the beginning of the semester, students with disabilities who need special accommodations should notify the instructor by presenting a letter prepared by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office. To ensure that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided, students should contact the SSD Office at Be sure you do this before any assignments are due.

5 Things You Should Know about Written Work Your Turn In UGS 303 Syllabus 5 Your work must be typed. Proof it for spelling and formatting errors before you turn it in. Make sure that what you turn in is formatted in a clear, professional manner. Be mindful of the fonts you use, the indentations you use, the headings you use, etc. Your work should look good. If you have multiple pages, staple them. Most of your work will be turned in electronically using BlackBoard. You will also be asked to turn in hardcopy in class on most occasions. Additional Information Incompletes: Incompletes will be given only if your situation fulfills the official University criteria and you make the request well before the end of the semester. You must be in good standing at the time of the request for an Incomplete to be an option for you. Ethics: Plagiarism and other forms of cheating on exams, assignments, or projects (e.g., copying someone else s work, giving someone your own work, changing answers on an exam after it has been graded/returned to you, stealing exam questions) qualify as academic misconduct. Penalties for academic misconduct may include a failing grade and censure from the university. In short, the Dean of Students' policies on academic integrity will be followed. For information on these policies, you may visit this website: Please come talk to me if you are unsure about what does and does not qualify as cheating in this course. Campus dates of note: August 30 Monday: Last day of the official add/drop period; after this date, changes in registration require the approval of the department chair and usually the student s dean September 10 Friday: Twelfth class day; this is the date the official enrollment count is taken. Payment for added classes (add bill) due by 5:00 pm. Last day an undergraduate student may add a class except for rare and extenuating circumstances. Last day to drop a class for a possible refund. (See General Information, chapter 4, for details.) September 22 Wednesday: Last day to drop a class without a possible academic penalty. (See General Information, chapter 4, for details.) October 20 Wednesday: Last day an undergraduate student may, with the dean s approval, withdraw from the University or drop a class except for urgent and substantiated, nonacademic reasons. Last day a student may change registration in a class to or from the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. October 21 22, Thursday Friday, Monday Wednesday: Academic advising for continuing and readmitted students for the spring semester. October 25 November 5: Daily Registration for the spring semester for continuing and readmitted students.

6 UGS 303 Syllabus 6 Day W 8/25 F 8/27 M 8/30 W 9/1 UGS 303 Course Schedule* *Assignments and their due dates will be given via separate instructions as the course unfolds (in class and via BlackBoard). You will generally have 3-5 days to complete most of them. (You have much more advanced notice for the Meeting of the Minds project.) Topic Course introduction: What s the point of this course? How do you know what to believe? Dr. Susan Harkins, Dr. Cassandra Delgado-Reyes: TIP and the Academic Culture What does it mean to do research? F 9/3 What is scholarly research and why is it worth the effort? M 9/6 No Class Labor Day W 9/8 How do you interpret and use scholarly sources in the social sciences? What does Meeting of the Minds have to do with being scholarly? F 9/10 How do you search the scholarly literature? M 9/13 Dr. David Laude: Making the Most out of College W 9/15 What is critical thinking and what does it have to do with personal success and failure? F 9/17 Why is critical thinking hard and often hard to come by? M 9/20 Dr. John Ruskiewicz: Forming Arguments W 9/22 How do you make a good argument based on logic? (Toulmin model) F 9/24 What are logical fallacies? M 9/27 Dr. Cassandra Delgado-Reyes: Thinking about Disciplines W 9/29 What disciplines if any influence how argumentation is done in the media? F 10/1 Special Topic/Meeting of the Minds M 10/4 No Class. Instead, attend one of these two lectures from the ULS: Cirque du Politique, 10/4, 7 pm at Bass Concert Hall or World Changers: The Great Debate, 10/5, 7pm at Bass Concert Hall. Attendance at one of these is required W 10/6 Meeting of the Minds F 10/8 Why is it difficult (and important) to distinguish science from pseudoscience? M 10/11 Dr. David Laude: The Natural Sciences W 10/13 The Shallows Presentations/Discussion F 10/15 The Shallows Presentations/Discussion M 10/18 Dr. Cathy Stacy: Statistics W 10/20 What are good uses and abuses of statistics? F 10/22 Why is statistical reasoning useful in everyday life? M 10/25 Dr. Janet Davis: The Humanities W 10/27 What does the UT Ransom Center have to do with the humanities? F 10/29 How can we really understand the human condition? M 11/1 Dr. James Pennebaker: The Social Sciences W 11/3 How can social science research solve problems? (Prisoners of Silence Film) F 11/5 How can social science research solve problems? (Prisoners of Silence Film/Discussion) M 11/8 Dr. Gretchen Ritter: Interdisciplinary Research W 11/10 What does interdisciplinary research have to do with the real world? F 11/12 Special Topic M11/15 Dr. Daniel Bonevac: Philosophy and Marketing/Economics W 11/17 Freakonomics Presentations/Discussion F 11/19 Freakonomics Presentations/Discussion M 11/22 Dr. Cassandra Delgado-Reyes: Course Evaluations W 11/24 Taking stock of the semester F 11/26 Thanksgiving-No class M 11/30 Dr. Cassandra Delgado-Reyes: Thinking about your Future W 12/1 Poster Presentations F 12/3 Posters Presentations and Wrap up

7 UGS 303 Syllabus 7