----- A General Introduction -----


Learning is an active process. I want to get you involved in thinking about, using, and reacting to the concepts and material presented in lectures and readings. The discussion section offers you one way to do this, the other is through seven different 'thought problems' that will provoke you to think about, argue with, try out, or just reformulate various ideas and issues. Each of these problems is presented as a short writing assignment.

Assignments will be worth between 25 and 100 points depending on length and complexity, and together they will total 450 points for the semester. You can choose to do any of the assignments, or none of them. The choice is up to you. The only absolute requirement is NO LATE PAPERS. Each paper will have a due date attached, usually giving you one week. Because we want to grade all of the papers from any single assignment together, they must all be turned in on time. So if you miss getting one in, just go on and do the next one.  

Due Dates: Assignments are due in class on the due date. When the assignments have been graded, they will be returned to you in class. If you cannot come to the section where the assignment is due, and you have a valid medical excuse, you must make an arrangement with your AI in advance to turn the paper in before class.

Length and Format: These will be defined on the assignment sheets, since they will be different for each one. They will rarely exceed 3 pages.

Legibility is important. We will be grading a lot of papers, and cannot afford to take the time to interpret illegible or difficult handwriting. By this point in your college career you should be typing your written work, if not using a word processor. Therefore, all assignments should be typed. Handwritten assignments automatically lose ten points. If we cannot read your handwriting, you will get no points for the assignment. All papers must have half inch margins on sides, top, and bottom.

Grading: Your grade on the assignment will be based on the content of the essay. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary should all be at a college level. You will lose points if you have serious problems in writing, regardless of factual content. No points will be awarded if the assignment suffers from unacceptable writing and lack of content.

Plagiarism (copying of another's work) of any kind, even the rephrasing of other material, will result in NO POINTS. Close similarities in wording between essays by two different students will result in NO POINTS for both essays. DO NOT EVER try to copy material from other textbooks, encyclopedias, etc.. You will always be rewarded for original thoughts. Serious plagiarism is also punishable by other sanctions including an immediate F in the class, a permanent letter in your official file, and even expulsion from the University.

REMEMBER: The purpose of these assignments is to get you thinking about the assigned topic and to get you to express those thoughts clearly. So take sometime to sit and think about the assignment first. A serious effort to think things through for yourself is always better than trying to find the answer in the textbook. Yes, you need to read the text and your lecture notes to do these assignments well, but the answer always requires your own thought too. If you have writing problems, consider a trip to a writing tutor.

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