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Course Format

Lectures

Lectures will serve to contextualize, augment, and frame the issues developed in the course readings. Lectures will also furnish considerable amounts of material not available in the readings. Thus, the lectures and the readings will complement, rather than substitute for, one another.

The course is scheduled for two 75-minute lectures each week. I will not, however, lecture for the entire 75 minutes. Instead, we will use the time to work through the course materials and issues together.

I encourage students to leverage the power of technology to enhance their learning. I invite them to bring laptops to lectures and discussions-but I emphatically insist that these tools be used only to help increase students’ engagement with the lecture and discussion. Want to take notes that you can search later? Start rocking Word. Didn’t follow a reference I just made? By all means, Google it. I cannot imagine, however, that Facebook, ESPN, IM, SMS, or e-mail will help you get more from this material. Indeed, making use of such services will only be a distraction to you and to others. If I cannot compel you to go seventy-five minutes without checking your friends’ twitter updates or the NCAA tournaments, do not come to class. (Seriously: I would rather you voted with your feet and sent a clear signal to me than just planned for my lectures to be your “surfing” time. If you do skip lectures, however, I ask that you contact me to explain why.)

I would like to extend the ethos of the honor code to include lectures. By coming to lecture, you commit to engaging solely with the lecture material. By asking you to come to lecture, I commit to doing all I can to give presentations that capture and hold your attention. Your regular feedback will be invaluable in the pursuit of this goal.

I will also attempt to utilize technology to help you engage more at a lower cost. This term, I will experiment further with recording the audio from my lectures. Depending on circumstances, I will make this audio and my slides available to you via the Internet. These “features,” however, should be considered to be in “beta”-meaning, they may prove unreliable and may ultimately be scrapped. (Indeed, they are almost certainly going to be posted some time after their original “air date.”) This system may provide some redundancy; but there is still no substitute for attending a live show.

Discussion Sections

Discussion Sections: The weekly discussion sections (on Thursday afternoons) will focus on each week’s readings and lectures. Attendance at these meetings is mandatory.

Each week, I will post several discussion questions, which you should use to guide your reading and which we will use to guide our discussions. These questions will serve as the basis for the exam questions.
In discussions, I hope to foster an environment in which all students enjoy participating on a regular basis. I recognize, however, that some students hesitate to speak up during discussions; and I acknowledge that contributions to public discussion do not always need to be submitted orally. Thus, I invite participation in various ways; and I will attempt to construe participation broadly for the purposes of grading.

Interested students may contact me about the possibility of leading a discussion. By presenting some thoughts in response to these questions and to

Those students who wish to take this course but who prefer not to speak in class will have the option-after consulting with me-to complete written discussion papers with which to earn good marks for their “participation” grade. These papers (300 words each) must be submitted to me at least 24 hours prior to the discussion. (I might then forward these analyzes to the entire discussion group.) Just as with oral discussion comments, summary should only be used in the service of critical analysis and argumentation. Students pursuing this option are still expected to attend every discussion.

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