A. Cite critical observations, underlying assumptions and limitations to explain and apply important ideas and models in one or more of the following: physical science, life science, mathematics, or computer science.
B. Recognize evidence-based conclusions and form reasoned opinions about science-related matters of personal, public and ethical concern.
By the end of the course you will be able to understand:
(1) basic concepts in the philosophy of science such as: theory, evidence, explanation, confirmation, disconfirmation, induction, falsification and empirical vs. conceptual truths.
This is a fully online course. The instructor will hold same day (typically) virtual office hours by e-mall request during the week.
Your grade in this course will be based on quizzes, tests, an an online journal. The quizzes and tests will be taken within the Blackboard environment. The journal will be written on an online document using Google utilities.
A Google discussion group.page will be created for the purpose of student discussion. as well as for the professor to answer student questions. If you have a question for the professor about the content or structure of the course you should write the question as a post to the discussion page. The professor will receive the question as an e-mail. By answering it on the discussion page he is able to help you and others at the same time. (If you have a private matter to discuss you should, of course, just e-mail the professor directly.) Beyond that, this page exists mainly to mitigate the isolation of online learning. You may use it any way you like, for group note taking, exchanging ideas or chatting. Nobody is required to participate. The only thing you must not do is use the page to copy each other's work.
There are 220 points possible in this course (200 for tests, 20 from the journal). However, your grade will be calculated on the basis of 200 points. So, for example, if you receive 173 total points, your grade will be 173/200 = 86.5% = B. This means that there are effectively 20 points of extra credit available, but 20 points worth of this extra credit is not tied to any particular assignment. This structure is likely to tempt some students not to do the online journal. This is permissible, but I strongly advise people to do the journal. The tests are not easy, and almost everyone will need the points fro the journal to make up for poor performance on some tests. In the end, however, this decision is up to you. Your grade is strictly a function of the number of points accumulated during the semester.
Final letter grades are assigned on a standard scale. 92% and above = A, 90-91% = A-, 88-89% = B+, 82- 87% = B, 80-81% = B-, etc. Fractional point totals are rounded up from .5. You and only you are responsible for monitoring your performance in this course. Be sure to pay close attention to the drop deadline.
Basic advice for succeeding in this course
By far the most important strategy for doing well in this course is to work steadily. Students who wait until the day a test is due in order to study the material, pass the associated quizzes and take the test are in for a particularly stressful and unproductive experience. Since quizzes may be taken as many times as needed to pass, it may be tempting to try passing the quizzes before you have carefully engaged all of the material. This, too, is a poor strategy, as you will often get multiple choice questions right just by chance. Moreover, passing the quizzes is not a guarantee of total preparedness for the test, as there will often be test questions that you did not encounter in any form on a quiz. Study questions for the lecture are supplied at the end of every lecture and study questions for the book and supplemental material are supplied on a webpage at the top of the schedule page. You are not required to submit written answers to any of these questions, but you should know their answers before engaging any of the assessments.
Summary of advice:
Basic procedure for taking tests
1. Be sure that you have a stable internet connection before taking any test. Although all quizzes and tests are open book and notes, the time limit will tend to prohibit their use for tests. Use the book and your notes to help you with quizzes. But be sure you no longer require them before taking a test.
2. At the beginning of your test always take a screenshot.
3. Absolutely never take your module tests on a mobile device. Students who experience technical difficulties during a test will be required to submit their screen shot to show that they were not using a mobile device while taking the test.
As noted above, all students will be permitted to retake one test of their choosing at the end of the term.
Your online journal
Instructions for receiving your online journal will be provided in the What's Up section of the course website at the beginning of the semester. Your journal will be monitored by the instructor and his teaching assistant. Your journal will not receive a numerical grade until the end of the semester, but you will be prompted regarding the basic quality of your entries. As noted above, your entries will be assessed for the degree of care, thoughtfulness and effort you put into understanding the text. Some important facts about the journal.
1. It is imperative that you engage the readings and finish your journal entries prior to the due date. The Google utility contains a revision history that permits us to determine whether entries have been done on time. The due time for any entry is 11:59 PM on the corresponding due date. If you are ever finishing an entry after that time, you must change the part that has been finished late to a blue color. Blue colored late entries will be accepted up to 24 hours late, and downgraded 1 pt. Students who misrepresent entries (whether intentionally or not) as being on time by failing to change them to a blue color will lose all of the points on their journal.
2. Journal entries must be done neatly and in college level English with complete sentences and correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. You will be supplied with a sample journal entry for comparison.
3. Journal entries must always be done in your own words. Absolutely do not quote the text or the instructor unless specifically directed to do so or unless the precise wording of an author is important. Note that this restriction is not about plagiarism.
4. If a journal contains plagiarism of any kind the student will fail the course. Journals will not be reviewed in their entirety for plagiarism until the end of the course. This means that a student who plagiarizes anytime during the semester may go on to complete all of the course requirements and still receive a final grade of F. The names of students who plagiarize will also be given to Student Affairs for disciplinary action. Plagiarism includes all of the standard forms identified here as well as copying from other student journals (including those of previous semester).
6. Absolutely do not share your Google Doc journal with any other students and do not share your answers with any other students. This will be treated as aiding and abetting plagiarism and will be treated in the same manner as plagiarism, as defined above.
7. It is ok to respond to comments on your journal page made by the professor but do no resolve or delete them.
8. At the end of the term you will submit your journal to Turnitin.com. If you are not already familiar with Turnitin.com or do not have an account, please go to this link. The information you will require is:
Academic honesty and plagiarism
You are both free and encouraged to study together. However, all work done in this course is subject to the CSUS academic honesty policy, which you may read at: Academic Honesty Policy & Procedures.
Pay particular attention to entry 4. in the instructions for online journals above.
The reading and assignment schedule is at the schedule link on the home page.
All general information will be supplied by the instructor at the What's Up link. Check it at least once a day.
The instructor will be available by e-mail and will normally respond to all questions asked during the weekdays within a few hours. Students who do not receive timely responses should re-send their e-mail in case I overlooked it. The instructor will also be available for virtual office hours on Google Chat.
When communicating with the instructor, always be courteous and clear. Here is a link explaining the proper way of sending an inquiry to the instructor. Students who are insufficiently courteous or clear in an email to the instructor will receive this link as a reply.
Please check your email soon after asking me a time-sensitive question. As noted, I typically respond quickly and you are responsible for the information soon after I send it.
How to get help with the quizzes or tests
When you are struggling with the answer to the question on a quiz or do not understand why you got a question wrong on a test, you should feel free to ask the instructor for help or advice. Please heed the following:
Dropping the class
To drop this class, students must contact the College of Continuing Education. Permission to drop is discretionary and the professor will not authorize any drops after the end of the 2nd week of classes.
Students with special needs
Students with disabilities that require accommodation must provide disability documentation to SSWD, Lassen Hall 1008, (916) 278-9655. Please discuss your needs with the instructor during the first few days of the term.
Minor changes to this syllabus may be made at the instructor's discretion.