Study of the philosophical problems that arise in the sciences: how claims are justified, the limits and styles of explanation, identifying pseudo science, values in science, unity and diversity of the sciences, and science's impact on our world view. 3 units.
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, which never meets in a physical classroom. You are welcome to come to the instructor's physical office hours (see sidebar) but he will be highly available to you by electronic communication, either e-mail or Google Chat.
Your grade in this course will be based on quizzes, tests, an online journal, and participation in the course evaluation process. The quizzes and tests will be taken within the Blackboard environment. The journal will be written on an online document using Google utilities.
In addition to your Google Doc Journal, you will be assigned to a Google discussion group. This page exists solely 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 222 points possible in this course (200 for tests, 20 from the journal and 2 points for course evaluations). 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 22 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 it is a very poor idea and I strongly advise against it. The tests are not easy, and almost everyone will need these points 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. With every module you will be supplied with a list of study questions designed to help you pass the quizzes and test. You are not required to submit written answers to these questions, but you should know their answers before engaging any of the assessments.
Taking tests and quizzes
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.
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 regulalry prompted regarding the basic quality of your entries. 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. You may revise your entries after the due date, but all revisions and corrections after the due date must be written in a blue font.
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. Note that this restriction is not about plagiarism.
4. Journals that contain plagiarism of any kind will be given a grade of zero, which will result in the student failing 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 or the instructor's journal.
class id 8509729
enrollment password: mayes125
add question about turitin to syllabus quiz
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.
The reading and assignment schedule is at the schedule link on the home page.
The instructor will be available by e-mail and will normally respond to all questions within 12 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. Hours will be displayed in the sidebar and anyextra hours will be announced on the What's Up page
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 during the first week of the semester.
Minor changes to this syllabus may be made at the instructor's discretion.