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Published by Paul Cesarini
This is the syllabus and course site orientation for Dr. Cesarini's section of HNRS 2010: Introduction to Critical Thinking.
This is the syllabus and course site orientation for Dr. Cesarini's section of HNRS 2010: Introduction to Critical Thinking.

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Published by: Paul Cesarini on Aug 15, 2011
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HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

HNRS 2010, INTRODUCTION TO CRITICAL THINKING T /Th, 1pm – 2:15pm, 069 MacDonald North INSTRUCTOR DATA Dr. Paul Cesarini 419.372.7740 / pcesari@bgsu.edu / Skype: paul.cesarini Department of Visual Communication & Technology Education, 261 Technology Bldg. Office hours: M/W, 1pm – 3pm (face-to-face, by phone, or via chat), or by appointment PEER FACILITATOR Hannah Douglas / hannahd@bgsu.edu / Office hours by appointment, in Honors Loft. COURSE DESCRIPTION Introduction to Critical Thinking (4) Interdisciplinary inquiry in social sciences. Analysis of arguments through assumptions, ambiguity, data and fallacies; formulation of conclusions and alternative inferences; value assumptions and decision making. Prerequisite: admission to the honors program or permission of honors director. Applicable to the social sciences general education requirement. REQUIRED COURSE TEXTS AND WEB SITE • M. Neil Brown and Stuart M. Keeley, Asking the Right Questions, with Readings. (New York: Longman, 2010) • Blackboard Student Manual [Reference only. This document can be accessed via our Blackboard web site. Login to MyBGSU, then click the link to get into our site. To access the student manual from there, click the Tools button, followed by the Manual link.] • Additional readings online, as well as video and audio clips, will be assigned as needed. • The course will use a Blackboard Web site (or “course shell”) where you will be able to download course handouts and use communication tools. COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS You will need to have an active BGNet account, and must be able check your BGNet email regularly. If you rely on an alternate email address, it is your responsibility to have your BGNet email forwarded to that address. You must also familiarize yourself with Blackboard conventions. You will need access to a broadband-connected computer that has the most recent versions of the following software: • Browser: FireFox (most preferred), Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer (least preferred) • Media Players: QuickTime Player (either Windows or Mac OS X), Windows Media Player (either Windows or Mac OS X, or the Flip4Mac plugin), Flash browser plugin • PDF viewer: Adobe Reader, Preview (Mac OS X), or any PDF viewer • Word Processor: Microsoft Word or OpenOffice • Presentation: Microsoft PowerPoint or OpenOffice All of the above-mentioned software is available for use in the University computer labs, with the possible exception of FireFox and OpenOffice. COURSE OVERVIEW The purpose of this class is to analyze, evaluate, and improve your critical thinking skills. Successful students will leave this class with a phenomenal gift and a lifelong ability-to construct and evaluate arguments. Although this class will utilize formally recognized principles and guidelines as outlined in the course textbooks and readings, the true “heart” of this class will come through the practical implementation of these principles and guidelines. With practice, students should finish this course confident in their ability to critically examine and construct arguments. COURSE GOALS



HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

At the end of the course, your progress toward becoming a critical thinker will be based on how well you are able to address the following questions: What is the issue that generated this argument? Why does the problem or issue matter? What is the speaker’s or writer's conclusion? What are the reasons provided for the conclusion? Is there significant ambiguity contained within the argument? What assumptions are contained within the argument? What evidence is used to support the reasons? How valid is the evidence? Are there any logical fallacies within the argument? What significant information was omitted from the reasoning? What values are present within this argument? What value preferences do the authors have that allows them to make their conclusion? • What is your conclusion with respect to this argument? • What is the basis for your conclusion? • • • • • • • • • • INSTRUCTIONAL PHILOSOPHY This course will build upon the principles and guidelines outlined in the course textbook and additional readings through the systematic and practical application of the skills required to critically examine arguments. Class discussion, discussion forum participation, and completion of other assignments will demonstrate success. The course will not follow a rigid schedule. Assignments for the next class will be made at the end of each class. This course represents the “philosophical foundation” of the Honors Program-successful completion is required to remain in the Program. In class and online, I expect you to read and complete all assignments in advance; to attend and participate; to ask and answer questions; and to construct and evaluate arguments COURSE DELIVERY Course delivery will be a blend of face-to-face interaction in our regular classroom and online activity, via Blackboard course facilitation. In place of several face-to-face class meetings throughout the semester, you will participate online with me, our peer facilitator, and other students to build a cooperative learning community. Asynchronous communication tools, including email and online discussion forums, will be heavily relied upon in addition to our regular class meeting times, and in some cases in place of our regular class meeting times. The required text is for independent study; and the course Blackboard site will serve as a clearinghouse for information, where course handouts will be available, and communication tools, discussion board, and virtual classroom will be used by you, myself, and invited guests. Because of the nature of this course, consistent online interaction is mandatory. You must ensure that you complete assignments by their due dates, and respond to me and working groups within a reasonable amount of time. You will participate in bi-weekly electronic discussion forums that collectively account for a considerable portion of your final grade. New forums will be posted every other Monday, and will be archived or “closed” a week after they are posted. It will be your responsibility to inform me if scheduling difficulties arise. SUBMITTING ASSIGNMENTS All assignments will be submitted though the “view / complete assignment” link in the Unit folder of the assignment in question, will be automatically filtered through the SafeAssign plagiarism detection tool, and will then be uploaded directly into the grade book. I will upload your graded and commented assignments back into the grade book as I complete them.



HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

UNIT AND ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTIONS There will be a total of three quizzes in this class, some of which will likely be web-based and available to take outside of our regular class time. You will also be responsible for a small group presentation that will last 30 minutes, and you will also have a research paper due toward the end of the semester. There will be a final exam, as well. SCHEDULE All relevant dates associated with this course are available on the online course calendar, which can be accessed by way of MyBGSU. GRADING The following is a list of assignments and their corresponding maximum point values: Group Discussion Board / chat Participation Quiz #1 Quiz #2 Quiz #3 Issue Response Group Presentation Issue Response Paper IGNITE Presentation (extra credit) Final Exam Total for the Course 45 points (9 forums @ 5 points each) 10 points 10 points 10 points 25 points 25 points 5 points 20 points 145 points (150 points w/ extra credit)

Note: A 90, 80, 70, 60 percentage scale will be followed strictly for the semester grade. There will be no “scale” or “curve” of any type. There will be extra credit opportunities at various points throughout the semester. Details on these opportunities will be discussed in class. DISABILITIES The Disability Services for Students Office is to help provide equal access and reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities attending BGSU. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact the office at 419/372-8495. ACADEMIC HONESTY The Academic Honesty Committee has set forth the following objectives and procedures regarding academic honesty: • To communicate to all members of the University community the conviction of the University and its faculty that cheating and plagiarism are destructive of the central purposes of the University and are universally disapproved. • To state procedures for accomplishing the above objective by students, faculty, academic deans, and the University Academic Honesty Committee. For the Complete statement, refer to the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in B.II.8 of The Faculty Handbook as it appears in the Academic Charter or refer to Appendix D - Academic Honesty Policy as it appears in Bowling Green State University Student Code. The University Student Code, Academic Honest Regulations and Policies will be strictly followed. What this means is that do not under any circumstances even consider representing the text or work of another person as your own, or submitting work as new that was previously submitted in another class. It is not worth the risk to your GPA or your college career. If you do resort to academic dishonesty, I will find out about it. You will then receive a failing grade for this course, the dean’s Office will be notified, and your actions will be documented on your permanent record.



HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

LEARNING SUPPORT SERVICES AND RESOURCES Technology Support Center The Technology Support Center (TSC) provides a central point of contact for faculty, staff and students for questions, problem reports, service requests and inquiries for University computer systems and communications technologies at BGSU. email: tsc@bgsu.edu / Phone: (419) 372-0999 Academic Resource Center Students looking for more in depth assistance with computer technology needed for a class project or tutoring should contact the Academic Resource Center (formerly the Student Technology Center) or consult their web page at http://www.bgsu.edu/its/arc/index.html email: arc@lists.bgsu.edu / Phone: (419) 372-9277 Writing Center According to their web site, the Writing Center “…is committed to the success of campus and community writers throughout various stages of their writing projects, with primary emphasis on the development of student writers.” http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/writingctr/ email: writers@bgsu.edu / Phone: (419) 372-2221 Blackboard Self-Help Student FAQ’s Link: http://www.bgsu.edu/its/software/page10721.html My BGSU Portal Self-Help http://www.bgsu.edu/its/tsc/self-help/page10888.html BGSU Library http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/ BGSU’s Office of Distance Education http://online.bgsu.edu COURSE SITE ORIENTATION The purpose of the following set of instructions is to help you navigate and use the course site. The following information is included in this document: • • • • • Authentication Organization of Course Site Participating in Group Pages Document Preparation for Submitting Assignments Downloading Documents from the Course Site

It is VITAL to your success in this course to check your BGNet account and the course site regularly. Virtually all information pertaining to the course will be communicated via the main “announcements” page in our Blackboard course shell. Since this course is entirely web-based, it will be up to each of you to manage your time appropriately and actively participate in this course. This course site can be accessed through the My BGSU portal, which provides a link to personal information (grades and bursar accounts), email access, and other university services. Your BGNet account includes an email account, which you can access through the university’s webmail interface.



HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

All your email from Blackboard courses will be sent to your BGNet account unless you set up your account to forward your incoming email messages to an email account of your choosing. Authentication The authentication process enables you to establish your own portal on the BGSU Web and once enrolled in the course, you will have access to the course assignments and other information. The following step-by-step instructions will lead you through the authentication process: 1. Get to the Bowling Green State University Authentication Page by going to the BGSU Homepage at http://www.bgsu.edu and clicking the My BGSU button on the left navigation bar of the page 2. Once you get to the BGSU Authentication Page, type in your P00 number and use the tab key to move to the next textbox. 3. Next, Type in your BGNet user name. 4. Tab to the Authentication Password textbox and type in your BGNet email password. 5. In My BGSU click on the Courses area and click on the course link. This will take you into the course site or “shell”. Organization of Course Site Once you are on the course site, you will see a list of navigational buttons on the left side of the screen. Your course site will always begin with the Announcements page. You will probably only use the Staff Information button a few times at the beginning of the semester to find out more about me. The next buttons you will use on a regular basis and it will be to your advantage to learn how to use them in the course. • Course Documents: Look here for documents to download, including course syllabus, lecture presentations, assignment related materials, general Blackboard instructions, and assignment instructions—except for due dates. Assignment due dates can be found on the Course Calendar. Books: Look here for information about the required text(s) for this class. Communication: Look here for course functions such as Send Email, Collaboration (for the live chat tools), and Group Pages (for Discussion Forum questions). Group Pages: The Group Pages links directly to the group discussion board (see additional information below). To access them, click the Group Pages link & click on the link to your group. Course Calendar: All relevant dates pertaining to assignments, exams, and discussion boards can be found here. I recommend viewing by month, rather than the default viewing by day, in order to see more calendar entries at once. Please note some of the calendar entries may appear to be truncated or otherwise cut off. Just click the link on any entry for additional information. Tools: Look here for the Digital Drop Box, Blackboard Student User Manual, and Check Grade functions. You will submit all your assignments using the Digital Drop Box. You will also find an additional link to the Course Calendar.

• • • •

There may be an additional button or two added or changed once the semester starts, as I am always trying to improve the overall navigation of the course site. Group Discussion Board You will use your Group Discussion Board, accessed via the Group Pages button, to discuss topics posted by me. If you want to respond to someone else’s message that has been posted to a discussion forum click on reply, but if you want to add a new message (thread) click Add New Thread. I will be dropping in on your discussions to evaluate the level of your participation. For additional information about discussion board forums, posting, and evaluation criteria, please see the Discussion Groups section in our course site. It can be accessed by way of the Course Documents



HNRS 2010 / Fall 2011

button. Additionally, in the group pages there will be an “open forum”. This forum represents a venue to discuss anything not directly related to content in the regular discussion forum. You can also ask questions about the class in general. I will attempt to check the open forum regularly. E-mail This is a tool for you to email me. Attaching Documents You can attach documents to either e-mail or the discussion board within your groups when you want to exchange files. Document Preparation for Submitting Assignments When you submit your assignments be sure to compose and save as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice documents. Please include your full name and the assignment title at the top of all of your documents, double-space your papers, and follow APA style when citing and listing references, and. Save the file with your last name, and then the assignment title. For example, when Dave Smith uploads his Issue Response paper, he will save and title the document, “Smith_issueresponse.doc”. Use the assignment tool to submit / upload any papers. Do not send your assignment as e-mail attachments.) Be sure to submit assignments by no later than midnight of the due date. I do not accept late assignments. However, you may always submit assignments earlier than the due date. Downloading Documents from the Course Site To download files from the Course Documents area, right-click a file and choose “save as”.



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