of Life and Death
On this page
you will find descriptions of the assignments for this course and links to
specific guidlelines for particular assignments.
You can also
follow links to the assignment schedule for the whole term and the schedule
of assignments and activities by week.
Reading assignments. These are not graded, but doing
the reading is essential to the rest of the assignments and activities
for this course.
track of questions you have as you do the reading. After you have finished
reading a selection, jot down the points that seem to be most important
in that selection and the points that are most puzzling. Try out your
interpretation of the reading, or bring up the points that confused you,
in the online
discussion. Try to work out what's confusing in your reflective course
log. Be ready to discuss the reading in class, even (especially!)
if you think you might not understand it completely.
Help us figure out what's going on in the readings and what it all means
for us as we try to lead meaningful lives. Participation includes in-class
discussions (and possibly pop quizzes) and online
hard to participate if you're not present; come to class! Don't just report
what the reading says, try to figure out what it means and whether it
stands up to criticism. Don't just voice your own opinion, figure out
how you might defend it or persuade someone else to see things your way.
Don't just speak, listen to what others have said, and try to find connections
between the points being made.
Reflective course log. In this log, you will write your
personal responses to the issues and questions raised in class. Each entry
should be at least 300 words long.
Tips: I will
distribute questions or statements to serve as a starting point for your
written response, but you can respond to any question
or topic related to the class. While only four of your log entries will
be graded, you are encouraged to write more than four. If you like, you
can keep your course log as a weblog.
Analytical essays. For three of the readings, you will
write a brief (600 word) exploration of a key issue raised by the reading.
The aim of this exploration will be to analyze the claims made
by the author and discuss how these claims should – or should not
– inform our understanding of our own mortality.
Tips: At the
second class meeting, you will sign up for the readings for which you
will write your analytical essays; try to weigh your interest in particular
readings or topics and your total workload when selecting which essays
to sign up for! You can use the online
discussion threads to try out ideas as you're thinking out your essay.
You can get comments of early drafts of your essay from a Peer
Mentor, LARC, or the Philosophy
and Logic Lab.
Response essays. Twice during the semester, you will
write a very brief (300 word) response to the analytic essay of a classmate.
The aim of this essay is to raise alternatives or challenges to your peers’
interpretations of the texts, as well as to develop your sense of audience
in your writing.
sign up for response essays after the sign-ups for the analytic essays
are finalized. In an essay this short, you need to make every word count!
Research report/oral presentation. You will perform library
research on the death rituals of a particular culture, religious tradition,
or historical period within a culture, using online databases to locate
relevant scholarly and popular literature. Your research will culminate
in an oral presentation to the class and a brief written report.
sometimes takes longer than you expect it to, so get an early start! Be
sure your notes make it clear which words, facts, and interpretations
come from which source.
Reports on MUSE, campus, and community events. You will
attend at least two MUSE events and at least one non-MUSE campus or community
event and submit a brief (1 page) written report on each.
Tips: As the
term goes on, your schedule will get more crowded, so try not to put this
off! Talk to upperclassmen and your other professors for tips on interesting
on- and off-campus events.
Final exam. The exam will be in class on
Friday, December 17, 9:45 AM - 12:00 noon.
the final exam is cumulative, it's a good idea during the term to think
about how each new topic and reading assignment relates to the ones that
came before it. The online
discussion threads would be a good place to work with your classmates
to identify key ideas form the course and figure out how they fit together.
assignments and activities by week
assignments and activities