essays. For 4 of the reading assignments, you will be asked to write
a short essay (2 typed, double-spaced pages, approximately 500 words) engaging
with some issue or issues in the reading. (Specific instructions for the short
essays will be distributed in class.) The goal of these assignments is to
help you read in an active, engaged way, and to encourage you to develop your
own view about these issues. Short essays are due in class on the dates listed
in the program. No late essays will be accepted, but I will
drop your lowest short essay grade before calculating your final grade. Taken
together, the short essays will count for 25% of your course grade.
Exams. There will be a midterm and a final exam for this course. The exams are intended to evaluate your grasp of material from assigned readings, lecture, and class discussions. Each exam will include shorter objective items (e.g., definitions of key terms) and longer essays that will require that you reflect critically on the course material. More details on the format and content of these exams will be distributed later in the term. The midterm exam will count for 20% of the course grade and the final exam will count for 25% of the course grade.
Research assignment. There will be an assignment that requires you to find articles from the popular and the scholarly scientific literature, analyze these articles, develop an annotated bibliography, and write a discussion of the different patterns of communication in popular and scholarly scientific articles. (Specific instructions for this research assignment are here.) The research assignment (the final write-up plus the preliminary stages of the assignment) will count for 20% of your course grade.
Class participation. Dialogue and discussion will play an important role in our project of analyzing and assessing the central issues of the course raised in reading assignments and lectures. Therefore, I expect that you will come to class with your books, having done the readings and thought about the issues they raise before our class meetings, and ready to participate in general discussion, in-class writing exercises, and periodic small group exercises. Your class participation will count for 10% of your course grade.
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