METAPHILOSOPHY and RELIGIOUS STUDIES CAPSTONE                             Spring 2016

Dr. Christine A. James

 

21236 PHIL 4920 A Metaphilosophy   MWF 12:00-12:50pm  WH 104 

21248 REL 4920 A Religious Studies Capstone MWF 12:00-12:50pm  WH 104 

 

 

 

This syllabus is available online, and may be updated, at http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/MetaPhilRelCapSpring2016.html

 

Your class in Blazeview is combined, titled Phil. and Rel. Capstone Section X01 Spring 2016 CO.


Office: 1203 Ashley Hall
Office Hours: MTWR 3:30pm-4:45pm and after classes and by appointment as needed or requested.
Telephone:  259-7609 
Mailbox:  Philosophy and Religious Studies Department Office, Ashley Hall North Side First Floor, Ashley Hall 1202
Fax:  259-5011
E-mail address: 
chjames@valdosta.edu

Course content: A capstone course taught in a seminar setting, emphasizing individual research projects on selected themes, presented by students to their peers and to the philosophy and religious studies faculty.  This is a reading, research and writing intensive course, so it will require you to read, think about, and write about a considerable amount of material. The most important aspect of the course is that it involves independent research leading up to a publishable quality research paper and a set of presentations during the semester.  The class engages in seminar style critique of everyone’s oral and written work as you would in a graduate program. We will begin with analysis and critique of former students’ capstone projects, the planning of a literature review including relevant varieties of research from the student’s major discipline, careful charting of the different schools of thought in the literature, and a completion of a major research paper. This major research paper is then edited down to a conference presentation with PowerPoint. Each graded item in the course works toward the completion of the major paper, which should be approximately 25 pages, with a shorter edited version and an accompanying PowerPoint for presentation to the faculty at the end of the semester, at Conferences, the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and so on.
An introduction to a wide range of research methods emphasizing the ability to read, interpret, conduct, report and present research in the student’s discipline area.  


Learning Objectives:

In accordance with the revised learning outcomes for the Core Curriculum of the Georgia State System, and the VSU Core Curriculum, our course follows the Area C Learning Outcome:

"Students will analyze, evaluate, and interpret diverse forms of human communication."

We are also following the learning outcomes of the major, which are:

PHIL concentration:

1. Explain and analyze central issues, topics, and philosophers in the history of philosophy, from the ancient to the modern periods.
2. Write and speak critically and logically, applying various theories to specific cases and examples.
3. Explain their own value system, evaluating their values in the context of a diverse range of ideas that inform contemporary controversies and social conflict.
4. Create independent philosophical research, synthesizing a variety of sources, including traditional primary philosophical texts and secondary source commentaries.
5. Demonstrate a working familiarity with current research methods, citation styles, and presentation techniques.

REL concentration:

1. Explain and interpret the world’s religious traditions and their influence on values, norms, and public policies.
2. Apply critical and analytical skills in analyzing multiple religious perspectives.
3. Identify and evaluate their self-understanding in the context of diverse ideas that inform contemporary controversies and social conflict.
4. Create independent research, synthesizing sources including sacred texts, religious autobiographies, and other secondary sources.
5. Demonstrate a working familiarity with current research methods, citation styles, and presentation techniques.

Requirements:  Class participation and attendance, two literature reviews, a chart of schools of thought, a long paper of 25 pages, a shorter edited version of 12 pages, and a PowerPoint.  Pop Reading Quizzes may also be given during the semester.


1. This course provides students in Philosophy and Religious Studies with the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary research project and to present the findings of their research to the University community and to the Honors faculty and students.
2. To create a community of scholars where students have a chance to converse with each other about their research and thus be participants in a semester-long interdisciplinary conversation.
3. To provide a supportive environment for the completion of major research projects.
4. To provide students with an opportunity to relate academic research with writing, reading, and communication skills.
5. To provide an overall understanding of a variety of interdisciplinary research methods, so that students can take an overarching perspective that is broader than that available within one major discipline.

All learning outcomes will be evaluated via formative and summative assessments, including research papers, formal presentations in class including verbal expression and Powerpoint presentations, and written work in Blazeview including Discussion postings, Assignment attachments of Word .doc or .docx format, and Assessment quizzes.

Required Texts:

Writing Philosophy: A Guide to Professional Writing and Publishing, by Richard A. Watson, Southern Illinois University Press, ISBN 0809318105 or 978-0809318100

A Guide To Writing Academic Essays in Religious Studies, by Scott G. Brown, Bloomsbury Academic/Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 0826498884 or 978-0826498885

Philosophy Student Writer's Manual, by Anthony J. Graybosch, Gregory M. Scott, Stephen M. Garrison, Pearson, 3rd edition, 0205921035 or 978-0205921034

Making Sense in Religious Studies: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing, by Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson, Joel N. Lohr, Oxford University Press, 1st Edition, ISBN 019543952X or 978-0195439526

Be sure to do the reading before the class for which it is assigned. Please bring the relevant book(s) and/or article(s) with you to class, along with a designated notebook and some pens.

(In addition, faculty members do encourage you to use the St. Martin’s Handbook, a style guide with a custom VSU edition, which is required in the VSU ENGL 1101 and 1102 courses. These books are available for purchase at the VSU Bookstore. The St. Martin’s Handbook is usually shelved in the bookstore near the books for ENGL 1101 and 1102.)

Please note that I am not obligated to accept late work or to allow “make up” work after the date an assignment or exam or paper is completed by the other members of the class. When you have extenuating circumstances, you should talk with me about it ahead of time.
I also make no promises about extra credit items, although I will routinely announce events on campus that can result in some extra credit points for you.

How grades will be calculated: 
How grades will be calculated: 

A = 100 - 90% 

B = 89 - 80% 

C = 79 - 70% 

D = 69 - 60% 

F = 59 - 0% 

 

 

Class participation, attendance in class and Discussion in Blazeview throughout course = 10%

 

First Discussion, Quiz, and Dropbox during first week = 5%

 

3 Quizzes at 5% each = 15%

 

Summary and Analysis of a Past Student’s Work = 10%

 

Literature Review = 10% 

 

Charting Schools of Thought = 10%

 

Presentation of First 10 Pages = 10%

 

Single Person Draft Day, Full Draft = 10% 

 

Presentation of Short Version of paper w/PPT for faculty = 10%

 

Final Version of Full Paper and PowerPoint in Blazeview = 10% 

 

Total = 100% possible                                                                               

Since research is a major component of the Capstone course, you should try to become familiar with the primary and secondary source material available through our library:
http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/library/welcome.php 
In completing your research papers, you may find that the databases of peer-reviewed journal articles will be especially helpful. The direct link for the database (Academic Search Complete) is 
http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=zbac   (Click on Academic Search Complete to open the first page with the search box.)
If you are accessing the library website from an off-campus computer, please use the Anywhere Access to log in to our library’s resources: 
http://library.valdosta.edu:2048/login 

Attendance Policy: I do care that you attend class regularly. Be aware that photos of all students are now available in Banner and in the Data Warehouse faculty portal, so faculty know you are not in class even if they do not take attendance.   VSU policy states that missing 20% of class meetings results in an automatic grade of “F”.  Faculty can also institute added attendance policies in their syllabi. Our class will have a 10% rule for absences.  You can miss up to 10% of the class meetings with no grade penalty.  10% of our 30 class meetings is 3.  On absence number 4, your final grade for the course will be reduced by one whole letter grade; on absence number 5, your final grade for the course will be reduced by two whole letter grades; on absence number 6, you will automatically fail the course.  Be considerate of your fellow students – don’t be late, and don’t leave your cell phones and pagers on.  Note that if you are regularly late to class, or leave class early, I will begin to count each as an absence.  Please note that this policy makes no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.


Access Statement: Valdosta State University is committed to providing inclusive learning environments for all students. However, students with disabilities may not always experience equal access to all learning objectives or assessments.  If students anticipate or experience any learning barriers, they should notify the instructor as well as contact the Access Office to determine appropriate ways to eliminate barriers. The Access Office is located in Farber Hall and can be reached by calling 229-245-2498 (voice), 229-375-5871 (videophone), 229-219-1348 (tty) or 229-245-3788 (fax). You can also visit the website at 
www.valdosta.edu/access or email at access@valdosta.edu for more information. 


Participate! Once you arrive at class, make an effort to get involved in the conversation. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need clarification or would like more information: if you are confused, it is likely that others are too! The participation percentage you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) the frequency and helpfulness of your contributions to class discussions and the care you take when peer editing.


Pop Reading Quizzes: If I notice that there are many students who are not keeping up with the reading, I may periodically administer reading quizzes in class. These will not be announced in advance. No “make-up” quizzes will be given, and a missed quiz will result in a grade of zero.  These quizzes are a solid reward for attending class, participating, and keeping up with the readings.


Online Discussions: During certain weeks of the semester, you also will be expected to participate regularly in on-line discussions using Blazeview, our campus version of Desire2Learn Brightspace. Use this opportunity to comment on the week’s readings, ask questions, raise objections, and respond to what others have written or said in class.
To use Blazeview, you will need access to a computer with an internet connection. Your computer and its software will also need to meet certain technical specifications, like allowing pop-ups and updating Java. You are solely responsible for all technical matters. Although you do not need to be on campus in order to access Blazeview, it is worth remembering that computer labs are available at VSU. Sometimes if you have a lot of work to do, your wireless internet connection can be cut off if your computer or iPad goes into sleep mode – the library computers will have more reliable “wired” connection. For technical help, please contact the VSU Help Desk (located in Odum Library, to the left of the Circulation Desk) at 229-245-4357 or by e-mail at 
helpdesk@valdosta.edu 


To log in to Blazeview and the course “shell,” go to the VSU homepage and click on My VSU. Your username and password are probably the same as for your e-mail account.
When posting in an online Discussion board, like those in the Discussion area of Blazeview, you must (1) post at least one original message of your own, (2) read all the messages posted by others, and (3) respond substantively to at least one message from another student. Your postings are due the same day as the readings are listed in the schedule below (i.e., no later than 11:59 p.m. on the relevant dates.) Normally, in Blazeview, you should respond to my topic first, and then come back and reply to at least two other students. Try not to simply repeat what others have said already, and remember that citing the text is important.
When you are ready to respond to someone else, do so by opening their message and hitting the “Reply” button. This will create a “thread” that others can add on to. Keep in mind that although it is fine to disagree with what someone else has said, it is important to do so in a way that is polite and constructive. If someone says something that makes you angry, pause and take a breath before firing off a reply! You can preview your message before you send it, but once you have hit “Post,” people will be seeing what you posted!
Blazeview allows me to keep track of how many messages you have read and posted, like a set of statistics on a scoreboard. I will monitor student activity and may from time to time add a message of my own.

Academic Honesty: Members of the Valdosta State University faculty value honesty and integrity extremely highly and do not tolerate cheating of any kind. Anyone caught cheating will automatically fail the course. Cheating includes – but is not limited to – plagiarism, giving or receiving assistance on a quiz, having someone else do work on your behalf, doing work on someone else’s behalf, and working with a partner or in a group on an individual assignment. By enrolling in this course, you are in effect promising to maintain the bond of trust on which the professor-student relationship is based.  In addition, VSU has a new Academic Honesty Policy.  Here is a link to the Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures:
http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/vp-office/academic-honesty-at-vsu.php 

E-Mail: 
VSU policy mandates that all official communication by e-mail take place through VSU e-mail accounts or through the Blazeview Mail tool.  Please check your VSU (@valdosta.edu) e-mail account regularly.
Note: This syllabus is not a legal contract; the content of this course is subject to revision by the professor.

 

 

                                              Schedule                                         

1/11 M

What is your background, and what would you like your Capstone Research Project to be?
Syllabus
First reading together: Academic Integrity
            
http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/acin.html

For the next class, take a look at how other universities do Capstones:
http://honors.syr.edu/wp-content/ext/CapstoneGuide.pdf 
http://www.uab.edu/faculty/images/Faculty_Development/QEP/Kurata-Handout.pdf

And begin to search for primary and secondary sources http://www.galileo.usg.edu/express?link=zbac

(Each date in the class after this one assumes that you will have read that day’s assigned discussion reading before class.)
Be sure to look in the new Blazeview for your first Discussion, Quiz and Dropbox! 
   
http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/elearning/blazeview-d2l.php

1/13

W

Review papers from previous Capstones, the Phi Sigma Tau journal Dialogue, and the journal of Theta Alpha Kappa

Tips for Writing a Précis http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/precis.html
Please note that by Saturday, 1/16 at 11:59pm, you should have completed your first Discussion, Dropbox, and Introductory Quiz in Blazeview. These are all short items that simply show you are able to use all aspects of Blazeview.

A special video about recent upgrades to the Galileo search for full text journal articles: https://valdostamanager.sharestream.net/ssdcms/i.do?u=788456e15c514a4

Visitor from Career Services office on this date. Tiffany Soma 229-333-5942 tssoma@valdosta.edu

 

 

1/15 F

Discussion of How To Do A Research Project, and what to prepare for your own review of one of the undergraduate papers.

1/18

M

No Class Meeting, MLK Jr Day

1/20 W

Undergraduate Paper Analysis Due (short presentations giving synopsis of a different former student paper, by every class member.)

In your report, you must answer the following:

Summarize the argument of the author.

How do they discuss positions other than their own?

What sources were used?

Consider the journal articles they found and cited.

What search terms might have helped them to find these articles?

Did you find these articles as well by searching in Academic Search Complete/JStor?

REMEMBER: All students presenting on a given date must have turned in their work via Blazeview Dropbox by 11:59pm the evening of the day they presented.

Students Presenting Today: 1.Nicole Tieman 2. Kelly Barbour

1/22 F

Students Presenting Today: 3. Quinten Sabré Sims 4. Morgan Locher

Dr. James will present Watson pages 1-22 and Brown pages 1-23

1/25 M

Students Presenting Today: 5. Joshua Echols 6. Michael Johnson

Dr. James will present Watson pages 23-36 and Brown pages 24-52

1/27 W

Short Quiz due in Blazeview Quizzes by 11:59pm

Dr. Michael Holt, Research Librarian (and alum of our department when he was an undergraduate) will speak to our class about research skills on this date.

1/29 F

Students Presenting Today: 7. Cameron Smith 8. Becca Loskoski

Dr. James will present Watson pages 37-47 and Brown pages 53-64

2/1 M

Student Presenting Today 9. Morton Wood

Short Quiz due in Blazeview Quizzes by 11:59pm

Dr. James will present Watson 47-95 and Brown 65-97

Prepare your first three secondary sources for our class discussion and feedback:

Write up each of your first three sources as a précis in a Word document. Print it out, copy for each class member, before the class when you are listed to present. This way you can receive feedback from fellow class members about the debate in your topic, the schools of thought, and grammar/spelling. (Send me your work ahead of time and I can print it out for you, or you can use the printing allocation on your OneCard.) The Word document itself must be turned in to the Dropbox by 11:59pm on the date you present, either 2/5 or 2/8, below. For tips on writing a précis: http://mypages.valdosta.edu/chjames/precis.html

2/3 W

Literature Review Time: Finding Primary Sources and at least 10 Secondary Sources

Dr. James will present on Graybosch pages 1-59 and Northey pages 1-41

2/5 F

Jessie VanDeVelde from the Graduate program in MFT Marriage and Family Therapy will visit at the beginning of class on this date.

Presenting the first 3 sources you have found:  1.Nicole Tieman 2.Kelly Barbour 3.Quinten Sabré Sims 4. Morgan Locher 

2/8 M

Presenting the first 3 sources you have found: 5. Joshua Echols 6. Michael Johnson 7. Cameron Smith 8.Becca Loskoski 9. Morton Wood

2/10 W

Presenting the full 10 Secondary Sources You Have: 1.Nicole Tieman 2. Kelly Barbour

2/12 F

Presenting the full 10 Secondary Sources You Have: 3.Quinten Sabré Sims 4. Morgan Locher

2/15 M

Presenting the full 10 Secondary Sources You Have: 5. Joshua Echols 6. Michael Johnson

Charting out the major “schools of thought” in your own literature review, and how your paper will locate itself within the debate. Dr. James will show you how to do the charting and give you examples.

2/17 W

 

2/17 W -2/19 F

Presenting the full 10 Secondary Sources You Have: 7. Cameron Smith 8. Becca Loskoski 9. Morton Wood

 

On this Wednesday and Friday, there will be a conference happening in the Student Union. Everyone in our class should go to two different speakers and see how they handle presenting, then write up a set of comments, positive and negative, in our Blazeview Discussion area. This is in place of Friday’s class meeting.

 

 

2/22 M

Present your chart of schools of thought in class, giving a copy to everyone. Everyone Presents

1.Nicole Tieman 2. Kelly Barbour 3.Quinten Sabré Sims 4.Morgan Locher 5. Joshua Echols 6.Michael Johnson 7. Cameron Smith 8.Becca Loskoski 9.Morton Wood

2/24 W

 Presentations of your first 10 pages of the paper. Bring in copies for everyone to critique.

1. Nicole Tieman

2. Kelly Barbour

2/26 F

Presentations of your first 10 pages of the paper. Bring in copies for everyone to critique.

3. Quinten Sabré Sims

4. Morgan Locher  

2/29 M

Presentations of your first 10 pages of the paper. Bring in copies for everyone to critique.

5.  Joshua Echols

6.  Michael Johnson

3/2 W

Presentations of your first 10 pages of the paper. Bring in copies for everyone to critique.

7.  Cameron Smith

8.  Becca Loskoski

Dr. James will present Graybosch 60-88  and Northey 42-106

Short Quiz Due in Blazeview Quizzes by 11:59pm

 

3/4  F

Presentation of your first 10 pages of the paper. Bring in copies for everyone to critique. 9. Morton Wood

Writing Practicum for peer review and help with paper drafts

Dr. James will discuss Graybosch 89-124 and Northey 107-211

3/7 M

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

1.Nicole Tieman

3/9 W

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

2. Kelly Barbour

3/11 F

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

3. Quinten Sabré Sims

3/14 M -

3/18 F  

No Class Meetings, Spring Break Week

3/21 M

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

5.   Joshua Echols

3/23 W

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

4.   Morgan Locher

3/25 F

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

Spare Day: Nicole Tieman, Quinten Sabré Sims, Kelly Barbour

3/28 M

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

7.  Cameron Smith

3/30 W

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

8.  Becca Loskoski

4/1 F

Single person full draft day – bring in full draft, give copies to everyone and read it out loud.

9.  Morton Wood

4/4 M

Editing Down your full 25 page draft into 12 pages for a presentation. Creating a PowerPoint to go with the paper.

Dr. James will perform the paper with PowerPoint technique using examples from previous conferences.

URC: Go to at least two sessions in the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Write observations both positive and negative and post them in Blazeview Discussion for a grade.

4/6 W

URC: Go to at least two sessions in the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Write observations both positive and negative and post them in Blazeview Discussion for a grade.

4/8 F

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

1.Nicole Tieman

4/11 M

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

2. Kelly Barbour

4/13 W

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

3. Quinten Sabré Sims

4/15 F

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

4. Morgan Locher

4/18 M

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

5. Joshua Echols

4/20 W

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

Spare Day, class will still meet

4/22 F

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

7. Cameron Smith

4/25 M

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

8. Becca Loskoski

5. Joshua Echols 5 minute reply to another student’s paper

4/27 W

Presentations of your edited paper with PowerPoint. Do not bring copies, forms will be used.

9. Morton Wood

Practice your 5 minute replies 1. Nicole Tieman 2.Kelly Barbour 3. Quinten Sabré Sims 4. Morgan Locher

4/29 F

Practice your 5 minute replies 7. Cameron Smith 8. Becca Loskoski 9.Morton Wood

5/2 M

The last official class meeting day for all Fall Semester classes is Monday, May 2. This will be the day of our presentations to the faculty, most of the day, in the Student Union Ballroom B on the third floor.

5/6 W

Final Versions of Research Papers and PowerPoint Presentations Due in Blazeview Dropbox by the time assigned for our final exam, Friday 5/6 at 10:15am

 

FINAL EXAM:  
For classes that normally meet MWF at 12:00pm, the Registrar has set the official exam time for Friday, May 6 at 10:15am. For our course, we will have the final versions of your research papers and PowerPoints that will be due in the Blazeview Dropbox by the time this final would begin. 


If you are not sure about how the final exam times are assigned for your other courses, check this link to the Final Exam Schedule here: 
https://www.valdosta.edu/academics/registrar/documents/spring-2016-final-exam-schedule.pdf

 

Capstone                                    Short Summary of Graded Items


Date

Grade Item

Percentage of Final Grade

In Class or Online

If Online, Location in Blazeview

By Saturday 1/16 at 11:59pm

First Introduction Discussion, Dropbox and Practice Quiz in Blazeview

5%

Online

Discussions
Dropbox
Quizzes

 Regularly

Class participation, attendance in class and Discussion in Blazeview, especially about the two conferences on campus this semester

10%

In Class and Online

 

1/27 W, 2/1 M, 3/2 W

3 Quizzes at 5% each

15%

Online

Quizzes

1/20 W – 1/25 M

Summary and Analysis of a Past Student’s Work

10%

In Class

Turn in Answers to the Questions in Dropbox

First 3 sources: 2/5 F.

Full 10 sources: 2/8 M – 2/12 F

Literature Review

10%

In Class, Bring Copies for All

Dropbox

2/22 M

Charting Schools of Thought

10%

In Class, Bring Copies for All

 Dropbox

2/24 W – 2/29 M

Presentation of First 10 Pages

10%

In Class, Bring Copies for All

 Dropbox

Begins 3/7 M

Single Person Draft Day, Full Draft

10%

In Class, Bring Copies for Everyone

 Dropbox

Monday 5/2

Presentation of the Shorter Edited Paper and PowerPoint to the Faculty on Monday 5/2

10%

Formal Presentation

Student Union Ballroom A

Wednesday 5/6 by 10:15am

Final Version of Full Paper, Shorter Edited Paper, and PowerPoint in Blazeview Dropbox

10%

Online

Dropbox

Online Course Evaluations 
Student evaluations are extremely important in helping faculty members plan and revise their courses.  Rather than completing these evaluations during class time, students will need to access evaluation forms via BANNER and complete them in a period during the last few weeks of class.  Please take the time to complete this important evaluation (or opt out of providing an evaluation) during the designated period.  If you do not do so, you will not be able to access the grade for this class, scheduled to be posted on the Monday after the final examination days. They will be in Banner under Answer a Survey. Students will receive an email notification through their VSU (valdosta.edu) email address when the SOI is available (generally at least one week before the end of term.) SOI responses are anonymous to instructors/administrators. Instructors will be able to view only a summary of all responses two weeks after they have submitted final grades. While instructors will not be able to view individual responses or access any of the responses until after final grade submission, they will be able to see which students have or have not completed their SOIs, and student compliance may be considered in the determination of the final course grade. Some professors give extra credit for completing the SOI and some do not, please do not pressure any faculty member about giving extra credit - it's an individual instructor choice. These compliance and non-compliance reports will not be available once instructors are able to access the survey.