CLIsyllS10a - Pols 20 Controversial Legal Issues Spring...

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1 Pols 20: Controversial Legal Issues Spring 2010 DMH 161 Instructor: Dr. Sabrina Pinnell M W 10:30 -11:45 E-Mail: [email protected]* Office: Clark 404D Ofc Hrs: W 1-3 and by appt. *Preferred method of contact. Introduction Contrary to the course title, the primary focus of this class is not legal issues; this is a class in critical thinking , or the ability to analyze, question and process information as it is presented to you in articles, texts, or other media. The “legal issues” portion of the course is included to give subject areas on which there are varied (and often polarized) opinions; you will exercise your newly-acquired thinking skills by analyzing arguments made on these issues, and coming up with your own. By the end of this class you should definitely be able to do two things. First, you should be able to analyze and critique the arguments and information presented by others, so you know whether or not their opinions are really worth accepting. Second, you should be able to come up with informed opinions on many issues that you can successfully defend against the critique of others. By the end of this course, you should be able to do both of these things in writing and in oral discussion. The importance of these skills cannot be understated, especially in an academic setting where you are now expected to go beyond simply reading and internalizing information from class materials, lectures and other media; you now need to acquire the skills to analyze information as it is presented and be able to process it so you can use it in writing or discussion. Even if you do not go beyond an undergraduate degree, the skills in this class are vital to being a person who is well-informed, rather than just one who has opinions. Course Objectives This is considered a A3 GE course, and as such has some high expectations in terms of objectives. Briefly, here they are: K Distinguish between reasoning (e.g., explanation, argument) and other types of discourse (e.g., description, assertion). K Identify, analyze and evaluate different types of reasoning. K Find and state critical unstated assumptions in reasoning. K Evaluate factual claims or statements used in reasoning and evaluate the sources of evidence for such claims. K Demonstrate an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism.
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2 K Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. K Locate, retrieve, organize, synthesize, and communicate information of relevance to the subject matter of the course. K Reflect on past successes, failures and alternative strategies. The first four requirements will be fulfilled with a combination of in-class participation, homework and writing assignments (argument analyses, summaries of articles for discussion, and a position paper). We will fulfill the plagiarism requirement by using an electronic module as well as an in-class lecture, and demonstration of understanding via citation in the written
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CLIsyllS10a - Pols 20 Controversial Legal Issues Spring...

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