Section WC
(Fall 1999)
Sandra K. Webster
Westminster College
New Wilmington, PA
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Contact Info
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Course Description
    Inquiry 101 is the first half of a year long course of study designed to confront and engage students with questions that have traditionally been at the center of  a liberal arts education.  In the first semester the questions are:
(a) How do we know?
(b) What is the nature of human kind?

    In Inquiry 101, we will address these two questions from the vantage points of a) Learning and the purpose of education; b) knowledge and authority; and c) ways of knowing.

Course Goals

Inquiry I is designed to:

    1. equip students with essential academic skills
    2. create a common discussion about important issues
    3. demonstrate how the understanding of complex issues requires information

    4. from several perspectives
    5. explore the value of a liberal arts education
Learning Objectives

By the end of Inquiry I, students should be able to:

    1. demonstrate proficiency in analysis and its related skills
    2. demonstrate proficiency in technology skills
    3. demonstrate proficiency in research skills
    4. use multiple intellectual perspectives effectively when exploring a topic
    5. explain the nature of a liberal arts education
    6. explain the ways that authority and knowledge may come into conflict
    7. explain different ways of knowing and different purposes of education
    8. provide tentative, but thoughtful, answers to the central questions of the course:
    1. How do we know?
    2. What is the nature of humankind?
Westminster College (1999). Inquiry 1999-2000.  Acton, MA: Tapestry Press.
Brecht, Bertolt (1940) Galileo.  (Charles Laughton, translator), New York: Grove Press.
Hamlet,  Shakespeare (On-Line)


Quizzes - There will be an on-line quiz at the beginning of each class when readings are assigned. The lowest 2 of these quizzes will be dropped.  Students who are too ill to attend class may take the quizzes in their dorm room with proper notice of the instructor.  No one will be allowed to participate in the virtual discussions until the quizzes have been completed for the readings to be discussed. The lowest two quizzes will be dropped.  Quizzes taken after assigned class time will earn only half of the points.

Co-curricular Activities - Students are required to attend a minimum of three co-curricular activities (from an approved list for Inquiry 101).  Credit for attendance is earned after turning in a 70-100 word summary of the activity that directly connects it to the content of our class readings and activities.

Virtual Discussions- On all Fridays after the first one, discussion of the readings will occur in the virtual classroom.  Each student is required to post a minimum of two meaningful contributions to the discussion.  Unless otherwise notified the discussions should occur in real-time during the scheduled class hours of 8:10 - 9:10.

Team Projects-  For each course section students will be assigned to teams.  The teams will produce and present to their classmates various projects which meet the course goals.  The team members will be changed for each section.

Term Paper- Each student will select a topic from a list provided by the instructor.  The student will research the project using library and internet resources.  The research will provide the basis for a 7-10 page paper.  Team members will engage in peer review of the paper before the final paper is due to the professor for evaluation.

Exams-  There will be one essay exam following each of the three course sections.  The essays will be written in class using resources accumulated by team members prior to the exam.

Final - A comprehensive final exam will be given during the final exam period.  It will assess how well the students can use the course content (readings, projects, co-curricular activities) to address the central questions of the course:  How do we know? and What is the nature of human kind?


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