Michael L. Goldberg
B CUSP 108
Through collaborative and interdisciplinary learning, students develop a knowledge base, skills, habits of inquiry, and imaginative vision. Focuses on individuals, society, and writing.
Focus: The Human Place in Nature Broadly, students will be introduced to the basic intellectual tools necessary to succeed doing college-level academic work. As a composition course, we will be focusing specifically on developing written communication skills. Other skills, abilities and habits of mind include information literacy, oral and online asynchronous communication skills, cooperative learning, critical reading comprehension and assessment, critical thinking and problem solving, interdisciplinary inquiry, intellectual risk-taking, and the creative use of multimedia tools.
Specifically, we will be exploring the complex and often contradictory relationship of humans and nature, starting with the multiple definitions of both words. Our special focus will be the relationship of humans and nature in the Puget Sound region. We will explore the topic through the perspective of a range of disciplines, including history, sociology, cultural studies, public policy, conservation biology and environmental science
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is a "hybrid" or "blended" course--half will be in the classroom and half will be online. Most in-class meetings will consist of short lectures, small group work, workshops, or class discussion. Most of the Interdisciplinary Writing/Composition part of the course will take place online. Expect to spend a minimum of 4 hours/week interacting with your classmates (either in your small group or the entire class) online. This does NOT include the writing work you will be completing and then posting. The four hours/week replaces classroom time. Although there will be deadlines for the online assignments, they may be completed over a period of days, giving students greater flexibility to complete their work in their own time.
A willingness to be challenged, to consider new and sometimes seemingly strange ideas, methods, and perspectives, and to work consistently throughout the quarter. This course requires that student's complete the assignments each week. It is not a course where last-minute cramming is possible.
Because of the online nature of the course, it will be very helpful to have daily access to the Web. You may also use computers on campus, as well as at public libraries, etc.
Class assignments and grading
A variety of short (starting with a paragraph) to more extensive writing assignments, including revision. In class and online participation will be assessed, so be prepared to contribute consistently. There will be some short information literacy assignment, and a group project involving a local environmental problem and its relationship to the human place in nature. The project will include individual components and will conclude with a multimedia presentation.
We will use a portfolio system in this class. You will receive constant assessments of your work and will have the opportunity to respond to the assessments. You will receive a final grade based on your overall learning trajectory (what you learned as the course developed) and how well you can demonstrate your command of learning objectives at the end of the course. This approach emphasizes the learning process, provides ample opportunities for students to learn from their mistakes, and does not penalize students for what they don't know or haven't yet mastered earlier in the course.