This course deals with numerous controversial (and sometimes emotionally-charged!) topics, so it would be great if we could have frequent discussions about the topics. However, the large size of the class makes real-live discussion difficult. I do encourage questions at any time during lecture, however. The one "rule" about such questions is that you should weigh the generality of your question before asking it; if you think it is likely to be something that is of interest only to you, save it for me for later. If, however, you think that it is probably interesting to others as well, then ask away!

While we can't have "real" discussions, I encourage "virtual" discussion via a Blackboard Discussion Group. Instructions for using the Discussion Group, if you haven't done so in the past, are provided on the syllabus. Basically, it will allow you to post comments or questions or relevant information to the entire class (and to me) and will also allow for responses from anyone in the class who is interested in responding. .

Remember to approach your conversations in the Discussion Group as you would a face-to-face conversation with someone. That is, no insults, harassment, profanity, misinformation, etc!

While the Discussion Group will provide a rather public forum for communication (that is, communication with the entire class), there may be times when you wish to address a question or comment to me rather than to the entire class. There are several ways for you to communicate with me -- my address, phone number and e-mail address are given on the "Instructor" page (click on "me" for that information). Any of these methods will be fine with me. If you want to send me e-mail now, click on my address here ( (If you type this address in later, rather than clicking here, don't use the parentheses around it!) The Graduate Teaching Assistant for this class can also be reached by phone or e-mail.

Communicating with you is important to me – I want to know your areas of confusion, particular interest, disagreement with lecture material, etc.-- hence I ask that each of you communicate at least once with me or our Teaching Assistant or the class during the term. In fact, 2% of your grade comes from this; communicate at least once and get 2%; never communicate and get 0 for that portion! "Communication" can mean contacting the TA or me by phone, e-mail, or in person; or sending a message to or replying to another's message on the Discussion Group. Your communication must have taken place before the start of the last lecture of the term to receive credit.

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This page is maintained by Patricia Muir at Oregon State University. Send questions or comments to ( . Page last updated October 18, 2013.