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Dr. Jesse Peters
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372

Phone: 910.521.6635

Location: Dial 260 A
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Honors 100 Fall 2005 MF 10:00-11:15

Instructor: Dr.Jesse Peters
Office:  Old Main 204
Office Phone:  521-6841, 521-6635
Office Hours: MF 9:00-10:00; email; and by appointment

Course Objectives

This course is designed to introduce students to contemporary public issues concerning the United States and the world. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with current events and issues facing world society. W will work towards understnding the complexity of issues by studying all sides and engaging in intellectual inquiry.

Required Texts:

The New York Times, 2005

There will be a blue box located outside the west entrance to Old Main. Each student will purchase a subscription (through the Honors College Office) for the semester to the New York Times and will receice a code to unlock the box and pick up a newspaper daily. You must get into the habit of reading the entire newspaper on a daily basis as it will serve as the text for the course. There may be quizzes to ensure that you are doing the reading. Attendance is mandatory, and you will not be allowed to make up missed quizzes.

General Information

During the semester, you will be assigned a group to work with. The group will be responsible for one panel presentation on a specific topic. Additionally, you will write an individual essay on your group's topic. You are also required to keep a weekly journal which will be posted on the Blackboard discussion board within our course site. These entries will involve short summaries of articles from the newspaper as well as your reactions to it. There will also be a midterm and a final exam.

Take heed of the following:

1. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss class, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the material you missed. If you miss more than 4 classes, I can fail  you--no questions asked. I suggest saving your absences for when you are sick or have an emergency; that's what they are for.
2. I do not accept late papers or assignments of any kind without my previous consent. See me ahead of time if  you have problems with assigned due dates. Also, be sure to talk to me if you are  having trouble with assignments.
3. You will be assigned to work with a group throughout the semester; groups may be  changed at mid-semester. Attending all meetings  is mandatory. Missing meetings or group sessions will count as absences.
4. I would appreciate all work done outside of class to be typed, double-spaced.  However, the individual essay must be typed.
5. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated (talking while others are talking, coming in late, cell phones ringing, rude comments, etc.). If behavior like this persists, you will be asked to leave the class and receive a grade of F for the course.
6 . Plagiarism will result in an F in the course, and you will be reported to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, please see me to discuss the issue. The University writing center is also an excellent source of information and advice on your writing.

Note: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services (Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270) and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential.


Blackboard Journal 100 pts. 10%
Panel Presentation 200 pts. 20%
Individual Essay 300 pts. 30%
Midterm Exam 200 pts. 20%
Final Exam 200 pts. 20%
Total 1000 pts. 100%

I use a thousand point grading system. All grades will be given as numbers with final grades computed as follows: A=933-1000; A-=900-932; B+=866-899; B=833-865; B-=800-832; C+=766-799; C=733-765; C-=700-732; D+=666-699; D=633-665; D-=600-632; F=<600.


Blackboard Journal (100 pts.)

Each week, you will log into the Blackboard course site and click on the Discussion Board area. I will set up a forum for each week and start a thread on each individual topic we have chosen for the course. You must begin a new thread and then provide a summary of a pertinent article on that topic which you read that week. Please include article title, date of newspaper, and author's name. After your summary, I want you to start a new paragraph and describe your reaction to the article. What are its strengths? Weaknesses? What questions did it raise in your mind? What questions did it answer?

Individual Essay (300 pts.)

This essay will be approximately five pages in length, typed double-spaced with one inch margins on all sides. Do not use a title page; put your name, ID, and title on the top of the first page.  Number all pages. The essay will need to have at least four sources, one of which must be something other than the New York Times, preferably a journal article. Starting with your topic, you need to develop an essay that explains the key issues and then describes the different opinions on the subject. Your ultimate, goal (thesis) will be developed from what you think needs to be done about the issue. I encourage each of you to meet with me individually to discuss the strategy for the essay.

Panel Presentation (200 pts.)

Each student will be assigned to a group of three or four other students. These groups will work together as you discuss the topics and develop a panel presentation. This presentation should be an introduction, overview, and discussion of a key contemporary issue. The best strategy will be for each panelist within the group to tackle an opionion or subtopic within the larger issue. In a clearly organized and logical way, the panelists should explain the issue. Each presenter should use approximately 10 minutes. At the end, the rest of the class will be allowed to ask questions of the panelists. The goal here is to demonstrate your thourough understanding of the issue your group has chosen. You want to be professional, articulate, and knoweldgeable.

Midterm and Final (200 pts. each)

The midterm and final will be designed to test your knowledge of current events and public issues. They will consist of definition, short answer, and essay sections. Following class discussion and taking good notes should prepare you well for these examinations.


Sometimes the schedule may call for you to log into the Blackboard Course Site rather than meeting in the classroom. There may will chat in the virtual classroom. Sometimes I will ask you to complete other assignments inside the course site. Being late for these meetings or failing to participate is the same as being late for class. The same goes for absences. The requirements for hardware, software, and skills necessary to successfully navigate this online environment are available here: Online Course Skills.

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270.

Course Schedule (Subject to change as announced in class or posted online)

August 19 Course Introduction

August 22 How to read the newspaper; Discussion of topics for the semester

August 26 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

August 29 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 2 Discussion will be held on Blackboard; we will not meet in the classroom. Instead, log into Blackboard and see the discussion prompt for Friday.

September 5 No Class Labor Day

September 9 Discussion of articles in the NY Times; Group topics and plans due.

September 12 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 16 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 19 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 21 7:30-9:00 pm NC-REN facility Film: Stolen Childhoods (recommended) and question and answer session with the filmakers

September 23 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 26 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

September 30 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

October 3 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

October 7 Discussion of articles in the NY Times (Blackboard)

October 10 Midterm Exam

October 14 No Class Fall Break

October 17 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

Wednesday , October 19:
TOPIC: RECOMMENDED ATTENDANCE 10:00 am GPAC Diversity speaker Tim Wise

October 21 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

October 24 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

October 28 Discussion of articles in the NY Times (Blackboard)

October 31 Discussion of articles in the NY Times

November 4 Discussion of articles in the NY Times (Blackboard)

November 7 Panel Presentation Group One

November 11 Panel Presentation Group Two

November 14 Panel Presentation Group Three

November 18 Panel Presentation Group Four Individual Essay Due

November 21 Panel Presentation Group Five

November 25 No Class Thanksgiving

November 28 Panel Presentation Group Six

December 2 Last Day of Class; Panel Presentation Group Seven

Final Exam December 5 11:00-1:30


Updated: Friday, January 9, 2009

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