Owning Bits

Miscellaneous Homework 2: Course Planning

Summary: In this exercise, you will answer a number of questions and take notes about possible courses for the next semester and beyond.

Purpose: To get you think about course planning, both the particulars and the process.

Assigned: Sunday, 24 August 2003

Due: 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, 26 August 2003

Course planning at Grinnell is sometimes a more complex task than you would expect. In part, this complexity is due to different departments' perspectives on how one should progress through a major. In part, this complexity is due to a variety of prerequisite structures. In part, this complexity is due to the wide variety of courses we make available.

1. Talk to three upper-level students. From each, obtain a list of the two courses they would most recommend to others. Be sure to understand why they would recommend those courses. Be prepared to share these recommendations with your tutorial colleagues.

2. Pick between two and four potential majors that you might choose at Grinnell.

3. For one of those majors, map out a four year plan that ensures that you meet all of the requirements of the major.

4. Pick three upper-level (200-level and above) courses you'd like to take before you graduate from Grinnell. I'd prefer that you pick one from each division. For example, you might pick Computational Linguistics from Computer Science, The Craft of Argument from English, and Critical Approaches to Theories of Teaching and Learning Quantitative Literacy from Education.

5. Determine how you will meet the prerequisites for those courses. For example, in order to take Computational Linguistics (an alternate year course) in fall of your second year, you'll need to take LIN114 and CSC151 before the course is offered. In this particular case, you should think about taking both courses this spring.

6. Pick one language course that you would like to take next semester. (I recommend that students continue their study of foreign language in their first semester, since we often forget other languages quickly.)

7. Pick one mathematics course that you would like to take next semester. (I recommend that students continue their study of Mathematics in their first semester, since we often forget mathematical methods quickly. The math curriculum is also designed for people to start in the fall. Many majors benefit from mathematical knowledge.)

8. Pick three other courses that you would like to take next semester.

9. Create a sample schedule that has the language course, the mathematics course, and one of the other courses. (If you really prefer not to take math or a language, your sample schedule need not include that course. However, you will need to write a one-paragraph rationale for the exception.)

10. Prepare at least one alternative schedule, in case you don't get your first choices. (Math and language tend to take all comers, so the primary course to worry about is the open course.)



Sunday, 24 August 2003 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]


Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu