Owning the Intangible: Possession, Theft, and (Mis)Appropriation of Ideas

Miscellaneous Assignment 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.

Due: 8:00 a.m., Monday, 23 August 2010

Over the next two few days, we will need to decide upon a schedule for your first semester. (Schedules are due at the Registrar's Office at 2:45 on Tuesday.) For this assignment, you will

Course planning at Grinnell is sometimes a more complex task than you might 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. In part, this complexity is due to the limitations in numbers of sections we can offer at a College of Grinnell's size.

Thinking Ahead

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. (Note that these courses need not be courses you should take in your first semester. Rather, these should be courses that you should consider taking before you graduate.)

2. Post a quick summary of two or three recommended courses to the Course wiki at

Thinking About Fall 2010

3. Pick one language course that you would like to take this semester. (I recommend that students continue their study of foreign language in their first semester, since we often forget other languages quickly. If students have not previously studied other languages or would like to learn a new language, I consider that an appropriate alternate, but also recommend starting that learning early in your career so that you have time to explore the language sufficiently.)

4. Pick one mathematics course that you would like to take this 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.)

5. Pick three other courses that you would like to take this semester.

6. 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.

You may find the Course Planning tool on PioneerWeb helpful for this task.

7. 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. Of course, math and language may also ask you to take courses in different times than you prefer.)



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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