This site is a tutorial on how to write a paper for an introductory philosophy class. It follows a student paper through the process of making notes, 4 drafts, and then the final product with accompanying annotations and links to further tips.
Type of Material:
Tutorial written by Joe Cruz, Assistant Professor Philosophy at Williams College. This tutorial was added to MERLOT on 9/12/2001 and modified in 2/15/2012.
This material could be used as a supplement to a philosophy course, specifically to students as they begin to attempt to write academic papers. Novice writers would benefit from this template.
There are no particular technical requirements as the site is mostly text with a couple of links to tips. I used both Internet Explorer and Firefox and both worked equally well.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The author states that the goals of an introductory moral philosophy course are oriented toward the conceptual or analytical part of philosophy, and the ability to think honestly and critically about moral questions.
This tutorial provides a step-by-step template that can be followed to produce a paper that would receive an excellent evaluation at Williams College.
Target Student Population:
• Post-secondary introductory courses in philosophy
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic knowledge of philosophy and computer skills as well as professional citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style)
This tutorial has a narrow scope, but is potentially a very helpful and significant tool for those students who fall into that narrow scope of introductory philosophy students beginning to write academic papers in that discipline.
I did a Google search for information about writing philosophy papers to compare the topics covered in comparable materials, and the materials that I found provided many of the same topics as found in this content.
• The tutorial is specific to papers on philosophy and is not conducive to other fields of study.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The material can be defined as a practice problem.
I envision this tutorial as being highly effective as a template for use by students beginning their academic career in the discipline of philosophy. Having a step-by-step sample can be very helpful in preventing introductory students from feeling overwhelmed by an assignment to write an academic paper.
When students follow this step-by-step tutorial, they should be able to achieve the goal of producing a paper that would receive an excellent evaluation.
• While it gives a sample completed paper, the tutorial does not have a means to measure student outcomes.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The tutorial is easy to use because of the following features:
* easy to navigate (links to the next page and previous page are provided at the bottom of each page)
* instructions are presented in sidebar commentaries on each page
* links to additional information are provided on most pages
* a link that goes to a summary of the tips provided throughout the pages
• The site is not very interactive and is mostly text. The site could use some visuals or audio/video components.
• The links to tips do not have links back to the tutorial. They could have been done as pop-up windows for easier use.
Links that do not work include: Introduction page: Syllabus link goes to Williams College philosophy department website. A similar site for metaphysics and epistemology courses is available.
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