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PRSP 1010

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at http://www.gpc.edu/programs/Common-Course-Outlines.
Credit Hours 3
Course Title Perspectives On Critical Issues
Prerequisite(s) Exit or exemption from all Learning Support courses or all ESL requirements except ENSL 0091
Corequisite(s) None Specified
Catalog Description
Perspectives on Critical Issues is an issue-focused course that aims to engage students in an ongoing, informed study of a topic of importance to citizens in a global society. The course shows, from a variety of viewpoints, the questions and conflicts involved in defining and analyzing an issue, both historical and contemporary, from a global perspective. The course seeks to help students better understand the world in which they live, the broader implications of the core disciplines, and the complex social, ethical, and moral choices presented by modern culture, science, and technology. This is accomplished through the application of critical thinking skills. The course will also address literacy needs by developing skills in finding, evaluating, and drawing from a wide range of sources. While individual courses will vary in their focus on topics related to a discipline, class discussions and readings will cut across disciplinary lines and try to establish shared contexts for understanding contemporary issues.

Expected Educational Results
As a result of completing this course, students will be able to
  • understand the focus of the course in light of broader issues and be able to carry on an informed discussion of its complexity.
  • make connections across a number of disciplines so as to understand the larger context of the focused issue of the course.
  • develop a perspective on the course’s issue that is rooted in critical inquiry and analysis.
  • distinguish between sources respected by the particular discipline's community and those that are not, and find, evaluate, and draw reliable information from those respected electronic and non-electronic sources.
  • identify and evaluate competing views related to course topics and the information supporting them.
  • formulate their own opinions on complex issues and communicate those views clearly in both written and oral formats with support from relevant evidence.
General Education Outcomes
I. Students develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills in the following ways:
  1. They will learn to abide by principles of academic decorum, allowing for civil exchange of contrasting, and at times conflicting, views and ideas.
  2. They will learn to weigh an argument for its merits and distinguish between logical fallacies, emotional appeals, and sound argumentation.
  3. They will learn to draw upon a field of knowledge to create an informed conclusion about a complex topic
  4. They will learn to make connections across disciplines when engaged in critical inquiry about a topic.
II. Students develop communication skills in the following ways:
  1. Students will participate in seminar discussions and will be responsible for both leading and following an informed conversation about a complex topic.
  2. Students will express their ideas through formal and informal writing assignments and will learn to balance original thinking with cited use of source material.
  3. Students will develop their reading comprehension skills by studying the textbook and other written course material that may come from various sources, such as magazines, journals, the internet, etc.
III. Students develop digital literacy in the following ways:
  1. Students will learn to construct an effective search using search engines.
  2. Students will become conversant in the full range of databases available through the College, including subscription GALILEO databases.
  3. Students will learn to use the GIL system to find and request book titles at GPC and across the USG system.
  4. Students will learn to assess the validity of digital sources based on accuracy, reliability, audience, and bias.
Course Content
PRSP 1010 should be structured to engage students in an informed discussion of a complex issue of the day. By design, it should be focused around critical thinking exercises embedded into course activities. Cross-disciplinary connections should be made in the analysis of the issue at hand. The topic of concern should serve as the course’s primary focus, which will list as a sub-theme/special topic course note in the schedule of classes. PERS 1010 courses could, for example, examine topics related to:
  • Energy -- such as sources of energy, generation, allocation, use
  • The Changing South -- How has “the South” as a regional culture responded to an influx of people from other national and international regions?
  • Borders and Crossings -- How do terms such as “nation” or “people” define culture? How do cultural crossings create new cultural forms, while at the same time reifying “traditional” (historical or imagined) cultural forms?
  • The Idea of Race/Gender/Sexuality -- How does the cultural structuring of race (or gender or sexuality) express itself at various local and global crossroads?
  • Biomedical Issues -- such as population control, death, reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, and genetic testing
  • Environmental Issues -- such as global warming, species loss, human overpopulation, natural resources
  • Ethics in Business -- such as marketing, professional codes of ethics, corporate dishonesty, and copyright
  • Science and Technology in Everyday Life -- such as urban engineering, shelter and housing standards, land use planning, transportation, household technologies, health care, recreation, education
All topics require the approval of the discipline dean for the related discipline as well as the PRSP 1010 Curriculum Committee, which will consist of at least one faculty member from each discipline in the college. Topic approval should also include the SACS qualifications of the faculty authorized to teach the class. In addition, in a PRSP course
  1. Students will participate in daily active learning, which develops critical thinking skills. These activities may include case studies, problem-based learning, debates, simulations, or other forms of pedagogy which involve higher order thinking skills. Students will read scholarly and popular articles related to the course’s topic of concern.
  2. Through tests, quizzes, class discussion and/or other daily assignments, students will demonstrate skills in effective use of credible sources.
  3. Students will develop a research-based group presentation which should serve as a culminating project.
Assessment of Outcome Objectives
A. COURSE GRADE
  1. Daily grades (quizzes, case studies, role play, simulations, writing assignments, presentations, and participation) 75%
  2. Final presentation 25%

B. DEPARTMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Every three years, the PERS committee will perform a comprehensive review of the course design and course outcomes.

USE OF ASSESSMENT FINDINGS:
The PERS committee will use the outcomes of this assessment to alter the course outline and common course syllabus as needed.

Last Revised: Jul. 19, 2011
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