assignments

  • Book Goup(10-20%)
    informal
    optional

    There are a number of books on happiness that might be suitable for a book group in this class. Book groups meet and discuss their books 2-4 times, usually reporting separate journals back to me. No need for anonymity here.
    Dropbox
  • Class presentation / Co-teaching(5-15%)
    informal
    optional

    Choose this assignment for making a short presentation to the class or if you want to co-teach some content in the class.
  • Critical Analysis Paper (15-20%)
    formal
    optional

    This is a standard philosophy paper in which you take on a topic, usually from class, that can be discussed critically in 5-8 pages. Contact me for topic approval. No need for anonymity here, unless we were doing a batch of them.
    Dropbox
  • Final Exam(20-35%)
    formal
    required

    In this open book, open note essay exam you will write two three page essays. You will submit these to the final exam dropbox without your name.
    Dropbox
  • Happiness Practicum(15-20%)
    informal
    optional

    The Happiness Practicum allows you to experiment with one (15%) or two (20%) specific practical exercises for investigating happiness. You will produce journal entries reflecting on your experience. The overall goal is to answer this question: Does this practice have potential for increasing my happiness? No need for anonymity in this assignment.

    Option 1: Mindfulness Meditation and Journal. This exercise will introduce you to mindfulness meditation or, if you already meditate, give you an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between meditative experience and happiness. Depending upon your interests, you could try other forms of meditation as well. We'll start this around the time we discuss Buddhism. You will be asked to meditate 5 times a week for about 4-5 weeks, turning in three to five journals over that time. More details in class and at the wiki page.

    Option 2: Savoring and Journal. This exercise is based on the work of Fred Bryant, who offers practical advice about creating and evaluating savoring experiences. You'll come up with three experiences and journal on each. Schedule this for the 2-3 weeks after the topic comes up in class (late March).

    Option 3: Gratitude and Journal. This exercise involves keeping a gratitude journal for a period of three weeks. You don't necessarily turn that in (it's likely to include some personal things), but you do turn in three journal entries (one for each week) based on the guidelines for this exercise from the leading researchers on this, Emmons & McCullough.

    Option 4: Yoga Experience and Journal. This exercise involves pursuing an experience with yoga over about 4-5 weeks and assessing the effects, if any, of that experience on aspects of daily life that relate to happiness. Your yoga experience may be a beginner's yoga class or a deepening of your current practice. Many students already doing exercise-yoga use this assignment as a reason to visit a yoga studio. Early journals should focus on the physical and mental exp of different sessions. Try to describe the feeling of a good yoga session both physically and mentally. In later journals, try to notice effects from a good yoga session on interactions and thinking immediately following the session.
    Dropbox
  • Journals(5-10%)
    informal
    optional

    Journal entries allow informal reflection on topics related to course material. Each entry will be 300-500 words, submitted through the dropbox. Journals must be completed by late November. Three entries for 5% or six for 10%. No need for anonymity on this assignment.
    Dropbox
  • Midterm Exam(10-20%)
    informal
    optional

    This open book, open note exam is based on study questions up to the exam date. This exam takes place outside of class.
    Dropbox
  • My Philosophy of Happiness(20-35%)
    formal
    required

    This 7-8 page paper presents your philosophy of happiness. Make selections from course content (both evidence and theories you agree with, as well as conclusions you draw from rejecting or partially disagreeing with some views) and assemble an overall theory which tailors the best resources in the course to your understanding of your own personality and outlook. Be sure to provide rationales (reasons and explanations) for your view.
    Dropbox
  • Q&W(20-40%)
    formal
    required

    We'll use this assignment for a variety of small exercises from quizes to group exercises, to short paragraph responses to the readings. With objective quizes you will use your name, but with some Q&W exercises you may be asked to leave your name off your paper.
    Dropbox
  • Short Term Research(10-25%)
    formal
    optional

    This assignment allows you to receive credit in the course for taking on a specific research question of interest to you and reporting on it.
    Dropbox