For each chapter, I make a list of Key Terms that you should know. You should know these definitions COLD! Educators rank the level of educational objectives using a rating devised by Benjamin Bloom back in the 1950s, called Bloom’s Taxonomy. I’ve put a summary of that taxonomy at the link so that you can understand what we are looking for from you when we ask you to write essays or answer critical thinking questions. Definitions are at the lowest level, Level 1, and the feeling is that there is no excuse for not knowing the definitions in any course that you take. Definition questions are considered to be the easiest questions, and a test made up only of definition questions would be considered too easy for the college level. You cannot be expected to apply a concept until you know the definition well. I recommend that you make flash cards from index cards of any definitions that you don’t know, and take them with you on the subway or train, and drill yourself until you know them perfectly. By using flash cards and studying them at those odd moments waiting in line or at the doctor’s office, you can save yourself an hour or more of formal sit-down study time per week. If you know the definitions well, the problems and critical thinking questions are easier. Start now, and you will be glad you did.
The hallmark of an educated person is the ability to think critically. When you write your answers, make sure that you differentiate fact, opinion and judgment. Also, read over your answer and ask yourself,” Does this flow logically? Did I substantiate my opinion with fact?” If you look at a house and see that the front is white, all you know for a fact is that it is white on this side. Based on your experience with painted houses, you may be of the opinion that is white on all sides. If a reliable observer told you that he had seen the other sides of the house and they were all white, then you would make a judgment that it was a white house. Keep this in mind when making statements.
Homework must be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and is due BEFORE class. You can e-mail your homework to me BEFORE 6:30 PM on the class date. This means you can still turn in your homework before the start of class even if you are sick or have to travel on business. Late homework will not be accepted. If you don’t know how to get an anonymous e-mail account at some place like yahoo or hotmail, the people in the academic computing center will be happy to show you how. Since you can then use any computer with access to the Internet to send and receive mail, even the ones in the restaurants on the turnpikes, there is no excuse for not sending in your homework on time. If the service you are using doesn’t allow attachments, paste your homework into the body of the e-mail. Put your name and the Chapters covered in the subject line of your message. I don’t automatically know who GlitzyGal@ unknown.net or MrMuscles@aol.com are! The Subject line should read something like Joe Blow Homework Chapter 9.
I recommend study groups and homework buddies, to help each other with thorny problems, but you cheat yourself if you do not work and understand every problem yourself. Don’t divide up the homework — that is dishonest and a violation of your own integrity. Those who spend the time to do the homework correctly themselves are always those who do the best on the exams.
How to Study
A good sequence for study is to look at the tips on the web page that I put up on this site for that chapter, then look at the list of what the chapter is about at the beginning of each chapter in the textbook, then read over the chapter quickly while thinking about what you are supposed to learn. Then, go back and go over the example problems in the chapter, working them yourself and making sure that you understand each step.
At this point, you should be able to do the assigned homework without difficulty. At first it seems that it would be faster just to start on the questions and go back through the chapter looking for the answer, but that method takes longer overall, because you do not develop the understanding that you need. You can test your understanding of each chapter by going through the e-tutorial and then taking the online self examination at www.mhhe.com. One of my fondest dreams is that I will get a class of people who will all be so good that they will all earn A’s in this class. The concepts are not difficult, but like a math class, it takes practice to be able to do the problems quickly and accurately. Good luck to each of you.