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    Intro to Humanities Online Syllabus

    Instructor Information

    Name: Dr. Michael Robertson
    Office Location:
    Center 336
    Office Hours:

    Virtual Office Hours:

    By appointment only

    M-F 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. in Canvas

    Phone: (913) 469-8500, ext. 4191

    Course Information

    Course Title:

    Introduction to Humanities

    Course Number:


    Course Discipline:




    Time: Online


    If this is your first online class using Canvas it is strongly recommended that you attend one of the Online Student Seminars. Click the link for dates and times. If you are unable to attend, orientation materials are available via Online Webcast.

    Textbook (required):

    Perceiving the Arts: An Introduction to the Humanities, Dennis J. Sporre, Prentice-Hall, 11th edition, 2015. ISBN 978-0205995110. Textbook information is available at the JCCC Bookstore. Students can purchase an online copy of the text at VitalSource (ISBN 978-0205995219). Discounted new and used books are available from

    Course Requirements


    QUIZZES. There will be thirteen (13) short (ten questions), weekly quizzes during the semester, and constitute 40% of your final grade. The student will have 15 minutes to complete the quiz, after which the quiz must be submitted.

    • The dates for the quizzes are listed on the Calendar, or by clicking the Assignments, Syllabus, or Modules links on the Navigation bar. Quizzes open on Wednesday of the week and must be completed by 11:59 the following Sunday. Since Canvas is available 24/7, there should be no reason for students to miss a quiz. Missed quizzes can be made up with a 1.5 point penalty.

    REVIEWS. The student will be required to write two (2) 900 word minimum typed reviews (3 pages of text). The student will first review a special exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography, or the minor arts currently showing at the Nelson-Atkins or Kemper Museums in Kansas City, the Spencer Museum on the KU campus, or the Nerman Museum on the JCCC campus. During the second half of the semester the student will review some type of performance art currently produced in the Kansas City/Lawrence area, such as a symphonic concert, play, film, or dance. Students who do not live in the KC Metro area will need to find similar museums and performing arts in their area.

    • The reviews will be worth fifty (50) points each, and will be worth 35% of your final grade. There will be a one-point penalty assessed for each day that the review is late. The due dates for the reviews are listed on the Calendar and on Assignments. For more information about the reviews, click Writing Assignments in Modules.
    • Note: Although this is an informal essay, errors in spelling, format, grammar, and typographical errors will be graded. It is strongly recommended (but not required) that students are currently enrolled in or have completed Composition 1 before taking this class.

    EXTRA CREDIT. The student can earn up to twenty (20) extra points by writing two, short mini-reviews, 600 words minimum (two [2] pages of text), worth ten (10) points each.

    ONLINE PARTICIPATION. Each week students will engage in an interactive online discussion with their peers over the week’s reading and online lecture, which may include images and video materials. The online discussions are located in the Discussions and relative content Module, and by a link on the Calendar. A new discussion question will be posted every Wednesday during the semester. This is not a self-paced course.

    The class will be divided into discussion groups by last name. Students will reply to their assigned question on or after the day when the discussion opens (Wednesday). The student must make a reply post to a student in another group on a day other than they day of their original post. All posts must be made by the discussion closing day of midnight Sunday, after which the discussion will be closed and graded. The purpose is to create a meaningful conversation of the various topics under discussion.

    Initial Post: Students will receive one (1) point for their initial post by responding in detail with information from the text and/or outline in such a way that provides an analysis of the relevance and importance of the information presented, and a synthesis of that information with the knowledge the student has accumulated from previous chapters / discussions / personal experiences. Posts can be supplemented with external source material, either from published works or the internet. However, internet source material must not supplant the text.

    Responses lacking detail or analysis will receive one-half (.5) point, or posts that merely restate (or copy-and-paste) the basic information on the outline or internet sources.

    Reply Post: Students will receive one (1) point for responding to a student’s post in another group. It is important to respond to the comments of your peer in such a way that advances the discussion by providing additional information or insights rather than a simple agreement to the comments, a restatement of basic facts, or a purely personal or subjective comment.

    One-half (.5) point will be deducted if the student makes both posts on the same day. Students who post all responses on the last day of the posting period (Sunday) will be penalized 50%. Failure to respond at all will receive zero (0) points. Posts that consist mostly of plagiarized content will also receive zero (0) points, and will result in a warning for the first offense. A second offense will result in disciplinary action. Initial posts may also be assessed a one-half (.5) penalty for spelling, grammar, style, or undocumented content.

    Each week’s discussion with be worth a total of two (2) points. Each week’s discussion score will be calculated by dividing the discussion score by the total possible. For example, 1.5/2 = .75 or 75%). The student’s online discussion score will be calculated by adding the total discussion points and dividing by 30 total possible points to produce a percentage. For example, 26 points divided by 30 possible points produces 86 percentage points (86%). The online discussions constitute 25% of your final grade.

    CALCULATED GRADES. Click on Grades to view your current calculated grade as  determined by the weighted percentages of the relative grade categories. Your current calculated letter grade is determined by the following grade percentages:

    A = .900 pct.

    B = .800 pct.

    C = .700 pct.

    D = .600 pct.

    F = .599 pct.

    At the end of the semester, after all assignments and extra credit has been graded and posted to the gradebook, the student will receive a final adjusted grade which will be the Final Grade for the course. The professor reserves the right to adjust the final calculated grade to more accurately reflect the student’s overall academic performance, especially in regard to online activity. Students who are on the borderline between grades (79% for example) may receive the higher grade if the student’s overall participation (online discussions and online activity) is above 80%.

    NOTE. Students must fulfill the following requirements of the course to receive a passing grade of “C”: turn in two reviews, and online participation not less than 60 percent. If a student’s calculated grade is tracking ‘F’ before the drop date, the professor may administratively drop the student from the class after notification of pending withdrawal one week before the drop date. Should you begin to have problems during the semester, either academic or personal, that might prevent you from completing the course requirements, please come see me as soon as possible. Do not wait until the last week of class.

    If you are an international student, student athlete or required to maintain full time status due to a third party or insurance, withdrawing from the class can have severe negative effects and may mean you will not have enough credits to be a full-time student.


    1. No quiz may be repeated and are available only during the dates and time ranges listed. If you are unable to take the quiz within the scheduled dates and time due to illness or some other legitimate reason you must contact me by Canvas email or leave an explanatory message on my voice mail at ext. 4191 within 24 hours after the initial scheduled time of the quiz to avoid point penalties for late quizzes. Those failing to make-up a quiz will receive a “0” for that quiz. The student will have the opportunity to make up lost quiz points by writing two extra credit reviews. Extra credit, however, will not be enough to overcome the point deficit of not turning in the reviews or having an online discussions score below 60%.
    2. Those who wish to make a virtual conference with me and who are not free during my official online office hours can contact me via Canvas email to arrange an appointment, or schedule an online chat.
    3. An “I” (Incomplete) will be given only if special circumstances prevent the student from completing the class. Arrangements must be made before semester grades are submitted, and students must sign a contract with me agreeing to complete the class requirements by the end of the following 15-week semester (refer to the JCCC College Catalog for details).
    4. In order to avoid financial responsibility, you must officially drop the class within the stated refund periods. Be aware that dropping classes may reduce your eligibility for financial aid, resulting in debt owed by you. DO NOT assume you will be dropped automatically if you do not pay your tuition or if you do not attend classes. Courses not dropped will be graded, most likely resulting in an ‘F’ for the course. The last day to withdraw and receive a “W” is listed on the course Calendar.
    5. To view the deadline dates for dropping this course, please refer to the schedule on the JCCC website under Admissions > Enrollment Dates > Dropping Credit Classes. After the 100% refund date, you will be financially responsible for the tuition charges; for details, search on Student Financial Responsibility on the JCCC web page. Changing your schedule may reduce eligibility for financial aid and other third party funding. Courses not dropped will be graded. For questions about dropping courses, contact the Student Success Center at 913-469-3803.
    6. Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Any violation of the Student Code of Conduct will result in being denied access to Canvas, an automatic “F” for the course, and referred to the academic dean for disciplinary action. Because this is an online class there is a greater temptation to cheat. Be advised that Canvas records your online activity and makes that data available to the professor. Quizzes are ‘open book’; however, they are also timed. Therefore you may not be able to complete all the quiz questions within the allotted time if you waste time looking for answers in the text, in the Outline, or searching on you smartphone or tablet. There is no alternative to succeeding in a class than good reading and study practices.
    7. Note to couples, roommates, and siblings: you can study together, but you must do and submit your own, independent work. You cannot share a computer for submitting quizzes or composing writing assignments, nor can you use computers in close proximity in a lab or at home. The only exception to this are computers in the Testing Center. Canvas registers the IP address of each user. To avoid any suspicion of collaboration, you will also be reassigned to different groups. Also make sure that your quiz submission dates are separated by time (1 day minimum) AND space (separate locations), and your writing assignments are quite different in topic and theme. If you are unable to accomplish this, one of you should drop the course and enroll in another course and/or section. Minor violations of this rule will result in the loss of one final grade bracket (for example, from a B to a C); flagrant and consistent violations will result in an ‘F’ for the course and being referred to the academic dean for disciplinary action.
    8. Access to Canvas is extended to you for the duration of your enrollment in the course, providing that you comply with class and school policies. You may not share that access with another person who is not enrolled in the course. Students who do so violate the privacy of other students as well as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts (FERPA). The act may lead to the violator being denied access to the Canvas shell.
    9. On occasion, I permit others to enter the course, to critique my work, to view the operations of the course, or to work on a technical problem. For the entire term, my technical consultant has access to the course to provide continuity for you should I experience a personal emergency.
    10. JCCC provides a range of services to allow persons with disabilities to participate in educational programs and activities. If you are a student with a disability and if you are in need of accommodations or services, it is your responsibility to contact Access Services and make a formal request. To schedule an appointment with an Access Adviser or for additional information, you can contact Access Services at (913) 469-3521 or Access Services is located on the 2nd floor of the Student Center (SC 202).
    11. The Academic Achievement Center (AAC) in OCB 304 offers students walk-in assistance with study skills, reading, and test review. Students are also welcome to use the AAC as a place to study. AAC staff are available to assist students with forming study groups, completing class assignments, and using the Canvas learning management system. The AAC offers courses designed to provide students with the foundation they need to be successful in college and to meet academic goals, and also presents study skills workshops on a variety of topics.
    12. For information about campus and online safety please view the JCCC Police and Safety page, and the JCCC Student Handbook.

    Course Goals

    Upon completing this course, the student should be able to:

    1. Define and identify artistic elements of selected visual, performing, and literary arts.
    2. Discuss the relationship between the subject matter, the formal elements, the content of artistic works, and the response of the viewer.
    3. Identify the human values exemplified by works from various times and cultures.
    4. Explore the role of these works in influencing or reflecting the state of a given society.
    5. Describe what the arts have in common.
    6. Identify the uniqueness of each of the arts studied.
    7. Analyze, through critical writing and oral expression, specific works of visual, literary, and performance art.
    8. Explore the variety of human aesthetic expression.
    9. Increase one’s own aesthetic awareness and appreciation for the arts.



    This page was last modified on 08-07-18