Syllabus for SAM-501



This course examines art and morality through the unique perspective that “reading” artifacts can give to a true understanding of the development of communities in time.  The course explores how art gives us access to commune with those here before us as well as those who exist with us, thus enhancing our senses of community and communications. Through this phenomenological approach, the course raises questions about the nature of what we create as both an expression of who we are and an influence that transforms us   as new values (including morals and ethics) and realms of experience are created.  The course defines “culture” as the interactive growth that brings out and develops uniquely human possibilities and develops sensitivity to the development of ideas and institutions as creative projects.  Students will explore selected culture that coexist with us in time as well as those that may have existed before us and are no more.  The course emphasizes how this approach allows us to nurture our own possibilities out of the limitless depths of imagination and expressions as well as the magic power of art to produce understanding.  Students will be prepared to incorporate their own imaginative abilities in the creation of individualized projects.

As part of the MALS curriculum, this course provides a basis for subsequent courses by preparing the student to:


After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Analyze importance of the artifacts as crucial to understanding the foundations of world cultures.
  2. Analyze artifacts in meaning and significance in human experience.  
  3. Evaluate other cultures and time periods to understand the depth and diversity of human modes of expression.
  4. Identify the impact that different cultures in different time periods, have had on the shaping of world culture.
  5. Critique the manner in which human cultures express their values and sense of meaning through creative activity.
  6. Evaluate the manner in which art expresses cultural evolution and contributes to the entirety of the human heritage.
  1. Formulate an opinion to the responsibility of the humanities role to take accountability for what we create in the world.
  2. Evaluate the importance of the aesthetic dimension to a more complete understanding of other cultures than their own.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course.

Reading Materials

All reading materials, as well as artifacts employed in our course, are "embedded" in the modules.

Supplemental Readings

For Understanding Phemomenology, a method employed in parts of our course, you might want to look at two books by the American Philosopher, Don Ihde:  Experimental Phenomenology, and Listening and Voice.  Both are from Northwestern University Press.


Sense of Community I - Art and Morality is a three-credit online course, consisting of nine modules. Modules include a study materials and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, and complete journal assignments, essays, and a final project.  See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in seven graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course website is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussion assignments.

My Private Journal

You are required to complete nine graded journal entries.  These entries are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. You will complete and submit each for grading.  

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Website is the journal rubric used to aid in the grading of all journal entries within this course.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four essays. The essays are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.  Essays will vary in length and depth.  See modules for more details.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Website is the short paper rubric used to aid in the grading of all research exercises within this course.

Final Project

You are required to complete a final project.   Final project will be 12-15 pages in length.  See the Final Project area of the course website for more details.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Website is the final project rubric used to aid in the grading of the final project for this course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Edison State University. All rights reserved.