This course will focus on civil discourse, which is the process through which people come together to discuss and debate, find shared knowledge, and enhance understanding. Topics include: the state of civility in society today, free speech, the psychology of cognitive bias, the structure of productive debate and argument, engaged listening and conversation across difference. By the end of the course, students will have practiced, through reading, writing, listening, and speaking, the art of civility and civil discourse, and will be able to bring these skills to their communities, companies, organizations, and families.
Note: Does not contribute to Written or Oral Communication General Education requirements
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Explain civil discourse.
- Recognize what the first amendment does and doesn’t protect.
- Develop Classroom Guidelines for Civil Discourse.
- Explain and Identify Cognitive Bias, Echo Chambers, Biased Media, Facts vs Opinion.
- Describe effective methods of writing and refuting an argument.
- Evaluate effective arguments and counterarguments.
- Write effective arguments and counterarguments.
- Define engaged listening, and oral history listening and interviewing skills.
- Practice engaged and empathetic listening for understanding and finding shared knowledge and common ground.
- Critique a conversation or interview encounter.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Course Activities and Grading
Discussions (Weeks 1- 5)
Wiki (Weeks 1-5)
OpEd Project (Weeks 3-5)
Annotation Assignment (Week 3)
Interview Project (Week 5)
Final Paper (Week 5)
- This course uses Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are openly licensed, educational resources that can be used for teaching, learning and research. OER may consist of a variety of resources such as textbooks, videos and software that are no cost for students.
Readings and Exercises
Topics: Writing and Storytelling
Topics: Cognitive Bias, Echo Chambers, Biased Media, Fact vs Opinion.
Topics: Writing Effective Arguments
Topic: Learning to Listen
Topics: Practice Engaged and Empathetic Listening
Record a Conversation/Interview with a Classmate that explores a topic of your choice. It could be something from their introduction, or a topic that has come up during our class (ie in the OpEd section), or another issue of your choosing about which you hold a strong opinion. Practice engaged and empathetic listening for understanding across difference and/or finding common ground.
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.