Course Polices and Philosophies

The pages on the left, along with the Siena Heights University Undergraduate Catalog, are our course policies and educational philosophies.  They are intended to help students succeed and supplement our course syllabus.  

Trigger warning:  College involves considering ideas that make students uncomfortable.  It is a goal of the liberal arts education to push students out of their comfort zones, to consider ideas from different points of view.  One example is critical management studies (see link to the left).  If students merely seek to have their current world views confirmed, that will not will happen in our classes.  We will respect each other in our conversations, in keeping with the Siena Heights ideal of respecting the dignity of all.  Requiring students to consider uncomfortable ideas is not disrespectful, however.  If you are concerned about any assigned readings, be proactive and Google them for online reviews.  And, as always, email me with any questions.  (The AAUP report On Trigger Warnings is available at


A video on how to use the new and improved SHU library is available at:   

[The author uses the pseudonym, Charles Mackay, the Nineteenth Century author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.  It explains much of our modern world.] 

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This work (all pages on this website) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Contact the author, Dr. Stephen Ball, at


Community of Learners
We use a problem-based community-of-learning approach in this course.  I am present in daily interactions with you in online discussion (much less on weekends), by asking annoying Socratic questions in response to your questions, and through feedback on your assignments.  Problem-based learning is highly effective for mid-career adults in online classes.  Building learning communities is another highly effective learning approach for adults.  That said, you can expect I will not lecture like traditional classes.

     These three destructive mindsets you may have learned in school hopefully will not continue in this class (
1. Success Comes from the Approval of Others.  "Our education system is performance-based and not purpose-based. It teaches mimicry and not passion." 
2. Failure Is a Source of Shame.  Failure helps us to know what does not work, and to avoid doing that again.  We learn much from failure, if we listen.  Successful and happy people use that to improve.
3. Dependence on Authority.  We should all be purposeful about choosing whose authority we choose to accept.  It should be questioned and never compulsory.

void inductive reasoning in this course.  That is, avoid reasoning only from your own experience, e.g., "we do it this way where I work and it works fine, so everyone should do this."  We are here to reason deductively, that is, starting from established principles that are applied to specific situations.  This is the classic case-study method, in which problems and their causes are identified, and these causes are linked to theories of business
that  posit cause-and-effect, and theories are used to suggest improvements.  I don't care what you think, i.e., what conclusions or opinions you have.  I care how you think, i.e., that you use sound reasoning free of
logical fallacies to form your conclusions and opinions, and avoid the dogmatism of others. 
     The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics,, has a great interactive online tool for assessing the effects of proposed decisions from several ethical points of view.  Be sure to use this when an assignment has an ethical component. 
     Use Stage Four types of arguments,, whenever possible, in which you dispassionately note both sides of an argument, note the pros and cons of each, and only then state your conclusion and reasons.  Always avoid Stage One and Two types of arguments; Stage Three is weaker than Stage Four. 
     Use good reasoning, that is, avoid logical fallacies.  Philosophers have been writing about this for centuries and there are many lists of logical fallacies available to us.  A nice, concise list is at and we will use this in our course.  Common fallacies in modern life are the Appeal to Pity (pity is the reason for giving extra consideration), Attacking the Speaker (as a terrible person, but not answering the points made, a typical tactic on some cable news networks), False Cause ("vaccinations cause autism"), Popularity ("but Mom!  Everyone is doing it!") . . . and the list goes on. 
Like the Markkula tool for evaluating ethics, and Peters' four types of arguments, these logical fallacies are part of the evaluation of your work.  Read these carefully and make sure they don't creep into your work. 

Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.  ~Robert Quillen

These factors are considered in seminar discussion forums: that posts in the forum are timely spread throughout the week; are relevant to the problem at-hand; demonstrate appropriate knowledge from the course readings applied to the questions asked or problem posed; and show deep and respectful engagement with other team members.
     Discussion takes you beyond the novice level, helping to socially construct deeper knowledge such as the practical application of theories we study.  For more, see the Grading Rubric for Seminar Discussion, and No, You're Not Entitled to Your Opinion
     I will be your "guide on the side," and you will collectively drive the discussion, taking more responsibility for your own learning. 
FYI, after the first week of class I tend to go silent on weekends and holidays, not participating so much online. I still check email, so anything important can be sent there.

     In team forums, if used in this course, we are using a peer-to-peer learning approach. Based on educational psychology research, this approach has shown that students learning from each other leads to deeper learning. For that reason I will spend less visible time in the team forums and class discussion. I do monitor these threads daily (less on weekends), but don't engage much there. If your team is stuck or you want a particular question answered by me, send an email letting me know they question and assignment and I'll join in.

The following is useful, especially in these times of hollering at each other on the Internet.  It was downloaded Downloaded 4 January 2017 from
Downloaded 4 January 2017 from


Successful People studied to gain knowledge not to gain Grades. 
~ Udayveer Singh
I didn't give it much thought back then. I just wanted to get all the words straight and collect my A. 
~ Gayle Forman, Just One Day

See the Grading Rubrics and Grading System pages on this website (links on the left).  Whole letter grades are used to evaluate your work. 


Si quid universitati debetur, singulis non debetur. (If something is owed to the group, it is not owed to the individuals.)

Concerns are often raised about social loafing of individual students in the team projects. Individual contributions in the team forum will be used in part to determine individual grades on team work because "...when productivity [is] clearly associated with individuals, social loafing [is] reduced" (Williams, Harkins, & Latane, 1981; as cited in Worchel, Rothgerber & Day, 2009).
     Worchel et al.
(2009) reported that productivity concerns arose midpoint in the group task, while at first teams were concerned with group identification and norm setting. About then, too, our teams would be entering the "individuation stage," where individuals start focusing on their own needs more, where they had been concerned with the group development previously.
     Please read Worchel et al. (2009; see link in reference below), which has practical advice for our class and in your professional careers. It is important to resist the natural tendency for this concern for individual needs to lead to the decay of the group. A balance of individual and group needs is important.

Selling Your Soul
Neither students nor faculty may use class resources, e.g., the class email list or seminar discussion postings, to sell or promote themselves or their business interests for personal gain. 


Worchel, S., Rothgerber, H. & Day, E. A. (2009). Social loafing and group development: When "I" comes last. Downloaded June 2, 2014 from [As of 17 Dec 2016 this link is no longer active.  This reference is correct in
APA, though.]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  Contact the author, Dr. Stephen Ball, at