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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created:August 27, 2006
Latest Update:August 27, 2006

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) on
How We Teach and Why

These will be grouped by topic as soon as I finish writing them. jeanne

  1. Is there an index?

    Yes. Link on the Blue Angel Icon. Or link on Site Index in the links posted under the Blue Angel on almost every page of the site.

  2. Where do I find what's NEW on the site?

    Link to the New icon in the upper right hand corner of every page. This will take you to the list of files worked on every day, usually with an explanatory note of what the file is about and why it was worked on. This index is usually updated daily, 'cept in summer.

  3. If I asked jeanne to fix a link or put up something that's missing, how can I tell if she's done it yet?

    Link on NEW on the site, and see if jeanne has worked on that file recently. If not, send her another message. She might have just had too much on her plate. It's OK to nag her. She won't get anything done if you don't.

  4. Is there a counter for hits on Dear Habermas?

    Yes. I put up weekly counts on the homepage. Yahoo keeps separate records on transform_dom.

  5. Who maintains the site?

    Jeanne Curran, Prof. Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Californai State University, Dominguez Hills.
    E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org

  6. Where can I find assignments?

    You can find the basic reading assignments for each week on the Moot Court Syllabus for CSUDH and on Susan's UWP Archive

  7. When are the tests?

    Moot Court is a community-building course in praxis. There are no scheduled tests.

  8. What do I do if I'm confused?

    Good idea to post your confusion on transform_dom. Sometimes other students can help you more efficiently than jeanne or Pat. If you prefer, contact jeanne or Pat. Pat is everyone's guardian angel, and knows more about advising than anybody else on earth.

  9. What is transform_dom?

    A Yahoo group, moderated by jeanne, for the discussions that most of us in commuter campuses don't get time for in the brief stints we get to spend on campus.

  10. Why do I have to register on the Yahoo group?

    Because I set up transform_dom so that you can't post without registering. That was to prevent SPAM from interfering with our discussions. Anyone can read the messages without registering, so that we are not limiting access to knowledge, just limiting posting to those who are serious about dialog on the issues.

  11. What if someone says something on transform_dom that I know is wrong?

  12. What if someone uses bad language on transform_dom?

    You are free to post what you would like on transform_dom, with the exception of obscenities and disrespect to another person who has posted. I rarely remove a post. When I do, it's because the post itself is disrespectful of another or inappropriate to a teaching site.

  13. What if I don't like what someone says on transform_dom? Can I say so in a post?

    Yes, you are welcome to disagree, respectfully. I consider "stupid" derogatory, and would consider it name calling. As owner of the group and moderator, I would fuss at you for that. I would consider it a minor miracle if we all agreed with everything that was said on transform_dom. But the purpose of our group is to listen in good faith to one another and try to understand why someone else feels so differently from the way we do. Our purpose is not to change their mind, and get them to agree with us, but to share our different perspectives so that we develop a better sense of who we are as humans with minds of our own.

  14. What if you "fuss at me"? What would that mean for my grade?

    Absolutely nothing. The fussing would be a reminder that we must respect each other, or that you have confused fact and opinion, or that you have mis-stated a fact, or that you have made the arguable presumption that there is a "right" answer, whatever. Susan and I would like you to acknowledge that you understand what we are fussing about, so that we are assured your skills in discourse are growing. That's important to help you develop the skills of critical consciousness dialog, which is one plausible foundation of governance discourse in a democracy. Critical consciusness is essential to freedom and justice for all.

    This is the feedback that is poorly accomplished through testing. We find it more effective as tiny course corrections in an on-going critical consciousness dialog.

  15. Sometimes discussions get pretty heated. What if we say something we don't mean, and then later re-think it and want to change what we said?

    Post that. Tell us that after thinking about it, you want to change your conclusion. That's what illocutionary discourse is about. That's precisely why we need and have these discussions.

  16. What are "frozen words?"

    Rabelais' story of "frozen words" - words we've said and can't unsay. Lots easier to say "I've changed my mind" if you didn't just call someone an idiot for having disagreed with you. That's why we don't permit name calling. Sometimes you'll be surprised that what seemed like a stupid idea fifteen minutes ago suddenly looks quite reasonable.

  17. Do I get a good grade by posting the "right" answer?

    No. As far as Susan and I are concerned there is no "right" answers. You get a good grade for participating effectively in critical consciousness raising. That is, thinking deeply and seriously about what you believe and why, and paying equal good faith attention to what others believe and why. In order to participate in good faith in our dialogs you must have read the basic essay on the topic of the week. It would be pretty near impossible to ask intelligent questions or contribute to the dialog if you hadn't done that.

  18. Do I get a good grade for changing my mind about an issue?

    No. Our purpose is not to get you to choose one perspective over another. Our purpose is to get you to think critically and be aware of the many perspectives. Your conclusion is yours. Consensus is an unlikely state of affairs. We are trying to understand one another, not agree on everything.

  19. Suppose I'm not sure about why I think a given position is "right." Can I ask someone outside class to help me figure that out? Could I post what I figure out with someone else?

    Yes, of course you can. Remember plagiarism is taking someone else's ideas and presenting them as your own. So it's important when you post an answer in which another participated that you acknowledge that other as having contributed.

  20. Could I post a question or a plausible answer that I found on the Internet?

    Absolutely. Remember plagiarism is taking someone else's ideas and presenting them as your own. So it's important when you post an answer you've come across on the Internet that you give credit to the site and identify its URL so others can

  21. What if I want to say something on transform-dom, something that I think is right, but I don't have any source to back it up?

    Post that this is what you feel or think, and the group will help you figure out the critical consciousness component of why you think that. The process is called "tiotoling," after Lyotard, talking in order to listen." One of the wonderful things about discourse is that as we ask and answer little questions we come to get an outline of the thinking that produces the answers. Then when you have a plausible answer for why you think what you do (It may not be the "right" answer; it's just a possibility that should remain open to later tiotoling.) you have completed critical consciousness on that subject. For that task, you have an A, collaboratively earned with others.

  22. What does it take to get an A in jeanne's class?

    You have to be sure that jeanne knows how you have used critical consciousness to help support your own local community.

  23. What if I prefer to lurk and listen instead of writing?

    Welcome to it. Sometimes that's a good way to learn. You should let jeanne know that you are lurking, if not writing.You can communicate your use of critical consciousness to jeanne by putting together messages in plain English, sharing them with others, and making sure that jeanne has a written record of your experiences.

  24. Why do I have to make boxes, or cards, or bookmarks, whatever?

    Because jeanne is an artist and wants you to learn the importance of the visual in communication. Also, a small, inexpensive token of the dialog you have with others reminds them of the experience and keeps it alive in their minds long enough for them to mull it over. That's how we build community-based dialog.

  25. Can I use music to enhance communication?

    You bet. But you're on your own. jeanne is tone deaf.

  26. Why aren't there any tests?

    Tests focus on banked education, and this is a course in process. A test can't measure your experience of community-building.

    For jeanne's horror of testing in general, see Rescuing Our Schools from "Tougher Standards".

  27. How does somebody that I never see in class get an A?

    The same way you do. By participating in theory and praxis discussion on tranform_dom, by engaging others in community-building, and by making sure that the teacher has a record of what they've done. Lectures are posted on the Dear Habermas website so that you can stay current in your reading. You do need to interact with classmates, either at CSUDH and/or at UWP. This is a class in communication and community building, so you must work collaboratively with others. That's how we build communities.

  28. . . . .



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