Romer College: Do Androids Dream of
St. Lawrence University First Year
(Please go to
for the current version of this syllabus)
Dr. Jon Gottschall Dr. Daniel Koon
Office: Rebert 165 Office: Bewkes 221
Phone: x5305 Phone: x5494
Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: TBA Office Hours: M-W-F 8:00-9:00
Seminar: Wednesday, 1:40 - 3:10, Seminar: Wednesday, 1:40-3:10,
Valentine 106 Bewkes 232
CA’s: Jane Motoru: Rebert 144, x6173 and Majohnica Peabody-Dowling: Rebert 247, x6219
RC: Ivania Marinero: Rebert 163, x5527
Mentor: Joe Kurowski: Sykes 1011, x6625
Plenary Meetings: T, Th 10:10-11:40
Plenary Room: Valentine 205-6
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Horace said that the function of literature is both to delight and to instruct. Few literary genres reflect the wisdom
of his claim more clearly than science fiction, which allows us to wander among strange figures in exotic worlds
while we learn (almost despite ourselves) about science and the complicated ways it affects human lives. In this
course we will explore some of history's most delightful and instructive science fiction novels, short stories, and
films: from novels like Vonnegut's Galápagos and Dick's Do androids dream of electric sheep?, to short stories
by masters like Asimov and Heinlein, to films like Andrew Niccol's Gattaca and the Wachowski brothers' The
Matrix. As we study these works we will have at least three goals in mind: to experience the pleasure of losing
ourselves in works of science fiction, to learn some of the science on which these works are based, and to
investigate how it is that science can be portrayed both as humanity's precious gift and its dark curse.
Two short writing projects, revised and edited, plus miscellaneous in-class writing assignments.
Final fiction project, revised and edited. Stories will be published in online e-zine, The Android Times,
subject to permission of author and editors
Writing Portfolio: Informal essays, response writings, in-class writings, critical analyses, all of them dated
Two formal oral projects, revised, rehearsed, and graded 1-4.
Regular informal oral participation in plenary and seminar. (“Class participation”)
Short Papers 30% (2 projects @ 15% each)
Final Paper 20%
Speaking 25% (Project #1 10% Project #2 15%)
Quizzes, informal classroom writing 15%
Both the FYP plenary and the seminar are participation courses. Our success as a college depends upon
everyone being in class and coming prepared to participate. Therefore, regular attendance is mandatory.
Attendance will be taken each day, and your final grade will be docked one half letter grade (e.g. 4.0 to 3.5) for
each absence, excused or unexcused, beyond the first three. Students who arrive late for class will be marked
as absent. If you feel you have special circumstances that prevent you from arriving on time, you need to
discuss them with your instructor before the end of the first full week of classes.
Each piece of work in this course is part of a sequence, which means that each assignment depends upon the
previous and looks ahead to the next. For that reason, it is critical that all work is handed in on time. Late work
that is part of a formal written or oral project will be penalized by a reduced grade. Response writings turned in
late will receive a zero.
Informal writing assignments:
Periodically you will be given informal writing assignments, such as short reflection papers, discussion
questions, outlines, in-class response writing, etc. These should all be dated, and should be collected in your
portfolio after they are handed back.
Portfolio and self-assessment essay:
All of your work for the semester should be compiled into a portfolio and turned in at the end of the semester
along with a 2 page self evaluation which highlights your work, the specific progress you have made, and the
areas in which you see a need for improvement. It should not be a justification of, or argument against, the
grade you receive in the course. This is a self-evaluation, not an evaluation of the course.
Changes to the schedule:
It is certainly possible that the order of events on this syllabus may change as the semester progresses. We will
make every effort to notify you about such changes as soon, and as frequently, as possible. However, it remains
YOUR responsibility to be aware of such changes. Attendance in class and reading your email on a regular
basis will ensure that you always know of any changes. “I didn’t know we changed that” is NOT a legitimate
excuse for late or missing work.
You are responsible for knowing the University’s Academic Honesty Policy. (See below, or your Student
Handbook.) Your instructors, unfortunately, are familiar with detecting plagiarism and successfully prosecuting it.
Trust us: it ain’t worth it.
Special needs students:
If you need accommodation for special needs, please contact your instructor -- JG, DK – by the end of the first
full week of classes. Please also contact the Office for Academic Services for Students with Special Needs
(homepage, e-mail) as soon as possible. Another useful office for all students is the Academic Achievement
Office, which can set you up with tutoring for this and other courses.
Science Fiction Novels:
Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World (Selected Chapters)
Vonnegut, Kurt. Galápagos
Wells, H. G. The Time Machine
Science Fiction Short Stories:
Asimov, Isaac. Story from I, Robot, TBA
Heinlein, Robert. All you zombies.
Heinlein, Robert. Lifeline.
Kessel, John. Invaders.
Writings on Science:
City Speed Limit (Gamow and Stannard)
Genetic Engineering (TBA)
Descartes' First Meditation
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference.
Other possible films, TBA
(Subject to change: Bookmark and return frequently)
STAGE 1: WHAT IS SCIENCE FICTION?
T Aug 24 Advising, Introduction to syllabus, course & course policies
Selection from Invaders (Kessel)
Gateway to APR registration system,
Open course list (always check the date at the top for freshness)
TH 26 Invaders (Kessel).
T 31 Assignment: one page (double-sided, 12pt font) argument on Invaders
Read: The brain in the vat.(Please try HTML version if that’s not working.)
Descartes' First Meditation.
Optical illusions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
(Links about First Year Council: 1 (search for the word ‘Council’ in this document), 2, 3)
W Sept. 1 Seminar: Definitions of science fiction: long list, short list
STAGE 3 : WHAT’S REALITY?
TH 2 The Matrix (Broadcast Tues & Wed, 4/7/10pm, Ch. 61). (“9th best SF film of all time”)
Books about The Matrix
The Second Coming -- William Butler Yeats
Definition of cyberpunk
The Many Ways of viewing The Matrix
STAGE 4: WHAT IS TIME?
T7 Lifeline (Heinlein)
The Time Machine (Wells), especially Ch. 1, 4,
(5 dimensions and more, hypercube, 2) Link to Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
W8 Time as the fourth dimension, Relativity -- guest lecture from Aileen O’Donoghue.
Special location: Valentine 106 (at the usual 1:40pm time)
Read Relativity reading before class
(See a railcar flash simulation here)
TH 9 La Jetée script
Twelve Monkeys.(Broadcast Tues - Wed, 4/7/10pm, Ch. 98)
All you zombies (Heinlein) (Zombies timeline, proposed cast for film version (scroll
The logical argument in favor of time travel
STAGE 2 : WHAT IS HUMAN?
T 14 Outline of WRITTEN PROJECT #1 DUE
Review Time travel issues: Block universe (1)
The Simpsons: Time and Punishment (script), based on Ray Bradbury’s A sound of
Documentary: Real Life, Artificial Life. Links: Karl Sims, William Latham
W 15 Seminar: Thesis & outline
TH 16 Robbie (Asimov)
The Three Laws of Robotics
T 21 Robotics debates
“Mary Shelley’s [Kevin Branagh’s] Frankenstein” (Broadcast Fri - Sun, 4/7/10pm, Ch. 61
(Mary Shelley’s original story)
First draft of WRITTEN PROJECT #1 DUE
Upcoming SF releases
W 22 Seminar, TBA
TH 23 Artificial intelligence -- guest lecture by Brian Ladd
AI Links , Babelfish example, Babelfish site: Go to Altavista, then click on ‘Translation’
T 28 Introduction to the Science Library: Meet in Madill Library
W 29 In-class work on Oral Presentations
TH 30 More in-class work on Oral Presentations
Ten ways to ruin a Powerpoint presentation
Sample Powerpoint presentations from the past (See T: drive)
Oral presentation rubric
Final draft of WRITTEN PROJECT #1 due FRIDAY
T Oct. 5 ORAL PRESENTATIONS #1
Moon travel á la Cyrano de Bergerac: Original, Rostand
W6 ORAL PRESENTATIONS #1 -- Location: Piskor 10 (Ouch! Didn’t happen)
TH 7 ORAL PRESENTATIONS #1
T 12 ORAL PRESENTATIONS #1
W 13 Do androids dream of electric sheep?
TH 14 No class -- Mid-semester break
T 19 Philip K. Dick’s Do androids dream of electric sheep? Edvard Munch: The Scream,
W 20 PM meeting: Pizza & film (Blade runner), instead of class (Rebroadcast Thurs,
4/7/10pm, Ch. 56) (“Best SF film of all time”)
STAGE 5: WHAT IS GENETICS?
TH 21 More Do androids dream of electric sheep?
T 26 Selections from Brave New World (Huxley)
Gattaca, (Broadcast Fri - Sun, 4/7/10pm, Ch. 56)
Outline of WRITTEN PROJECT #2 due.
W 27 Bioethics -- guest lecture by David Hornung. Location: Bloomer Auditorium
TH 28 Writing exercise
STAGE 6: WHAT IS EVOLUTION?
T Nov. 2 Darwin & Evolution
Donald Brown's Human universals, FAQs on evolution
The Great Dinosaur Mystery website, Creation science fair, Genesis 1:24-7 & 2:18-20
W3 Seminar, TBA
TH 4 Evolution, Darwin and creationism
Galápagos (Vonnegut) -- finish reading before class
First draft of WRITTEN PROJECT #2 due.
T9 Galápagos (Vonnegut)
W 10 Seminar, TBA
TH 11 Galápagos (Vonnegut)
Final draft of WRITTEN PROJECT #2 due.
STAGE 7: WHAT’S YOUR IDEA?
T 16 Library work for Final project
W 17 Seminar, Oral Presentation work. Meet in Science Library again.
TH 18 Small Group Work. Useful links: Creative Writing Tips, SF Writing ("How I write")
T 23 No Class - Thanksgiving Break
W 24 No Class - Thanksgiving Break
TH 25 No Class - Thanksgiving Break
T 30 Small Group Work in Preparation of Oral Presentations
W Dec. 1 Seminar, TBA
TH 2 Small Group Work in Preparation of Oral Presentations
T7 ORAL PRESENTATIONS
W8 ORAL PRESENTATIONS
TH 9 ORAL PRESENTATIONS
Dec 13 – 17 FINAL PAPER DUE / PORTFOLIOS AND SELF-ASSESSMENTS DUE
Stories to be posted to The Android Times by the start of classes for the Spring semester
Who was Alfred Romer ?
Return to FYP syllabus page, Koon's homepage
SELECTIONS FROM THE SLU STUDENT HANDBOOK
All students at St. Lawrence University are bound by honor to maintain the highest level of academic integrity. By virtue
of membership in the St. Lawrence community, every student accepts the responsibility to know the rules of academic
honesty, to abide by them at all times, and to encourage all others to do the same.
Responsibility for avoiding behavior or situations from which academic dishonesty may be inferred rests entirely with the
students. Claims of ignorance, unintentional error, and academic or personal pressure are not excuses for academic
dishonesty. Students should be sure to learn from faculty what is expected as their own work and how the work of other
people should be acknowledged. Instructors are expected to maintain conditions which promote academic honesty.
Instructors have the duty to investigate any instance involving possible academic dishonesty and must present evidence
of academic dishonesty to the Academic Honor Council rather than make private arrangements with the student involved.
Violations of the St. Lawrence University Code of Academic Honor are administered under the constitution of the Academic
Honor Council [See Student Handbook for the Constitution].
The primary objective of the University is the promotion of knowledge. This objective can be furthered only if there is
strict adherence to scrupulous standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the University community have a
responsibility to see that standards of honesty and integrity are maintained.
Students who respect academic honesty and who are orderly and meticulous in their treatment of both their own work
and the work of others should anticipate no difficulty with cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty.
Borrowing ideas or language from others is acceptable scholarly practice and in many instances actively to be encouraged.
Academic dishonesty generally arises from one of two sources: either a student has knowingly cheated or plagiarized or
he/she has been careless or slipshod in discriminating between his/her own work and that of others or in acknowledging
sources accurately. These latter difficulties are easily circumvented. Any standard handbook on English usage or term paper
writing manual will furnish a methodology as well as appropriate internal reference, endnote, or bibliographical forms (cf., for
example, the Harbrace Handbook, A Guide to MLA Documentation, or Writers Inc.).
A major objective of the University is the pursuit of knowledge which can be achieved only by strict adherence to
standards of honesty. At St. Lawrence, all members of the community have a responsibility to see that these standards are
1. It is assumed that all work submitted for credit is done by the student unless the instructor gives specific permission for
2. Cheating on examinations and tests consists of knowingly giving or using or attempting to use unauthorized assistance
during examinations or tests.
3. Dishonesty in work outside of examinations and tests consists of handing in for credit as original work that which is not
original, where originality is required.
The following constitute examples of academic dishonesty:
a) Plagiarism: Presenting as one's own work the work of another person - words, ideas, data, evidence, thoughts,
information, organizing principles, or style of presentation-without proper attribution. Plagiarism includes paraphrasing or
summarizing without acknowledgment by quotation marks, footnotes, endnotes, or other indices of reference (cf. Joseph F.
Trimmer, A Guide to MLA Documentation).
b) Handing in false reports on any experiment.
c) Handing in a book report on a book one has not read.
d) Falsification of attendance records of a laboratory or other class meeting.
e) Supplying information to another student knowing that such information will be used in a dishonest way.
f) Submission of work (papers, journal abstracts, etc.) which has received credit in a previous course to satisfy the
requirement(s) of a second course without the knowledge and permission of the instructor of the second course.
Claims of ignorance and academic or personal pressure are unacceptable as excuses for academic dishonesty. Students
must learn what constitutes one's own work and how the work of others must be acknowledged.
St. Lawrence students are required to sign the following statement prior to registration for classes:
"I hereby acknowledge that I have read the above document and I understand my responsibility in maintaining the standards
of academic honesty at St. Lawrence University."
STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS
FYP Communication Skills Component
Statement of Philosophy
First-Year colleges provide ideal environments for fostering the complex intellectual and social skills that are at the heart of a
liberal education. The First-Year Program (FYP)/ First-Year Seminars (FYS) play a significant part in the development of
students’ abilities to communicate effectively and to use writing and speaking to help them to become critical readers of a
variety of texts.
Improving student abilities in reading, writing, speaking and research requires serious, sustained practice and overt, in-class
reflection upon that practice. A critical feature of this sustained practice is that students receive detailed, constructive
response to their work from instructors, from peers, and from mentors and/or Writing Center tutors.
Underlying the teaching of communication skills in the FYP and the FYS is the assumption that these courses are
components of a university-wide, four-year commitment to teaching communication skills across the undergraduate
Though the goals for speaking, writing, and research are discussed in separate sections below, they are related activities.
Instruction in these skills is most effective when grounded in a holistic view of communication. Students should be made
aware of the differences and similarities between oral and written modes of discourse.
1. Oral Communication
By the end of the FYP/FYS students should demonstrate an increased ability:
a) to develop an oral presentation through a series of drafts, demonstrating substantial conceptual and performative
b) to produce a speech with a clearly defined rhetorical purpose that is appropriately and adequately fulfilled given the
audience being addressed.
c) to use informal conversation, in class or out, to facilitate close reading and promote critical thinking.
d) to speak from notes or outline, rather than from a manuscript or in an impromptu fashion.
2. Written Communication
By the end of the FYP/FYS, students should demonstrate an increased ability:
a) to develop a piece of writing through a series of drafts, demonstrating substantial revision at both the conceptual and the
b) to produce an essay with a clearly defined rhetorical purpose that is appropriately and adequately fulfilled given the
audience being addressed.
c) to use informal writing, done in class or out, in journals, reader-response papers, or exploratory essays, to facilitate close
reading and promote critical thinking.
d) to produce writing that is characterized by a mature prose style and that conforms to the conventions of standard written
By the end of the FYP/FYS, students should be better able to conduct productive, imaginative research. Specifically, they
should demonstrate an increased ability:
a) to assess the research requirements of a particular assignment and to meet those requirements by using library
collections, electronic databases, and Web-based sources.
b) to be able to choose amongst the sources to determine which are most appropriate for a particular assignment.
c) to assess and represent the complexity of a particular line of inquiry and to enter responsibly into the conversation about
the issues it raises.
I. FYP courses
An FYP course will be approved if students:
a) are given diverse and repeated opportunities to write and speak, including the opportunity to write and speak in response
to readings, discussions, lectures, films, etc. These responses may occur in class or out, and they may take many forms:
freewriting, open or directed journals, graded or ungraded exploratory essays, essay exams, small group discussion,
impromptu discussion, oral exams
b) are required to engage in at least three formal, graded writing projects. A “project” requires that students develop a piece
of writing over time on the basis of appropriate feedback at a number of stages in the process
c) are required to engage in at least two oral communication projects, one of which undergoes a process of revision. A
“project” requires that students develop a speech over time on the basis of appropriate feedback at a number of stages in
the process. At least one speech must be extemporaneous, by which we mean that students should deliver a prepared
speech from an outline or minimal notes
d) are required to conduct library research and use the sources as an integral part of at least one written and/or oral project
e) are instructed in and held responsible for the ethical use of sources
f) are required to keep all of their written work in a course portfolio, to reflect in writing upon their work, and to submit the
completed portfolio to their faculty for review
II. First-Year Seminars
A First-Year Seminar will be approved if students:
a) are given diverse and repeated opportunities to write and speak, including opportunities to benefit from detailed formative
feedback from instructors and peers
b) are asked to assess adequately the research requirements of a particular assignment and to seek out efficiently the
means of meeting those requirements
c) are given diverse opportunities to incorporate appropriate illustrative or persuasive detail in oral and written
d) are required to complete at least one and no more than two projects comprising some combination of formal and informal
oral, written, and research activities that demonstrate a satisfactory grasp of the program’s communication goals
e) are instructed in and held responsible for the ethical use of sources
f) are required to assemble all their work in a portfolio that includes a written assessment of that work, and to submit the
completed portfolio to their faculty for review
In addition, it is strongly recommended:
1. that students engage in oral and written assignments that address a variety of audiences, ranging from instructors and
peers to other imagined or real audiences.
2. that students write and speak for a variety of purposes: to explore, to express, to inform, and to persuade
3. that students be encouraged to respond to texts via creative projects
4. that students engage in a variety of research tasks that encourage critical use of sources
5. that colleges include assignments that require the production and analysis of visual images, so as to improve visual
STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS
FOR THE RESIDENTIAL COMPONENT OF
THE FIRST-YEAR PROGRAM
AT ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
Residential Philosophy and Goals
First-Year college students face what is for many a difficult transition from high school to college. This transition requires
moving from a relatively structured environment to one that offers significant freedom. Research on the transition to college
has shown that students are most successful when they build connections to other students, faculty, and the college
community. FYP staff and faculty help students to begin to build these connections during orientation when students, faculty
and staff meet together for college meetings, discussion of American Voices, and academic advising. In the remainder of the
fall semester, students are taking a class with their residential peers. Course material from the FYP class provides a fertile
ground for meaningful conversations in the residence hall. Additionally, college faculty and residential staff work together to
develop programming in the residence hall that connects to the course and that furthers discussion among students, faculty
and residential staff.
A central challenge of a residential college is to assist students in learning to take advantage of personal freedom in ways
that do not infringe upon others. Of crucial importance in meeting this challenge is that a college campus is first and foremost
an academic community, even while it is also a place to grow psychologically and socially. By the time students graduate,
we expect that they will be able to live together in an atmosphere of respect with minimal intervention by university staff and
faculty. In order to begin to foster the growth necessary for students to reach this developmental point, the First-Year
Program encourages students to reflect upon the effects of their actions on others. We wish to help students recognize that
a relativist framework that asserts that all needs are equal is not appropriate given that St. Lawrence is an academic
community. We will also work to foster in students a respect for university officials that comes from understanding university
rules and policies as reasonable guidelines for living together, without infringing on the rights of others. In cases where
students do not believe that rules and guidelines are reasonable, we will work with them to responsibly challenge these
policies. Further, we will assist students in understanding that their academic and residential lives can be connected in ways
that help them to meet multiple goals, such as developing friendships, becoming better students, and building connections to
colleagues who may never become close friends.
The first year of college is the first stage of a four year process in which students take increasing control of their living
arrangements. In the First-Year Program, we begin to help them to take responsibility by fostering an understanding of how
living and learning can be integrated in ways that foster both academic and social growth.
Statement of Goals:
Faculty, residential staff, and students will work together:
· to promote the integration of the academic and residential experience
· to encourage students to move towards patterns of living together which reflect principles of mutuality and accountability
· to encourage students to understand their rights and responsibilities as individuals residing in living/learning communities.
For example, we will work together to develop communities in which each student has enough quiet time to study and sleep
enough to succeed as a student by helping residents to understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to quiet hours
and courtesy hours.
· to help students make use of residential staff and faculty in exercising their rights and responsibilities while they develop
the capacity for self-management
· to identify and confront conflicts before they become destructive of the living/learning community.