AP/MODR1760 6.0 A: Reasoning About Morality and Values

Offered by: MODR


Summer 2021




ONLN (Fully Online)


Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This is a skills-based course focusing on critical thinking, critical writing, and logical and linguistic analysis. The course uses examples drawn from areas in the humanities where value judgements are made. Different sections will stress different topics in ethics, aesthetics, religion or law. Course credit exclusions: AP/MODR 1730 6.00, AP/MODR 1770 6.00.

Course Website

Many courses utilize eClass (Moodle), York University's course website system. If your course is using eClass (Moodle), refer to the image below to access it.

    Getting Started with your Fully Online Course

Students enrolled in this course are required to review the Next Steps website.

The Next Steps website explains how to start your fully online (ONLN) & blended (BLEN) course(s) with start up information including computing requirements, course website access instructions and links to course outlines & course websites. Students are also encouraged to review the Student Guide to eLearning at York University.

eClass (Moodle) course website access starts within the first week of the term. For late enrollees it takes two business days from the time of your enrolment to access the eClass (Moodle) websites once the semester has started. Course materials begin to be released on the course website during the first week of the semester. Get familiar with eClass (Moodle) by reviewing the eClass (Moodle) Student Resources Page.

For enrolment matters and academic related questions, please contact the affiliated LA&PS School/Department. For eLearning support please contact eLearning Services, LA&PS.

eClass (Moodle) and computing support can be directed to askit@yorku.ca or visit the Student Computing website

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Cael Cohen, PhD

Email: cmcohen@yorku.ca

Tel or Text: 647-880-1237

Office Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, in Zoom. See “Office Hours” link in EClass. Or, private Zoom or telephone meetings by appointment only.

    Expanded Course Description

This fully online, skills-based course teaches learners how to read, write and think independently, critically, and for meaning, through:

  • A collection of critical skills, practices, techniques, attitudes and principles that can be used every day to systematically evaluate your own and others’ reasoning about morality and values;
  • An approach to ethical disagreements and controversial moral issues using rational standards and mindfulness awareness;

Critical assessment and formulation of ethical beliefs, arguments, and concepts based on relevant, acceptable and sufficient grounds, rather than passive acceptance.

    Required Course Text / Readings

Required readings for this course includes the two books below. This book is available for purchase from the York University Bookstore, through Amazon, and many online used bookstores. Be careful to purchase the edition below. Every session, learners should check the “Lesson Schedule” below on pages 9-18 of this course outline, or the Lesson Block on the EClass course site, for which pages to read.

  • Think: Critical Thinking and Logic Skills for Everyday Life. 2021. 5th Edition. Author: Judith A. Boss. ISBN: 1260571203 · 9781260571202.
  • Fact over Fake: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Media Bias and Political Propaganda. 2020. Authors: Linda Elder and Richard Paul. ISBN paperback: 978-1-5381-4394-0. ISBN: eBook: 978-1-5381-4395-7. Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield.
    Weighting of Course

“Take Home” Mid-Term Exam 30% Due:

Friday, July 2, 11:59 pm




Completed independently.


No collaboration permitted.


Exam questions will be available for downloading as of Monday, June 28, 9:00 am.  This exam is a “take home.”  Upload answers to submission link before Friday, July 2, 11:59 pm. For more information about the test instructions, format, requirements and grading criteria, see Lesson 12. Practice test and grading criteria will be provided beforehand. Must be learner’s own original, independent work.



Media Bias and Political Propaganda Assignment

20% Due: Thursday, July 22, 11:59 pm





Completed  independently.


No collaboration permitted.


Complete two “Think for Yourself” activities concerning media bias and political propaganda. Must complete “Think for Yourself 7” activity from page 78 of your required textbook, Fact over Fake: A critical thinker’s guide to media bias and political propaganda. Also, select one from: “Think for Yourself” activities 5, 8 or 12, on pages 78 – 79. Thus, you will be completing two “Think for Yourself” activities, one assigned and one that you select. Follow assignment instructions, requirements and grading criteria posted to Lesson 16.



Passage Analysis Assignment

30% Due: Monday, August 9, 11:59 pm




Completed independently.


No collaboration permitted.


Select a passage from a set of provided passages. Analyze the passage following the techniques and steps taught in class. Must follow the techniques, skills and model taught in lectures. Grading criteria provided. Must be students’ own original, independent work. Collaboration is not permitted. To be submitted to EClass course site. Turnitin.com, a commercial, Internet-based plagiarism detection service, will be used from within the EClass site.






Assigned in Lessons 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20 and 21.


Completed independently.


No collaboration permitted.




10 pieces of homework out of various marks. The total mark earned out of all possible homework marks will be converted to a final homework mark out of 20%. Homework assigned in a Monday lesson will be due at 11:59 pm the following Thursday. Homework assigned in a Wednesday lesson will be due at 11:59 pm on the following Monday. Homework answers are graded based on the quality of the answer, and not for completion only. Grading rubrics will provided for homework. Answers must follow the models and formats taught in class.


Earn up to 2% BONUS MARKS added to your TOTAL FINAL MARK:

Collect “Flora and Fauna Badges:”

  • The EClass course site allows you to check off an “Activity Completion” box when you complete Learning Activities or view Content or Resources.
  • “Collect “ the weekly Badges by ticking off the “Activity Completion” box to the far right of the activity, content or resource.
  • Not all activities, content or resources have Badges. There are 2 to 5 Badges per week.
  • Since you are on a path to becoming a Master Critical Thinker, the Badges depict some of the wildlife, birds, trees and flowers, along your path.
  • By collecting ALL of the course badges, you can a BONUS 1% added to your TOTAL FINAL MARK.

Write a “Letter to a Future Student” at the end of the course:

  • Answer 6 questions to earn 1% bonus mark added to your final mark. When answering these questions, imagine that you are writing a letter to a student who will be taking this course in the future. When you have finished answering these questions, after you click on "Submit", please take a picture or screenshot of the "Completion" screen. Next, upload the photo or screenshot as an attachment to the "Assignment" submission link posted to August 9, to prove that you completed this OPTIONAL, ANONYMOUS assignment.
  1. Did you find this course difficult? Why or why not?
  2. What is the most useful thing you learned in this course?
  3. What suggestions would you give other students on ways to get the most out of this course?
  4. In what areas did you learn the most? The least?
  5. List three ways you think you have developed or grown as a result of this course, unit or module.
  6. In which part of this course did you produce your best work, and why?
    Organization of the Course
  • This is a fully online course hosted by the York University EClass. To access the online modules, you need to log in with your passport York @ eclass.yorku.ca.
  • The course work consists of 7 Modules containing a total of 21 lessons over the entire course. Each lesson is composed of several brief video recordings, optional learning activities, and sometimes mandatory homework.
  • The materials for each weekly lesson will be posted on or before 9:00 am on Monday, beginning Monday, May 10, and Wednesday respectively, beginning on May 12. Learners have until 11:59 pm on the Thursday to complete work assigned on a Monday, and until 11:59 pm on a Monday to complete work assigned on a Wednesday. The work to be completed includes viewing video recordings, completing optional learning activities and sometimes mandatory homework.
  • You do not have to log in to EClass at a specific time each week, but you need to keep up.

Class Participation What it takes to succeed in online Modules:

  • You must log on to EClass frequently (3-4 times per week).
  • You should be completing all coursework by the deadlines posted.
  • If you are accessing this course from a different time zone please be aware that all deadlines and launch times are Eastern Standard Time.  You are responsible for meeting all deadlines even if you are in a different time zone.
  • This course aims at providing active and deep learning experiences.
  • It is important that you have finished required readings before beginning each lesson.
  • In the online modules, you will be asked to access the lesson materials and interact with these materials by viewing brief recordings, completing optional learning activities, quizzes, and other optional lesson participation assignments or mandatory homework.
  • Everyone in this course is expected to treat each other with respect. In the online environment, without the visual cues and shared understanding of acceptable behavior in face to face situations, it can be helpful to agree on basic ‘netiquette’ (online etiquette). Please refer to the “Netiquette” document posted to the EClass course site for a summary of expected online behavior.
  • This course is skills-based, consequently, this course requires the completion of mandatory homework and optional learning activities to learn and practice the skills. You do NEED to keep up. To become strong at any skill, practice is needed. Accordingly, there is an emphasis on continuous engagement in the Modules. If you anticipate not viewing lesson video recordings due to conflicts with work, your other classes, or personal commitments, you are strongly urged to rethink whether you should enroll in this course.
    Course Learning Objectives
  • Increase ability to assess situations and act in a way that reflects reasoned assessment and choices.
  • Understand the world more clearly.
  • Clarify confusing ideas.
  • Analyze reasons and claims.
  • Evaluate the quality of claims and arguments.
  • Gain a better understanding of who you are by enhancing your autonomy, what you believe, and who you can become.
  • Give you more control of your life by grounding your understanding, decisions, and actions on reason rather than merely on a gut feeling, habit or social convention.
  • Read for meaning better and systematically assess what is read.
  • Think more independently.
  • Formulate stronger, more convincing arguments that depend on relevant, sufficient and acceptable reasons.

General Education course. There are course credit exclusions on MODR1730, 1760, and 1770 as a set.  Students cannot take two Modes of Reasoning courses for credit.

Learning Outcomes By the end of this course, if you apply yourself, do all the readings, view all lesson recordings and complete all lesson activities, and fully participate, you can expect to see improvement in your reading, writing, critical reasoning and critical thinking skills in the following areas:

  • Clarify meaning in arguments and passages.
  • Recognize and avoid prejudicial and emotional rhetoric in arguments.
  • Analyze, identify, portray and assess non-deductive arguments.
  • Identify, neutralize, and avoid common errors in reasoning, specifically informal logical fallacies.
  • Analyze, practice and assess dynamic processes of verbal argumentation with others, including: constructing and presenting arguments, and challenging and responding to those challenges in an ongoing dialogue.
  • Recognize and identify some core patterns that help define the key features of an ideal argumentation encounter.
  • Identify, analyze and assess concepts or abstract ideas in ordinary contexts
  • Use the techniques of reasoning by cases, similarities and differences, and conjectures and refutations to analyze cases and develop criteria for the meaning of concepts or ideas.
  • Determine the meaning of abstract ideas using reasoning by cases.
  • Develop skills required to read and listen for meaning.
    Additional Information / Notes

Course Work Submission Policies:

  • Successful academic performance includes students not only completing assignments, but completing them on time. Late penalties of 5% per day are applied to assignments submitted after the due date. Exceptions to the late penalty can be presented to the course director with documented evidence (e.g. a doctor’s note) for consideration.
  • All course work must be submitted to EClass. Emailed course work will not be accepted.
  • You are strongly encouraged to avoid uploading assignments within the last hour of a deadline - if, for whatever reason, your document does not upload, it will be considered late.
  • There will be no opportunity to make-up homework.  If you miss these weekly deadlines, you will receive a “0” for the assigned homework.


Assistance with Special Needs: https://accessibility.students.yorku.ca/



  • As your Course Instructor, I am committed to maximizing your potential for academic achievement at York and to guaranteeing the services and accommodations for persons with special needs. It is vitally important that students request any specific accommodations and/or services they require, and inform the course instructor on the first day of class.  This will help avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings that may be encountered during the academic year.
  • It is important that students with special learning needs, requiring accommodations of any sort in connection with their successful completion of a course, contact the appropriate office(s). A good place to start is with the Counselling and Disability Services (CDS) on campus (Room N110 of the Bennett Centre for Student Services).
  • It’s also important to notify instructors of any concerns as close to the course’s start as possible. You can do this by providing your instructors with the form the CDS gives you, or during office hours if there is anything you wish to discuss. Making these arrangements significantly in advance will help ensure proper accommodations right from the beginning of the course. Ultimately, your success in this course is important to me and I encourage you to come and speak to me at any point during the term, in my office, to make arrangements or discuss strategies to help you succeed. Do not wait until deadlines have passed.

Academic Integrity:

  • You have committed plagiarism when you use someone else’s ideas and present them as your own. This could take several forms: cheating on a test; letting someone copy from you during a test; having someone write your paper; copying parts or all of the paper off the internet; buying a paper; summarizing ideas from any source without properly citing this source. For further information on plagiarism see: http://www.yorku.ca/academicintegrity/
  • It is also a violation of academic honesty to represent another's artistic or technical work or creation as one's own. Just as there are standards to which one must adhere in the preparation and publication of written works, there are standards to which one must adhere in the creation and presentation of music, drawings, designs, dance, photography and other artistic and technical works. In different forms, these constitute a theft of someone else's work. This is not to say that students should not use the work of others with the proper acknowledgement.
  • It is also a violation of academic honesty to forge another student’s signature on an attendance sheet, submit a fraudulent medical excuse, or collaborate on work with classmates or peers which is assigned individually.    
  • It is your responsibility as a student to be informed about academic integrity. No level or form of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will be tolerated. Penalties for academic dishonesty range from a grade of zero on the specific assignment, to failing the course, to having an official note of academic dishonesty on your university record.

Unauthorized Collaboration:

  • Unauthorized Collaboration is a form of “cheating” and means working with others without the specific permission of the instructor on assignments that will be submitted for a grade.
  • Students may not collaborate without faculty authorization.
  • All work submitted for a grade must be the student’s own original, independent work, unless the instructor permits collaboration, use of sources, or outside assistance.
  • Students must comply with the course rules, and may only work together, or receive help, to the extent allowed by the instructor.
  • If unsure about the limits, students must seek the instructor’s permission before working with one another.
  • Even if the instructor permits collaboration, it is never ethical to copy someone’s work or let them copy yours, unless specified by the instructor. If your instructor asks whether you worked with anyone on an assignment, always tell the truth.
  • Finally, study groups in the form of Facebook User Groups are seen by the course instructor as forms of “unauthorized collaboration.”


Copyright and Intellectual Property:


  • The educational materials developed for this course, including, but not limited to, lecture notes and slides, handout materials, examinations and assignments, and any materials posted to EClass, are the intellectual property of the course director. These materials have been developed for student use only and they are not intended for wider dissemination and/or communication outside of a given course. Posting or providing unauthorized audio, video, or textual material of lecture content to third-party websites violates an instructor’s intellectual property rights, and the Canadian Copyright Act.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may be in contravention of the university’s Code of Student Conduct and/or Code of Academic Conduct, and will result in appropriate penalties.
  • Participation in this course constitutes an agreement by all parties to abide by the relevant University Policies, and to respect the intellectual property of others during and after their association with York University.
    Relevant Links / Resources