Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus

School of Athens by Raphael

Contact the Instructional Team

  Russell Schultz

  Sarah Bushey

  • About Sarah Bushey, Instructor
  • Grading Group: Desi-Jime 
  • Virtual Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-5 PM and by appointment via Zoom Conferences
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  Aja Cacan

  • About Aja Cacan
  • Grading Group: Rose-Zinn
  • Virtual Office Hours: Days and Times and by appointment via Zoom Conferences
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  Alberto Fernandez-Diego

  • About Alberto Fernandez-Diego
  • Grading Group: F. Joh-McDon 
  • Virtual Office Hours: Wednesdays 3-5PM and by appointment via Zoom Conferences
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  Julie Song Ross

  • About Julie Song Ross
  • Grading Group: McEa-Roo 
  • Virtual Office Hours: Days and Times and by appointment via Zoom Conferences
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Course Description, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes

Course Description

Drawing on the disciplines that make up the Humanities and the considerable resources at UF in support of the Humanities, this course investigates the very nature of the human condition. Applying multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to explore what is a good life, students consider the cost of the good life, examine how people have chosen to live as members of local and global communities, and analyze conceptions and expressions of beauty, power, love, and health.

For Part 1 (Individual) and Part 2 (Society) of the course, students explore questions related to the good life first from the perspective of the individual and then from the perspective of the community and society. The class will consider to what extant the pursuit of the good life is individually driven and determined and how society impacts and shapes the efforts of the individual to achieve the good life. For Part 3 (Special Topic), students use Sophocles' Antigone as a lens to study in depth questions about the individual and society that were the focus of Parts 1 and 2 of the course. For Part 4 (This I Believe), students reflect on what they value in a short audio essay.

Course Objectives

IDS 1161 fulfills the UF Quest requirement and 3 credits of the Humanities (H) General Education Requirement.

Humanities courses provide instruction in the history, key themes, principles, terminology, and theory or methodologies used within a humanities discipline or the humanities in general. Students will learn to identify and to analyze the key elements, biases and influences that shape thought. These courses emphasize clear and effective analysis and approach issues and problems from multiple perspectives.

These general education objectives will be accomplished through:

  • Examination of the ways different people from different societies across time conceptualize the good life, the meaning and value individuals ascribe to the lives that they live or want to live, and the choices, costs, and benefits of the good life.
  • Evaluation of conflicts and tensions that arise between the individual and the community, the normative and the exceptional, culture and nature, needs and wants, pleasure and happiness, short-term benefits and long-term consequences of the pursuit of the good life.
  • Communication of concepts, expressions, and representations of the good life clearly and effectively in written and oral form as stated in the rubrics of the course.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes in content, critical thinking, communication, and connection:

  • Content: Students identify, describe, and explain the history, underlying theory, and methodologies used. Students will acquire a knowledge of the different conceptions and representations of the good life, how such conceptions and representations vary in time and place, and the impact that they have on the way people live their lives. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the Discussion Board Posts, Essay 1, and Essay 2.
  • Critical Thinking: Students identify and analyze key elements, biases and influences that shape thought within the subject area. They approach issues and problems within the discipline from multiple perspectives. Students will analyze the costs and benefits of the good life and the tensions that arise as individuals and groups of individuals pursue the good life. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the Discussion Board posts, Essay 1, and Essay 2.
  • Communication: Students communicate knowledge, thoughts and reasoning clearly and effectively. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through Essay 1 and Essay 2.
  • Connection: Students connect course content with critical reflection on their intellectual, personal, and professional development at UF and beyond. Achievement of this learning outcome will be assessed through the online discussions, the Sacred Space Postcard, and the TIB Audio Essay.

Course Format

This section of IDS 1161: What is the Good Life is taught 100% online in an asynchronous format (i..e, no "live" meetings). The course is divided up into modules. To find out what you need to do for the week, please go to the weekly module.

After you have finished the weekly readings, next you will need to watch the online lectures and context videos posted in the module before you can complete the weekly assignment. For most weeks, you will be required to participate in an online discussion by contributing posts to a discussion board. Your initial posts to your group are due before 11:59 pm on Saturday and your two replies to peers in your group are due before 11:59 pm on Monday.


Course Questions

If you have a question about instructions for an assignment or concerning course policies and requirements, you may post your question in the Course Questions discussion. Before  posting your question, do a keyword search for your topic. If no one else has asked your question, please post your question (provide several keywords at the top of your message to help others find it).

If you subscribe to the Course Questions discussion, you will be e-mailed whenever someone posts or responds to a question in the discussion. Please do not ask the same question if the topic has been asked and answered. This creates confusion and makes more work for everyone.

Contact your Instructor or TA

Questions about grades or personal issues must be emailed to the instructor or TA who grades your assignments through the Canvas messaging app on the left sidebar (click on "inbox"). Be sure to send your message to only the instructor or TA who grades your assignments. Do not send the message to the entire class or to all Good Life instructors or TAs.

CANVAS Technical Help

If you encounter technical difficulties in Canvas, contact the UF Computing Help Desk either by filling out an online request form or by calling (352) 392-4357, and get a ticket number.

Course Accessibility

Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the Disability Resource Center by visiting It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester.

Readings and Works

Required Texts

Readings and works are available in the weekly modules, except for the following texts, which you can purchase through local bookstores and online retailers either as eBooks or paperbacks.

  • Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, trans. by Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Penguin Books, 2002). ISBN: 978-0142437186.
  • Sophocles, Antigone, trans. by Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 1998). ISBN: 978-0941051255.

Course Readings and Works

You can find the required readings by going to the weekly modules. For your convenience, a complete list of course readings and works is also provided below.

Thinking about the Good Life

  • Joel K. Kupperman, “Myth One: Pursuing Comfort and Pleasure Will Lead to the Best Possible Life,” in Six Myths about the Good Life: Thinking about What Has Value (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006), 1–21.
  • Tau Te Ching, translated by D.C. Lau, Center Tao, Chapters 1-4, 22-23, 28-29, 42-44, web.

Seeking the Good Life

  • Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, trans. by Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Penguin Books, 2002).

Embodying the Good Life

  • Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (New York: Random House, 2010), 1–7.
  • Susan Bordo, "Reading the Slender Body," in Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, edited by Susan Bordo (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 185-212.
  • Greg Garber, five-part series on sports injuries, ESPN, January 24-28, 2005, web.

Fighting for the Good Life

  • Martin Luther King, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (16 April 1963), The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, n. d., web.
  • Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, Vol 2: 1962-1994 (London: Abacus, 194), 431-38.
  • “Wo-Haw between Two Worlds,” a drawing by Kiowa Artist, c. 1875, Missouri Historical Society, Colombia, MO.

Owning the Good Life

  • Geraldine Brooks, “The Painted Desert,” Griffith Review 2 (2005): 146–57.
  • Ngurrara: The Great Sandy Desert Canvas,” National Museum Australia, n. d., web. 
  • Michael Sandel, “Markets and Morals,” in What Money Can’t Buy: The Limits of Markets (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010), 3-15.

Sustaining the Good Life

  • Aldo Leopold, “The Land Ethic,” from A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949), 201–226.
  • Wangari Maathai, “Foresters without Diplomas,” in Unbowed: A Memoir (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), 119-138.

Constructing the Good Life

  • Randy Hester, “Subconscious Landscapes of the Heart,” Places 2 (1985): 10–22.
  • Kirk Savage, “The Politics of Memory: Black Emancipation and the Civil War Monument,” in Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity, edited by John Gillis (Princeton: Princeton University, 1994), 127–49.

Special Topic

  • Sophocles, Antigone, trans. by Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 1998).

Course Assignments and Requirements*

*Dates and Deadlines for all assignments can be found in Course Summary at the bottom of the Syllabus Page and in Assignments.

Grade Scale and Grading Policies

Grade Scale
Grade Range Grade Points Grade Range Grade Points
A = 93–100% A = 4.00 C = 72–74% C = 2.00
A- = 90–92% A- = 3.67 C- = 69–71% C- = 1.67
B+ = 87–89% B+ = 3.33 D+ = 66–68% D+ = 1.33
B = 83-86% B = 3.00 D = 62–65% D = 1.00
B- = 79-82% B- = 2.67 D- = 60–61% D- = 0.67
C+ = 75–78% C+ = 2.33 E <60% E = 0.00

*Grades are rounded to the nearest whole number (e.g., 89.4% = 89% and 89.5% = 90%).

UF Grading Policies: A minimum grade of C is required for general education credit. Courses intended to satisfy the general education requirement cannot be taken S-U. More information on UF  grades and grading policies is available in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Course Grading Policies: If you have questions about your grade on an assignment, please make an appointment to meet with your grader within a week after the assignment has been returned so your grader can explain how you were graded. If after meeting with your grader, you wish to dispute your grade, you may email the head instructor to request that the head instructor re-grade the assignment. The head instructor will then re-grade the assignment and the second grade will stand, regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the original grade. You may request re-grading or dispute a grade up to one week after the assignment has been returned to you or the grade released.

Course Policies

Academic Honesty

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, "We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: 'On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment'.” The Honor Code specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obligated to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor of this class.

Late Assignments and Make-Up Work

Students are expected to complete assignments by the deadlines specified in Canvas (see Syllabus and Assignments). Extensions are granted in accordance with university policies on class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work:

  • If the deadline of an assignment conflicts with the observance of a religious holiday, performance of a military duty, or any other university-approved absence (e.g., jury duty), which the student knows about in advance, the student is expected to notify the instructor of the conflict before the assignment is due, and if possible at the start of the semester.
  • Students will not be granted an extension beyond the grace period specified in the rubric without an acceptable reason, such as an illness or serious family emergencies, in accordance with university policies on absences.

Course Evaluations

Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at

Counseling, Tutoring, and Other Services

Students experiencing either health or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to seek assistance through the university’s health care and counseling centers. Free tutoring and free career advising and support are also available to UF students.

You can also check out the UF Resources page for the many other university resources, services, and support that are available to you.


Landing Page and Syllabus Page

Course Summary:

Date Details Due