Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus

Rafael's School of Athens

Contact the Instructional Team

Head Instructor

  • Name: Dr. Chip Birkner, School of Music
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays Period 2 and by appointment via Zoom (see Zoom Help)

Discussion Leaders

  Tabajara Belo

Contact Information

  • Taba Belo
  • School of Music
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:30pm and by appointment via Zoom (see Zoom Help)


  • Class Number 12388: Tuesday & Thursday Period 2
  • Class Number 16053: Tuesday & Thursday Period 3

  Heidi Jensen

Contact Information

  • Heidi Jensen
  • School of Music
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 9:30–10:30 and by appointment via Zoom (see Zoom Help)


  • Class Number 12357: Tuesday & Thursday Period 2
  • Class Number 12358: Tuesday & Thursday Period 3

  Abigail Lindo

Contact Information

  • Abby Lindo
  • School of Music
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Mondays 1:00pm to 3:00pm and by appointment via Zoom (see Zoom Help)
    • Please email to express interest in attending office hours


  • Class Number 12361: Tuesday & Thursday Period 2
  • Class Number 12387: Tuesday & Thursday Period 3

  John Mark Robison

Contact Information

  • John Mark Robison
  • Department of English
  • Email:
  • Office Hours: Friday 9:30-11:30 and by appointment via Zoom (see Zoom Help)


  • Class Number 12359: Tuesday & Thursday Period 2
  • Class Number 12360: Tuesday & Thursday Period 3

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 For Part 3 (Special Topic), students use Sophocles' Antigone as a lens to study in depth questions about the individual and society that have been the focus of the course in Parts 1 and 2. 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 and Class Meetings

Each week students complete the required readings and submit posts to an online discussion in Canvas, before attending lectures delivered by their instructors and discussions led by their graduate teaching assistant. Please consult One.UF for the location and time of your weekly section meeting.

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, 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.

Course Readings and Works

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

Week 1: Thinking about the Good Life

Weeks 1-2: Seeking the Good Life

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

Week 2: Embodying the Good Life

Week 3: Fighting for the Good Life

Week 4: Sustaining the Good Life

Week 4: Constructing the Good Life

Week 5: Special Topic

Week 5: This I Believe

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 TA within a week after the assignment has been returned so your TA can explain how you were graded. If after meeting with your TA, you wish to dispute your grade, you may email your instructor to request that the instructor re-grade the assignment. The 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.


Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies:

  • In the case of an absence due to participation in an official university activity, 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.
  • In the case of the essays, there is a deduction for missing the deadline and a deduction for every day that passes before the assignment is submitted unless an extension has been granted (see rubrics in Canvas).
  • For all other assignments, 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

Policy on Recordings*

If your section meets online via Zoom, class sessions may be audio visually recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded.  If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are agreeing to have their voices recorded.  If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the "chat" feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live. The chat will not be recorded or shared. As in all courses, unauthorized recording and unauthorized sharing of recorded materials is prohibited.

*This policy applies only to 100% online sections. Class sessions that meet in person will not be recorded.

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. Resources are also available on campus for students who wish to explore their career options.

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


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Course Summary:

Date Details Due