Sample BIS 495 Syllabus

Dr. Loren Redwood
Office: UW1-243
Contact by email
Office Hours: By Appointment

Jill Rand (Career Counselor)
Office: Career Center (UW1-184)
Office Hours: M through Th
Make an appointment online.

BIS 495: Worlds of Work

Description of the Course

Worlds of Work is the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences internship course. It is designed to integrate the knowledge and skills cultivated in the IAS program (critical thinking, collaboration and shared leadership, interdisciplinary research, and writing and presentation), hands-on work experience across a variety of internship sites, and collaborative self-reflection on the changing demands and possibilities of work. In order to facilitate this integration and reflection, you will be doing two things in addition to working at your internship site. First, you will read sections of four recent books, all of which raise questions and make claims about the future of work in the United States. These readings will provide you with a set of (conflicting) hypotheses about the work world today. You will then test those hypotheses by using your internship sites as an opportunity to do what anthropologists refer to as “field research.” Field research, in this context refers to the process of making and recording observations about your internship site, the people who occupy it, and the norms that govern it. Your “field notes” (observations, interactions, conversations) will then become the basis of our collective discussions about the validity of the hypotheses generated within the course readings.

Worlds of Work is (largely) an on-line course. After today, you will meet once with Bonnie and me once at the midterm, and then at the end-of-the-quarter public poster/exhibit session. This means that you will be responsible for doing most of the course work on your own and that you will need to be diligent in completing the reading assignments, responding to the on-line writing prompts, recording your field notes, and commenting on the observations of your fellow students/interns. In order to pass the course, you will need to complete all of the assignments in a timely manner, fulfill the requirements of your learning contract, and participate in the final poster session. It will be a lot of work, but it should be a fun course that builds bridges between the skills you have developed in the IAS program and your future career(s). (This is true even if the internship teaches you that you really don’t want to do what you had previously imagined that you did, or that you would prefer to do something that you had not previously imagined was either desirable or possible.)

Course Objectives

As an academic internship course, Worlds of Work has as its central objective the goal of linking your classroom education to practice-based learning in local for-profit, not-forprofit, or governmental organizations. Contained within this large objective are many smaller ones, each of which supports the overarching IAS learning objectives in critical thinking, interdisciplinary research, shared leadership and collaboration, and writing and presentation. Here are the four that I value most highly:

  1. To enhance your awareness of how the knowledge and skills cultivated in the IAS program can foster life-long learning in a variety of non-classroom environments:
  2. To increase your knowledge of diverse career and work possibilities that draw on and build off of knowledge and skills you already possess;
  3. To improve your ability to conduct field research across diverse social and cultural institutions;
  4. To increase your ability to think critically about different work environments, about what counts (and can count) as work across them, and about the social costs and benefits of various work and career choices.

Course Requirements

Participation and On-Line Collaboration (50%)

Your work in this course will be done on-line as you discuss your responses to various readings, record your field notes, and participate in conversations with your classmates concerning your research findings and their relation to the course readings. There will be approximately 2-pages (500 words) of on-line writing due each week. Prompts for all of these assignments will be available on-line. In addition, you will be required to keep an online “field notebook” in which you will record your daily observations at your internship site. You will post your full collection of “field notes” in your Google site (created in BIS 300/499) at the midterm and end of the course. I will give you feedback on your work in the course at midterm after you post your field notes.

You will take the opportunity of working as an intern to conduct an Information Interview with someone from your internship site. Further instructions will be posted in Canvas for this assignment and this paper must be posted the Canvas Assignment Link on the posted due date. Additionally you will also be expected to make an appointment with Career Services at some time during the quarter in order to create a current résumé. More information will be posted regarding this assignment in the course space. Check the Course Schedule for the due date.

Portfolio and Poster Session (50%)

Worlds of Work is a portfolio-based course. I will be recording grades for your on-line work throughout the course and will be happy to let you know how you are doing at any point. But you will be assessed in the course as a whole based on the materials in your final portfolio. These materials will include your major on-line work, your complete field journal notes in your Google site, your poster and contribution to the public poster session, and a framing statement about those materials in which you discuss your learning in the course and locate your experience in BIS 495 in the context of your undergraduate education. This assignment is a brief (2 page) framing statement in which you make evidence-based claims about your learning in the course and how your experience fits into your undergraduate education, with specific reference to the documented work you have done in the course.

Framing Essay

This only new piece of writing you will complete for the portfolio. After rereading the materials you have produced in this course, I want you to reflect critically on your work. This does not mean that I want you to assign yourself a grade. Instead, I want you to discuss your own work with particular attention to those topics, issues, and assignments that you have found most challenging, difficult, and/or time-consuming, as well as the educational objectives outlined in the learning contract you negotiated with your site supervisor at the start of your internship and the course objectives listed on the syllabus (and below). This is also your opportunity to build (toward) your IAS capstone portfolio by highlighting the ways in which your experience in the course fits into your undergraduate education as a whole.

You will need to complete all of these assignments in a timely manner in order to pass the course.

Internship Site

Credit loads for BIS 495 vary with weekly hours logged at your internship site: 2 credits (4-6 hours); 3 credits (7-9 hours); 4 credits (10-12 hours); 5 credits (12-14 hours); 6 credits (15 hours or more).

Course Readings

Course readings are available via e-reserve.

Harry C. Boyte and Nancy K. Kari, “Meanings of Citizenship” and “Turning Our Jobs into Public Work,” Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996), 13-32 and 164-188.

Richard Florida, “The Creative Class” and “The Machine Shop and the Hair Salon,” The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books, 2002), 67-82 and 85-101.

George Ritzer, “McDonaldization and its Precursors” and “Dealing with McDonaldization,” The McDonaldization of Society (London: Pine Forge Press, 2000), 21-39 and 200-231.

Juliet B. Schor, “The Overworked American” and “Exiting the Squirrel Cage,” The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (New York: Basic Books, 1992), 1-15 and 139-165.

Course Canvas Site

All assignments noted in the syllabus have expanded instructions post in the Canvas Course Space. Your grades will be posted in Canvas. You will also receive course announcements in Canvas from time to time.

Google Site Contents

Your final Google Site posting must include the following documents:

  • Midterm Field Notes
  • Final Field Notes
  • Résumé
  • Informational Interview
  • Framing Statement

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism: Includes, but is not limited to, intentionally or unintentionally using another person’s original words, ideas, or research in any academic exercise without properly crediting that person.

Some examples of plagiarism:

  • Failing to cite all sources used
  • Using another author’s sentence or phrase structure without proper citation
  • Paraphrasing another author without crediting the author
  • Using another author’s ideas without proper citation (e.g. footnotes, endnotes, etc.)
  • Using another’s original work (writing, art, music, mathematics, computer code, or scientific work) in whole or in part without crediting that person
  • Stating facts that are not common knowledge without citing the source.

Frankly, I have no idea how you would plagiarize in this course. But if you figure out a way, don’t do it, either in written assignments (by copying or paraphrasing without quoting and/or citing your sources) or in oral presentations (by reading or paraphrasing from a source without citing). If you do, I will be required to fail you for the assignment and to write a letter to the Dean of Academic Affairs to be included in your file.

IAS Portfolio

Student majoring in any degree offered by IAS begin the process of creating a capstone portfolio in BIS 300: Interdisciplinary Inquiry and conclude it in BIS 499: Capstone Portfolio. IAS students should maintain an archive of all of the work they have done in (or in relation to) their undergraduate education, preferably through their UW Google Site. More information about the IAS portfolio. For help on the technical or rhetorical development of your IAS portfolio, contact the Writing Center or the Office of Digital Learning & Innovation.

Respect for Diversity

Diverse backgrounds, embodiments and experiences are essential to the critical thinking endeavor at the heart of university education. In IAS and at UW Bothell, students are expected to:

  • respect individual differences which may include, but are not limited to: age, cultural background, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender presentation, immigration status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status.
  • engage respectfully in discussion of diverse worldviews and ideologies embedded in course readings, presentations, and artifacts, including those course materials that are at odds with personal beliefs and values.

Students seeking support around these issues can find more information and resources through the Diversity Center.

Disability accommodations

Accommodation for disabled students is a campus priority. If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 425.352.5307, 425.352.5303 TDD, 425.352.5455 FAX, or at

Inclement Weather

Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. Information on suspension of operations will be made public and available through the media. Students can learn of campus operations status from the website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see the UW Bothell Emergency Page. Class activities will be rescheduled as needed.

Student Support Services

A Note on Field Notes and Field Journals

Internship sites are complex social environments. Their formal structures and informal norms vary greatly from place to place, even across a single industry or field. While it is possible to make some generalizations, the specifics of any given work world will be likely to betray those generalities. This is why I am asking you, as a researcher of work, to take daily field notes in your field journal. The notes and journal will provide you with the data that you will draw upon in this course as you discuss (and contest) the readings and their hypotheses about the future of work worlds as we move into the twenty-first century.

So what are field notes?

Your field notes will need to be in electronic form and posted in your Google site (created in BIS 300/499). In the context of this course, field notes refer to the observations you will record in your field journal during breaks at work, immediately after work, and/or later in the day – anytime, really, other that the time when you should be working. (Don’t get caught jotting down notes about work as you work.)

I have not set requirements for the length of your field notes, but I am assuming that you will record at least one page (typed and double spaced) after every workday or shift. This field journal should be constructed in an electronic form and compiled into one document which you will post in your Google site at midterm and again at the end of the course

The first page or two of your field journal should be your “time sheet.” Please use that space to record the times and dates of all the hours logged at your internship site.

Here are some tips on how to take effective field notes (adapted from the University of Chicago’s Field Studies Program):

  1. Date and record times at the top of each page of your journal. Number the pages. Use a new page when you begin a new set of notes;
  2. Focus on descriptive details since that is the first thing you will forget. As you observe your work setting, the people you encounter, and what they (and you) said, be attentive to details. How is your internship site laid out? Where do people sit, work, meet, socialize? What goes on over the course of the day? Be sure to include details about the people you encounter (age, race, gender, politics, etc.);
  3. Focus on your position as a participant and as an observer at your internship site. Describe your introduction to the site, including your attempts to figure out what is going on and the attempts of others to figure you out. Record how events and people are different from/similar to what you expected. Remember that a field journal is not the same as a diary or personal journal. You should record what others are doing and saying, not just what you do or say;
  4. Feel free to include preliminary analysis as well as description, but don’t let the former overwhelm the latter;
  5. Write about everyone and everything, even if it doesn’t seem significant at the time;
  6. Document conversations with verbatim quotes whenever possible. In some cases (such as targeted conversations about a specific topic, this may require that you jot down notes as you talk. But don’t take those notes in the journal itself);
  7. Don’t censor your notes. Try to record exactly what happens. Don’t let people at your worksite see your notes;
  8. Remember your ultimate goal: To create a record of your internship experience that you can share with others in the course and that you will use to test the claims made in the course readings.
  9. Develop your own style of taking field notes. Different approaches work for different people.

How will I assess your field journal?

You will post your Field Journal in your Google site twice during the quarter, once at the midterm and once in your final portfolio. At the midterm, I will give you informal feedback on how your journal is shaping up.

As you can tell from the tips above, I will be looking at both the midpoint and the end of the course for attention to detail and for your awareness of how you are moving through your internship experience. If you want to include theoretical observations, that’s fine. But this is really the place for you to collect the data that will ground your Canvas discussions and your contribution to the poster session at the end of the quarter.

A Note on the Poster/Exhibit Session

On Friday August 17 UW1 103 (9:30-11:00 AM) we will be holding a public poster/exhibit at a site yet to be determined. In this case “to the public”, refers to all of us, some portion of the IAS faculty, selected students signed up for BIS 495 next quarter, and anyone else who might be interested. For this event, you will need to produce a poster/exhibit that is designed to present and spur a discussion about how your internship experience and the course readings/discussions changed the ways in which you think about work – both the work that you have done in the past and the work you plan to do in the future.

At the session itself, you will not be asked to speak individually. Instead, the audience will circulate around the room and may stop to talk with you about the experiences and ideas that your poster presents. The materials that you use to create your poster (and to spur conversation about it) may be new or they may be drawn from your portfolio (excerpts from your field journal, from your e-responses, from the course readings, etc.). Because I imagine that many of you are new to the idea of a poster/exhibit session and others are interested in honing this useful skill, I highly recommend that you meet with a tutor in the Writing Center at least 2 weeks prior to the exhibit in order to strategize about your poster. (See Canvas for more details.) Although this is not required, it is highly recommended. Another resource available to you is the career center. You are furthermore highly encouraged to practice your oral communication by setting up a mock interview with the Career Center.

BIS 495: Worlds of Work Schedule

Week 1

Friday June 22 (9:15-11:15 AM): UW1 060

Syllabus, Introductions, and Questions

  • Begin taking Field Notes on each day you work at your internship site
  • Last day to turn in your signed learning contract. Note that the learning contract must be negotiated with and signed by your site supervisor, Jill, and Loren.

Work Sites

Week 2

Reading Assignment: George Ritzer, from The McDonaldization of American Culture

Wednesday June 27

  • First E-response due (“My Internship”)

Week 3

Wednesday July 4

  • First e-conversation about Ritzer due. (Like all future e-conversations, this one should test the reading’s arguments about work against your internship experience)

Sunday July 8

  • Follow-up on Ritzer due. (Like all future follow-ups, this one should comment on your collective discussion of the reading’s arguments and their relevance across your various internship sites)

Work Styles

Week 4

Reading Assignment: Richard Florida, from The Rise of the Creative Class

Wednesday July 11

  • E-response due on Florida

Sunday July 15

  • E-conversation on Florida due
  • Reminder** Be sure to make an appointment with Career Services for assistance in completing a current Résumé!!

Week 5

Wednesday July 18

  • Post your field Journal Notes in your Google site.

Friday July 20

Meet in UW1 060 (9:15-11:00 AM) to discuss the first half of the course

Sunday July 22

  • Follow-up on Florida

Too Much Work

Week 6

Reading Assignment: Juliet B. Schor, from The Overworked American

Wednesday July 25

  • First e-conversation about Schor due

Sunday July 29

  • Follow-up on Schor due

Week 7

Wednesday August 1

Reading Assignment: Harry Boyte and Nancy Kari, from Building America

Due: Résumé posted in Canvas Assignment Link & Google Site

Sunday August 5

  • E-response due on Boyte & Kari

Work Ethics

Week 8

Wednesday August 8

  • First e-conversation about Boyte/Kari due
  • Framing Statement due in Canvas Assignment Link & Google Site

Sunday August 12

  • Follow-up on Boyte/Kari due

Week 9

Wednesday August 15

  • Informational Interview Posted in Canvas Discussion Board & Google Site

Friday August 17: Poster Session: Location UW1 103 (9:15-11:00 AM)

Sunday August 19

  • Final Field Notes posted in your Google site by 5:00 PM

Final Portfolio documents posted in your Google site by 5:00 PM