Course Guidelines and Expectations

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Course Syllabus

Fall 2018

Mrs. Jennifer Webb Office Hours: morning and by appt. (A115, A102)

“The greatest obstacle to progress is not the absence of knowledge but the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel Boorstin

How do you know what you think you know?

How can you prove you know something? Or that something you know is true?

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is designed to help you answer these questions.  

What is TOK?

In general, TOK is a course in the study of knowledge, logic, and critical thinking.  It is designed to help you discover how you know what you know and prove that what you know is truly knowledge.  The first semester of TOK focuses on knowers (you) and knowing.  We will discuss knowledge issues and analyze the ways of knowing: reason, perception, language, and emotion, memory, imagination, faith, and intuition. Course activities will include readings, small group and class discussions, journal entries and essays, and presentations.  All activities are designed to help you learn the IB required TOK material and help you apply what you learn in TOK to your other classes and to “real life.” Because this is a participatory class, student attendance is essential.

Required texts:

Inherit the Stars—James P. Hogan


Attendance and Participation:

The bulk of this course is student-centered.  Because of this, it is essential that you be in class and be on time. Attendance and participation is part of your grade.  In addition to points given for seminars, presentations, and graded discussions, other class activities will be awarded participation points.  If you miss a class—regardless of the nature of your absence—it  is your responsibility to find out what you missed and how you can make it up to avoid losing points for that absence.  

Late Work:

Long-term assignments are due on the due date regardless of attendance! Late assignment will be worth 1/2 credit.


Grades are cumulative over the course of the semester.  Assignments will have varying point values based on the nature of the assignment and its complexity. The paper and presentation are important, but we are more concerned about your ongoing application of the learned material. Your practice TOK paper will be 25% of your grade, the practice presentation will be 15% of your grade, and all other coursework (journals, discussions, activities, short papers and assignments) will comprise 60% of your grade.

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

F 0-59

Please note:  This is college level course.  I will not “round up” your grade.

Academic Honesty:

Plagiarism is an especially serious violation for writers.  It applies to any material written by someone else, including materials published on web sites via the internet.  Do NOT be tempted to claim other people’s work as your own.  Learn to properly cite borrowed information and ideas.  Please let me know if you need help with this.

Classroom Rules:

  • No food will be allowed in class.  Students may, however, have water in class.

  • Gum is fine as long as we do not see it or hear it.  Please do not chew gum if you are giving a presentation—nobody wants to see the masticated mess in your mouth while you are speaking.  

  • No headphones or ear buds—ever.  

  • Cell phones should not be out during class (unless they are being used for a class activity), nor should they be heard during class.  I have excellent hearing.

  • Come prepared for class daily.  Students who must return to their lockers to retrieve forgotten materials will be marked tardy.  This will result in a loss of participation points.  

  • Be respectful of your peers, yourself, your instructor, and your school.

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