Exploration Seminar: Puzzled

IDST 200: Exploration Seminar in Problem Solving & Codebreaking
syllabus | schedule of events

From crossword puzzles to codebreaking, from gameboards to the boardroom, we face problem-solving opportunities on a daily basis. What strategies do we use to solve the puzzles in our lives? Participants in this seminar will investigate problem solving, codebreaking, cryptography, and puzzling through weekly experiential puzzles. Be prepared to attempt a variety of individual and group puzzles to consider using a wide range of problem solving techniques. Disclaimer: this course may involve elements of fun.

Seminar Objectives
At the conclusion of this seminar, students should be able to:

  1. Understand and evaluate when to apply various problem solving strategies.
  2. Evaluate the ethical implications of codes and codebreaking.
  3. Apply several strategies of problem solving to a variety of situations.

Readings & Materials

Singh, S. (2000). The Code Book. Anchor.

Readings for this seminar will be available online or on our Moodle site. In addition, students may purchase other materials during the semester including supplies for projects as designed by the student in accordance with the project requirements.

As a member of this course, each student is expected to:

  1. Participate fully in class by being present and contributing to ongoing classroom discussions in a meaningful way.
  2. Bring a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.
  3. Demonstrate respect for others and their views.
  4. Complete all puzzles.
  5. Engage with class members on joint projects as assigned.

Grading Policy
Grades in this course will be based on the standard grading scale:
A 100.0-94.0  |  A- 93.9-90.0  |  B+ 89.9-87.0  |  B   86.9-84.0  |  B-  83.9-80.0
C+ 79.9-77.0  |  C  76.9-74.0  |  C- 73.9-70.0  |  D+ 69.9-67.0  |  D  66.9-60.0  |  F   59.9-0

Points will be allocated as follows:
Puzzles (in-class attempts):  (60%)
Reflection & Analysis: (40%)

Information on puzzles will be given during our seminar meeting time. Reflection and analysis will occur as discussions on MyCourses (one per week). Please ask me if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for any of the assignments that we will complete.

Attendance is expected in this seminar. If you will be missing the seminar for any reason, let me know as soon as possible. If you miss, you are responsible for contacting a classmate to find out what work was missed.  Excessive absences will result in failure of the course. In-class puzzles cannot be made up at a later date.

Always make arrangements with me as soon as you know about an upcoming absence. Arrangements for making up missed work must be made in advance. Assignments submitted late will not be accepted unless arrangements are made in advance.

Queens University of Charlotte Policies

Disability Accommodations: If you are a student with a verified disability and you require accommodations, please provide me with the necessary memorandum that was given to you by Student Disability Services. Contact: The Coordinator of Disability Services:  704-337-2508.

Honor Code: The Honor Code, which permeates all phases of university life, is based on three fundamental principles. It assumes that Queens students: a) are truthful at all times, b) respect the property of others (this includes written, visual, and digital works, thus, plagiarism is a Honor Code violation), and c) are honest in tests, examinations, term papers, and all other academic assignments. It is a violation of the Honor Code for a student to be untruthful concerning the reason for a class absence. If you believe that you have witnessed a violation of the Queens Honor Code, I encourage you to speak with me confidentially. All members of the Queens community adhere to the Honor Code, these expectations are outlined in the Honor Code Booklet, which can be found on the university’s website: http://portal.queens.edu.

Queens University of Charlotte Honor Code

As a member of the Queens University of Charlotte community, I will endeavor to create a spirit of integrity and honor for its own sake at Queens University of Charlotte.

Academic Pledge: I pledge truthfulness and absolute honesty in the performance of all academic work.

Community Pledge: I pledge to be truthful at all times, to treat others with respect, to respect the property of others,and to adhere to University policies.

Accepting both the privileges and responsibilities of living by this code of honor, I resolve to uphold this code and not to tolerate any violations of its spirit or principles.

E-mail: Students’ Queens University of Charlotte e-mail (Qmail) is an official form of communication for this course, and will be used to disseminate materials and provide updates in group and individual form. Please check your email regularly.

University Closings / Cancelled Classes: In the rare occasion when it is necessary to close the university announcements will be made on TV and radio, and will be posted on the Queens web site, http://www.queens.edu. The best way for the Queens community to receive fast and accurate information about closings is to sign up for QALERT at www.queens.edu/alert. Remember, you must register as a new user each academic year, even if you’ve signed up in the past. NOTE: If classes are meeting but you feel that you cannot find a safe way to get to class, you should notify me as soon as possible.

Intellectual Property Policy: Queens University of Charlotte faculty and students adhere to the Queens’ Intellectual Property Policy and U.S. Copyright Law. See Faculty Handbook, http://moodle.queens.edu, and the Queens University of Charlotte website at http://www.queens.edu.

A Notation This content may be modified on a regular basis to facilitate effectiveness in the seminar experience. Seminar participants are advised to check this page often for revisions. Last update: August 2013