Cameron Devine

First-Year Seminar COR100

Course Description

A seminar that introduces students to the foundational values and practices of Catholic Benedictine education, and helps them navigate the culture of academic life by establishing a foundation of academic expectations, skills, and practices required for success at the university.

Class Topic

Algorithms affect almost every part of our lives, but what are they, how do they work, and is this a good idea? Are algorithms perfect? Do they always work the way we expect? What happens if they are wrong?

These are some of the questions we will work to understand this semester. Overall, we will be working towards determining if algorithms are good for society.

General Information

Cameron Devine Ph.D.
[email protected]
Classroom Location
Old Main 415
TTh 3:00 - 4:50 pm
Lecture Notes



The following schedule is tentative. Entries in italics denote a talk or tour by another individual.

day topic reading assignment
8/29 Introduction    
8/31 Algorithms CT: Skywoman Falling
AU: Chp. 1
9/5 Artificial Intelligence CT: The Council of Pecans
CG: Chp. 1
9/7 AI Transparency CT: The Gift of Strawberries
CG: Chp. 2
Ass. 1
9/12 Campus Nature Tour CT: An Offering
CT: Asters and Goldenrod
Ass. 2
9/14 AI Bias CT: Learning the Grammar of Animacy
CG: Chp. 3
Ass. 3
9/19 AI Responsibility and Liability CT: Maple Sugar Moon
CG: Chp. 4
9/21 The Center for Career and Calling CT: Witch Hazel Ass. 4
9/26 OIPD CT: A Mother’s Work
CT: The Consolation of Water Lilies
9/28 AI Control CT: Allegiance to Gratitude
CG: Chp. 5
Ass. 5
10/3 AI Privacy CT: Epiphany in the Beans
CT: The Three Sisters
CG: Chp. 6
10/5 Benedictine Monasticism   Ass. 6
10/10 AI and Autonomy CT: Wisgaak Gakpenagen: A Black Ash Basket
CG: Chp. 7
Ass. 7
10/12 AI and Autonomy CT: Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass
CT: Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide
Ass. 8
10/17 AI and Autonomy CT: The Honorable Harvest  
10/19 AI in Government CT: In the Footsteps of Nanabozho: Becoming Indigenous to Place
CG: Chp. 8
Ass. 9
10/24 Fall Break    
10/26 Abbey Church Tour   Ass. 10
10/31 Stellic Training    
11/2   CT: The Sound of Silverbells
CT: Sitting in a Circle
Ass. 11
11/7 AI in Employment and AI Oversight and Regulation CG: Chp. 9
CG: Chp. 10
11/9 Midterm Presentations CT: Burning Cascade Head
CT: Putting Down Roots
Ass. 12
11/14   CT: Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the World  
11/16   CT: Old-Growth Children
CT: Witness to the Rain
Ass. 13
11/21   CT: Windigo Footprints  
11/23 Thanksgiving Break   Ass. 14
11/28   CT: The Sacred and the Superfund  
11/30   CT: People of Corn, People of Light
CT: Collateral Damage
Ass. 15
12/5   CT: Shkitagen: People of the Seventh Fire  
12/7   CT: Defeating Windigo Ass. 16


Assignment 1

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course. Refer the the requirements below.
  • Or, write your forum post on what year learned at the involvement fair. Refer to the same requirements below.

Assignment 2

Attend the Sex Signals event in the Norman Worthington Conference Center at 7:00 pm on September 11th.

Assignment 3

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 1

Assignment 4

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
    • If your last two forum posts were both related to topics from Braiding Sweetgrass, write your forum post on an AI topic.
    • If your last two forum posts were both related to AI, write your forum post on a topic from Braiding Sweetgrass.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 3.

Assignment 5

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 4.
    • One response must be to a forum post written by someone you have not responded to before.

Assignment 6

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 5.
  • Fill out the weekly attendance form.

Assignment 7

  • Attend the Project Story event in the Norman Worthington Conference Center at 6:30 pm on October 10th.
  • If you were unable to attend the event, complete this assignment and submit it on Moodle.

Assignment 8

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 6.
  • Fill out the weekly attendance form.

Assignment 9

Assignement 10

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 8.
  • Fill out the weekly attendance form.

Assignement 11

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Respond to two forum posts from assignment 10.
  • Submit your planned topic for your presentation here.
  • Fill out the weekly attendance form.

Midterm Presentation

Put together slides and present to the class. Your presentation should include the following:

  • A description of an algorithm or AI system used in your field of study.
  • An overview of two academic or news sources where,
    • one source is in favor of the algorithm or AI system and
    • one source is not in favor of the algorithm or AI system.
  • Your opinion if or how the algorithm or AI system should be used including,
    • any potential issues you believe the algorithm or AI system could cause and
    • any potential benefits you think the algorithm or AI system may provide.

Assignement 12

Assignement 13

Assignement 14

Assignement 15

  • Write a forum post related to the current topics of discussion in the course.
  • Fill out the weekly attendance form.

Assignement 16

Final Paper

For your final paper, write at least 1500 words on one of the following topics:

  • November 17th was the first day in history the global average temperature reached $2\ ^\circ \text{C}$ above pre-industrial levels. Experts agree that a sustained $2\ ^\circ\text{C}$ would lead to multiple serious hazards to the planet. These hazards could include a $0.46\ \text{m}$ sea level rise and a $7\%$ reduction in crop yield. Based on your understanding of indigenous wisdom gained from Braiding Sweetgrass, what should be done to address climate change?
  • Generative AI models have been the target of multiple lawsuits on grounds of copyright infringement. This leads to an ethical question: “Should companies be allowed to use the works of various authors and artists to train a generative AI model?” Attempt to answer this question utilizing ideas from Braiding Sweetgrass about gifting, generosity, and gratitude.
  • Or, another topic you suggest.

Assignment Policies

Unless otherwise specified, all assignments are due at midnight on Sunday night. Due dates will also be available on moodle.

Forum Posts

Forum posts should be approximately 200 words long and well written. Responses should be at least a full paragraph and add to the discussion.

Community Service

As part of this course you are required to complete at least 8 hours of community service. If you are unsure if something counts as community service, contact the instructor. As you complete community service, log it here.

Attendance Policy

You are expected to attend all class sessions. During class you should contribute to discussions and actively listen to others speaking. If you are not able to attend a class session, you should contact the instructor. At the end of each week you are required to fill out the weekly attendance form where you will grade your own attendance for the week. This form must be completed within 10 days of the last class meeting of the applicable week. The instructor may modify this grade and provide you with a reason for the modification.

Grading Policies

Total grades in the course may be curved, but individual assignments will not be. They will be available on moodle throughout the semester.

Class Attendance
Forum Posts
Required Events
Community Service
Midterm Presentation
Final Paper

Grade Scale

The following grade scale is for informational purposes only. Grades may be curved rendering this scale inaccurate. All percent grades will be rounded to the nearest integer percentage before the table below is used.

Percent Grade Letter Grade
97 - 100% A+
93 - 96% A
90 - 92% A-
87 - 89% B+
83 - 86% B
80 - 82% B-
77 - 79% C+
73 - 76% C
70 - 72% C-
67 - 69% D+
65 - 66% D
Below 65% F

AI Large Language Model Policies

As assignments in this course are used to measure your knowledge of the course material, it is important that all work is your own. Therefore, using text generated by large language models such as Chat GPT and others in the work you turn in is not allowed. To ensure these policies are followed, tools for checking if content is AI generated may be used.

Academic Honesty/Professionalism

What is Academic Integrity?

Saint Martin’s University is a community of faculty, students and staff engaged in the exchange of ideas in the ongoing pursuit of academic excellence. Essential to our mission is a focused commitment to scholarly values and intellectual integrity, and a respect for the ideas, beliefs and work of others. This commitment extends to all aspects of academic performance. All members are expected to abide by ethical standards both in their conduct and their exercise of responsibility to themselves and toward other members of the community. As an expression of our shared belief in the Benedictine tradition, we support the intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual nurturing of students.

What is Academic Dishonesty?

Saint Martin’s University defines academic dishonesty as violating the academic integrity of an assignment, test and/or evaluation of any coursework. This dishonest practice occurs when you seek to gain for yourself or another an academic advantage by deception or other dishonest means. You have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore, it is your responsibility to be familiar with the policies surrounding academic dishonesty as these may differ from other institutions.

The Acceptable Use of AI in Coursework

Any use of technology that misleads a reviewer in assessing the student’s mastery of a specific set of skills or knowledge is a type of intellectual dishonesty, that is, a type of cheating. Students who are unsure about the appropriateness of using an artificial intelligence tool (or “AI”) should check with the instructor before using it. This includes the use of tools that generate text, images, video, code, and other works. If you are permitted by your instructor to use one or more AI tools in producing your work, you should disclose the use of that tool. You should say which tool you used and how you used it. Then if you use specific AI generated content (text, images, videos, audio, code, and so on) you should cite it in the style (APA, MLA, and so on) specified by your instructor.

University-Sanctioned Activities

If you are absent from class due to university-sanctioned activities, such as sports, it is your responsibility to request that the absence be excused; otherwise, the absence will be recorded as unexcused. Absent students are responsible for catching up with the class, and if any assignments are due on the day of the absence, it is your responsibility to turn in the assignments on time.

Counseling and Wellness Center

There may be times, as a college student, when personal stressors interfere with your academic performance and your daily life. The Counseling and Wellness Center supports students by addressing mental and emotional well-being with FREE and confidential services. To schedule an appointment, call 360-412-6123 or email [email protected] or stop by the CWC (1 st floor St. Raphael Center).

If you would rather not go to the CWC or need support in the evenings and weekends, please consider using the TimelyCare app ( to speak with a mental health provider, free, 24/7, from your phone or computer.

Center for Student Success

The Center for Student Success is an integrated learning assistance program that offers services for students at all levels of achievement in pursuit of intellectual growth and academic excellence. The Center offers peer tutoring, study support, first year/early major advising, and writing support. Please investigate ways in which to support your learning. The CSS is located in the lower level of O’Grady Library. You can sign up for tutoring appointments on the webpage:

Religious Accommodation Statement

Saint Martin’s University, in honor of the sacredness of the individual, and being deeply rooted in the Catholic Benedictine tradition of higher education, values the many religious and spiritual practices of our campus community. Saint Martin’s University supports our students in their ongoing journey of becoming. In compliance with Washington State Law RCW 28B.137.010, Saint Martin’s University reasonably accommodates students for reasons of religious observances.

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Support Services (DSS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course. If you have not yet established services through DSS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but are not limited to mental health, attention- related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DSS at 360-438-4580 or [email protected] or [email protected]. DSS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DSS.  It is the policy and practice of the Saint Martin’s University to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harrassment Reporting

Saint Martin’s University is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. There are Title IX/sexual harassment posters around campus that include the contact information for confidential reporting and formal reporting. Confidential reporting is where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to the formal reporting process through the Dean of Students – Ms. Melanie Richardson, Associate VP of Human Resources – Ms. Cynthia Johnson, Public Safety – Ms. Sharon Schnebly, or the Office of the Provost – Dr. Tanya Smith-Brice, unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that, in compliance with Title IX and under the Saint Martin’s University policies, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, on papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it.