Syllabus

Below is our course syllabus (a “living syllabus” to which material is added every week) and significant event dates. For each week’s topics I post on our home page links, images, assignments, and other items to provide additional information (and alternative views). Please see the course notes page for details on course administration and requirements. If you have ideas you would like to see in our course blog, please post a comment. For questions intended just for me, send me e-mail or talk to me in or after class.

Please note that our topics will inevitably change as the semester proceeds. New conspiracies will suddenly appear (Jeffrey Epstein suicide plots, for a recent example) and there will be new pseudoscientific fads as yet unknown to us. Plus, you may develop interests we’ll want to pursue as a class. We’ll thus stay flexible.

Schedule of Discussions

Scovel Hall Room 100 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.

August 21-23 —

How to think about the weird, strange and wonderful
Reading: Novella introduction plus chapters 1-4; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Class photo.
Assignments: Time capsule, including Letter to Your Future 2023 (Preparation questions)

August 26-30 —

Know your logical fallacies!
Reading: Novella chapters 10-16; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: QAnon YouTube video on Wednesday.
Assignments: Time capsule items due on Monday; Short Paper #1 assigned – based on this video (Preparation questions)

September 2-6 —

Science and pseudoscience
Reading: Novella chapters 21-23; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: We’ll figure out a way to watch  Behind the Curve. September 4 is the last day to add a course.
Assignments: Short Paper #1 due in email by 7:30 am, Monday (Preparation questions)

September 9-13 —

Conspiracy theories!
Reading: Novella chapter 25; readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: Here is the Research Topic form due on September 11. Here is the Short Paper #2 assignment due on September 13. (Preparation questions)

September 16-20 —

Psychics and ESP
Reading: Novella chapters 31 & 38; readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

September 23-27 —

Time management and research guidelines
Reading: Visitors; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Learning Center Assistant Director Kaylynne Mahone presentation on Monday; no class on Wednesday; Professor Wilson is at a geological meeting in Arizona. On Friday our librarian Zach Sharrow will lead the session, meeting in the computer lab of Timken Science Library.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

September 30 – October 4 —

Anti-evolution and Intelligent Design
Reading: Novella chapter 35; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: October 2 is the last day to drop a course or declare S/NC.
Assignments: Annotated Bibliography due by 8:00 am on Wednesday as an email attachment; (Preparation questions)

October 14-18 —

Fake news!
Reading: Novella chapters 46-49; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Malik is leading at least one period this week; Saturday, October 19, is FYS Open House (9-10 am).
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

October 21-25 —

Dangerous denials
Reading: Novella chapters 23, 52-55; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Here’s a useful Wooster video to give us a start on using the advising system online. Friday will be an advising session.
Assignments: Here is FYS short paper 3 Conspiracies. It is due Wednesday, October 23, at 8:00 am via email. (Preparation questions)

October 28 – November 1 —

Holocaust Denial (continued) and GMO controversies
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 4-8 —

Advising and Research Projects
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Advising this week. Linked is our Advising Week schedule.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 11-15 —

Pseudoscience and health
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Malik’s PowerPoint demonstration on Friday; Course registration this week!
Assignments: FYS short paper 4 Outline is due on Monday by 8:00 am (Preparation questions)

November 18-22 —

Student choices of topics: Area 51 and the JFK assassination
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Research presentations begin Friday. (Student Presentation Schedule)
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 25 —

Student presentations
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Research presentations continue! (Student Presentation Schedule)
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

December 2-6 —

Student presentations
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Research presentations. (Student Presentation Schedule)
Assignments: Research Paper due by 8:00 a.m. on Friday. (Preparation questions)

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