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: We’ll figure out some way to watch the movie Behind the Curve.
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: Class photo
Assignments: Time capsule items due on Monday (Preparation questions)

September 2-6 —

Science and pseudoscience
Reading: Novella chapters 21-23; readings in weekly entry.
Special events: September 4 is the last day to add a course.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

September 9-13 —

Conspiracy theories!
Reading: Novella chapter 25; readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: (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: (Preparation questions)

October 14-18 —

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

October 21-25 —

Dangerous denials
Reading: Novella chapters 52-55; readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

October 28 – November 1 —

A week to catch up and review
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 4-8 —

A deep dive into contemporary conspiracies, Part I
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Advising begins this week.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 11-15 —

A deep dive into contemporary conspiracies, Part II
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Course registration begins this week.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 18-22 —

Student choices of topics (other than research topics)
Reading: Readings in weekly entry.
Special events: Preparation for presentations!
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 25 —

Student presentations
Reading: Readings provided by student presenters.
Special events: Research presentations begin!
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

December 2-6 —

Student presentations
Reading: Readings provided by student presenters.
Special events: Research presentations.
Assignments: Research Paper due at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. (Preparation questions)

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