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 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 discussion blog, please post a comment. For questions intended just for me, send me e-mail or talk to me in or after class.

Schedule of Discussions

Scovel Hall Room 116 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.

August 26-28 —

How to think about the weird, strange and wonderful
Reading: Schick & Vaughn, chapters 1-3.
Special events: FYS Service Project on Saturday morning.
Assignments: Research Paper Topics form 2015 due on Friday in class; (Preparation questions)

August 31 – September 4 —

What counts as good evidence for a conclusion?
Reading: Schick & Vaughn, chapters 4 & 5.
Special events: We meet in the Timken Science Computer Lab on Wednesday, September 2, at 7:55 a.m. to talk with Zach Sharrow about the latest research tools and ideas.
Assignments: “Letter to Your Future” due Monday morning in class; (Preparation questions)

September 7-11 —

It may look like science …
Reading: Schick & Vaughn, chapter 6.
Special events:
Assignments: Pareidolia paper assignment; (Preparation questions)

September 14-18 —

A dip into the pool of irrationality
Reading: Schick & Vaughn, chapter 7.
Special events:
Assignments: FYS thesis statement and references due Monday in class; Pareidolia paper assignment due Friday in class; (Preparation questions)

September 21 & 25 —

Facing reality. It is what it is. Or is it?
Reading: Schick & Vaughn, chapter 8.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

September 28 – October 2 —

Conspiracies! An introduction
Reading: Barkun, chapter 1.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

October 5-9 —

Millenialism and stigmatized knowledge
Reading: Barkun, chapter 2.
Special events: On Friday each student presents his or her conspiracy paper thesis.
Assignments: Conspiracy Paper due on Friday, 8:00 a.m.; (Preparation questions)

October 19-23 —

The Illuminati are watching and waiting
Reading: Barkun, chapters 3 & 4.
Special events:
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

October 26-30 —

I, for one, welcome our new lizard overlords
Reading: Barkun, chapters 5 & 6.
Special events:
Assignments: Annotated Bibliography Assignment for research paper due at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. (Preparation questions)

November 6 —

The evil that lies beneath
Reading: Barkun, chapter 7.
Special events: No classes on Monday and Wednesday. I am at a meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore.
Assignments: (Preparation questions)

November 9-13 —

9/11 troofers
Reading: Web resources (see home page discussion and links for this week)
Special events: Barkun, chapters 10 & 11.
Assignments: Short Paper #4 due at 8 am Friday as Word attachment to email. Here is the Peer Review assignment. (Preparation questions)

November 16-20 —

The most recent conspiratorial nastiness and its consequences
Reading: Web resources (see home page discussion and links for this week)
Assignments: Short Paper #4 (revised) due at 8 am Friday as Word attachment to email. Here is the Peer Review assignment. Here is the Link Assignment. (Preparation questions)

November 23 —

Apocalypse Now!
Reading: Barkun, chapters 14 & 15.
Special events: Preparation for presentations!
Assignments: Here is your Link Assignment for Monday; (Preparation questions)

November 30 – December 4 —

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

December 7-11 —

Student Presentations and Final Summary Session
Reading: Readings provided by student presenters.
Special events:
Assignments: Research Paper due at 8:00 a.m. on Friday. Here is the Research Paper Assessment sheet. For an idea of the scope of the research paper in this course, check out this Sample FYS Research Paper (pdf). See for a summary the Presentation and Paper assignment. (Preparation questions)

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