Presentation Information

      The purpose of this assignment is to give you the opportunity and experience of preparing reasoned and supported arguments both for and against particular viewpoints.

      There are multiple paths to accomplishing this assignment (see table below). Possibly the easiest point-scoring approach is to identify a topic, learn it, then present it. In other words, for this approach, you (and possibly another if you teamed up with someone) would present a 10-20 minute (max) paranormal or pseudo-scientific topic to the class. You would research arguments that favor the belief (i.e., that are based on real phenomena) and you would prepare counterpoints (i.e., arguments and evidence that the belief is NOT real or that the phenomenon has mundane explanations). Note, however, that this approach by itself will only earn you up to a maximum of 70 percent of the total points available for this assignment and is not the most recommended method.

      Another method to earn some points toward this graded component is to be an active participant in the presentations of others' presentations (i.e., relevant and thought provoking questions asked of presenters, appropriately answering questions posed by the presenters, etc.).

      The table below provides some possible ideas to consider for your class project/presentation. ALL students must have their project topic/approach approved by the course instructor no later than the fourth week of the semester.

Approaches to consider: The percentage range of each approach is presented in brackets.

  • [0-25] Active participation in, and contributions to, presentation discussions.
  • [0-70] Review of current literature and research about a topic which is summarized and presented "lecture-style" to class.
  • [0-70] Develop a class "wiki" containing at least 18 (6 each of) skeptical, pseudo-scientific, and paranormal ideas/terms (plagiarism will not be tolerated).
  • [0-75] Visit/test a psychic ($$$); Detailed summary presentation to class.
  • [0-90] Campus Hoax well documented in construction as well as effects on students (etc.) and eventual reveal; Detailed summary presentation to class.
  • [0-90] Create a campus "Skeptics" club that will be active and perpetual (operate even when you are gone).
  • [0-90] Develop and execute a variety of campus awareness activities/events to highlight critical thinking along some of the paranormal or pseudo-scientific lines we cover in class.
  • [0-90] Research project (actual experiment) and report. This option comes with possible BONUSES: (a) Automatic bump to 100 percent for project and (b) SET credit if presented at this year's WPUPC which will be hosted at a local university on a Saturday in April.
  • [0-90] Documentary film and report.
  • [0-90] Tutorial videos (suitable for youtube) that entertain and educate about course relevant topics.
  • [0-35] Host a guest speaker (0-35 points per speaker).
  • [0-??] Any other reasonable suggestions accepted!

NOTE: The PowerPoint file(s) used for your presentations must be provided to me at least four (4) days BEFORE the class in which they will be used. Minus 2.5 percent per day that it is late (maximum loss of ten percent). I'd like to have a chance to give you last-minute advice or information to facilitate your presentation.

DO NOT...

  • ...use tiny font (try to keep it at 30 or larger).
  • ...simply read excerpts of text plagiarized from the web.
  • ...argue from personal opinion or anecdotes.