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A few more notes about the final paper April 29, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.
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I’ve had a few queries since Friday about the format of the final paper, so just in case you missed it or I was unclear, here are the general requirements:

  • 8-12 pages
  • 1.5 spaced (not double-spaced)
  • 11 or 12-point font
  • No title page is needed (but do include a title, your name, and your email).
  • Proper citations for references (using APA format or another widely-used citation format)
  • Papers are due by 2:50 pm on Tuesday. If you email me your paper, please send a PDF or Word document with the name “lastname-firstname-final-paper”.

Other things that I encourage:

  • Try to keep your paper argument-centered: have a clear claim (not a general statement of fact or an open question) to kick off your paper, and construct your argument point by point.
  • Give time to opposing views (especially if you find yourself parroting the line of one or more of your sources).
  • Avoid using encyclopedias (including wikipedia) as sources, although a little of this is okay.
  • Be wary of websites as sources — many are great, but some are awful. Use your best judgment.

Good luck on your papers!

Due date for the final paper April 26, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.
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The final paper is due on Tuesday, May 1 at 2:50 pm. You may email me the paper (as you did previously for the outlines and minidrafts) or you may place a hardcopy in my inbox at TSRB.

I hope that you’ve found the process of working through the paper outlines and drafts to be productive. After digging through all the intermediate material, I’m looking forward to seeing the final results on Tuesday.

Minidraft grades are up April 25, 2007

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All the minidrafts should now be graded, so if you don’t have a grade on WebCT and turned in a draft, please let me know.

Calling all cyborgs April 23, 2007

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In my earlier email, I neglected to mention the people who were working on the cyborg paper. Please come to class on Wednesday.

Extra credit assigment (12 pts) April 23, 2007

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Several people (including those who may have missed a quiz) wanted to know about the extra credit assignment. Here it is. It is based on the embodied cognition article that we were going to read this week, and so you may want to come to Wedesday office hours if you need some help:

1. Describe and discuss six different affordances that you use on an everyday basis.

2. Describe 2 false affordances that you’ve encountered.

UPDATE: This assignment is due by Friday at 5 pm. Please send via email using a format similar to that for the previous assignments.

UPDATE #2: The regular link for the embodied cognition article seems to be down. Try this link instead. You might also want to look at the lecture on Gibson and affordances.

Notes on the final paper April 18, 2007

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I’m still working through the mini-drafts, which are pretty good. I’ll probably continue working on them through Friday.

Some of you may wonder about the general scoring scheme for the paper. The grades are: 15 points for the proposal, 20 for the outline, and 35 for the mini-draft. Then there wil be 130 points for the final paper. This total of 200 points will then turn into 30% of your final grade.

In general, about half of the final grade will be for readability and clarity of argument, and the other half will be for content (how well you demonstrate understanding of the material).

Additional notes on Exam 2 April 18, 2007

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As I noted in class, Exam 2 will look a lot like Exam 1 — 60% multiple choice (or similar) and 40% medium-answer. The exam will cover chapters 5-12, plus the lectures and additional readings (which is Brooks, essentially). Because this is a pretty large range of topics, I won’t be including Biederman or perception on the exam (although I will include imagery).

The study sheets and lecture slides for Exam 2 are now available. Good luck!

Working through the outlines April 11, 2007

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Many of you have already received my comments and grade for your outline (I’ve gotten about 35 done). The rest should be sent out sometime between today and Friday.

For the mini-drafts that are due on Monday, just try to write out 2-3 pages of what you think the eventual essay will be. You don’t have to cover the whole essay, of course, and solid paragraphs and sentences are better than an outline style. Of course, if there is a section that you’ll add later that you want to note, you can always include it in brackets, as in “[Here’s where I’m going to show that ants are altruistic.]”

We’ll also use email-based submission of the mini-drafts,  like for the outlines. So, when you have a mini-draft just email it to me as an attachment using the same name format: “lastname-firstname-draft”.

Good luck on getting your essays started.  I hope you’re finding this process useful.

Helpful articles for the final paper April 6, 2007

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Based on what I see in the proposals, a lot of people are struggling with the material for the final papers. This isn’t entirely unexpected — most of you are just getting into the topics. All the same, I wanted to offer a few pointers to useful articles to get you started. I’ve posted these articles on a public Google notebook page.

This page is a draft — expect it to expand over the next week or so.

If you find other useful articles and want to share them (and there’s no reason not to — the paper is not a zero-sum game), please email them to me or post them as comments here.

Potential paper topics April 2, 2007

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Here’s the list from Friday’s lecture:

  • Do birds have grammar?
    • What types of grammar exist?
    • How can we test if something has a grammar if we don’t know what the words mean?
  • Is prosopagnosia more common than we thought?
    • What is prosopagnosia?
    • What levels of prosopagnosia exist?
    • How do we test for prosopagnosia?
    • If prosopagnosia is so common, why was it undetected?
    • What has changed now that it has been detected?
  • Do humans and agents in The Matrix have different inner lives?
    • What are the assumed characteristics of The Matrix?
    • What are the limitations of understanding whether something is conscious?
    • What about the nature of qualia?
    • In the end, does it matter?
  • Is morality determined by evolutionary pressures?
    • Why might our notion of mortality be supported by evolution?
    • Why might evolution cause altruistic behavior?
    • How can we tell whether our morality is based on evolutionary pressures rather than simply on our common experiences in the real world?
  • Are we “Natural Born Cyborgs” (Clark)?
    • What does it mean for me to “outsource” part of my cognitive system onto devices or external representations?
    • How and when are we good at extending our cognition to other things?