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

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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.

Homework 4 is up! February 20, 2007

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Dennett on Wednesday January 29, 2007

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Just a reminder — we’ll be going over the Cartesian Theatre on Wednesday, so please read Dennett rather than Searle. Neil will be covering Searle on Friday.

Homework 2 is up (and WebCT news) January 24, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.

Homework 2 is now up on the homework page. Because of the complexity of the assignment, the due date is now February 7. Again, please try out the PERMAP software early to make sure it works on your system — if you have trouble installing it you don’t want to find out at the last minute.

Also, your current grades should be available on WebCT.

Accessing web-based readings for class January 10, 2007

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I’ve already addressed this in a comment, but I wanted to include it here just in case — all readings from outside the textbook (e.g., Boden) are directly linked from the Reading Schedule page.

Homework 1 (and a note on Monday’s in-class assignment) January 10, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.

I’ve posted homework 1 to the homework page. The assignment is due Wednesday, but to me, this is a perfect weekend task.

If you either didn’t turn in Monday’s in-class assignment or weren’t around for it, please do this assignment on your own:


Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary pursuit — this class has mostly Computer Science majors, but there are many other majors as well. Please send an email to Neil (amator AT cc) with the header ‘In-class assignment 1’ and answer the following questions:

  1. What is your major?
  2. What experiences made you interested in this class (other classes, books that you’ve read, or interests or hobbies)?
  3. What sorts of things are you hoping to learn about in this class?

You don’t need to make up this in-class assignment if your group turned in their summary on Monday.

The first reading January 8, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.

The first reading is an introductory chapter from Margaret Boden’s staggering 1500-page overview of Cognitive Science, The Mind as Machine, which was just published.

This chapter is a sometime-maddeningly broad and discursive overview of all sorts of questions that are raised in Cognitive Science, and you’ll be a bit dizzy by the time you get through it, but do it anyway. While your textbook does a good job of concisely defining the key metaphors and issues in Cognitive Science, Boden’s introduction conveys what it feels like to engage the Cognitive Science community. This chapter made me feel the same way that I feel after I’ve staggered through a huge poster session at the Cognitive Science Conference — disoriented, bursting with ideas, and slightly elated. Many of the questions she raises will be addressed in this course.

We’ll be following up on Boden in homework 1 (more details later). . .

A New Term January 7, 2007

Posted by Ron in 3790 Administrivia.

If this is the first time you’ve seen this web site, welcome! This is the CogSci 3790 blog, and the central location for the Introduction to Cognitive Science class at Georgia Tech.

This website was used for the last two sessions of 3790 (Fall and Summer of 2006), and so you’ll find a rich set of previous lectures, homework, and study sheets already available.

There will be some changes to the course this term, mostly to give the material a bit more depth. We’ll be reading a few more original papers from researchers in Cognitive Science, and so will rely a little less on the textbook than in previous terms. I’m also dropping the final in favor of a term paper, which I hope will give you an opportunity to deeply explore an area of Cognitive Science on your own.

So please take a look around. You can leave comments at the bottom of any of the posts or pages, and I and the TAs will do our best to provide timely answers. You can also subscribe to the blog as an RSS feed or arrange to have entries emailed to you.

Final grades posted December 18, 2006

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I’ve just posted the final grades for the course. For the two midterms and quiz totals I used a straight scale (90+=A, 80+=B, 60+=C, 50+=D). Because the homework total and the final both had lower than expected median values, I lowered the scale for both by 5 points (85+=A, 75+=B, 55+=C, 45+=D). This is a slightly higher scale than that posted for the homework earlier, but produced a better balance of grades than my earlier estimate. This produces a scale for the final grades of (87.5+=A, 77.5+=B, 62.5+=C, 47.5+=D). There were 20 A’s, 15 B’s, 14 C’s, 5 D’s, and 1 F. This gives a median grade of B, which is right around the GT average.

The scores on the final were interesting.  Almost everyone had trouble on the short answer section and did well on the long answer section, which is the reverse of what usually happens. In general, the questions about the last few lectures (Brooks and Wilson) were most frequently answered incorrectly.  We’ve broken out the scores for the two parts on the test on WebCT, if you’d like to see for yourself.