Judgement & Decision Making

PSYC3052


In Judgement & Decision Making, you’re going to be thinking about thinking and we’ll explore some of the most interesting problems of our time: expertise, brain training, cognitive illusions, methods for investigating cognitive processes, heuristics and biases, wisdom of the crowd, cognition in applied domains, optimal methods for learning, artificial intelligence, non-human cognitive feats, Eureka! moments, metacognition, and distinguishing between fact and fiction. Because the subject nature of the course includes thinking, insight, learning, expertise, deliberate practice, and so on, we have structured the course and assessment to exploit the very same concepts and practices that you’ll be learning about.

Course Schedule

Course Staff

Jason Tangen
Course Coordinator

I’m an Associate Professor in Psychology. I spend most of my time investigating the cognitive processes involved in learning new skills. I work across multiple domains from basic visual processes to high level decision making, misinformation, and insight moments.

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Brooklyn Corbett
Tutor

I’m a PhD candidate in the School and I’m interested in the mechanisms that support the development of expertise: how learners can develop as self-regulated learners and how educators can develop as evidence-based practitioners.

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Kirsty Kent
Tutor

I have a range of interests in the fields of cognitive and relational psychology. I've worked on collective intelligence in fingerprint expertise, open science in law and legal psychology, critical thinking in higher education, and how attachment styles impact our wellbeing.

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Ryan Metcalfe
Tutor

I'm interested in how intuition and deliberation affect our ability to distinguish fact from fiction, and whether it's possible to train people to improve at this task. I'm also interested in evidence-based learning and how to adopt these practices in my own teaching.

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Course Information

During each week of the course, you’ll start by learning about a new topic on your own. We’ll provide some readings and links to get you started, but you should feel free to explore the topic further, and visit the course subreddit to discuss the topic with your classmates. By the time you show up for class each week, we will assume that you’ve done your homework and prepared sufficiently, so you’re ready to discuss the topic and we can spend the class working on it (i.e., drawing connections with other topics, considering implications, constructing thought experiments, arguments and counterarguments) rather than introducing the topic for the first time and covering old ground. We’ll spend as little class time lecturing at you as possible. Instead, we’ll have fist-pounding debates, meaningful conversations, activities and demonstrations that will fundamentally change the way you think about your own thought processes. At the end of each class, you’ll complete a short quiz to boost your learning, and to provide immediate feedback about what you thought you knew about the topic and what you were actually capable of articulating.

There are two delivery modes for this course: flexible and external, and there is only one face-to-face class each week, which is on Fridays from 10–12pm. If you're signed up for the flexible mode, then we'll meet each week and spend two hours discussing papers, sharing ideas, and thinking about the material that you read about before class. If you're signed up for the external mode, then these face-to-face sessions will be "livestreamed” via Zoom. Since Brisbane is mostly COVID-free, and most people are happy to attend classes in person, we've designed the course to optimise these face-to-face meetings. The external mode is for students who are stuck overseas and can't possibly make it to campus. If you live in Brisbane and you can make it, you absolutely should.

You will write two papers throughout the semester, which will each be based on half of the course content. Your first 1000 word paper will be based on the first half of the course, the second 1200 word paper will be based on the last half of the course. Like each of the skills we’ll be discussing in the course, you need to practice writing… a lot! We’ll provide opportunities during the course for you to refine your writing skills, but you should refer to the Writing Resources below for some more guidance. Remember, the best way to write a good paper: (1) Write a bad paper. (2) Fix it.

Readings

We’ve carefully curated a list of scientific papers, book chapters, webpages, videos, and links to help you get acquainted with each topic. Some are required and others are optional. We tried to strike a balance between specialist articles and those written for a lay audience. Part of our goal is to give you some practice with interpreting scientific articles while also learning how to articulate your ideas clearly and concisely.

We will certainly ask you about the readings in the weekly quizzes, but the questions will be designed to assess your comprehension of the articles, how well you can generalise the findings to topics that you haven’t considered before rather than testing how well you can regurgitate irrelevant details about a particular study. You might be asked to explain or apply the main concepts introduced in a chapter, you might be asked to interpret or explain graphs from a journal article, outline the implications of experimental findings, summarise the main points of a paper, or we might ask you some very basic questions about a paper to simply assess whether you’ve read and understand it.

Assessment

There is a great deal of evidence that: (1) by spacing your practice over time and testing yourself frequently, you will have a far deeper understanding of the content, which you’ll remember for a longer period of time; (2) applying the content to new situations will result in better learning; and (3) providing frequent and immediate feedback improves comprehension. To this end, we have provided the following assessment:

Weekly quizzes (11 quizzes at 5% each, with your lowest grade dropped) 50%
Paper 1 (1000 words) 17%
Paper 2 (1200 words) 20%
Writing Workshop Activity 1%
Reddit Discussion (1 post, 1 response, and 5 votes per episode = 1%) 12%

Weekly Quizzes

Several experiments have demonstrated that repeated testing of information results in better retention compared to repeated study. Tests that require effortful retrieval of information, such as short-answer tests, promote better retention than tests that require recognition, such as multiple-choice tests (Roediger, Agarwal, McDaniel, McDermott, 2011).

In the table below, we have started to provide a list of assigned readings for each week. You will be tested, each week, on the content of the scientific papers, book chapters, webpages, videos, links, and the live activities. There will be 11 of these short quizzes, and they will be worth 5% each. We will take the 10 best marks from your quizzes throughout the semester, which will comprise 50% of your total mark.

Grades for your weekly quizzes will be posted on Blackboard under Grades a week or two following the quiz. If you’re missing your grade, or if you would like to view your quiz, please email the tutors.

Writing Resources

The more you know about the rules and structure of English, the better your writing will be. One excellent guide is Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition), which you’ll need to follow anyway when writing your papers. The UQ library has a great resource for APA 7. A number of excellent books are available to assist you with the process of writing:

The Writing Process
  • Silvia, P. J. (2015). Write it up: Practical strategies for writing and publishing journal articles. American Psychological Association. (Available online through the UQ library)
  • Simons, D. (2018). Writing Guide. (download)
  • Petelin, R. (2020). How writing works: A field guide to effective writing. Routledge.
Argument and Style
  • Strunk, W., & White, E. B. (1979). The elements of style. Macmillan Publishing.
  • Williams, J. M. (1990). Style: Toward clarity and grace. The University of Chicago Press.
  • Pinker, S. (2015). The sense of style: The thinking person’s guide to writing in the 21st century. Penguin Books.
  • Lunsford, A. A., & Ruszkiewicz, J. J. (1999). Everything’s an argument. Bedford/St. Martin's Press.

Simply reading about writing often isn’t enough to really improve, so you might want to enrol in the free online course called English Grammar and Style, through UQ and edX where you can practice and test yourself.

Papers

You’re going to write two papers during the semester on the topics we covered in each half of the course. You have some flexibility in how these papers are written, but we’re looking for evidence of analytical thought, critical insight, and a thorough grasp of the content. Feel free to compare and contrast different approaches to the topic, arguments or theories. Discuss a flaw that is inherent in a particular methodology and its influence on the field. You have free rein here! Demonstrate that you know your way around the topic and be sure to strike a balance between breadth and depth. You need to have a broad understanding of the material (e.g., what general questions and issues people are raising, why they matter, and how they relate to this section of the course more generally). You also need to have a solid grasp of some of the particulars (e.g., what are the specific arguments, experiments, and theories that people are referring to, what do these arguments actually say about the topic if anything, and what’s the current status of the topic). We will post a few examples of exceptional papers from last semester, which can serve as a model of excellent writing and the general structure and variation among these papers.

The grading criteria for your papers can be downloaded here. For a detailed breakdown about the nature of this assignment, please watch this video. We also recommend checking out this video that Ryan made for our JDM students last year to provide some general feedback after they completed Paper 1. In this video, he addresses some of the most common mistakes and provides some practical advice on how to avoid them.

Reddit Discussion

On the course subreddit, you’ll provide an insightful comment about the weekly material, an example from your own experience, respond to someone else’s post, ask questions about the material, help each other out, and upvote the posts that are interesting or helpful (and downvote those that aren’t). In the last week of class, you’ll need to provide evidence of your reddit posts and responses for each of the 12 classes by uploading a document of PDF with your reddit username that you used for reddit discussion posts and upload the file to Blackboard. In order to get the 12% for this piece of assessment, you need to demonstrate that you’ve provided a meaningful original post (at least a few sentences) about each of the 12 topics and provided a meaningful response to someone else’s post (at least a couple sentences) each week. To be clear: 12 posts and 12 responses (+ votes) in 12 topic will get you 12%; 12 posts and 12 responses (+ votes) for just one topic will get you 1%; 1200 discussion posts and responses (+ votes) in 12 topics will still only get you 12%.

Each weekly discussion thread will be locked at the end of the week so that no further posts or comments can be added to it. This lock out time is your deadline for completing your reddit participation. Given the brevity of this assessment, the fact that you will have an entire week to complete each submission and the online nature of the piece, there will be no opportunities for extensions or resubmissions for reddit participation.

In other words, you need to post stuff each week of the course, not just at the very end.


Course Schedule

All of the required and optional materials will be posted here at least one week before class.

Section 1

26 February: Course administration and introduction to learning and expertise
Key Ideas
  • TBA
Required Material
  • None.
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
5 March: Heuristics and biases
Key Ideas
  • Heuristics are mental shortcuts that aid the efficiency of judgements about probability, frequency and quantity when conditions are ambiguous or uncertain.
  • Heuristics trade speed for accuracy. How do biases relate to this idea?
  • Can you explain each of the following concepts?: Representativeness, availability, anchoring, regression to the mean, confirmation bias, hindsight bias
Required Material
  • Extraordinary Claims: Uncut conversation with Tom Gilovich: https://youtu.be/3dDTlKj2n44 [30:13]
  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185(4157), 1124-1131. [PDF]
Optional Material
  • Plous, S. (1993). The psychology of judgment and decision making. McGraw-Hill Book Company (Chapters 11–12). [PDF]
  • Roese, N. J., & Vohs, K. D. (2012). Hindsight bias. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7(5), 411-426. [PDF]
  • Toplak, M. E., West, R. F., & Stanovich, K. E. (2011). The Cognitive Reflection Test as a predictor of performance on heuristics-and-biases tasks. Memory & Cognition, 39(7), 1275. [PDF]
  • Kahneman, D., Slovic, S. P., Slovic, P., & Tversky, A. (Eds.). (1982). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Cambridge University Press. [PDF]
  • Gigerenzer, G., & Brighton, H. (2009). Homo heuristicus: Why biased minds make better inferences. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1(1), 107-143. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
12 March: Thinking fast and slow
Key Ideas
  • Type 1 and 2 thinking have different typical features. Can you explain how each of the following factors relate to each type of thinking?: consciousness, speed, accuracy, effort, efficiency, working memory, multi-tasking. Bear in mind the distinction that Evans and Stanovich (2013) make between typical correlates and defining features of Type 1 and 2 thinking.
  • Can you explain, in detail, how heuristics and biases relate to dual process theory?
  • What is meant by intuitive expertise, and what factors determine whether a task/domain facilitates such cognitive ability?
Required Material
  • Evans, J. S. B., & Stanovich, K. E. (2013). Dual-process theories of higher cognition: Advancing the debate. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(3), 223-241. [PDF]
  • Daniel Kahneman - Two Systems in the Mind: https://youtu.be/k4hqvMYBB1c [29:33]
  • Kahneman, D., & Klein, G. (2009). Conditions for intuitive expertise: A failure to disagree. American Psychologist, 64(6), 515-526. [PDF]
Optional Material
  • Melnikoff, D. E., & Bargh, J. A. (2018). The mythical number two. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(4), 280-293. [PDF]
  • Pennycook, G., De Neys, W., Evans, J. S. B., Stanovich, K. E., & Thompson, V. A. (2018). The mythical dual-process typology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(8), 667-668. [PDF]
  • Melnikoff, D. E., & Bargh, J. A. (2018). The insidious number two. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(8), 668-669. [PDF]
  • Chater, N. (2018). Is the Type 1/Type 2 Distinction Important for Behavioral Policy? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22(5), 369-371.[PDF]
  • Ark, T. K., Brooks, L. R., & Eva, K. W. (2006). Giving learners the best of both worlds: do clinical teachers need to guard against teaching pattern recognition to novices? Academic Medicine, 81(4), 405-409. [PDF]
  • Episode #150 - The Map Of Misunderstanding: A Conversation with Daniel Kahneman: https://samharris.org/podcasts/150-map-misunderstanding [49:51]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
19 March: Distinguishing between fact and fiction
Key Ideas
  • Pennycook and Rand’s findings indicate that some people are better at detecting fake news than others. What factors predicted Fake News discrimination performance?
  • According to Schwarz and Newman, what is meant by fluency, what factors influence it, and in what way do we often misunderstand it?
  • Lewandowsky discusses some important factors that influence the persuasiveness of a message. What does he mean by framing, and what are the important issues to consider if one is to frame an idea persuasively?
Required Material
  • Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. G. (2020). Who falls for fake news? The roles of bullshit receptivity, overclaiming, familiarity, and analytic thinking. Journal of Personality, 88(2), 185-200. [PDF]
  • Schwarz, N., & Newman, E. J. (2017). How does the gut know truth. Psychological Science Agenda, 31(8). [PDF]
  • Episode 10 − Applied Thinking: Uncut conversation with Stephan Lewandowsky: https://youtu.be/rYc8Rb30gTg [19:41]
Optional Material
  • Pennycook, G., Cheyne, J. A., Barr, N., Koehler, D. J., & Fugelsang, J. A. (2015). On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit. Judgment and Decision making, 10(6), 549-563. [PDF]
  • Lazer, D. M., Baum, M. A., Benkler, Y., Berinsky, A. J., Greenhill, K. M., Menczer, F., … & Schudson, M. (2018). The science of fake news. Science, 359(6380), 1094-1096. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
26 March: Writing Workshop
Key Ideas
  • What links can you draw between the content you've learned about so far in the course (e.g., heuristics and biases, dual process theory, distinguishing fact and fiction) and the art of writing well?
  • Where does your tone fall? How might your this effect the fluency of your writing?
  • What is the curse of knowledge and what are some ways you can avoid this bias in your writing?
Required Material
  • Pinker, S. (2015). The sense of style: The thinking person’s guide to writing in the 21st century, Chapters 2 and 3. Penguin Books. [PDF]
  • Silvia, P. J. (2015). Write it up: Practical strategies for writing and publishing journal articles. American Psychological Association, Chapter 2. [PDF]
Optional Material
  • See Writing Resources above.
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
  • We will complete the Writing Activity together in class, and you'll submit it via TurnItIn on Blackboard during class.
2 April: Good Friday
No class or assigned material.
9 April: Midsemester Break
No class or assigned material.
16 April: Decision Making
Key Ideas
  • What was Bernoulli’s error and how does this relate to expected utility theory and prospect theory?
  • What are the differences between value and utility?
  • How does the endowment effect relate to loss aversion?
  • People will generally choose a certain gain over a risk that rewards an even greater gain. Why is this the case?
  • Can you explain framing effects in terms of differential salience and accessibility?
Required Material
  • Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58(9), 697-720. [PDF]
  • Tangen, J. M. (2020). Decision making lecture: https://youtu.be/8hWYNRa5Oh8 [45:09]
Optional Material
  • Are we in control of our decisions? | Dan Ariely: https://youtu.be/9X68dm92HVI [17:26]
  • Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47(2), 263-291. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
23 April: Group Decision Making and Nudging
Required Material
  • Robson, S. J. (2020). Nudging: https://youtu.be/DkZujGwzf80 [20:54]
  • How can groups make good decisions? | Mariano Sigman and Dan Ariely: https://youtu.be/JrRRvqgYgT0 [8:36]
  • Tangen, J. M., Kent, K. M., & Searston, R. A. (2020). Collective intelligence in fingerprint analysis. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 5(23), 1–7. [PDF]
  • Sunstein, C. R. (2014). Nudging: A very short guide. Journal of Consumer Policy, 37(4), 583-588. [PDF]
Optional Material
  • Robson, S. G., Baum, M. A., Beaudry, J. L., Beitner, J., Brohmer, H., Chin, J., … Tangen, J. M. (2021, April 1). Nudging Open Science. [PDF]
  • Sunstein, C. R. (2018). Misconceptions about nudges. Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, 2(1), 61-67. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.

Section 2

30 April: Research methods in cognition, levels of analysis, generalisability, control, and open science
Required Material
  • Brian Nosek - “What is Replication?”: https://youtu.be/wsRmyW8GmJs [1:07:13]
  • Mook, D. G. (1983). In defense of external invalidity. American Psychologist, 38(4), 379-387. [PDF]
Optional Material
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
  • Your first paper is due on Friday, 30 April at 5pm. Please submit it through TurnItIn on Blackboard.
7 May: Brain training, transfer, limits of expertise, deliberate practice, mental representations, and chunking
Required Material
  • Dan Simons - Do “Brain Training” Programs Work?: https://youtu.be/luR_177UD8c [51:13]
  • Ericsson, A., & Pool, R. (2016). Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Chapter 3: Mental Representations and Chapter 4: The Gold Standard. [PDF]
  • Memory for chess positions (featuring grandmaster Patrick Wolff): https://youtu.be/rWuJqCwfjjc [5:55]
Optional Material
  • Simons, D. J., Boot, W. R., Charness, N., Gathercole, S. E., Chabris, C. F., Hambrick, D. Z., & Stine-Morrow, E. A. (2016). Do “brain-training” programs work?. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 17(3), 103-186. [PDF]
  • Boot, W. R., & Ericsson, K. A. (2013). Expertise. In The Oxford handbook of cognitive engineering. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
14 May: Non-human “feats of intelligence”
Required Material
  • Suddendorf, T. (2018). Two key features created the human mind: Inside our heads. Scientific American, 319(3), 42-47. [PDF]
  • Wu, W., Moreno, A. M., Tangen, J. M., & Reinhard, J. (2013). Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 199(1), 45-55. [PDF]
  • Reddish, P. (Producer). (1999). Animal Minds [Television broadcast]. Bristol: British Broadcasting Corporation. https://youtu.be/9j9jAx_sqoE [4:24]
Optional Material
  • Watanabe, S., Sakamoto, J., & Wakita, M. (1995). Pigeons’ discrimination of paintings by Monet and Picasso. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 63(2), 165-174. [PDF]
  • Vokey, J. R., & Tangen, J. M. (in prep). Learning an artist’s style: Just what does a pigeon see in a Picasso? [PDF]
  • Herrnstein, R. J., & Loveland, D. H. (1964). Complex visual concept in the pigeon. Science, 146(3643), 549-551. [PDF]
  • Herrnstein, R. J., Loveland, D. H., & Cable, C. (1976). Natural concepts in pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 2(4), 285–302. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
21 May: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and (un)supervised learning
Required Material
Optional Material
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
28 May: Insight, Metacognition, and the Eureka Heuristic
Required Material
  • Topolinski, S., & Reber, R. (2010). Gaining insight into the “Aha” experience. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(6), 402-405. [PDF]
  • Laukkonen, R., Schooler, J., & Tangen, J. M. (preprint). The Eureka Heuristic: Relying on insight to appraise the quality of ideas. [PDF]
  • Laukkonen, R. E., Kaveladze, B., Tangen, J. M., & Schooler, J. (2020). The dark side of Eureka: Artificially induced Aha moments make facts feel true. Cognition, 20, 104122. [PDF]
  • Laukkonen, R., Tangen, J. M., Grimmer, H. What is déjà vu?: https://habs.uq.edu.au/article/2018/08/what-health-what-déjà-vu
  • Beauty Is Suffering - Andrew Wiles: https://youtu.be/i0UTeQfnzfM [5:13]
Optional Material
  • Danek, A. H., & Wiley, J. (2017). What about false insights? Deconstructing the aha! Experience along its multiple dimensions for correct and incorrect solutions separately. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 2077. [PDF]
Assessment
  • Make at least one insightful comment on the course subreddit about the content covered in class this week.
  • Provide an insightful response to at least one other person’s comment.
  • Upvote or downvote at least 5 posts that are interesting or helpful (or downvote them if they aren’t).
  • There will be a quiz in class this week based on the above Required Material and the class activities.
  • Your second paper is due on Friday, 4 June at 5pm. Please submit it through TurnItIn on Blackboard.
  • Your Reddit discussion posts are also due on Friday, 4 June at 5pm. Please submit it through TurnItIn on Blackboard.