PDF file COGS 300 syllabus


Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 am – 12:20 pm, CHEM C124


  • L01: Monday, 3:00 pm – 4:50 pm, COGS LAB (basement Friedman)
  • L02: Wednesday, 3:00 pm – 4:50 pm, COGS LAB (basement Friedman)
  • L03: Tuesday, 5:00 pm- 6:50 pm, COGS LAB  (basement Friedman)


Theo Rosenfeld


Christopher Mole


Lab Assistants:

Eric Laycock, Valerie Wyns, Peter Crout:

Goals for COGS 300:

To give you an appreciation of key theoretical and methodological issues needed to integrate the multiple disciplinary perspectives of the COGS Program.

To provide you with opportunities to practice synthesizing and applying the concepts encountered in COGS related courses.

Required Materials:

All readings will be available for free on Connect.
You will need an iClicker for class participation, and
You will need to contribute $20 towards your lab Arduino kit.

Structure of Classes:

This class in designed for active participation by you, the students. To do well you will need to attend class and participate in the activities – in order to participate in the activities you will need to complete assignments on time and read the material before class. In return, we will do our best to make the class more engaging than listening to us lecture you for 13 weeks.

Student Presentations

Some Tuesdays will consist of ~15 minutes of instructor lecture, followed by 3 student presentations (each ~ 12 minutes).

Students will prepare and deliver presentations in groups of 4 or 5. The material presented will focus on one of the readings for that week. Each student will be involved in 1 presentation.


Every Tuesday most students – all EXCEPT those who presented that week – will be required to have written a very short (~200 words) summary of one of the readings.

The summary should demonstrate the student read the material and not be longer than 250 words. It should also include the definition of two terms that helped you understand the material, these definitions should be separate from the body of the summary and will not count towards the word limit. Provide a reference to the dictionary you used. Summaries must be submitted to Connect before class begins.

Reading Responses

All students will be assigned to 1 of 2 cohorts (A or B).

On most Thursdays students from 1 cohort will be required to provide a short (~400 word) response to one of the readings. The response should reference at least one other source (does not need to be a reading from this class) and it should ‘go beyond’ the reading in some way. You can discuss implications of the reading, present applications or examples not covered in the reading, challenge or contest the reading in some way – its up to you how you respond.

In groups, students will spend ~30 mins reviewing and providing feedback on the Responses. Responses will be due for marking 1 week later, it is up to each individual whether they want to incorporate the peer feedback they received.

Each student will be assigned 3 responses and 10 summaries. Each student’s final grade will include the best 8 summaries.


The labs for this course will learning to use Arduino microprocessors and controlling Lego Mindstorms robot components with the Arduinos. Students in each lab section will work in teams of 4. Each student will be required to pay $20 toward their group’s Arduino kit. Each group will own their Arduino kits – all Mindstorms components remain property of the COGS program. Each group can keep or resell their Arduino kits however they see fit.


Responses (24%) Every student will be responsible for completing 3 Response assignments as described above.

Exam (24%) There will be a final exam which will test knowledge of material from the readings and lectures, as well as student’s ability to integrate and communicate material.

Labs (20%) Students will be responsible to attend labs and work together in groups of 4 or 5. There will be 6 lab assignments

Summaries (10%)

Students will be responsible to write at least 8 short (~200 word) summaries over the course of the term. Each summary will communicate the key points of 1 reading, and include the definition of 2 terms that are important to understanding the reading. Marks from the 8 best summaries will count towards the final grade.

iClicker Questions (8%)

Every class we will ask several questions via iClicker. Some of the questions gauge opinion, others will test comprehension of the material.

Exam Questions (8%)

Every student will be responsible for submitting a potential exam question, with an example of a correct answer. The questions will be written short-answer questions that combine ideas from at least 2 readings.

Presentation (5%)

Students will work in groups of 4 or 5 to present one of the course readings to the rest of the class. Each group will be assigned 1 reading.

Cognitive System of Interest (1%)

In the first week of class students will be responsible for introducing themselves on the class discussion board, and describing (at least) one application they are particularly interested in. Be specific, if you’re into robots we want to know what sort of robots really excite you (etc.).