Syllabus: Introduction to Parapsychology

Winter 2012

About the Course:

The class will take place on Thursday evenings, and begin at 6:00pm (Eastern Time). Each class will last 90 minutes and include a presentation, the opportunity to ask questions and chat with other students and be followed by a weekly activity which will be managed via an online discussion forum.

The class will be assessed with three components. First two tests will be comprised of multiple choice questions and short answers and will be submitted online. In addition, engagement with weekly activities and discussions will be assessed by students’ engagement with the online discussion forum (i.e., students are required to participate in class discussions!).

Students will receive a letter grade, and every student who passes the 2 assignments, participates in all discussions, and completes the course will be awarded a Rhine Research Center Certificate of Completion.

Learning Objectives:

1.      Students will learn about the topics covered by  “parapsychology”

2.      Development of critical thinking skills pertaining to subjective paranormal experiences

3.      Students will understand the need for  designing laboratory experiments for psi research

4.      Students will learn that there is also value in exploring the types of experiences people are having.

Learning Outcomes:

1.      Students will be able to list the varieties of experiences studied by parapsychologists

2.      Students will demonstrate critical thinking about a range of subjective paranormal experiences

3.      Students will demonstrate an awareness of the types of experiments which have been employed to explore paranormal experiences

4.      Students will demonstrate an awareness the subjective nature ( phenomenology) of paranormal experiences

Weekly Schedule:

Week 1 - Introduction to Parapsychology

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 1 & 2.

Discussion forum assignment I

Week 2 - Extrasensory perception I

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 3 & 4.

Discussion forum assignment 2

Week 3 - Extrasensory perception II – correlates of ESP

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 4 & 5.

Discussion forum assignment 3

Week 4Mind over matter

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 6 & 7.

Discussion forum assignment 4


Multiple Choice/Short Answer:  Assessment I

Week 5OBEs and NDEs

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 11 & 12.

Discussion forum assignment 5

                Week 6 – Special Topics 

                                Discussion forum assignment 6

                Week 7 – Special Topics 

                                Discussion forum assignment 7

                Week 8 – Special Topics 

                                Discussion forum assignment 8

Week 9 - Apparitions

Study Assignment: Irwin chapters 13.

Discussion forum assignment 9

Week 10Modern research in parapsychology

Study Assignment: Reading assignments provided at a later date.

Discussion forum assignment 10

Multiple Choice/Short Answer:  Assessment II

Course Materials

Irwin, H. & Watt, C. (2007). Introduction to Parapsychology (fifth edition). Jefferson, NC: McFarland publishers inc.

[Note: For the purposes of this course, students may purchase earlier versions of this text book, which are a little cheaper, and cover many of the topics covered in the most recent edition of this textbook. However, if this is the case, when students are referred to the book, chapters and page numbers may differ.]

Additional research articles will be provided when the class begins.


Grading and Assessments

Discussion Participation (30% of your grade)

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

Weeks 1-3 (10%)

Weeks 4-6 (10%)

Weeks 7-10 (10%)

Assessment I (30% of your grade)

Multiple Choice and short answer test (submitted online).

Assessment II (40% of your grade)

Multiple Choice and short answer test (submitted online).