A Worldwide, open, tuition-free university-level online logic course

The Philosophy Department’s Laboratory for Logic and Experimental Philosophy is offering a fully online logic course available to anyone in the world for the cost of the textbook. Earlier this summer, Broadview Press published Proof and Consequence with its study guide Simple Simon and an extensive set of software packages (Simon, Simon Says, Omnis, and Somni). It is believed to the most complete instructional software package available for second year university logic, and has already won high praise internationally. Not only can students complete most of their assignments using their own logic software, Simon, but they submit it online to a central Simon Says Server, which assigns a grade (according to the instructor’s template), maintains all course records, and conducts numerous statistical analyses on the material it stores. Students have access to their own record and much of the statistical data. Instructors, using Omnis, have access to all course records and all statistical information, which they can download at any time as a multi-page Excel spreadsheet. Using the Somni utility, an instructor can determine how many of the text exercises any student has completed.

The software, which has been in use locally for about fifteen trimesters, was used this past summer for the first CODE offering of Philosophy 210 (Natural Deductive Logic). This new initiative will make the practical portion of that course open without fees to anyone anywhere in the world, from high school maths students at post-curricular loose ends to graduate students filling in gappy undergraduate training. Although the course will carry no entrance or university credit, its standards will be transparently high. For this reason it is envisaged that university instructors may wish to use the course as a self-taught portion of wider logic-training programmes. Personal records and statistical information will available to enrolled students, and at regular intervals during the year the LLEP will issue certificates of results.

The text and software are the work of Professor Ray Jennings, LLEP Director, and Nicole Friedrich, a former philosophy and computing student, who has also written virtually all of the lab’s research software. They plan a trilogy of texts from first to third year levels, all supported by an extended version of the Simon software, with corresponding courses, all available everywhere.

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