Course work will consist of
The class project will be a debate of the values of the fundamental cosmic parameters.
The project will have several components.
Each of you will explore one of the important observational clues, write a short report on the current status of the subject, and make an oral presentation on it to the class. The written report, as well as the oral presentation, is intended for your classmates more than me, and will be distributed to everyone. Your written report will be due before your oral presentation so that all may read it ahead of time. The goal is for us all to become well informed prior to a large group debate of how all the pieces fit together.
After all the individual presentations, we will, as a class, discuss and debate the various observations which constrain cosmic parameters. The purpose of the debate is to see if we can arrive at some consensus about the current state of things, and if so, if we agree with the now "standard" Lambda-CDM cosmology. In addition to being an impartial arbiter, each of you will also play the role of advocate for the constraints imposed by the observations you have studied and reported upon. So if someone says "X means Y" you should speak up if Y is excluded by your subject.
All this will happen in the latter half of the semester as we can schedule it.
A digestibly brief overview of many of the lines of evidence
which go into Lambda CDM is given by one of the papers which
helped establish it:
The Observational Case for a Low Density Universe with a
Non-Zero Cosmological Constant
Ostriker & Steinhardt 1995, Nature, 377, 600