Name: Jennifer P. Peluso

Department Name: Psychology        College: SC

Course number: PSY 1012

Course Title: General Psychology

Course Term: FALL      Number of Students: 1288

Course Term: SPRING     Number of Students: 1288

Course Term: SUMMER     Number of Students: 200

Is this course WAC-certified?: NO


If there are multiple sections offered, is there a common syllabus?:  YES

If not, how will the department/program maintain consistency of content and objectives?:
            There are only minor variations across all sections in the topics and content, and the pedagogical approaches to the content taken, each semester. The instructors for the course meet periodically to review the similarities and differences taken toward the course. The instructor of each course designs and administers his/her own exams.

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Foundations of Society and Human Behavior description: The social sciences examine the forms of social activity.  They study the social behavior of individuals and organizations, the structure of organizations and institutions, and the organization of society.  Social science deals with such things as the formation of attitudes; how institutions develop, function, and change; how technology transforms society and social institutions; how societies change the environment and respond to environmental change; the relationships between individuals and society; and matters of race, gender, and class.

Courses that meet this requirement teach students to understand the complexities of human and societal behavior, to predict future behavior, and to understand the consequences of behavior.

Learning objectives are associated with each category of the General Education Curriculum.  For each learning objective listed below, please:

1. Describe how the course will meet the learning objectives; and
2. State where each learning objective will be evidenced (e.g., examples of paper topics, questions on exams, syllabus).  Please be as concrete as possible.

Learning objective #1:  Students will be able to identify patterns of human behavior.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            In successfully completing this course, students learn about what is and is not known about the physiological, behavioral, cognitive, social, and emotional bases of human and non-human behavior. Moreover, they learn about a variety of theoretical explanations for behavior, become familiar with the differing research methodologies used to investigate different questions in psychology, and understand how psychological science is applied to real-world settings (e.g., education, business, parenting, therapy). Ultimately, the aim is to develop students who demonstrate basic understanding of what it means to scientifically observe behavior and to think critically and objectively about behavioral phenomena and the “human experience.”

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).

Learning objective #2: Students will demonstrate an understanding of how political, social, cultural, or economic institutions in influence human behavior.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            Psychologists understand that there is a complex interaction between the biological, cognitive, social, and cultural variables present in the life of human beings. Psychologists use the tools of science to understand the separate and combined influence of these factors in the behaviors and mental activities (decisions, thoughts, perceptions, emotions, etc.) of the individual.
            Many theoretical frameworks within psychology emphasize the "bio-socio-cultural" theme. Constructivist views of development, evolutionary perspectives on consciousness, and social neuroscience theories about emotion are just a few examples of the topics addressed in the course that touch on this objective.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).

Learning objective #3: Students will understand key social science methods and the theoretical foundations behind these methods.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            The discipline of psychology is, at its heart, a science. The scientific aspect is emphasized throughout the entire semester and is the basis upon which critical thinking is taught. The basics of experimental design are covered at the beginning of the semester including (but not limited to) the following concepts: types of research, correlation vs. causation, independent/dependent variables, experimental/control groups, confounding/extraneous variables, internal/external validity, psychometric properties of (good) tests and measures.
            Students are taught these concepts with the goal in mind of developing information literacy. The aim is to help students (begin to) master the skill of scientifically evaluating the various claims about psychological phenomena that exist in the media, common culture, and personal beliefs.
            The basic understanding of psychological research methods and statistical concepts is also vital for students' ability to understand the theories and published research described throughout the various topics we cover all semester. Without it, students only acquire a simplistic (and inaccurate) view of the complex phenomena that are taught.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).
            In addition, students are required to either participate in current ongoing research in the department, or to to read and summarize recently published original psychological research. These experiences afford students the opportunity to see theory and research "come to life" in concrete examples. The students have to "process" these experiences by answering questions about the purpose and design of the studies they participate in or read about.

Learning objective #4: Students will be able to apply social science methods to the analysis of social, cultural, psychological, ethical, political, technological, or economic issues or problems.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            The discipline of psychology is, at its heart, a science. The scientific aspect is emphasized throughout the entire semester and is the basis upon which critical thinking is taught. The basics of experimental design are covered at the beginning of the semester including (but not limited to) the following concepts: types of research, correlation vs. causation, independent/dependent variables, experimental/control groups, confounding/extraneous variables, internal/external validity, psychometric properties of (good) tests and measures.
            Students are taught these concepts with the goal in mind of developing information literacy. The aim is to help students (begin to) master the skill of scientifically evaluating the various claims about psychological phenomena that exist in the media, common culture, and personal beliefs.
            The basic understanding of psychological research methods and statistical concepts is also vital for students' ability to understand the theories and published research described throughout the various topics we cover all semester. Without it, students only acquire a simplistic (and inaccurate) view of the complex phenomena that are taught.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).
            In addition, students are required to either participate in current ongoing research in the department, or to to read and summarize recently published original psychological research. These experiences afford students the opportunity to see theory and research "come to life" in concrete examples. The students have to "process" these experiences by answering questions about the purpose and design of the studies they participate in or read about.

In addition to the learning objectives associated with each category, the General Education Curriculum has specific overall objectives:
            FAU general education curriculum is a carefully devised program that draws on many subject areas to provide and reinforce essential skills and values from different points of view.  It equips students with the academic tools they will need to succeed, not only as undergraduates in their degree programs but also as responsible citizens in a complex world.  The courses that comprise the FAU general education curriculum combine to develop:

    1. Knowledge in several different disciplines;
    2. The ability to think critically;
    3. The ability to communicate effectively;
    4. An appreciation for how knowledge is discovered, challenged, and transformed as it advances; and
    5. An understanding of ethics and ethical behavior.

We do not expect every course to meet all of these objectives, but we hope that you will consider ways to more fully address them when the new curriculum is introduced in fall 2009.

Please describe below how the course will meet these objectives.

General Education objective #1: Knowledge in several different disciplines.

The course approaches the subject from the standpoint of the following discipline, disciplines, or sub-disciplines:
            Several sub-disciplines within Psychology are covered, including (but not limited to):
            Psychoanalytic
            Psychodynamic
            Humanistic
            Cognitive
            Biological
            Neuroscience
            Evolutionary
            Developmental
            Social
            Psychometric
            Bio-socio-cultural

General Ed objective #2: The ability to think critically.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            As mentioned above, one explicit aim in our teaching of this course is to help students (begin to) master the skill of scientifically evaluating the various claims about psychological phenomena that exist in the media, common culture, and personal beliefs. To do so, they must be able to rule out alternative explanations, determine whether conclusions logically and reasonably follow from empirical evidence, and evaluate the implications of information for future inquiry. This involves the ability to evaluate the source of information, the validity/reliability of information, the generalizability of information, and the relation of current information to what is still unknown.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).
            In addition, students are required to either participate in current ongoing research in the department, or to to read and summarize recently published original psychological research. These experiences afford students the opportunity to see theory and research "come to life" in concrete examples. The students have to "process" these experiences by answering questions about the purpose and design of the studies they participate in or read about.

General Ed objective #3: The ability to communicate effectively.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            Some instructors employ the use of "one minute papers" and brief written group projects as pedagogical tools. These written projects earn participation points for the students toward their final grade.
            Some students choose, as one of their "research participation" options, to write summaries of journal article(s) that they have read.
            Plagiarism is explained to students and they are required to avoid it.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            The content, format, spelling, and grammar within written group assignments, one minute papers, and journal article summaries are all considered. We are vigilant for plagiarism and pursue cases of plagiarism vigorously.

General Ed objective #4: An appreciation for how knowledge is discovered, challenged, and transformed as it advances.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            Psychological science is constantly evolving. We present to students both an historical and current treatment of most topics covered in the course, emphasizing that current psychological "facts" are always constrained by the theoretical perspectives and scientific approaches that led to the conclusions that "established" those facts. Potential alternative explanations, or refined approaches to research, are continually developed, and these help advance scientific psychology daily.
            In the course, we emphasize that science is only one approach to understanding the human experience, though it is the preferred approach in the discipline of psychology. We make it a point to explain that nonscientific approaches are not necessarily of lesser value or less meaning, but they are just not within the purview of scientific psychology.
            We also make it a point to explain that although the scientific approach centers on empiricism and skepticism, that does not mean that there isn't a "right answer" in psychology. There are many phenomena for which the evidence clearly points us toward certain explanations for them (and away from other explanations). Skepticism doesn't mean "throwing the baby out with the bathwater."

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).
            In addition, students are required to either participate in current ongoing research in the department, or to to read and summarize recently published original psychological research. These experiences afford students the opportunity to see theory and research "come to life" in concrete examples. The students have to "process" these experiences by answering questions about the purpose and design of the studies they participate in or read about.

General Ed objective #5: An understanding of ethics and ethical behavior.

How will the course meet this objective?:
            Psychologists (those both experimental and in therapeutic practice) are bound to the American Psychological Association's Code of Ethics.   This code lays out explicitly the set of expectations for the manner in which psychologists will conduct themselves in the laboratory, in professional practice (e.g., consulting or therapy), in teaching, and in other contexts. This code is also closely aligned with the code of ethical behavior by which all university research is evaluated by FAU's Institutional Review Board.
            The APA's code of ethics is covered during the semester in this course, typically in the section dealing with research design/scientific method.

Where will the learning objective be evidenced?:
            Course exams throughout the semester (in class and in Blackboard), IClicker questions/quizzes (in class), and other classroom participation tasks (vary by section).
            In addition, students are required to either participate in current ongoing research in the department, or to to read and summarize recently published original psychological research. These experiences afford students the opportunity to see theory and research "come to life" in concrete examples. The students have to "process" these experiences by answering questions about the purpose and design of the studies they participate in or read about.

 Last Modified 3/6/14