Educational Psychology
Psychology 138

Professor: Sue Kelley                                    
Office: Academic Center D101-B                   Telephone: x4225
Email:  kelley@lycoming.edu

Required Texts:
             Abbeduto, L. (2006).  Taking sides:  Clashing views on controversial issues in educational psychology (4th ed.).  McGraw-Hill Publishers.
            Santrock, J. W. (2008).  Educational psychology (3rd ed.).  McGraw-Hill Publishers.

  

Course Goals Grades Quizzes/Exams Attendance Reaction Journals Group Lectures Lecture Outlines
 

Course Goals:
    By the end of the course, you should be able to describe (1) how students differ, (2) how students learn, (3) what motivates students' behavior, and (4) how to best assess student progress.  In doing so, you should be able to critique different teaching practices and assess how well they facilitate and motivate students' learning.  You should also be able to discuss the difficulties teachers face when putting educational/psychological theory into practice and should be able to use your knowledge and ingenuity to provide suggestions for improving classroom environments to promote learning.

    As a student in this course, you will be expected to complete required readings and assignments and to come to class prepared to discuss information covered in your texts and in lecture.    

     Your textbook publisher has an excellent website dedicated to this text: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073525820/student_view0/index.html.  I strongly encourage you to take the time to explore this site; you will find several useful study tools and resources there.

Moodle:
           
You will be expected to “join” the Educational Psychology course in Moodle and will need to check it daily for any added assignments.
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Grades:
             Your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on 5 quizzes, 4 exams, several assignments (based both on the Abbedutto text readings and the Santrock text), attendance, the completion of 5 reaction journals, and an in-class group lecture.
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Quizzes:
            There will be 7 quizzes given throughout the semester.  Quizzes will occur for every chapter (excluding chapters immediately after which there is an exam).  These quizzes will be relatively brief, will occur at the beginning of class (if you arrive after all of the quizzes have been distributed, you will not be allowed to take the quiz), and will serve as nice previews of the questions that will occur on the exams.  It is my intention that completing the quizzes and studying the course material weekly should make preparing for the exams less strenuous.  Quizzes will cover material in the text – not all of which will be covered in class.  Your highest 5 grades on the quizzes will count towards your final grade (i.e., the lowest 2 quiz grades will be dropped).  Because the lowest quiz grades are dropped, there will be NO makeup quizzes.  If you miss a quiz, for whatever reason, consider this one of the grades that will be dropped.

Exams:
    There will be 4 "in-class" exams (see following schedule for dates).  Exams are not cumulative, will include both multiple choice and short answer sections, and will cover material covered in the lecture and in the text (NOTE:  These two sources of information are only partially overlapping, i.e., class attendance and good notes will contribute to better test performance than reading the text alone).  Please be aware that the exams will NOT be tests of rote memorization; rather, they will assess your ability to apply the information you've learned in class.   Sample exam questions can be found on the web.
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Make-Up Exam Policy:
    Make-up exams are only offered if you miss an exam due to EXTENUATING circumstances and have WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION to support your absence.  Minor illnesses such as colds and headaches do not constitute extenuating circumstances.  Make-up exams will be essay (not the same thing as short-answer), must be cleared with me prior to the date of the exam in question, and must be taken within one week of the original test date.  If you fail to show up for an exam and/or do not get permission to take a make-up you will receive a zero for that exam.

Assignments:
          
 There are several assignments that will be presented only on Moodle which must be completed on your own and prior to class.  These assignments will facilitate class discussion and will sometimes take the place of lecture so it is imperative that students complete the work prior to class.  I have written these assignments for several reasons: (1) they highlight information that I think is essential (which is especially important because we don’t always cover all of the vital information from the text in lecture), (2) they give you practice in applying your knowledge (similar to how I will ask you to demonstrate your knowledge on exams), (3) they help prepare you for class discussions, and (4) they encourage you to examine material and construct knowledge on your own.  These assignments WILL NOT be announced in class so it is your responsibility to check Moodle and complete them as they are posted.  Because I have written several of these assignments, I do not expect you to hand in every one.  You must hand in 10 of the assignments over the course of the semester.  I do not care which you choose to complete, but I strongly encourage you to not wait until the last minute – if you begin the semester ignoring the assignments, it may become a habit that is hard to break until it’s too late.  Further, I will not remind you to hand in these assignments – it is your responsibility to keep up with them and to ensure that you complete 10.  Ten may sound like a lot of assignments, but most of them will be brief and specifically tailored to course content for a given day.

The assignments will be collected at the beginning of the class period in which they are due and I will NOT accept late assignments for any reason.  Although you are not required to turn in all of these assignments, I strongly encourage you to print and complete all of them on your own.  I think they are valuable study tools.  It is only through these assignments that you will know whether you understand the concepts that I will expect you to master for exams.  Completing the assignments prior to class will enable you to come to class with questions if you have them and ask for additional information to supplement your understanding.  Further, completing the assignments will help prepare you for both the quizzes and the exams.

Attendance:
    You will learn more if you are present in class and if you actively participate.  Although you will not receive a grade for attendance in this class (with the exception of the final week of class), you could potentially lose points for excessive absences.  I recognize that events sometimes occur that prevent you from coming to class (e.g., an illness [personal or family member], an athletic event, a family emergency), consequently, I do not expect perfect attendance.  Just as employers give their employees a certain amount of “sick” or “personal” leave, I will allot the same to you.  If employers did allot you more time off from work, they would most likely expect you to do so without getting paid.  A similar process will be enforced in this class. 

    You will be “granted” one full week of “vacation/sick” class time for the semester.  Thus, you can miss three classes (for any reason) without any repercussions.  If you miss more than three classes, then your grade will diminish by 1/3 of a letter grade (e.g., it will move from a B+ to a B or from a B to a B-) for every three absences above and beyond that (e.g., if you miss 4-5 days, your grade will diminish 1/3 of a letter grade, if you miss 7-8, it will diminish 2/3 of a letter grade, and so on).

    Attendance during the final week of class will be handled slightly differently.  Your groups will be presenting your in-class group lectures during the final week of class and thus attendance is imperative.  I expect that you will all gladly come to class to participate in and support your peers’ projects, but to reinforce the importance of your attendance, attendance will count as an additional “grade” during the final week of class.  Attendance on each day will be worth 3 points (to earn the attendance points on the day that your group presents, you must also be present for the other groups’ lecture on that day) during this week of class.
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Discussions/Reaction Journals:
             We will break into small groups (groups will be established at the beginning of the semester) and engage in discussions about topics important to educational psychology on various days throughout the semester (4 discussion sessions).  The discussion topics will be reviewed in the readings in the Abbeduto text (as indicated on the schedule of topics and reading assignments).  You will be required to write brief journals as a reaction to in-class discussions about the readings, so it is in your best interest to read the required readings, participate in the discussions, and think critically about the topics. I will ask groups to present their arguments/ideas to the class as a whole, so you should use the group discussion time wisely and be prepared to share your group's ideas/arguments/responses. The group discussions will be more productive if you have read the Abbeduto text prior to class.  In an attempt to ensure that you have read the text, you will be required to complete brief assignments related to each reading and to hand these assignments in at the beginning of class on the day of the discussion.  These assignments can be obtained from the webpage for the course and can easily be completed as you read the text.  These discussions will not facilitate your learning experience unless you are present and active in your group.  Thus, group members will evaluate each others’ level and quality of participation on a 3-point scale after each discussion.  Hence, if you miss a discussion, you will receive a zero for participation for that discussion, you can earn up to 12 points for discussion participation. 

            After each discussion of the readings, you will write a brief reaction journal entry (1-3 pages typed).  In this journal, you should analyze what you learned from the discussion (e.g., what is your opinion on the topic, did it change as a function of the discussion, and so on) and how you can apply this knowledge to your everyday life (e.g., after discussing the psychological ramifications of a topic, how will this affect how you would structure a classroom?). These reaction journals MUST reference the Abbeduto text – failure to do so will result in credit for the given assignment.  This reference does not need to be elaborate; rather, it should simply indicate that you read and understood the issue.  Two of your reaction journals will be graded (they are worth up to 6 points each: 3 points for style & 3 points for content), on a random schedule.  You will not know when your journal will be graded, so you should always do your best.  On the weeks that your journal is not graded, you will receive 2 points for simply handing in your journal.  You will turn in 4 reaction journals that will be worth a total of 16 points (12 points for the graded journals and 4 points for the ungraded journals).  Reaction journals are due at the end of class the Wednesday of the week following the discussion (journals for the discussion during the previous week; hence, if a discussion takes place on a Monday, the reaction journal will be due on Wednesday of the following week…not the next class period).  For each day that the journal is late, 2 points will be deducted from your final grade for that particular assignment (so if you're late the week that your journal isn't being graded, you receive zero points).  Example reaction papers are on reserve in the library.

            You will be asked to complete an additional reaction journal for the lecture on Planning near the end of the semester.  This journal will be slightly different from the aforementioned journals – a more detailed description of this journal will be disseminated later in the semester.  This journal will be worth 6 points.
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In-Class Group Lectures:
    Because this is a course on educational psychology, it will focus on the educational setting.  Over the course of the semester, you will be designing educational curricula that utilize the theories covered in the text and in lecture (your individual portfolio assignments).  Designing lessons is one thing…conveying the information is yet another.  It is important for you to not only gain experience in gathering and organizing information, but also in conveying that information to others.  Thus, your group will be responsible for designing and presenting a lecture to the class (the specific topics will be determined by your group).  Lecturing is more than simply dispensing information – the presentation must be clear, organized, and creative.

    It will be your group's responsibility to design a lecture to "teach" some topic (example topics include the Civil War, United States geography, Presidents of the United States, photosynthesis, and so on) to the rest of the class. Every member of the group must participate in the lecture. Your group will receive 1/2 credit for this assignment if every member does not participate. Your group should first choose a topic and an age group (e.g., you may decide to teach science to third graders or calculus to high school students) and then decide how to convey the information to your students (i.e., your classmates). Each group member will be responsible for incorporating one concept discussed in class over the course of the semester into the lecture.  Each group member will then be responsible for designing activities pertaining to that concept and for conveying information about how that concept was incorporated into the lecture to the rest of the class. Thus, the number of concepts that should be highlighted in the lecture should equal the number of group members.

    Each lecture should be approximately 20-25 minutes long, followed by a 5-10 minute "wrap-up" session during which the group will outline the concepts used in the lecture and describe how these concepts were illustrated. Thus, your group will have a total of 30 minutes to "teach" the class and describe your technique (NO LONGER - you will be stopped after 30 minutes and graded only on what you were able to cover within the 30 minute time limit). Keep in mind that 30 minutes is not a long time and that all group members must participate! You do not have to cover a lot of content during this time; rather, you should focus your energy on being creative, conveying information, and applying the concepts. For instance, you might provide advance organizers "set students up" to learn about photosynthesis and then design a discovery learning task to teach "third-grade" students how plants take in carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight and release oxygen. You might then describe/employ an appropriate assessment technique to evaluate student learning. After completing your lecture on photosynthesis, you would describe the concepts that you used and how you applied these concepts in your lecture. Additionally, you should describe why you chose the particular age group (e.g., based on Piaget's theory, third-grade children are in the concrete operational stage...) that you did.

    At the culmination of your lecture, your group will turn in one written report on the lesson/lecture with a CLEAR and DETAILED description (keep in mind that this report should be more detailed than the "wrap up" session at the end of your lecture!) of the concepts utilized and a justification for the age group you chose. This paper should clearly justify the age group, outline the lecture/activities demonstrated in class, and include a summary of each concept followed by a description of how each concept was applied in your lecture.  There are example written reports on reserve in the library if you are unsure of what this paper should cover or the level of detail that is required.

    Your grade on this in-class lecture will be a function of: the clarity/organization of the lecture, the creativity/innovation of the lecture, the appropriate application of three concepts, the written group report, class ratings of the creativeness and clarity of the lecture, and your individual participation within the group (a grading checklist and rubric can be found on the webpage for this course, I strongly encourage you to review it). I recognize that unfortunately not everyone participates equally in group work; thus, you are required to follow group guidelines (below) and each group member will "grade" the other members on their participation and significant contributions to the final product (and this rating is worth a substantial portion of your lecture grade). You can earn up to 55 points for the group lecture (almost as much as one exam!).

    The group lecture will not take place until the end of the semester; however, I strongly encourage you to work on this project over the course of the semester! Do not wait until the last minute. If you employ the concepts as you learn them, you will be more familiar with the material and will not be as stressed at the end of the term. This will enable you to put more thought, energy, and creativity into your lecture! I can arrange for audiovisual equipment and can copy handouts; however, I need to make these arrangements at least one week prior to your in-class lecture.

Group Guidelines: To facilitate the progress of your group, you will be required to observe the following guidelines. These guidelines pertain only to your in-class group lecture. Because the in-class group discussions are brie f and easily facilitated by me, you are not required to adhere to the following guidelines for in-class discussions (although I do expect all group members to be prepared and to participate during in-class discussions).

    Because I will not be attending all of your group's preparation sessions, I will not be privy to who is doing what. Invariably, some people do a lot of work in groups and others do very little. Those who do a lot are generally not pleased to be doing so, but they do it to ensure that the presentation goes well. Those who do little "get carried on coattails" and end up getting a good grade despite their limited effort. There are also people who need to control everything and thus prevent others from contributing to the end product. Either way, it's not fair, and it's not what I envisioned when I designed the in-class group lecture assignment. Keep in mind that you will be rating one another's level of participation and I expect you to be honest in these ratings. Additionally, I will ask you to complete and hand in a presentation meeting log for each group meeting that takes place. These logs will help give me a sense of who really did what in your group. Failure to complete these meeting logs will result in point deductions. I will override the participation grade you receive from your group members if it is clear from the meeting logs that you did not contribute to the end product.

    In any group, I offer you the opportunity to "fire" a group member. If group members confer and decide it is in the best interest of the group to fire a member (I do not encourage you to "fire" group members at will, but give you this opportunity for those group members who are significantly hindering the progress of the group in one way or another), then a meeting must be scheduled between me, at least 2-3 group representatives, and the problematic group member. At this meeting, the group representatives will give the problematic group member a clear set of directives (what you want to happen, when you want it to happen, what level of quality must be obtained) in written form. If that person does not follow through, I will meet with him/her and group representatives and the person can be fired. Fired group members may request to join another group - however, it is the prerogative of the other groups whether or not to accept him/her - or can elect to complete the in-class lecture by him/herself.  Please do not wait until the end of the semester to begin working on your final project.  Unfortunately social loafing does often occur and if you wait too long, then it will be too late to change the behavior of group members.  Beginning the project earlier in the semester will give you more information about group dynamics and individual contributions.
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Lecture Outlines/Chapter Objectives:
    Lecture outlines and chapter objectives can be obtained from the web.
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