General Psychology 201A

Class Hours: Thursday 6:00-9:50 PM

Room: Science and Technology 225

Portland Community College

Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Ave.

Portland, OR 97219

Instructor: Laurie McCabe


Phone: (503) 997-6219

Office Hours: After class or by appointment

Class Web Page:


This syllabus contains very important information; please read it and keep in handy for future reference through the course. It explains the course requirements and indicates what you need to do to complete this course successfully. This syllabus includes exam dates and informs you which text chapters will be covered on each exam. Copies of this syllabus are available on the course web page incase it should ever become misplaced.

Teaching Philosophy

My personal teaching philosophy may be different than what you as a student might expect, or have experienced. I think that what occurs in the classroom should be a learning experience that is based upon the foundation of what you learn within the text. For that reason I may choose to only cover part of a chapter as presented within the Myers text, and augment your learning experience with in class activities or other lecture items.

In addition, I feel that learning doesn't stop when you leave the classroom. Modern technology allows us to explore this aspect of learning with greater depth. This is why I heavily emphasize the World Wide Web as a mean for exploring topics, and as a means of communication with the instructor (myself) as well as your fellow students.

Thus my philosophy can be summarized in the following sentences.

1. The classroom is more than a venue for lectures.

2. Learning does not end when one is out of the classroom.

Course Material

Required Textbooks: Psychology, 6th Edition, David G. Myers (2001), & Cross-Cultural Explorations: Activities in Culture and Psychology, Susan Goldstein (2000).

Required Materials: A #2 Pencil for taking exams, Scantrons available at the PCC Bookstore, & access to the World Wide Web (WWW)

Access to the WWW is an important aspect of this course. It will give you access to the extra credit assignments, as well as provide you with valuable study material for tests and examples for papers. See FAQ's at the end of this document for helpful advice in locating Internet Access.

In addition, I do not provide pencils or scantron's for individuals in the class. I do not grade Scantron tests completed in pen. However, you may ask your fellow student if they have extras they are willing to lend you. My advice is to pick up 10-15 Scantron test forms at the beginning of this term, and several #2 pencils.

Course Description

Welcome to Psychology 201A (General Psychology), a three-credit introductory class in psychology. In this course you will be expected to read a college-level textbook, and write a college-level. This course concerns the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. It will introduce you to a variety of psychological terms, concepts, and principles using lectures, discussions, reading assignments, writing assignments, and in-class demonstrations.

Student Learning Objectives

1. Define, recognize, and apply basic terms, concepts, and principles in the areas of Research Methods, Neuroscience, issues related to nature versus nurture, Human Development, Sensation, Perception, & Consciousness.(Contextual Learning)

2. Define and distinguish between correlational and cause/effect relationships and their implication; apply these concepts to specific examples. Understand the relationship between how data are collected and the conclusions that can be drawn from them. Understand that behavior has multiple causes, and be able to entertain more than one possible theoretical explanation for a given behavior (Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Ability).

3. Describe, summarize, and demonstrate critical thinking in writing on activities presented in class. Use accurate, precise, descriptive language, create clear sentence and paragraph structure; use standard conventions for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. (Communication Ability).

4. Understand the importance of "verification" in research, from the birth of psychology as a science to modern day research.

5. Be able to identify cultural and gender based biases in research, from past to present. Understand how the complexities of culture and gender relate to the topics covered in the class..

Course Policies, Assignments and Assessments

Class participation through relevant comments and questions is encouraged and will enhance your learning in this course. Students are expected to read the assigned text chapters according to the time table described at the end of this syllabus.

Contacting Me

I am easily accessible via email, the web board, or my phone number listed in the syllabus or on the class web page. I do have a PCC voice mail box, which I will check (but not as frequently as the listed phone number).

Reading Assignments As with the nature of summer term, this class is shortened from 10 weeks to an 8 week format . While we may meet for more hours during the week, it does mean that there is considerably more reading to do in a shortened period of time. As the lectures are designed to augment the reading, reading must be done before coming to class. See course calender for weekly reading assignments.

Exams Mastery of the contextual learning and critical thinking/problem solving objectives (student learning objectives 1 and 2 above) will be assess through the use of multiple-choice exams. You will need to bring a #2 or HB pencil and a good soft eraser and a Scantron to class for each exam. Hats may not be worn during exams. These exams cover BOTH the text, and lecture.

Quizzes Quizzes are a weekly means to verify that you have kept up with the assigned reading (student learning objectives 1 and 2 above). These are take home, multiple choice, and REQUIRE a scantron to complete. As I have stated before, my lectures are designed to augment the reading, I do not cover everything presented in the text. In addition, I cover items not directly gone over in the book. These quizzes are not designed to be anxiety provoking, nor require a great deal of studying. These quizzes vary from 10-30 points.


Late Exams/Quizzes

As a policy I do not give late or make-up Quizzes. The lowest score will be dropped from the calculations of the final grades. However, in case of documented emergency I do allow exams to be made up.

Activities/Assignments As critical thought and problem solving is an important part of this class, there will be activities. In many cases group work will be encouraged, but each individual is to do their own write up. Each activity write up will be made up of one or two questions, and will be worth ten to 20 points. If I cannot read what is written, your assignment may be marked down. In addition, as the focus of these assignments is on critical thought, your write up must demonstrate this (student learning objectives 3, 4 & 5 above).

Missed activities can be made up through extra credit, but extra credit options are limited. It is important to complete these activities as questions on the exam may reflect in class discussions.

Extra Credit There are several ways to obtain extra credit in this course, but you may only obtain a maximum of 20 points worth. In this course I will offer 25 points of extra credit through the Web Board and in class. However, only 20 points will be counted out of the possible 25 available extra credit points.

Score Break Down

Quizzes 1-10 100 points

Midterm 50 points

Final Exam 50 points

Activities 100 points

Total points 300


I follow a standard 90/80/70 curve. For example 90% and above would be given a grade of an A (270 points). Occasionally though, I do choose to throw out questions from exams. I do not, as a rule, give out incompletes for courses. If you are taking this course pass/no pass, you must score at least a 70% (210 points).

Attendance Policy

I understand that everyone in this class has a personal life. Occasionally this life interferes with your life as a student. However, given that this class only meets once per week it is imperative that you attend every class meeting. While I will not grade you down for missing class (there are no 'attendance points'), you will be missing in class activities as well as the opportunity to turn in your weekly take home quiz.

In addition, I would encourage everyone to be on time for class. People coming in to class late is very disturbing to the other students listening to lecture or engaging in an activity. As I do not except late quizzes, it is also important for you to be on time. Acceptance of take home quizzes during class after they are collected will be at my discretion.

Course Calender : Summer Term 2002

Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
Week 1 June 24

Syllabus Overview

Introduction &

Chapter 1: Research Methods Overview

In class activity

Reading: Introduction (pp. 2-11)
Week 2

July 1 Reading: chpt 1 (pp. 13-46) July 4: No Class
Week 3 July 8

Reading: chpt 2 (pp. 47-84) Quiz Due (30 points)

Finish Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Neuroscience & Behavior

In class activity

Reading: chpt 3 (pp. 85-113)
Week 4

July 15 Quiz Due (10 points)

Chapter 3: The Nature and Nurture of Behavior

In class activity

Reading: chpt 4 (pp. 119-170)
Week 5

July 22 Quiz Due (10 points)

Chapter 4: The Developing Person

In class activity

Reading chpt 5 (pp. 171-208)
Week 6

July 29 Out of Class Activity Due (20 points)

Midterm (50 points)


Chapter 5: Sensation


chpt 6 (pp. 209-240)

Week 7

Aug. 5 Quiz Due (20 points)

Finish Chapter 5

Chapter 6: Perception

In class activity


chpt 7

(pp. 241-286)

Week 8 Aug. 12 Quiz Due (10 Points)

Chapter 7: States of Consciousness

In class activity



August 24

Final Exam

Out of class activity due (20 points)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When will you return our tests/assignments/papers back to us?

Given the size of the class it will take a week to correct all of them. Given that we only meet once a week, you will receive them back next class.

2. Can I do anything to make up lost points on exams or activities?

Extra credit provides the means for making up missed points.

3. I don't know how to use the World Wide Web, or I don't have a computer... What should I do?

There are several computers labs on campus with friendly staff. In addition, most public libraries have WWW access. If you need assistance in understanding how to access a web page, please ask the individual overseeing the computer lab. If you are still having difficulty come see me during my office hours.

4. What if I run into a problem accessing the web page?

1st START YOUR WEB ASSIGNMENTS EARLY. I suggest that you all finish your postings several days before your web assignment is due. 2nd CALL ME via my phone number. 3rd DON'T PROCRASTINATE.

5. Can I email you my assignments/papers?

NO. I do not accept assignments via email.

6. Can I fax you my assignments/papers?

NO. I do not accept assignments via fax.

7. Can I turn my assignments/papers into your box?

YES, but they may not get to me on time. If you do get them in on time, I may not grade them with the others.

8. Why won't you accept them via these methods?

When one allows so many alternatives for turning in assignments, It can create general havoc with even the most well organized individual. Also, these methods also increase the probability that some how, some way, something will keep the assignment from getting into my hands. For example, the email file may be corrupted or the fax may print out in jibberish. The only way to make sure that the assignment is in my hands on time is to place it concretely in my hands during the time I collect them in class.

9. Oh yes, will I accept assignments via the Web Board other than the web participation extra credit assignments?

NO I do not accept assignments via the Web Board for aforementioned reasons.

10. Is there any other available extra credit other than what you mention?

Sometimes I add assignments if I see something important in the media or for some other reason. However, I place a cap on how many points you can earn (see available points).

11. What if I am having difficulty in this class?

Please, please come see me. I am more than willing to give you some extra help or advice on studying techniques.

12. What if I am sick, and unable to turn in my weekly quiz?

My personal advice is to get somebody (a friend, a fellow student, a family member) to turn it in for you, or to get it into my box BEFORE the beginning of class. Incase you are not able to do either of these alternatives, I do make 20 points extra credit available. This should be sufficient to cover a missed quiz.

I will make quizzes available to you well in advance of their completion date (for those of you that choose to read ahead). It is possible to turn them in early, if you so desire.