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Example of a Course Syllabus Instructor: Betsy Decyk Office: MHB 905 Phone: 562-985-4346 Email:email@example.com Office hours: Tuesday 4:30-5:15 pm ; Wednesday 2-3 pm; Thursday 8:00-9:15 am I am also available by appointment and by e-mail Course: Psychology 130, Section 12 Times: TR 12:30-1:45 Term: Spring 2004 Class Location: PSY 200 Introduction: Psychology 130 is a course which fulfills both the CSU and the new CSULB General Education critical thinking requirement. Critical thinking involves a complex set of skills and dispositions. Some of the skills involved are: (1) being sensitive to language and its uses and abuses, (2) being able to uncover and question assumptions, (3) being skilled at searching for both evidence and counter-evidence, (4) being able to evaluate sources, evidence, and reasoning, (5) being able to formulate problems and assess solutions, (6) being reflective about one’s own knowledge and thinking, and also (7) being reflective about the methodological basis of a particular discipline. The dispositions of critical thinking include the disposition to be intellectually honest, conceptually accurate, and logically careful, yet also curious, open, and bold in one’s thinking. A critical thinker is also strategic in setting goals and solving problems, and is both personally and methodologically reflective. Goals and skills: The overall goals of this course are to encourage you to become more aware of your own thinking and reasoning processes and also the thinking and reasoning processes of others. The skills developed by the course will enable you to think more carefully about complex issues so that you can make more thoughtful, wellreasoned judgments and decisions for yourself and can fairly evaluate judgments and decisions made by others. Psychology 130 Course Objectives and How We Shall Meet Them: There is an official list of objectives and outcomes for this course. By the end of the course: A. Students must understand the dispositions needed to be a critical thinker and must understand how values and beliefs impact our attitudes and our predispositions towards engaging in critical thinking. B. Students must be able to reflectively monitor and assess the thinking processes of themselves and others C. Students must be able to discriminate between facts and opinions D. Students must be able to discriminate between arguments and other types of discourse. They must be able to develop and recognize valid and sound arguments. E. Students must be able to appreciate multiple viewpoints relating to arguments. F. Students must be able to identify and evaluate unstated assumptions in reasoning. G. Students must be able to recognize and to evaluate inductive and deductive forms of reasoning. H. Students must understand the relationship between thought and language, including the uses and misuses of language (e.g., language which misleads or is prejudicial.) I. Students must be able to identify and learn to avoid various reasoning fallacies. J. Students must be able to engage in thoughtful, productive problem-solving and decision-making. K. Students should understand the nature of scientific thinking, being able to distinguish scientific inquiry from pseudoscience. L. Finally, students must demonstrate their ability to apply and to integrate all of these critical thinking skills within a variety of complex problems/exercises in formal subject matter and in real-world settings. At first this list may appear formidable. My solution this semester is to regroup the objectives in three headings. (See the course schedule for a complete list of dates, topics and readings.) 1. Introduction to psychology and critical thinking (A, E, F, H, K). 2. The Design Project (J, L). 3. Understanding arguments and evaluating arguments (C,D, E, F, G, H, I ). Required Texts: K&G: Kirby & Goodpaster, Thinking (3rd edition), Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 2002 (bookstore) Other required reading: class handouts materials and links posted on BeachBoard library e-reserve: Schacter, selected reading from The Seven Sins of Memory (The access password will be given in-class) Other possible reading related to projects: library book reserve: 1. Schacter, The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers 2. Helm and Helm, Genealogy On-Line for Dummies 3. Bryson, I am a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away Types of assignments and purpose of each: There are a variety of assignments for the class this semester to accommodate different learning styles. All assignments are expected to be well-written, and they will be graded on their composition as well as on their content. 1. Early Writing: This assignment will be used to assess student writing and provide helpful feedback early in the semester. 2. Labs: (a) Lab 1 and Lab 2 will be in-class experiences/ discussion about new material. (b) Lab 3 and Lab 4 are assignments to practice analyzing (3) and evaluating (4) arguments 3. Individual Research Project: The purpose of this project is to develop and integrate one’s critical thinking skills over the semester. Students will choose to complete one of the following: (A) a genealogy project (B) an investigation into cross-cultural psychology (C) self-defined, self-designed project with advice and approval of the instructor 4. Group Design Project: The purpose of this project is to develop problem-solving and decision making skills in interpersonal contexts. 5. Two Tests (in-class): Two in-class tests are required for this class, a midterm and a final exam. These tests provide opportunities for students to show their individual mastery of the material. 6. Extra Credit (EC): Earned extra credit which is earned goes into an “extra credit bank” and is used at the end of the semester to decide borderline grades. Assignments, due dates and weights: A Word about Possible Changes. It is unlikely that the due dates of various assignments or their grading weights will change. Occasionally adjustments in the course schedule or the course assignments becomes necessary. Students will be notified about changes, if any, and, whenever possible, students will be consulted in advance about any changes. Due dates are indicated by a star*. Assignments which have an automatic extension to the next class date are noted as AE. When H/L are indicated for an assignment it means that the higher grade of these two assignments will count with the higher percentage and the lower grade on these two assignments will count with the lower percentage. *2/2 *2/9 *2/18 Lab 1: Examples Early Writing (AE) Test 1 ______ ______ ______ X X .025 .05 _________ _________ _________ _________ X (H) .20 X (L) .15 *2/25 EC 1: Communication *3/1 *3/8 *3/24 Lab 2: Memory Individual Research, Part I (AE) Design Project(AE) Design ECU: Design Discussion Lab 3: argument mapping ______ ______ ______ X X X .025 .10 .20 _________ _________ _________ *3/29 *4/19 *4/26 *5/5 *5/19 ______ X X X .05 .15 .05 _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ +1 +1 Individual Research, Part II (AE) ______ Lab 4: review sheet Final Exam ______ _____ X (H) .20 (L ) .15 subtotal: EC EC Score: _________ University Withdrawal Policy (This statement was provided by the Psychology Department). It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from classes. Instructors have no obligation to withdraw students who do not attend courses, and may choose not to do so. The deadline to withdraw from a class without a “W” for the spring semester Monday, February 9, 2004. Withdrawal from a course after that date requires the signature of the instructor and the department chair, and is permissible only for serious and compelling reasons. [Severe or extensive medical problems would be a reason to drop after that date, but fear of receiving a final grade lower than desired, or change in one’s work schedule are not considered a serious and compelling reasons.] A “W” will appear on the students transcript. The University deadline to withdraw from classes in spring semester without the Dean’s signature is Friday, April 23, 2004. AFTER April 23, 2004: DURING THE FINAL THREE WEEKS OF INSTRUCTION WITHDRAWALS ARE NOT PERMITTED EXCEPT IN CASES SUCH AS ACCIDENT OR SERIOUS ILLNESS WHERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSING THE WITHDRAWAL ARE CLEARLY BEYOND THE STUDENT’S CONTROL. THE CAUSE MUST BE DOCUMENTED. ORDINARILY, WITHDRAWALS IN THIS CATEGORY INVOLVE TOTAL WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNIVERSITY. YOU WILL NEED THE APPROVAL OF THE COLLEGE DEAN AS WELL AS THAT OF THE CLASS INSTRUCTOR AND THE DEPARTMENT CHAIRPERSON FOR EACH CLASS YOU DROP. Attendance: Please read the CSULB attendance policy carefully. It can be found at: http.://www.csulb.edu/~senate/Policies/01-01.html ATTENDANCE IS VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Experience has shown that good grades are strongly correlated with attendance, practice and participation. Each class period may not seem like it covers very much, but students who do not come to class are often surprised at how quickly they get behind. A word to the wise.... Due Dates. Check the class schedule carefully for assignment dates. Graded work which is done as an in-class activity will be expected to be turned in at the end of that class. Graded assignments that will be used as the basis of class discussion (such as TI/AI assignments) are due on the day of the class discussion. Exams will occur on the date listed unless (1) I change the date or (2) we change the date together. In general, the longer papers and projects are due on a particular day, with an automatic extension to the following class day. For example in a TT class, if a longer writing assignment is due on Tuesday, a person may turn it in on that Tuesday or on the following Thursday. For longer extensions you will need to speak with me about why you need the extension and be prepared to provide documentation. Make-up policy. This course will include some graded in-class activities that will not be possible to recreate. If you expect to have an extended absence or multiple absences you should speak to me about the feasibility of keeping up with the course work. If you miss graded assignments other than the in-class activities because you are absent and the absence falls under the conditions for an excused absence, I will work with you to help you make up the work through comparable, but alternative assignments. Be prepared to show documentation. Accommodation: It is the student’s responsibility to notify me in advance of the need for accommodation of a disability. Cheating and Plagiarism: Written work that you hand in is assumed to be original unless your source material is documented appropriately. Using the ideas or words of another person, even a peer, or a web site, as if it were your own, is plagiarism. Cheating and plagiarism are serious academic offenses. Students should read the section on cheating and plagiarism in the CSULB catalog. Furthermore, students should be aware that faculty members have a range of academic actions available to them in cases of cheating and plagiarism from arranging a conference, to failing a student on that particular work, to failing a student in a course, to referring the case to judicial affairs. The use of computers. This course will be set up on BeachBoard. You will need to have an CSULB e-mail account to use BeachBoard. Announcements and messages from me to the class may come by email. If you do not check your CSULB e-mail account regularly, but use another account instead, please set your CSULB account so that it will forward messages to your other account. Computer Help! The CSULB Technology Help Desk is now available for students. The URL for the Help Desk is: http.://helpdesk.CSULB.edu; Phone at 985-4959 .
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