May courage never be extinguished, or light diminished nor spirits bound in pursuit of personal excellence.
PSYCH 001 - Online
MESSAGE FOR ONLINE STUDENTS
This online class does not required any on-campus meetings. All instruction occurs online.
The Wade and Tavris text, Psychology the 9th edition, is available online.
Because this course is using the CourseCompass instructional site, it is not taught inside ANGEL and will not be listed there.
The online version of the text is included when you purchase a subscription to the CourseCompass Website ($35).
Hard copies of the text are availabe in the WVC bookstore and are also on reserve at the WVC library.
- Scroll down to the end of this syllabus for ONLINE INSTRUCTIONS (how to log-on to the CourseCompass, the Course ID).
To see the schedule of assignments for the Spring Semester, click on the last link at the end of this Syllabus.
- General Psychology
- Units: 3
- Instructor: Sandy Ladd
- Acceptable for Credit:
- University of California
- California State University
- General Psychology provides students with an understanding of behavior and mental
- activity as a lawful, orderly, and predictable process, which can be studied using the
- scientific method.
WVC APPLICATION FORM
In order to take an online course, you must apply to be a student at WVC and pay your registration fees. Go to the WVC website at www.westvalley.edu. Click on apply.
If you are a high school student, there may be additional paper work that needs to be submitted between WVC and your institution to enable you to be registered for this class. Please check with your counselor.
By the termination of the course, the student will be able to (1) explain the process of scientific inquiry used in psychology, (2) compare and contrast the multiple determinants of behavior---environmental, biological, and genetic--- (3) analyze current research findings in the areas of physiological psychology, perception, learning, abnormal, and social psychology, (4) distinguish between healthy and unhealthy physical, mental, and emotional patterns. These objectives will be accomplished through assignments involving listening, discussing, reading, and writing.
Distributed learning, quizzes rather than midterms and/or a comprehensive final exam, will be one of the assessment methods used in this course. Quizzes consist of multiple choice questions. This course uses a quiz format only (no midterms; no final exam).
Psychologists have known for a long time that distributed learning is more effective, that is results in better comprehension and retention, than massed learning. Distributed learning means that new information is acquired in small pieces over time and assessed accordingly (for example, one quiz per chapter and one quiz per lecture). Massed learning means that large quantities of information are processed in the same compressed time span and assessed accordingly (for example, one midterm over 5 to 7 chapters or a comprehensive final exam over the entire course).
Even though an instructor might tell you to read a chapter a week, if you are tested once a month by a midterm that covers 5 to 7 chapters it is most likely that you will wait until shortly before the exam and study those chapters together (massed) over a short period of time (a few days prior to the exam). This study pattern constitutes massed learning and reduces both your comprehension and retention of the material.
Critical thinking will be practiced through writing assignments (homework, projects/papers, electronic portfolio) and will also be presented in a distributed learning format.
Students will be asked to explain, analyze, synthesize and evaluate basic concepts in psychology through homework, two projects, and the creation of an electronic portfolio. The project and electronic portfolio will offer students the opportunity to apply selected psychological concepts to their own behavior and to the behavior of groups.
- Wade, C. & Tavris, C. (2008). Psychology (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
- Available online (e9, Psychology) with a subscription to the CourseCompass ($35).
- Available in hard copy, with the study guide and CourseCompass access code for $98.50 at the WVC bookstore.
- ISBN 10: 0205657389 (text)
- Goleman, D. (2005) Emotional Intelligence (2nd ed.). New York: Bantam Books.
- ISBN 0-5-5338371-3
- Doyle, J. (2005). True Witness: Cops, Courts, Science, and the Battle Against Misidentification. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
- ISBN 1-4-0396430-0-4
- Rent the DVD from a local store or from Netflix (or equivalent)
- View the video at the WVC Library. DVDs are on reserve and must be viewed in the library.
Call numbers are listed below.
Powder (Video 2001-82)
Choose ONE from the following listed alphabetically):
Hurricane (Video 2001-85)
Shawshank Redemption (Video 2001-75)
VIRTUAL OFFICE HOURS
- Office hours will be held from 5:00 to 7:15 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday or by appointment. Students will be given my personal California cell phone number inside the Course Compass and asked to only use it to speak with me during my office hours and to the use the WVC on-campus number at other times (408-741-2548). However, you can email me at any time.
- Video conferencing during my office hours will be available upon request. Students will be able to use the CNB Lab on campus for video conferencing. Again instructions will be given inside the Course Compass.
- If an approved rationale is presented in writing documenting why these other methods are not workable, then an in-person meeting with me can be arranged, but will require advanced scheduling.
Like you, I am also a student. I am a graduate student in Behavioral Neuroscience, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine. This is why we are using the virtual office hour method. If you have any questions or concerns, please email me and we can discuss them.
ORGANIZATION OF THE COURSE INSIDE THE COURSE COMPASS
Once you are inside the Course Compass, you will see that I have organized the course using a week-to-week (for the Fall or Spring semester) or a day-to-day (for the Summer and Winter Sessions) format. For example, you will click on Week 1 (or Day 1 for Summer and Winter Sessions)) and you will see the files for that week (or day) ordered in the way I think you should access them. You will see a file telling you what to read for that week (or day) followed by cutting edge electronic study tools that will help you to comprehend and remember the information. After reading each chapter, I recommend that you use ALL THE STUDY TOOLS before completing your homework. If you use these study tools, you will increase the probability of success on the homework and quizzes.
After completing your homework, you can take the practice chapter quiz and then take the real chapter quiz. Following those activities, you should read the class lecture and take the quiz for it. These are the typical activities required for Week 1 (or Day 1). Although most weeks (or days) are organized this way, you do have two projects and are given one week (or one day) for each project. Again, all the information you need to complete these assignments will be given to you under the weeks (or days) designated for the projects.
You also have a hard copy of the study guide for the text. If you are tired of reading the monitor, then use your hard copy study guide.
This format is very well-organized and most students find it easy to understand. However, if this is your first online class, you will need to tell yourself to relax and reassure yourself that you will be able to do this! It is normal to feel slightly anxious around any new activity. Be kind to yourself and use positive self-talk!
There is one quiz for each chapter. Each chapter quiz has 25 multiple choice questions, 4 points each (100 points possible).
The 25 questions on each chapter are randomly selected from a pool of between 100 to 300 questions for that chapter. The questions selected from the pool of questions and the random order of those questions changes each time the quiz is taken by any student. Also, the quizzes are NOT designed to be open-text or open-notes. This is why there is a 25 minute time limit.
There is one quiz for each class lecture. Each class lecture quiz has 10 multiple choice/true false questions, 1 points each (10 points possible). The random order of the questions changes each time the quiz is taken by any student. A minimum of 15 (out of 17) lectures quizzes must be completed.
First, add your lecture and quiz scores together. Your combined quiz score converts to a grade as follows (extra points add to your total points for the course).
- A = 100 - 90
- B = 89 - 80
- C = 79 - 70
- D = 69 - 65
- F = Below 64
- Each week (or day for students in the Summer or Winter sessions) you will read one chapter, do your homework for that chapter, read the lecture, take one quiz through the Course Compass website on each, and complete your electronic portfolio entry. The quiz on the chapter and lecture for that week (or day) will be available until 12 midnight. The only exception to this pattern are the two weeks (or days) which are dedicated to Projects 1 and 2 (explained below) and the two weeks (or days) at the end of the semester where you will be reading two chapters instead of one.
You can always re-enter a quiz to see how you answered a particular question by simply clicking on your total quiz score.
For each week, the homework (worth 100 points) consists of the following components:
Answer short-answer essay questions for that chapter
List ideas presented on the Live!Psych Experiments and/or Live!PsychSimulations
Write a short synopsis (5 to 10 sentences) of one article selected from American Psychological Association website.
Answers to the essay questions should be brief (one or two sentences), but cannot be dualistic (yes-no, right-wrong, agree-disagree) and must demonstrate comprehension of concepts and current research findings. Use complete sentences. "Yes-no" answers will not be acceptable. You are required to participate in the Live!Psych Experiments and Live!Psych Simulations. The homework is very easy, however, and you will be asked to list 3 ideas that you learned from each of those experiences. Each idea should be expressed in a single sentence. Four times during this course, you will be asked to analyze behavior from watching about 10 minutes of any Dr. Phil show on television. You will be given a specific format for this analysis.
You are required to turn in your homework assignments by midnight on the due date. The homework must be complete in order to receive a grade for the course. If you miss the homework deadline, you may turn in late homework for any three days (without a penalty) during Magic Week (or Day for Summer or Winter Session students). This concept is described below.
With the exception of the "grace period" during Magic Week (or Day), all other late homework will receive a 30% reduction in points.
So, if you are late on your homework, remember that you cannot submit it to me until Magic Week (or Day) . If you exceed the 3 chapter limit, there will be a 30% reduction in points for each additional assignment (chapter homework, quizzes, lecture quizzes and electronic portfolio entries).
Homework must be TOTALLY complete in order to be graded. There will be no partial credit. So, if you are missing one term or do not attempt to answer one of the questions, you will receive zero points. There will be a 5 point reduction for each error on any section of the homework. If you "try" but make a comprehension error, I will explain why it is an error and ask you to correct it. Then, I will allow you to resubmit your homework and retrieve the missing points.
All homework is due by midnight on the week (or day for Summer or Winter session students) it is assigned. Homework will be graded and returned in 48 hours. The specific due dates for assignments are specified in the class schedule. Click on the link for Schedule at the end of this Syllabus.
HOMEWORK COPIES TO SELF
When you email your homework to me or your projects ALWAYS send a copy to yourself (bcc) so you will have "proof" that you sent it on time.
SAVE ALL ASSIGNMENTS ON YOUR HARD DRIVE OR ON A ZIP DISK OR CD.
The Homework - Quiz Sequencing Rule
You must submit your chapter homework prior to taking your quiz for that chapter. You will only receive credit for a quiz, if your chapter homework for that quiz is emailed to me prior to taking the quiz. Since there is no homework on the lectures, you can take your lecture quiz at any time during the assigned day.
- There are two projects: a Health Psychology Project (Project 1) and a Social Psychology Project (Project 2).
The completion of BOTH projects is required in order to receive a grade in the course.
- Projects are designed to assist students in a learning how to apply psychological concepts to themselves and others.
- Each project will require that a student read the assigned supplementary book and view a video.
- Videos can be rented (e.g., from Blockbusters, Hollywood, etc.) or view it at the WVC library. All videos are on reserve. Also, videos can be purchased through amazon.com.
- Questions will be given by the instructor for each project prior to reading the book and watching the video.
PROJECT METHODOLOGY - THREADED DISCUSSION FORMAT
- After watching the assigned video (alone) students will complete a series of essay questions in a format called "threaded discussion." For this assignment, students will input their answers inside the Course Compass, rather than emailing them to me.
- You will be assigned to a team of three to five students. Although you will answer each question individually, you will be able to see the answers given by the other members of your team. You will also be able to react to each other's answers (elaborate, agree/disagree, etc.)
- All students must complete the threaded discussion papers in order to receive a grade in the course.
- Examples of threaded discussion papers will be provided.
The two projects are due by 12 midnight for the due date specified in the class schedule. Late projects will receive a 30% reduction in points. There is no exception to this procedure. And, Magic Week (or Day) cannot be used for projects.
ELECTRONIC PORTFOLIO: EXPLORATIONS OF PERSONAL HEALTH
- Students are required to develop an electronic portfolio, based on positive psychology, which focuses on the application of health psychology concepts to their own behavior.
- One short entry into the electronic portfolio is assigned for 15 weeks (or days for Summer and Winter students).
- The portfolio is not an extensive writing assignment, but does require some "psychological energy."
For the homework, the due date is always Sunday by midnight (or midnight of the same day for Summer and Winter session students).
The specific due dates for all assignments, including the projects, are specified in the class schedule. Click on Syllabus in the main menu. Then, click on Schedule.
Course Compass is set for Eastern Standard Time (EST).
I correct for this from my side of the system. Therefore, don't worry if your computer reads the next day because you sent it in at 12 midnight on Sunday.
And don't worry if you are off by one or two minutes.
You can email your homework to me and take the quiz at any time during the week (or day).
One of the benefits of the online methodology is flexibility. You have the option of completing your homework and taking the quiz at any time during the wee (or day). There is no rigid schedule for these activities and, as such, you can pace yourself and set your own individualized schedule within the constraints specified in the syllabus and class schedule.
If an assignment or quiz is late and is beyond the limit allowed during Magic Week (or Day)., that assignment or quiz will receive a 30% reduction. You can only submit late assignments during Magic Week (or Day).
Magic Week (or Day for Summer and Winter Session students)
What if you don't have the time to finish your homework? There are three Magic Weeks (or Days) that serve grace periods allowing you some flexibility.
During the Magic Weeks (or Days), I will allow you to do the following:
- submit one chapter homework assignment
- take one chapter quiz (for any chapter required in the course); homework must be submitted prior to taking the quiz for the chapter
- take one lecture quiz
- submit one Electronic Portfolio Entry
During the MagicWeeks (or Days), any make-up assignment or quiz will be considered "on time" or just as if you completed them by the scheduled due date.
Magic Weeks (or Days) are my way of recognizing that "unplanned things just happen! (even to good students)" and one of the "benefits" of online classes is the opportunity for "flexibility." However, it is best to complete the chapters in the order they are assigned. I want you to only use the Magic Weeks (or Days) concept when you have an emergency which interferes with completing an assignment on time OR if you feel that you need extra time to do well on the more challenging chapters and prefer to "save" the easier ones for a Magic Week (or Day).
The Magic Week (or Day) concept does not apply to papers/projects.
I realize that some of you may want to go faster than the pace I have set-up. You can always read the chapters, use the practice materials and do the homework ahead of time. You can submit early work at any time. However, the quizzes are only available for the week (or day) specified in the Assignment Folder inside the Course Compass.
There are some limitations for leap frogs. I revise my lectures and change the lecture questions as the course progresses. So, you may notice there are, at times, lectures that are missing the link and will not open until the week (or day) they are assigned. This is because I am working on that aspect of the course.
For 50 extra credit points you have the option to view the video and answer the questions for A Beautiful Mind or for the film The Freedom Writers.
Grades for General Psychology are based on an accumulation of points from homework assignments, projects/papers, the electronic personal portfolio entries, and chapter and lecture quizzes.
5,150 Points Possible
Task Points Total Points Homework (17) 100 1700 Projects/Papers (2) 340 680 Electronic Portfolio Entries (15) 50 750 Quizzes - Text and Lecture 110 1870
Grades will be calculated on a class curve based on your total points. An approximate scale derived from last semester's curve is posted below.
Since I will provide each student with feedback on incorrect answers given on homework assignments and give each student the opportunity to correct their mistakes and retrieve lost points, it is expected that students will receive full credit for their homework. Also, the Magic Week (or Day) option (explained above) reduces the possibility of being penalized for late homework or quizzes.
As a consequence of these procedures, at the end of the course you CANNOT assume that the percent derived by comparing your total points to the total points possible for the course predicts your grade for the course.
In other words, you could receive 92% correct at the end of the course and still receive a grade of B. This is because your homework points act as a constant, and make a total point percentage inaccurate.
In other words, the variance in a student's final points for the class is derived primarily from their quizzes and projects.
Given the above, here is how you can estimate your grade at any time during the course.
A comparison of the curve below to a standard percent grading method can be obtained by doing the following calculation: [(your total points obtained for quizzes/1700) * (100) + (your total points obtained for projects/850)*(100)]/2 = total percentage score on quizzes and projects]. The percentage you compute using this method will approximate your grade in the course (again, given that your homework should operate as a constant). The extra credit option (a paper) allows for some additional variance in the point distribution. However, again, I am using a class curve to derive the final grade.
Here is last semester's curve.
A 5000 4700 B 4699 3800 C 3799 3000 D 2999 2500 F 2499 0
- ADA STATEMENT
- The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a
- federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil
- rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this
- legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a
- learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their
- disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an
- accommodation, please contact DESP in the Learning Services Building
- (408.741.2010 or 408.741.2658 TTY).
We will be using a website called CourseCompass in this course. Once you are inside CourseCompass you will see all the assignments for each week of the semester, including the homework, learning tools, and quizzes.
Make sure you are using only Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher as your browser.
To purchase an online subscription for CourseCompass, go to
During the registration process, you create a login name and password. The cost for a subscription varies from course to course, but last semester access to my course cost $35. You will find out how much the subscription will be this semester before you enter any personal information, so you can end the process at that time if you wish. All you have to do is complete the first step, submit a valid Course ID, and the cost is presented to you. (CourseCompass is no longer using access codes like they did last semester.)
- The Course ID for the Spring Semester is LADD52896
In the future when you want to enter the course you have registered for, go to
Once you are there you can log into my course using the login name and password you just created. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the course you are taking.
- Also, there is online help for students 24 hours a day every day of the week by going to
If you have a problem during the registration process, you can call the CourseCompass help line at 800-677-6337 (M-F 8AM - 5 PM EST.
The following link is optional, but you should use it if you think you need further technical information.
Click here to access the How to Succeed in an Online Course WebPages.
SOFTWARE GIVEN TO YOU INSIDE COURSE COMPASS
In order to access all the study tools available for this course, you are provided with the following programs inside the Course Compass. They are contained in the first folder under Assignments, called Browser Tuneup. The following programs can be downloaded from there:
- Windows Media
- Adobe Reader
- Internet Explorer Version 6.0
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR AOL OR HOTMAIL USERS
If you are using aol or hotmail as your server, you need to
Click on the underscore when the welcome window appears (PC users) or click on the small box inside the larger box that is located on the upper right of the window (Mac users).
This will minimize the browser for your server.
In order to see all the files at the Course Compass site, you need to minimize your browser every time you log-on to Course Compass.
If you are having problems with your Internet browser or java etc. when using Course Compass, please check the following link for possible solutions.
Click here to learn about browser preferences and troubleshooting.
Click here to learn how to empty the cache in your browser so that it will not get "backed-up with files" and slow you down.
In Internet Explorer 6
- 1. Open your Internet Explorer.
- 2. Go to "Tools," "Internet Options."
- 3. Click "Delete Files", click OK
- 4. Click the "delete cookies" button. Confirm the deletion.
- 5. Click the "delete files" button. Confirm the deletion.
- 6. Click the "settings" button. Where it states "check for newer versions of stored pages" check the "Every visit to the page."
- 7. Locate "Amount of disk space to use:" and change this amount to 50 MB. The box to change this amount is located to the right of this category. It may take a few moments to change this setting.
For Netscape Navigator or Mozilla
- 1. On your browser's Edit menu, click Preferences.
- 2. In the Preferences dialog box, expand the Advanced category on the left by clicking the plus sign (+) next to it.
- 3. Click Cache.
- 4. Click Clear Memory Cache.
- 5. In the Confirmation dialog box, click OK to verify that you want to clear your memory cache.
- 6. Click Clear Disk Cache.
- 7. In the Confirmation dialog box, click OK to verify that you want to clear your disk cache.
- 8. In the Preferences dialog box, click OK.
- 9. Now under Privacy & Security click on Cookies then the Manage Stored Cookies button.
- 10. Click the Remove all Cookies button, click the Close and then OK buttons.
- 11. Close all browser
After you have completed these changes close out all browser windows. Then re-open your browser and log into the site
Please remember to use the Log Out button in the top right corner of the window each time you leave the site.
Going Over the Time Limit on a Quiz
When you are taking the chapter quizzes, please pay attention to the time.
If you go over the time limit by a few seconds, you will not see your score at the end of the quiz when you hit the submit bottom. When you click on my grades, you will see "!" or what looks like a locked box.
You don't need to email me. If this happens, I am informed by the software and I can usually fix it. Check your grades in a few days and you should see your score.
You need to stay within the time limit as it is not fair to other student to go over the time limit.
I will keep track of the times you go over the time limit.
One reason students go over the time limit is it they are trying to refer to the text or to the lecture notes.
Remember the quizzes are not designed to be open-book or open-notes.
Attempting to Print a Quiz or a Quiz Question
- If you attempt to print, copy or download a quiz or a quiz question, I will see a mark that looks like this "!!" in my grade book.
- You are not allowed to print, copy or download a quiz or a quiz question,
- You will be dropped from the course if you try to do so.
Attempting to "Stop the Clock" or Access the Test Item Pool Through the HTML Code
If you attempt to "stop the clock" or to access the html code for the course compass and break into a quiz or a test item pool, a security alarm lock box will appear by your name. You will be immediately removed from the course and there will be other disciplinary consequences to this action as required by the District and the educational code of the state of California.
If you have a network error due to technical problems, you will what looks like a small lock box. I will understand and clear your first two quizzes as the result of network errors. After the second network error, I suggest that you take your quizzes in the Technology Center (or equivalent such as a public library) where there is a fast connection to the Internet, updated Browsers and technical assistance. In the event of a third network error, I will only clear your quiz and allow you to take it again after you seek assistance from an employee and obtain their name and work telephone number. Then, email that information to me so that I can verify the problem and try to help you.
Any quiz taken after the due date and not during Magic Week (or Day) will receive a 30% reduction in points. You can only submit late assignments during Magic Week (or Day).
Quizzes must be taken individually. I will receive a record of the time each student takes a quiz. If I see any consistent time patterns between students, I will ask you to submit to me a written explanation regarding this issue.
Time and Network Error Tracking
If necessary in order to increase your awareness or these behaviors, a column may appear that will give you the total number of times you exceeded the time limit or had a network error.
Click here to access the schedule of assignments for General Psychology (Psych 001) during the Spring Semester (February 2 - May 30, 2009).
This page was revised on January 30, 2009.
This page was designed and produced by Sandra Ladd.