PSYC 101: General Psychology
PSYC 101 is structured to provide you with an overview of the rapidly changing science of psychology. No prerequisite is required, and no prior knowledge of psychology is assumed. This survey course will introduce you to many of the underlying principles and approaches believed to guide human behavior, including biological factors, learning, memory, social cognition, intelligence, emotion, and personality.
This class is not a self-help course; it is an introductory science course. You might gain some insight into your own behavior or the behavior of others along the way, but that is not the primary focus of this course.
The majority of the course will be spent learning about normal human behaviors and the techniques that psychologists use to research these behaviors. We will discuss psychological disorders and treatments, but only during the last few weeks of the course.
See course description for current materials.
In completing this course you will be able to:
- define both the science and the practice of psychology
- identify the various subfields and specialties within psychology
- understand the importance of the scientific method to the study of psychology
- explain the conditions that allow experimental research to infer cause-and-effect relationships
- compare different theoretical and methodological approaches to behavior
- master terms, names, concepts, scientific experiments, and theories vital to the understanding of psychology as a science
- apply psychological principles and findings to solve real problems
- critically evaluate sources of information found on the World Wide Web.
For each lesson, you will be expected to:
- read the assigned chapters
- read the lesson notes and assignment options found on the course website
- complete the online weekly quiz after mastering each lesson
- participate in the ongoing structured discussion forum
- initiate discussions on proposed and related topics or respond to musings posted by your classmates and professor
- two posts are required for each lesson
I expect you to submit all written assignments (Web papers and forum postings) by the due dates posted on the course schedule, and successfully complete the midterm and final exams. Complete information will be given to you as we approach the exam dates.
You should plan to spend approximately three hours each week reading the chapters in your text and the lesson notes on the course website. You will also need to spend an additional two to three hours per week evaluating Web links provided, reading items posted to the discussion forum by your classmates, and writing your own posts to the forum. When you include quizzes and exams, you should spend at least eight or nine hours each week on this course.
Yes, it can be quite time consuming. But, it is only fair to compare that figure to the time you would spend if you were taking the course on campus—you would spend three hours per week in the classroom and an additional six to nine hours per week doing the required readings, completing the written assignments, and preparing for exams (and that estimate might be a bit low).
Grade by percentage:
- 22.5%—midterm exam
- 22.5%—final exam
- 14%—discussion forum participation
- 20%—Web papers
Grade by point value (out of 1,000 total possible points):
- quizzes—210 points (14 quizzes, each worth 15 points)
- midterm exam—225 points
- final exam—225 points
- discussion forum participation—140 points
- Web papers—200 points (2 x 100 points each)
Your final grade will be based on the total number of points you accumulate and determined with the following scale (minus and plus grades will be awarded):
900-1,000 = A (900-929 earns an A-; more than 930 earns an A)
800-899 = B (800-829 earns a B-; 830-865 earns a B; 866-899 earns a B+)
700-799 = C (700-729 earns a C-; 730-765 earns a C; 766-799 earns a C+)
620-699 = D (620-669 earns a D; 670-700 earns a D+)
619 and below = F
Please pay attention to all due dates. Early submission of assignments is accepted and encouraged. Late quizzes or late discussion forum posts will not be graded. Late Web papers will be penalized 20 points for each day late. Late exams will be penalized 25 points per day late. Submit your work early if you are worried about meeting a deadline.
Please note that as wonderful as the Internet is, it is not perfectly reliable; nor are individual computers, routers, service providers, etc. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete assignments from a reliable computer with a reliable connection. Do not count on smartphones to complete assignments on time as dropped connections are common.
You will take your quizzes online within the course, using Sakai. You may take the quizzes open-book. It will be good practice for the exams if you first write down the answers you think are correct without looking at your book, and then check any answer you are unsure of before submitting the quiz. Do not access or attempt to access a quiz before you are ready to take it. Each quiz will be graded automatically and information on your performance returned to you.
Most quizzes are due by Sunday of each week, but there may be exceptions. Please pay close attention to the lesson schedule for all of the due dates. The quizzes become available on Monday morning and you are free to take them at any time during the week of that lesson.
Quizzes are due by 11 pm Eastern Standard Time on the date indicated. Again late quizzes will not be graded.
There will be one midterm and one final examination. Unlike the quizzes, exams are to be taken closed-book and are timed. You are not to look at your text, the course Web pages, or any other material, using only your memory and understanding of the course material.
On exam day, the test will be made available at 8 am. Your exam must be completed before 11 pm Eastern Standard Time on the date indicated. I will deduct 25 points for every day the exam is late.
You must maintain an active presence in the discussion forum—our electronic “classroom.” I consider this your participation grade. If you don’t participate at an acceptable level, you may receive an email message directly from me. Please read this brief section on netiquette before posting. You will access the discussion forums via the link in the sidebar.
In using the discussion forum, I expect you to write at least two of the following for each lesson:
- respond thoughtfully to a question posed by the instructor as lesson assignments
- post a question or comment that occurs to you while working through the readings
- respond to a question or comment posted by a classmate
- generate your own insightful questions that probe deeper into the subject material
- comment on a link that you have explored (listed or newly discovered).
How will I grade discussion postings? As I read your postings I will ask myself:
- Did you do the requisite reading(s)?
- Did you think about this issue?
- Have you read and considered earlier postings?
- Are your answers relevant? Insightful? Appropriate?
- Did you post at least twice during the week?
The discussion forum will be open continually, and it is meant as a place for you to exchange information, share ideas, share opinions, form opinions, and help each other throughout the semester.
All posts to be graded for a particular week should be posted by the quiz deadline for that week. I welcome and encourage additional posts. Continued discussion among all of us will help everyone master the material.
I will check in on the discussion forum once or twice per week and add my own comments. My hope is that the discussion forum will serve primarily as a vehicle for you to learn from and interact with each other. If there are any specific questions you want me to answer, it is more efficient to email me than to post your question on the discussion forum (see Communicating with the Instructor).
Your discussion postings should represent your thoughts on the material being studied, as if you are making a comment or asking a question in a regular class meeting. Students who post the minimum twice per week will probably fall in the B+/A- range for this portion of their grade. Students who regularly go beyond the minimum will get higher grades on this portion of their grade. However, excessive posting will not yield extra credit points.
If you ever have any questions about anything—course content, course mechanics, something from a Web reading, something your Aunt Hilda once did at Thanksgiving dinner, quizzes, dreams, and so on, please email me your question and I will do my best to respond within twenty-four hours. Email will be the most efficient way of communicating with me, and you should all feel very free to use this. Please try to remember to begin the subject heading of all emails to me with “CCO PSYC 101.” Occasionally my email has a nasty habit of filtering out perfectly legitimate emails. To minimize the likelihood of this happening, try to communicate with me via Sakai’s email application. If you haven’t heard back from me within forty-eight hours and it’s not a holiday or school break, please resend your email. And again, please include “CCO PSYC 101” in the subject heading.
Please read the “Email” section in Course Mechanics. Note that messages regarding the course will be sent to your UNC email address, so you will need to make sure you have taken steps to receive those messages.
You will be required to complete two brief Web papers on topics of your choice. These papers will give you an opportunity to expand upon some of the discussion forum assignments and delve a bit deeper into a particular topic or idea that interests you. You should choose a topic that we have covered in the course, and find three relevant websites that expand upon this topic. The Web papers should be brief—about three pages each—and include:
- a brief introduction, including any relevant information from the text, lesson notes, and discussion forums
- a description of what you have learned from your Web explorations. I will be looking for evidence that you have explored the topic beyond what is covered in your textbook and on the course website.
- a brief conclusion or statement that reflects your personal interpretation or analysis of what you have learned.
You should cite the sources you use in the body of your papers using American Psychological Association (APA) format. There is a link from UNC’s library homepage that provides details on the APA citation format.
Also, include a separate page with a list of your references (in APA format). Under each reference, you should include a brief paragraph summarizing the website. Do not summarize the websites in your paper.
Please see the lesson schedule for due dates. The papers must be submitted via the Drop Box link in the sidebar on or before these due dates. I encourage you to submit them early, especially if there is a chance that you will miss the deadline, because late webpapers are penalized heavily.
SQ3R—Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review
- Survey. Look over the material, flip through the chapter, notice the main headings and the length of each section. Choose a goal for this reading session. I suggest one (self-contained) section of the chapter. Never try to read more than twenty to thirty pages at one sitting; you won’t retain much, and it will be a waste of your time.
- Question. Write down a few questions that you have after flipping through the chapter. You need to start thinking about this subject matter before you start reading. The idea here is to get your brain ready to accept some information.
- Read. Now it is time to start reading. Read for meaning—think and integrate as you read. Keep in mind that you are not reading a novel.
- Recite. Talk about what you have read. There are lots of ways to do this, and the discussion forums set up for this course are designed for just that purpose. Let’s discuss what you just read!
- Review. Later, after you have finished reading, review what you (should have) learned—with the textbook closed. How much do you remember? Return to any parts that are sketchy.
P.O.W.E.R. is another study technique:
- Prepare. Before we start a journey, we need to know where we are headed. So what are the goals of each chapter? At the beginning of each chapter of your textbook, Weiten introduces the topic and identifies the main topics to be covered.
- Organize. An outline at the beginning of each chapter and some preview questions at the beginning of each section will help you to organize the information. Read the outline and these questions to get an idea of what topics are covered and how they are organized.
- Work. The key to the P.O.W.E.R. learning system is actually reading and studying the material presented in the book. In some ways, this is the easiest part. However, you need the motivation to conscientiously read and think about the material presented. Remember that the main text is not the only material that you need to read and think about. It is also important to read the boxes, the marginal glossary terms, and the special sections in order to gain a full understanding of the material. Also, be sure to read the lesson notes and assignments for each lesson.
- Evaluate. In each chapter, you will find special boxes called “Concept Checks” at various points and a practice test at the end of the chapter. These are great ways to determine how effectively you have mastered the material. You will also find valuable quizzes on the textbook companion website and ThomsonNOW.
- Rethink. The final step of the P.O.W.E.R. learning system requires thinking critically about the content. Re-analyze, review, question, and challenge assumptions. Do not just accept the information as facts. Does it make sense? Every chapter contains “Critical Thinking Applications.” These sections encourage you to develop a deeper understanding of the material rather than just memorizing facts.
By enrolling as a student in this course, you agree to abide by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill policies related to the acceptable use of online resources. Please consult the Acceptable Use Policy on topics such as copyright, net-etiquette, and privacy protection.
As part of this course, you may be asked to participate in online discussions or other online activities that may include personal information about you or other students in the course. Please be respectful of the rights and protection of other participants under the UNC-Chapel Hill Information Security Policies when participating in online classes.
When using online resources offered by organizations not affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill, such as Google or YouTube, please note that the terms and conditions of these companies and not the University’s Terms and Conditions apply. These third parties may offer different degrees of privacy protection and access rights to online content. You should be well aware of this when posting content to sites not managed by UNC-Chapel Hill.
When links to sites outside of the unc.edu domain are inserted in class discussions, please be mindful that clicking on sites not affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill may pose a risk for your computer due to the possible presence of malware on such sites.
Remember that as a student of UNC-Chapel Hill, you are bound by the University’s Honor Code, which states that “It shall be the responsibility of every student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to obey and support the enforcement of the Honor Code, which prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing when these actions involve academic processes or University students or academic personnel acting in an official capacity.”
All graded academic work must include a pledge comprised of the following: “No unauthorized assistance has been received or given in the completion of this work.”
An especially serious Honor Code violation is plagiarism. If you are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism, contact me and/or familiarize yourself with this plagiarism tutorial, courtesy of UNC Libraries.
- Lesson 1: Introduction
- Lesson 2: Research Methods
- Lesson 3: Biology
- Lesson 4: Sensation and Perception
- Lesson 5: States of Consciousness
- Lesson 6: Learning
- Lesson 7: Memory
- Lesson 8: Motivation and Emotion
- Lesson 9: Human Development
- Lesson 10: Health Psychology
- Lesson 11: Social Psychology
- Lesson 12: Personality
- Lesson 13: Psychological Disorders
- Lesson 14: Treatment of Psychological Disorders