PSY 101 - General Psychology (3 Credits)

Online Class

Spring 2009

 (Instructions in blue are hidden text that will not appear on the printed syllabus)


Leslie Preston


Phone 777-5245

Instructor Email - WebCt


ExploringPsychology, 7th Edition, by David Myers
W.H. Freeman and Co. Publishing
ISBN: 0-7167-1544-9

Catalog Description:

Survey of the discipline introducing psychological theories, research methods and principles of behavior. Prerequisite: ENG 101 reading level.

Course Description:

Psychology 101 surveys the multi-faceted field of psychology from the biological underpinnings of behavior to learning theories, studies of memory, thinking and intelligence to personality development.

Learner Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, the student will:


1.                  Define approximately 100 psychological terms;

1.                  Measurement: quiz scores


1.                  Describe the theories of Pavlov, skinner, Freud, and other major theorists;

1.                  Measurements: quiz scores and discussion topics


1.                  Label and recognize different structures of the brain and list functions of these structures;

1.                  Measurements: review and quizzes


1.                  Identify the five major viewpoints;

1.                  Measurements: quiz and research papers (Change the measurement as appropriate.)


1.                  Apply learning theories to real life situations;

1.                  Measurements: quiz scores, discussion topics and research papers (Change the measurement as appropriate.)

Method of Instruction: Lecture - online, discussion, and writing assignments

Assignments and Expectations:

Students are expected to keep up with the assigned reading schedule, weekly check in with instructor, discussion topics, and follow Important Dates guidelines. . Each student is responsible for all material and assignments and the time frame expected for each. 

Participation is expected. Those who do not follow the class guidelines and expectations generally do poorly.  Update this information as the catalog is updated

Evaluation and Grades:

Quizzes during the semester will be multiple choice, completion, and short essay covering textbook material.

Students are expected to take the tests at the time they are scheduled unless arrangements have been made with the instructor beforehand. There is no provision for extra credit.

The following point system will be used:


370-333  = A

332- 296 = B

295- 259 = C

258- 222 = D

221 -below  = F

I = Incomplete

W  = Withdrawal

Incompletes: The Incomplete (I) is assigned in special circumstances (serious illness, death of a family member) when a student who has completed three-quarters of the course with a C or above cannot complete the course. It must be arranged in advance with the instructor.

Withdrawals: Students who wish to withdraw from the course must do so by the end of the thirteenth week of the semester. Withdrawal information is available through Student Services. Students who do not officially withdraw will receive an F.

Grade Appeals: GBC has a standard procedure for grade appeals which is given in detail on page 50 of the GBC General Catalog 2006-2007 (Update this information as the catalog is updated). Note that the first step is to meet with the instructor.

Policy of Academic Integrity:

GBC subscribes to the traditional policy of academic integrity: students are expected to be honest. That means that students are expected to do their own work. In work that utilizes sources written by others, those sources must be given credit for exact words and ideas. Students who plagiarize (copy the work of others and pass it off as their own) are violating the standards of academic integrity and are subject to punishments ranging from failing the assignment to dismissal from the institution. See GBC General Catalog 2006 - 2007 page 28. (Update this information as the catalog is updated)

Attached to this syllabus is “Plagiarism: Avoid It!� which defines plagiarism and briefly explains how to prevent it. Read it carefully and ask your instructor to clarify any questions you have. Your papers for this course must be free of plagiarism, intentional or unintentional.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy: Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact me personally as soon as possible so we can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities. ADA STATEMENT: GBC supports providing equal access for students with disabilities.  An advisor is available to discuss appropriate accommodations with students.  Please contact the ADA Officer (Julie Byrnes) in Elko at 775.753.2271 at your earliest convenience to request timely and appropriate accommodations.    

Psychology 101 - General Education Objectives with

Learner Outcomes and Measurements

Objective 1: Communication Skills-Strong (do not change Objectives and Learner Outcomes; only the Measurements can be changed)

Strong communication skills are very important in Psychology 101. Students should learn to communicate clearly and effectively in written and oral forms.

Learner Outcomes

Measurements (Change as appropriate)

(1) Definition viewpoints

Class discussions, quiz scores, and class projects

(2) Proper labeling of brain structures and functions

Class discussions, quiz scores, and class projects

(2) Understanding of basic terms and critical theories

Class discussions, quiz scores, and class projects

Objective 2: Critical Thinking-Strong (do not change Objectives and Learner Outcomes; only the Measurements can be changed)

Reasoning, independent thought and understanding strengths and weaknesses of research methods are of vital importance in the social sciences.

Learner Outcomes

Measurements (Change as appropriate)

(1) Assess pros and cons of different research methods

Assigned readings, review research from the past, discussion and presentation of current issues

(2) Identify relevant problems involving ethics in research

Assigned readings, review research from the past, discussion and presentation of current issues

Objective 3: Personal and Cultural Awareness-Moderate (do not change Objectives and Learner Outcomes; only the Measurements can be changed)

Understanding the roles of individuals in society and significance of creativity in the human experience is of critical importance.

Learner Outcomes

Measurements (Change as appropriate)

(1) Recognize the need for multiple perspectives in the study of human behavior

Historical examples, discussions, demonstrations on learning styles, examples in popular media (i.e., music, literature, and news)

(2) Illustrate the use of learning theories to real-life situations

Historical examples, discussions, demonstrations on learning styles, examples in popular media (i.e., music, literature, and news)

(3) Recognize the impact of environment and genetics on

Historical examples, discussions, demonstrations on learning styles, examples in popular media (i.e., music, literature, and news)

Objective 4: Personal Wellness-Moderate (do not change Objectives and Learner Outcomes; only the Measurements can be changed)

This course helps develop knowledge, skills, and behavior, which promotes personal well being.

Learner Outcomes

Measurements (Change as appropriate)

(1) Gain a persepctive on drug use, stress, and lifestyle choices

 discussions, assigned readings

Objective 5: Technological Understanding-Some Degree (do not change Objectives and Learner Outcomes; only the Measurements can be changed)

Because of the Internet, it is necessary to address the impact of the mode of information on people's lives.

Learner Outcomes

Measurements (Change as appropriate)

(1) Students will begin to develop the ability to discriminate between reliable web sites and those that are not

Use of WebCt / online research

Plagiarism - AVOID IT!

(With thanks to Dr. Robert Griswold, University of Oklahoma)

Each student at Great Basin College is supposed to know what plagiarism is and to be aware that to plagiarize the work of another person is a serious academic offense. This handout will give you some formal definitions of plagiarism but more important, it provides you with some concrete examples of writing which meet the definition of plagiarism so you can avoid plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism: the representation of the words or ideas of another as one's own, including:

1. Directly quoting from another work without letting the reader know that the words are not your own. In this case, the writer generally fails both to use quotation marks around the quoted passages and to mention the name of the original author of the words.

2. Paraphrasing without attribution is another common form of plagiarism. In this case, the student paraphrases the original passage, but the student does not give credit to the original author from whose work the paraphrase derived.

3. Plagiarism can also be committed when a student paraphrases with or without attribution and in so doing uses much of the original wording, thereby passing off the original prose as the student's own.

4. A more tricky case of plagiarism involves students who use entirely their own words but borrow the ideas, arguments, facts, or reasoning of another without giving attribution. Such cases do not involve general knowledge--The Civil War started in 1861--but rather material that is not part of general knowledge but rather comes from the special efforts of the original author.

5. Another form of plagiarism, which is simply fraud, is the submission of work under your name which is not yours. Such work could be by another student, friend, or family member or by a company that writes papers for hire. A number of companies on the Internet sell papers to students, and buying such a paper and submitting it as your own is a serious breach of academic honesty and a vile form of plagiarism.

In short, plagiarism consists of failure to give proper credit for ideas and writings that come from others, but some concrete examples will help clarify its meaning.

In order to avoid even unintentional plagiarism, here are two good rules to follow:

1. Place anything you copy verbatim from another writer--whole sentences, phrases, a single distinctive word--within quotation marks and identify the source of the quotation, normally in a footnote or an endnote.

2. Always give credit for ideas that are not your own. If you are summarizing the basic idea of an article you have read, give credit to the author for those ideas in a footnote or endnote. You should do this even if you do not use any of the author's original words in writing your summary. If you are uncertain whether or not to cite an author, the safest course to follow is to offer a citation.

As a rule, avoid an extensive use of quotations. Papers should never be long quotations strung together with a few words of your own. Use quotations only for the telling phrase, the unbeatable metaphor, the perfect description, or the controversial point of view that deserves expression in the original. Most of what you take from other sources should be paraphrased, and it is at this point that many students get into trouble. When paraphrasing, you must be certain that you express the ideas from your source in your own words. You cannot change a few conjunctions or articles, throw in or cut out a few words here and there, alter the syntax a bit and pretend that it is your writing. It is not. The structure and most of the phraseology remains that of the author, and your paraphrase is a kind of plagiarism. One basic rule might help: never take five consecutive words from a source without placing them within quotation marks. Even fewer words, of course, should be placed in quotation marks if these words are distinctively the authors.

The following example will help you better understand plagiarism and thus avoid it: below you will find a quotation, followed by an improper and a proper example of paraphrasing.

The format utilized for citation below is MLA.

The quotation: "Most of the time a child who knew no English would be placed in a `sink-or-swim,' total-immersion class when first entering school. After six months a student who did not `sink' would graduate to a class appropriate to his or her ability to cope with English. Bilingualism was not an option, and as a result many of the children schooled under this policy recall that their initial experiences were intensely traumatic" (Berrol 111).

Source in MLA Works Cited format: Berrol, Selma. "Immigrant Children at School." The Social Fabric: American Life from the Civil War to the Present. Ed. John Cary, et al. 8th ed. Vol.2. New York: Longman, 1999.

Paraphrasing that would be considered plagiarism: Much of the time, children who knew no English would find themselves in a "sink-or-swim" immersion class when entering school. After a half-year, students who did not sink would join a class suitable to their ability to deal with English. Bilingualism was not permitted, and therefore many children under this policy remember that they found school initially intensely traumatic (Berrol 111).

Proper paraphrasing: Immigrant children who could not speak English often found schools a hostile environment. "Bilingualism," as Selma Berrol has observed, "was not an option," and thus immigrants often remembered their school days as anxious, frustrating times (Berrol 111).

The author of the improper example of paraphrasing does cite the Berrol argument, but the writing too closely tracks the original to escape the charge of plagiarism. While many words are changed, many are not, and the structure, phrasing, and vocabulary too closely resemble the original. Such a student would be guilty of committing plagiarism. The second example is a true paraphrase. Berrol's ideas are summarized accurately but in the writer's own words, and Berrol is properly quoted where appropriate via the use of quotation marks. Note that the entire statement is covered by the parenthetical citation.

Plagiarizing ideas:

Another form of plagiarism involves using your own language but appropriating someone else's ideas as your own. Suppose, for example, you had been asked to write a paper on the experience of immigrant children in American schools at the turn-of-the-century. If you properly paraphrased Berrol (as above in the "proper" example) but gave her no credit in a footnote or endnote, you would be pretending that this analysis was based on your research, that these were your conclusions, and that these were your own ideas about immigrants and schooling. But such is not the case. Your words are really a proper paraphrase of Selma Berrol's ideas, conclusions she reached after extensive research on the history of immigrant children in U.S. schools.

Taking notes and avoiding plagiarism:

One of the easiest ways to fall into the trap of plagiarism--deliberate cheating aside--is to write your paper while you have library books and journals or the photocopies of such lying next to your computer. If you write directly from the original authors' works, you may indulge, quite innocently, of improper paraphrasing, but such behavior is plagiarism nonetheless. One of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to take careful notes, preferably on note cards or note slips. On your note card, place quotation marks around all material you copy verbatim. Check to make sure you have copied this material accurately, and write down the page number and the source on the note card. Read carefully the material you wish to paraphrase, then close the book or journal and write your paraphrase. By not looking at the original source while you paraphrase it, you should avoid the temptation of relying too heavily on its sentence structure and vocabulary. If an author uses a particularly memorable or apt phrase, put that in your summary with quotation marks around it and the page number beside it.

A final word:

Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic integrity and is to be avoided at all costs. Outright cheating--i.e. using another student's paper, buying a paper on the Internet, copying long passages of an article verbatim and passing this work off as your own work--is the most egregious violation of the rule against plagiarism and also the easiest to catch. But even students with no ill intent can sometimes commit plagiarism, most often by incorrectly paraphrasing another author's ideas, sentence structure, and/or vocabulary. In general, remember that your paper should be comprised of your ideas, your interpretations, and your arguments. It should never consist of a string of long, undigested block quotations linked together with a few well-placed conjunctions. Likewise, it should not consist of a string of improperly paraphrased paragraphs or a series of unattributed ideas that originated with another author. You can refer to other sources and quote them where appropriate, but remember that plagiarism is most likely to happen when your paper emphasizes the ideas of others rather than your own. Give credit where credit is due, when in doubt provide the reader a citation, and remember that plagiarism in any of its forms is a serious breach of academic honesty.

Title 2 of the University and Community College System of Nevada CODE, Chapter 6, section 6.2, (q) states, “Acts of academic dishonesty, including but limited to cheating, plagiarism, falsifying research data or results, or assisting others to do the same� is prohibited activity. For these definitions and the system's disciplinary procedures and your rights, see the GBC General Catalog 2006-2007, pages 27 - 31. (Update this information as the catalog is updated)