Way Overdue Spring Semester Wrap-Up

It’s a little embarrassing to see the semester ended over 2 months ago and I didn’t do any kind of culminating post. I’ll blame the craziness that always seems to reign at the end of spring and then launching into summer classes for the lapse, but it’s mostly just excuses. It was a pleasure reading my students’ thoughts this semester. I learned a lot about how they think and what they believe, which I find a valuable perk to my choice of career. I’m already looking forward to seeing new students’ reactions to some of the popular prompts as well as coming up with new questions and ideas to discuss.

I won’t be teaching 101 in the fall, so you won’t see much posted here until February of 2016. I am planning on expanding my use of blogging into other courses, so I’ll post links here for those who are interested.

Advertisement

Finals Week Blog Prompt

This is the prompt for finals week. You must post by 1 am Friday, 5/15 to receive credit (comments will be accepted until 5 pm on Friday, 5/15). This prompt can only be used to replace a non-zero post from earlier in the semester. If you have a score of 9 or better on all 8 blog posts, you can earn up to 2 extra credit points for your post. Same criteria for the comments (score of 4.5 or better on all 8 comments).

Return to your introductory blog post where you described the 3 topics you were most and least excited about for this course, and the one question you wanted to be able to answer when it was over. Reflect on whether your predictions came true in terms of your favorite and least favorite questions, and try to answer the question you posed.

Week 13 Student Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Social Psychology

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  kjeik 

The main foci of the social psychology week were stereotypes and discrimination, obedience (no General Psychology course is complete without Stanley Milgrim!), and conformity. Students had the choice of examining their own implicit biases toward other groups via the Implicit Association Test or to break down the types of persuasion used in a set of commercials (see here for full prompts). Only one student chose the latter option by breaking down two Taco Bell commercials. The remainder opted to try the IAT and reflect on their results. Check out their posts and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7

Week 12 Student Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Stress

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  kjeik 

The focus this week was stress: what is it and how can we cope with it? My students had the option for this week’s blog to either watch a TED Talk that might make them think a little differently about stress (Kelly McGonigal’s How to make stress your friend) or discuss their own coping strategies for stress (for full prompts see here). Most students chose the former, though five decided to talk about their coping strategies and how to improve them (read these to get some ideas and leave your own in the comments!).

TED Talk: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7, Link 8, Link 9
Stress Coping Strategies: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4Link 5

Week 14 Blog Prompt: Topic – Mental Health

Option 1:

Your textbook lists 4 major types of psychotherapy (psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic/existential). Rank these types of therapy according to how helpful you think they would be if you needed therapy and explain what it is about each one that you like/dislike. For your highest rated therapy, find additional information about it from a web source (include a link to the source and discuss its credibility).

Option 2:

There is a new campaign targeting increased awareness of mental health issues that has received a lot of support from First Lady Michelle Obama called Change Direction. Using the information provided on their website (http://www.changedirection.org) evaluate how effective you think the campaign will be in general. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign? Will college students pay attention to this or not and why? If AC was going to do an awareness campaign to help students identify mental health issues in their friends and classmates, how should they go about doing it to give it the best chance of actually working?

Week 13 Blog Prompts: Topic – Social Psychology

Option 1:

As mentioned in class, the Implicit Association Test (which can be accessed through this link) is a tool to identify biases which may be outside your conscious awareness. The results of this test cannot determine whether or not you are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., but they are useful to help you understand yourself and how you interact with others. For this post, you must take two separate IAT tests from the link above. You do not need to share your results if you don’t want to, but you need to talk about the experience of taking the test and getting the results, comment on whether or not the results were surprising, and discuss how this test can be useful for college students or your future career.

Option 2:

Your textbook gives a good overview of the power of persuasion, but how well do you recognize these effects in your own lives? In advertising, both the central route and the peripheral route are used to persuade an individual. Many commercials use these routes to persuade an individual to buy their product or to buy into their idea. Select one type of product (e.g., cars, cereal, video games) and find a commercial that displays the central route and another that displays the peripheral route of persuasion. Discuss how each route is used, argue which route of persuasion you believe worked best, point out any other persuasion techniques that you noticed, and explain how the commercials could have better displayed the route of persuasion it used. Please put the link to the commercials in your discussion.

Week 11 Student Blog Spotlight: Topics – Emotion & Motivation

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  kjeik 

As the semester draws ever closer to completion, students facing final exams often need a reminder about how to generate happiness and/or explore their motivations (or perhaps lack thereof). Always one to jump to help students out, this week’s blog prompts offered them the choice of watching Dan Gilbert’s fantastic TED Talk entitled The Surprising Science of Happiness or trying to explain their motivation for attending Austin College from different theoretical lenses (see the full prompt instructions here).

In many weeks this semester, one topic has dominated the other in terms of popularity with my students, but this week was much more balanced. Six students chose to explore the idea of “synthetic happiness,” while five students focused inward on their motivations. Check out their posts and share your thoughts via comments!

Happiness posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6

Motivation posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

Week 10 Student Blog Spotlight: Topic – Personality

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  kjeik 

Spring is in the air in Texas, which means the end of the semester is growing near. Students and faculty are scurrying about trying to keep up with deadlines, and I need to get caught up telling you about what my students have been writing! The personality unit is always fun because students get to think about how all these different theories apply to them. It is also when the students complete one of my favorite assignments where they take numerous online personality tests, compare the results and critique the validity of the surveys. The blog prompts this week invited students to think about introversion vs. extroversion with the help of Susan Cain’s TED Talk or delve further into the MBTI by predicting the type of a fictional character (for full prompt instructions please see here).

Most students opted for the TED Talk about the “Power of Introverts,” though one student did an analysis of Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls and another analyzed Monkey “Straw Hat” Luffy from the anime One Piece. To see what my students thought about the TED Talk and how introverts vs. extroverts are valued in society and on our campus, check out the links below:

Link 1    Link 2    Link 3

Link 4    Link 5    Link 6

Link 7    Link 8    Link 9

Week 9 Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Intelligence

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  kjeik 
The semester continues on with our discussion of intelligence. We covered a variety of theories related to the structure of intelligence, ranging from Spearman’s 2-factor theory to Gardner’s multiple intelligences to Ceci’s bioecological model. We discussed the difficulty of measuring intelligence in the context of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional IQ tests as well as attempts to use IQ testing as a “scientific” racism despite cultural biases inherent in the assessment. The blogging options for this week were to look at how teachers can affect students’ performance in school or to assess the claim about the Mozart Effect (see full prompts here). My students were overwhelmingly more interested in the former, with just one brave student going against the grain to look at the Mozart Effect. To see my students’ reactions to potential effects of teachers’ expectations on students, check out the links below:

Week 12 Blog Prompts

Option 1:

Stress is something all too common in college students’ lives, but what if you could change your relationship with stress. Kelly McGonigal discusses doing just that in her TED talk “Making Stress Your Friend.” Watch the video, share your reactions, discuss how reasonable you find its message to be, and discuss how you could implement some of the ideas into your life.

Option 2:

We all have different methods for coping with stress. For this prompt, please discuss your typical strategies for dealing with stress and evaluate how well they have worked for you this semester. Next, list 3 new strategies for coping with stress you could try and discuss how effective you think they would be. Finally, find a website that provides tips for handling stress and discuss how credible you find the site and its recommendations.