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.

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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 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.

Week 11 Blog Prompt

Option 1:

We all want to enjoy life and seek ways to make ourselves happy. Indeed, we spend much of lives chasing the goal of happiness. But how good are we at actually finding it? Dan Gilbert discusses the ways in which we sabotage our own happiness in his TED talk. Watch the video, share your reactions, and discuss ways in which you can incorporate more synthetic happiness into your life.

Option 2:

Motivation is not a stable force, but often waxes and wanes. Throughout your time at Austin College, your motivation for school will undoubtedly be higher at some times and lower at others. How can we use the principals of motivation we discussed in class and read about in the text to help ourselves push through times of low motivation? Specifically, I want you to discuss why you chose to come to Austin College and use 2 different theories of motivation to explain your decision. I also want you to plan an intervention for yourself for how you can maintain motivation to succeed until graduation.

Week 10 Blog Prompts

Option 1:

One of the most commonly discussed dimensions of personality is introversion vs. extroversion. In many ways, US society values extroverts more highly, but Susan Cain discusses the Power of Introverts in her TED talk. Watch the talk and discuss my assertion that extroverts are more valued in the US. What about Austin College? Are there advantages to being either introverted or extroverted here?

Option 2:

One popular form of assessing personality is the MBTI. In fact, many of you took the MBTI before you came to AC as part of the process of assigning you dorm rooms. Here is the website for the MBTI. Read through the links describing the dimensions of the MBTI to familiarize yourself with the personality types it produces. Then I want you to choose your favorite fictional character and try to guess what personality type (e.g., ENFJ) he/she/it would have. Find a link to a website that gives a synopsis of your character in case your readers are not familiar with him/her/it and explain your choices for each dimension.

Week 9 Blog Prompts

Here are the blog prompts for Week 9:

Option 1:

Many people consider intelligence to be largely determined by genetics, but there is substantial evidence that the environment and social processes play a large role as well. Since schools are a place where children try to determine how smart they really are, it is important for educators to understand the impacts of their subtle or not-so-subtle interactions with students. Watch these three videos: Jane Elliott’s classic blue eyes/brown eyes experiment, Claude Steele explaining stereotype threat, and Rosenthal & Jacobson’s discovery of the Pygmalion effect. In your blog post, react to what you saw in the videos, reflect on your own interactions with educators throughout your school career, and discuss what, if any, changes to the school system based on the concepts in these videos could improve students’ performance in the classroom.

Option 2:

In 1998, the Governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, proposed spending $105,000 of the state’s budget to distribute a cassette or CD of classical music to the parents of each new child born in Georgia (see the NY Times article). Governor Miller was a staunch believer in the Mozart effect, a theory that listening to Mozart can increase intelligence. The Mozart effect is highly controversial and has spurred numerous research studies, but was based on one study published in 1993. Read the original journal article by Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky and discuss whether or not the original evidence supports Governor Miller’s decision.