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.

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Reaching Beyond General Psychology

As part of Austin College’s most recent Strategic Plan, we are working toward increasing digital literacy, communication skills, and demonstration of transferable skills. As online communication has become increasingly important in a variety of industries over recent years (especially advertising), it is vital that our students understand how to use the web to reach out to others. To this end, I decided to incorporate student blogging into my General Psychology (PSY 101) course to replace the short reflection papers read only by me or the comment boards in our learning management system I’ve used in the past. We tried this for the first time in Fall, 2014 and it seemed to be a success.

Now that a few of the kinks have been worked out, we’re upping the stakes a little bit. I want my students to think more broadly about the reach of psychology and the power of communication than the confines of our classroom. I hope this encourages students to share their ideas to a more diverse audience of other students, faculty, professional psychologists, and random strangers. I furthermore hope they will find a receptive audience who will ponder difficult questions, challenge assumptions, and ask for clarification about what they are discovering in the classroom and their readings. That’s where you come in…

I’ve attached a PDF which contains links to the blog for each student in this semester’s class. I post the writing prompts for each week here on this blog, so you can see what kinds of questions they will be responding to each week. They will be commenting on each others’ blogs as part of the course requirements, but I encourage you to read students’ blogs and offer comments, reactions, resources, and/or questions to their posts. Given the way the assignments work in this course, students are not required to post new material every week, but have to make at least 8 posts throughout the semester. Following blogs you like is a great way to keep up with new content, or you can keep checking back here to see which responses I highlight every week.

A few blogs may be set to private, which means the student decided to only share the material with his or her classmates and you will not be able to view the content without first requesting access. Please respect the students’ rights to choose not to allow you access to their work.

We’re already a couple weeks into the semester, so the students have made some posts already. I’ve summarized the responses to the students’ Introductory prompt here, but you can check out each student’s individual posts using the links in the attached PDF. I’ve also attached the course syllabus to this post so you get a sense of what we’ll be talking about this semester. Highlights of student suggestions to improve an in-class experiment and exploring the relationship between historical figures’ lives and their theories are also available, and more summaries and highlights will be posted each week.

I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to interact with these fine students and join us as we explore the field of psychology!

PSY 101 Blog List

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Spring Semester 2015

Spring semester starts today, which brings a new group of students together for PSY101. I am always a mix of excitement and nerves on the first day of class, and today is no different. I’ve reorganized the course a bit this semester and I’m anxious to see how it pans out. A new semester also means a new set of students blogging about psychology! Throughout the semester I will be posting weekly prompts here and highlighting student responses. Feel free to look through the archives to see the types of prompts that have been used before. Some will likely be used again while others will be replaced with something fresh.

Well, I’m off to get ready for class. Hope to see you again soon!