Syllabus

Psychology 1300, Learning Frameworks
Brazosport College
Professor Pegoda

 “What are you going to do? Are you going to be a passive recipient of education, or are you going to become an active owner of your education?”

Are you ready to work? I am excited to be your guide on what is sure to be an eventful journey on the road to lifelong learning. This course is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be an active and successful learner. If you have not already, you will come to discover that becoming an active learner requires YOU to take full responsibility for your academic success. If any of this seems daunting, do not fear. You are about to receive some excellent training that will leave you with the necessary tools to succeed! It is my hope that, after trying out the strategies that we discuss, you will choose to adopt or modify those pieces that complement your own learning styles.

This is not a lecture-based course; rather, it is discussion-based. You will be responsible for coming to class prepared to discuss and interact with the material, the students, and the professors.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Learning Frameworks has been designed as a student success course. Through lectures, discussions, readings, written assignments, projects, and exams, students will be provided on-the-job training for becoming a successful student. A central focus of this course will be on the connection between psychological principles and various aspects of learning, such as motivation, goal setting, and stress. In addition, students will learn general college study skills for approaching notes, reading, writing, research, exams, etc. A central focus will be on the recognition of how college is different. By the end of this semester, students will have increased both their written and oral communication, critical thinking, and study skills. Students will have the skills necessary to conquer any college situation. This course is writing intensive.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
Upon the successful completion of Learning Frameworks the student will know and will be able to identify, explain, describe, discuss, analyze, and/or apply:

  1. the differences between high school and college, as well as the numerous services, resources, and online tools available to college students;
  2. the importance of taking notes, the characteristics of taking notes, the factors that affect note-taking, cues to listen for, and the three major note-taking methods;
  3. the differences between and characteristics of proper long-term and short-term goals, mastery goal orientation and performance goal orientation, as well as common barriers to goals;
  4. the different roles of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and attributions;
  5. the major characteristics and examples of active learning;
  6. the role of attention in memory, the process of memory acquisition and storage, and the role of specific memorization strategies;
  7. test-taking skills for objective and essay exams for various courses;
  8. the importance of time management, the advantages to keeping a schedule and to-do list, and causes and solutions for procrastination;
  9. the major causes of stress, solutions for overcoming stress, and the role of health and student success;
  10. the basic learning styles and how to adapt these to various learning environments;
  11. college-level reading strategies, including surveying, annotating, and practicing;
  12. the major characteristics of high school and college-level writing, the various types of plagiarism, resources available in the library, and the difference between content and mechanics;
  13. the multiple factors involved in career decisions based on one’s individual differences;
  14. specific written, non-written, and oral rehearsal strategies.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
Students are required to complete all assigned readings, students are required to participate in all class discussions, and students are required to submit all written work—this includes four writing assignments, the midterm exam, the final exam, and the semester project. There are NO exceptions to these rules. College instructors expect students to spend at least one-hundred hours outside of class reading, writing, and studying course material. Specifically, for every hour students are in class they need to study for two-to-three hours. This is college. Wake up.

Semester grades will be assigned as follows:
90% and above     = A

80% – 89%            = B
70% – 79%            = C
60% – 69%            = D
59.9% and below  = F

**Note: In order to receive a grade of “A” students must also earn at least 60% or better in all grade categories. Students who have twelve or more hours of absences will automatically receive a“F”

The breakdown of the requirements is as follows:
20%-Quizzes

40%-Writing Assignments
10%-Midterm Exam
10%-Final Exam
10%-Semester Project
10%-Participation

QUIZZES:
Students will have a quiz at the beginning of almost every class. These will take place during the first five minutes. Quizzes will be over previous lessons, discussions, lectures, videos, and/or reading assignments. These questions are not designed to be difficult. Rather, they will greatly help students learn the material and excel. These will usually be in the form of short answer/extended essays. One quiz grade will be dropped.

WRITING ASSIGNMENTS:
Students will write FOUR formal essays. Students will be required to visit the Writing Center for each essay. More details will be provided in class.

EXAMS:
Students will complete TWO exams this semester – a midterm and a final exam. Both will be cumulative and essay- and application-based. The midterm will be take home, while the final will be in-class. More details will be provided in class.

SEMESTER PROJECT:
Students will also complete a semester project. The purpose of this requirement is to allow students the opportunity to demonstrate personal mastery of course material without writing a formal research-based term paper. This project should be completed independently and should be both original and creative and may relate to any of the course themes covered in Learning Frameworks. Ideas include: making a mosaic, video, skit, writing a poem or song. Please note, however, that a presentation that simply list the type of stress, for example, is not appropriate and will earn a failing grade. START EARLY! Do not wait until the last minute. Part of the grade will be assigned according to how much time and effort students put into the project. Projects are due at the end of this semester. Students must make a presentation of at least five minutes. Students must also submit a short summary of their project. A proposal will be due with the Midterm Exam.

Presentations will be graded according to the following approximation: 1) Draft Proposal Paragraph 10%, 2) Understanding of subject 20%, 3) Quality of Presentation 20%, 4) Creativity/Originality 40%, and 5) Typed Summary 10%.

PARTICIPATION:
ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY!! Students are expected to attend every class, to arrive on time, and to remain the entire period. Students are also required to participate in online assignments, as assigned. Students who miss class are responsible for any and all material covered. In college there is no such thing as an “excused absence.” Students who are kicked out of class, who leave early/arrive late, or who refuse to participate (such as laying their head on the desk) will be marked absent.

Students will earn their participation grade according to their 1) informed contributions to classroom discussions and exercises, online and face-to-face, 2) level of engagement/listening skills, 3) behavior, 4) preparation for class, and 5) communication with the professors. A participation grade of “A” stands for outstanding participation, “B” for very good participation, “C” for adequate but weak participation, and “F” for poor participation.

WRITING CENTER:
At a minimum, students must visit with the Writing Center FOUR times (once for each of the writing assignments). Students are, of course, encouraged to visit as often as they would like for all assignments. Students may even desire to visit the Writing Center multiple times for the same assignment. Students will face a 30 point deduction if they do not visit the Writing Center for the REQUIRED assignments. START EARLY! MAKE PLANS! Students cannot wait until the last minute.

REQUIRED READINGS/SUPPLIES:
Students should bring appropriate supplies and reading assignments to each class.

College Rules! How to Study, Survive, and Succeed in College 3rd edition
-additional reading assignments to be found in D2L
-binder, should be 2”-2 ½” with 4 divider tabs (one each for syllabus, handouts, notes, assignments)
-paper, blue/black pens (only these colors)

“You learn something every day if you pay attention.” 

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

 

IMPORTANT POLICES AND NOTICES

 LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:
A student’s enrollment in this class acknowledges he/she intends to learn course material. To that extent, certain behaviors that would impede this process will not be permitted. These include, but are not limited to, reading newspapers or books, text-messaging, surfing the web, answering cell phones, talking out of turn, etc. If a student is not sure what is appropriate, he/she should ask. Students are responsible for knowing and following common sense rules of behavior. The instructor is committed to creating and maintaining an open and productive intellectually engaging learning environment. Disruptive students will be instructed to leave the classroom – this is college, warnings will not be issued.

ONLINE REQUIREMENTS:
This is a Web-assisted course. Students will find additional reading assignments and handouts online. Students will also complete required online discussions and submit essays and exams online. Students are required to login at least three times every week to check for announcements and other important information. There will be a discussion board for questions, as well. More details will be provided in class.

OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL WARNING:
This is a college course and students should know that anything is fair game. The college classroom is a unique place in society where any ideas, opinions, and perspectives are welcomed and should be shared–respectfully. Students will find some of the material offensive, as they should.

GUIDELINES FOR WRITTEN WORK:
In-class assignments and other written assignments must be completed in blue or black ink – any other work will not be graded. In-class work must also follow normal guidelines of Standard English – this includes complete sentences. Of course, students are not expected to create polished in-class work.

Out-of-class assignments must be typed with Times New Roman size 12 as the font, with one-inch margins on all four sides, and double-spaced – spelling, grammar, and format count. Use professional/formal/college English (this means NOT using text-message language, contractions, clichés, or slang, for example).

All out-of-class work will be submitted both online in D2L and face-to-face.

Once receiving graded work back, students should wait 24 hours before asking any questions about the grade. During this time, students should review the feedback and any relevant notes. Grades will only be changed if a mistake was made. Students should have clear and specific questions prepared if they are wondering why a certain grade was assigned to a paper.

LATE WORK POLICY:
There will be no late work! And there will not be any makeup exams or quizzes – no excuses. This is college – learn to meet deadlines. You are provided a list of major dates for a reason.

ACADEMIC HONESTY:
Brazosport College assumes that students eligible to perform on the college level are familiar with the ordinary rules governing proper conduct, including academic honesty. The principle of academic honesty is that all work presented by you is yours alone. Academic dishonesty including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and collusion shall be treated appropriately. Please refer to the BC Student Guide for more information. Turnitin.com and other technologies will be used, as necessary, to ensure academic honesty.

STUDENTS MUST COMPLETE ALL WORK INDEPENDENTLY UNLESS OTHERWISE INSTRUCTED. PLAGIARISM, CHEATING, OR ANY RELATED OFFENSIVES WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC ZERO FOR THAT ASSIGNMENT AT A MINIMUM – NO EXCEPTIONS!

WITHDRAWALS:
If a student needs to drop the course for whatever reason, it is his/her responsibility. The instructor WILL NOT drop students for any reason. All students who remain in the course will receive a grade based on their performance. Students are strongly encouraged to visit with the instructor if they have any concerns. Students should always visit with the instructor before dropping.

ACCOMMODATIONS:
Brazosport College is committed to providing equal education opportunities to every student. BC offers services for individuals with special needs and capabilities including counseling, tutoring, equipment, and software. Please contact Phil Robertson, Special Populations Counselor, 979-230-3236 for further information. Students must notify the instructor of any accommodations during the first week of class.

HONORS CREDIT:
Students may elect to take this course for honors credit. Students interested in going above and beyond and students wishing to personalize the learning experience are especially encouraged to consider this option. Students who are interested should speak with the instructor.

TIPS FOR BEING SUCCESSFUL:
This is not designed to be a difficult course. Students who attend class, take notes, read the required and recommended readings, and who study outside of class, should have no problem making a decent grade in this course. The instructor is available to students for any questions or concerns about the subject material.

DISCLAIMER:
The instructor reserves the right to make changes to any part of the course requirements, assignments, policies, deadlines, content, etc. Students are responsible for keeping track of any and all changes. The instructor assigns grades solely based on performance, not effort or anything else. If a student anticipates any difficulty meeting course requirements or deadlines, he/she should contact the instructor well in advance. If an emergency should happen, documentation is required, and the instructor will be more than happy to help the student to complete the course successfully.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION:
Copyright Professor Andrew Joseph Pegoda, 2007-2011

All federal and state copyrights reserved for all original material presented in this course through any medium, including lecture or print. Unless otherwise noted, all course materials are the intellectual property of the instructor and are thus copyrighted. Individuals are prohibited from being paid for taking, selling, or otherwise transferring for value, personal class or other information notes made during this course to any entity without the express written permission of the instructors. In addition to legal sanctions, students found in violation of these prohibitions may be subject to disciplinary action from the college administration.

FINAL WORDS:
Welcome to Learning Frameworks! I teach under the belief that college must be an intellectually challenging and stimulating experience. If you commit yourself to working hard, this will also be a tremendously rewarding experience. Keep Going.

“It is our choices, not our abilities, that make up who we are.” 

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every conceived notion, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.”


GRADING RUBRIC FOR WRITING ASSIGNMENTS:

A

An essay or discussion graded “A” excels in both content and style. It goes beyond the requirements of the assignment. It presents a clear central thesis, which is effectively developed throughout the paper. It contains interesting and original ideas, which are organized in a logical structure. Paragraphs are unified, coherent and well developed. The “A” paper relies on support that is sufficient, appropriate, and effective. Transitions within and between paragraphs are fluent and guide the reader along a clear line of reasoning. Sentences are varied in structure and consistently correct. Vocabulary is well-chosen, specific, and precise. The “A” paper contains few, if any, errors, in form, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

B

An essay or discussion graded “B” responds to the topic with engaging and interesting ideas. It has a clearly stated thesis and logical structure, but may reveal minor lapses in development. Paragraphs clearly relate to the paper’s main idea; however, transitions between ideas may be less fluent and supportive evidence less effective than in a “A” paper. The “B” paper uses words accurately and effectively and contains few errors in the mechanics of writing.  Occasionally an essay that excels in other areas but contains some sentence-level errors may receive a grade of “B.”

C

An essay or discussion graded “C” displays a satisfactory response to the assignment; a “C” is not a penalty grade. The “C” paper may present the central idea in general terms, depending on platitudes or clichés to develop it points. While it usually shows some pattern of organization, transitions from point to point may be less fluent than in an “A” or “B” paper. Support may be in the form of generalizations or examples that are not relevant. Sentence structure may be repetitive and word choice imprecise. The “C” paper may contain mechanical errors, but these should not be numerous or hinder the communication of ideas. A paper that has few errors but relies on superficial reasoning or broad generalizations will receive a “C.”

D

An essay or discussion may be graded “D” for a variety of reasons. It may respond inappropriately to the topic or fail to present a clear thesis. It may be organized illogically, with few internal transitions between ideas. Paragraphs may not relate to the central idea, may lack development, or may rely solely on repetition and generalization. The “D” paper may contain sentences that lack variety and may exhibit frequently inappropriate or limited word choice. A paper graded “D” often contains frequent errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

F

An essay or discussion may be graded “F” for any one or more of the following reasons. It may lack a thesis and display no clear logical pattern. Development may lack complexity, may be repetitive, or may be unduly brief. Paragraphs may be absent or undeveloped and disorganized. Numerous mechanical errors may impede the clear communication of ideas. Occasionally a paper will be graded “F” because it does not respond to the assignment.