General Psychology

Course Details

Course Number
PSYC 1103
Section Number
PSYC 1103
Spring 2014
Days & Times

Internet Section

Dr. Don Knox (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Science of Psychology

Course Objectives

Texas Core Objectives (Competency Based)

  1. Critical Thinking Skills—including creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.
  2. Communication Skills—including effective development, interpretation, and expression of ideas through written communication.
  3. Empirical and Quantitative Skills—including the analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions.

4.         Social Responsibility—including intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities.




  1. learn about what psychology is, and how it is applicable to the world around us.
  2. understand how we learn, think and remember.
  3. gain a basic knowledge of human developmental processes
  4. learn about human characteristics such as intelligence and personality
  5. investigate problems in human functioning (psychopathology) and how such problems are treated.


Above and beyond this, we will approach the field of psychology critically as "a way of approaching and analyzing the world (Wade & Tavris, 1990, p. xvii)." This means that we will explore how to think critically about psychological phenomena and be skeptical about what we read.


As such, class discussions and projects will be designed to encourage your own exploration of psychology. Through the study of this field, you are likely to find that much of what we know in psychology directly relates to, and has the capacity to enrich, our experience of everyday life.

Course Expectations

Important note: This is not a self-paced course so please do not try to make it one.  I do not accept late work – REGARDLESS of the reason.  You have a week to get assignments done except responding to theme papers and even there you still have about 48 hours to put responses up.  One way to help each other out on the theme postings is to get your theme posting up early – you are allowed to do that - so please do and then others can respond.  Quizzes and exams open on Saturday and close on Fridays.  They will NOT be extended.  This is an Internet course and all of you are taking this course for a host of different reasons – do not try to make your decision to take an Internet course my responsibility.  Single parents, shift work, high school students – everyone has their reasons – everyone will be treated the same regardless of your personal situation – that is what is fair – do not ask me to make exceptions for you and your situation.


Course Requirements:


These three requirements are in addition to the requirements listed below starting with Discussion Questions.  These requirements are added to facilitate the State of Texas core course requirements and must be listed separately.


1. By Exam 2, you will develop a list of your three favorite theoretical perspectives in psychology. The purpose of this activity is to help you to ‘think psychologically’ about the world around you. You will be asked to list and describe each of these perspectives. These perspectives will then be used during the final exam to address a societal, interpersonal or personal problem. This portion of the exam will contribute 25% toward your grade on that exam. Answers will be graded on (a) whether you listed three recognizable psychological perspectives, (b) the accuracy of your descriptions, and (c) the structural and grammatical adequacy of your answer.


•          2. A portion of your final exam will include an essay component that requires you to address an issue of social, interpersonal, or personal concern (e.g., an unproductive employee, a student who can’t control his spending, religious intolerance) from the perspective of one of your psychological theories or perspectives listed at the midterm. This portion of the exam will account for 25% of your grade on the final exam. Answers will be graded on (a) your ability to address the problem from one of the psychological perspectives, (b) the strength and accuracy of your argument, (c) your level of empathy, ethics, and respect for diversity in your response, and (d) the structural and grammatical adequacy of your answer.


•          3. Research Requirement: Given the importance of research and research ethics in the field of psychology, all students are required to participate in two research related activities during the semester. Failure to complete two research exercises will result in a one letter grade reduction for the course. You will be given more information about research options and how to sign up to participate throughout the semester.  Please use this link to access on line research projects at MSU ( and check this site often – it changes throughout the semester.  Please do not wait – they also “disappear”.  I will get a statement from the researcher that you have completed these items.  While there is no grade for completing these failure to do so will result in the loss of one letter grade.


Discussion Questions: I will post questions on the discussion board. You will have until the time and date indicated on the discussion thread to answer my question or to reply to one of your classmates’ postings in that thread. Please remember to be respectful of others. I will not accept late postings. They are usually up for at least a week so there is no excuse for not getting the work done on time. Discussion questions will usually be worth 10 points and will be totaled in the same grade column.


Quizzes: All quizzes will be web based, which means that you will take the exam on the net. On the scheduled date, the exam will be posted for a period of time during which you may log on and take the exam. You may not log on before or after the specified time. Once you log on you have 15 minutes to take the quiz. The quizzes will help you to stay on track in the course and provide you with a study guide for the exams. Quiz scores will be totaled at the end of the semester and constitute 12% of your grade. The quizzes are multiple-choice. If you go over the allotted time, one point will be deducted from the quiz grade for each minute that you are over the allotted time for the first 5 minutes. Two points per minute for the next five minutes will be deducted and then 5 points per minute after that point. Additional instructions may be posted before the quiz date. Missed quizzes CAN NOT, for any reason be made up and they will count as a zero grade.


Examinations: All exams will be web based, which means that you will take the exam on the net. On the scheduled date, the exam will be posted for a period of time during which you may log on and take the exam. You may not log on before or after the specified time. Exam times will vary.  Exam 2 and the final exam will consist of two that will be accessed separately, a timed multiple choice portion and a timed essay portion.  Exams 1 and 3 will be timed at 1 hour and only contain multiple choice items.  Questions will appear one at a time and you cannot backtrack.  Please do not try to backtrack or print the questions.  The exam is designed to lock up if you do those things.  The quizzes and exams should auto-submit but if they do not there is a time penalty.  If you go over the allotted time, one point will be deducted from the exam grade for each minute that you are over the allotted time for the first 5 minutes. Three points per minute for the next five minutes will be deducted and then 5 points per minute after that point. Additional instructions may be posted before the exam date. Each regular exam is worth 18% of your grade.  Missed exams will only be allowed to be made up if I get written documentation from the Office of the Dean of Students indicating that you had a valid reason to miss the seven day period to take the exam.  If your exam jams up I may reset it but only if I can verify the reason and there is still time left in the testing time frame.  That means if you wait until Friday night to take your quiz/test and it locks up that means you are out of luck.


Final Exam: The final exam contains one essay question (worth 24 points) and 22 multiple choice questions worth 3 points each.  You will have 45 minutes to take the exam.


Theme Assignments: Fifteen percent of your grade (15%) will be determined based on your completion of three Postings to the Assignment Posting section of the discussion board.  These papers will be no less than 350 words each.  The total number of points you can earn from the Postings is 150, or 50 points per Paper.  The Papers will consist of your application of concepts discussed in the chat room or covered in your text to current events or personal experiences.  For example, you might decide to do one of your Papers on the impact of the Internet on how students learn, or the impact of teenage violence on psychological health later in life, or the impact of memory deficits on academic achievement, or the use of principles of learning to help at-risk youth acquire positive social skills.  These ARE NOT research or term papers- they should be first person.  Part of this assignment is to comment on the papers your classmates post.  I will not tolerate poor behavior or harassment.  It is your forum to share your knowledge and experiences with the class and the class to respond to your input.  Please understand that I will not tolerate cheating - if you copy and paste otherwise plagiarize - I will fail you for the course. The topic for your theme paper must be from the chapters being studied for the same exam number. Theme 1 – test 1 = chapter 1, 4 or 5.  You must respond to the theme posting of each of your classmates as well as a part of your grade.

Grading Standards

Grading: Each regular exam will represent 18% of your final grade. Fifteen percent of your grade will come from your submission of the Theme Assignments and your responses to your classmates’ postings. The remaining 10% of your grade will come from your participation in online discussions (my postings – labeled as discussion topics)!


Breakdown of Grades


6 @ 20 points each = 120 points


Regular Exams

3 @ 180 points each = 540


Theme Assignment Postings

3 @ 50 points each =150


Discussion Questions

100 points


Final Exam





Then use the following scale (there is no rounding or extra credit):



Grading Scale


900– 1000




800– 890




700– 790




600– 690




Below 600




Submission Format Policy

D2L; APA 6

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

Not allowed.  Not for any reason.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Discussion board and quizzes amke up the attendance

Other Policies



Academic Dishonesty: Please do not cheat or plagiarize. The MSU policy on cheating and plagiarism is in the MSU Student Handbook and Activities Calendar (Code of Student Conduct, Item 11) and I encourage you to review it. Additional information regarding the Academic Dishonesty policy is available from the Dean of Students office, in Clark Student Center. Cheating or engaging in plagiarism will result in a grade of zero (0) and/or a letter grade of “F” for the course!!!!!!! If you find yourself even thinking about cheating on an exam or copying someone else’s work, please talk to me instead of doing it!!!


Dropping the course.:  This course is laid out so that a good portion of the grading will be completed prior to the drop date. I will have a section in the “my grades” that will indicate your progress to date to help you in your decision-making process.  Points total slowly at first so you may be alarmed that you have a low grade.  By the end of the semester it will all work out.

Distance education Drops:  Students who do NOT live locally and are only enrolled in distance education courses may complete an online drop slip by going to the Registrar webpage ( and clicking on "Course Drop Petition - Distance Ed. Only."  After completing the information, they click Submit and it sends an e-mail notification to the Registrar's Office.  We confirm approvals of the adviser, instructor and Financial Aid and then process the drop.  If a student is dropping all classes, this is considered a withdrawal and the student must contact the Dean of Students Office instead of completing the online drop slip.  This information should appear on all syllabi of distance education courses.

Americans with Disabilities Act: Midwestern State University does not discriminate on the basis of an individual's disability and complies with Section 504 and Public Law 101-336 (Americans with Disabilities Act) in its admissions, accessibility, treatment and employment of individuals in its programs and activities. A copy of the ADA Compliance Document is available online at It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any disabling condition that will require modifications. Students who require special accommodations must register with Disability Support Services before these accommodations can be provided. An Accommodation Request Form can be obtained at

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at