Instructor: betsy klopcic

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Summer 2009 MTWR 12:30–1:45 PM E 231

Syllabus & Schedule


Office: D-311

E -Mail:

Phone: (815) 224-0208

Office Hours: By appointment

TEXT: Wade, C. & Tavris, C. (2008) Psychology (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River,

New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

TECHNOLOGY: Students in this course will use BlackBoard for testing and some assignments. BlackBoard is a web based package that allows students access to course

resources including an electronic grade book, data files, a discussion board, instructor contact information and much more. For direct links, click BB Login or BB Instructions.

In class, I will explain and demonstrate how to use BlackBoard. If you have questions, concerns, or problems using BlackBoard, please let me know. If I don’t know how to help, I’ll contact our technology staff. Instructions are also available on IVCC’s home page (Select “My IVCC” on the right side of the menu bar at the top of the page. Find “BlackBoard” and click “Instructions” to learn how to login and for additional information.)

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: General Psychology is an introductory course dealing with analysis and description of human behavior with special reference to research methods, psychological influences on the brain and behavior, learning, memory, perception, motivation, emotions, personality and adjustment. Emphasis is placed on psychological principles as they relate to daily life.


Upon successful completion of General Psychology, students will be able to

  • Define psychology as an empirical science based upon the objective study of human and animal behavior.

  • Demonstrate recognition and understanding of the basic theorists and theoretical principles of psychology.

  • Demonstrate practical application of psychological theories, principles, and concepts.

  • Use critical thinking skills to analyze new findings in psychological research.

  • Demonstrate understanding of human diversity, including race, ethnicity, culture, gender, abilities, sexual orientation, and age as it impacts the study of human behavior.


Together we create our classroom’s social and learning environment. Our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, values, and expectations influence the classroom experience. Take a moment to consider how you can enhance our learning and personal growth in this course.

Keep an open mind, respecting others’ ideas, beliefs, and opinions. Increase your awareness, sensitivity, understanding, and appreciation of human behavior. Help each other learn and grow by reading, thinking about, and discussing the concepts you encounter in this class.
Avoid distractions and behaviors that diminish our time together; including use of cell phones, text messaging, non-inclusive conversation/chatting, rudeness, inattention or snoozing. Consider living by IVCC’s core values (ReaCH FaR: Responsibility, Caring, Honesty, Fairness, Respect).


Student Services are available to help you succeed at IVCC. Here are links to a few of these services: Reading, Writing, Study Skills Lab, Computer Resource Center, Peer Tutoring, and Counseling and Advising. For more information, visit or contact staff by phone or e-mail.


You may be eligible for academic accommodations if you have a documented physical, psychiatric or cognitive disability such as a learning disability or ADD/ADHD. If you have a disability and need more information regarding possible accommodations, please contact Tina Hardy at 224-0284 or Judy Mika at 224-0350, browse the Disability Services website or stop by office B-204.


Attendance is required and important to everyone’s learning. Please make every effort to attend each class, arrive on time, and engage fully in learning throughout the course. If special circumstances, such as medical, family, or personal issues, prevent you from attending class, please contact me.

Attendance significantly affects your final grade in these ways:

  • Attendance is calculated in the participation segment of your grade.


  • Excessive absences will lower your grade and may result in withdrawal without notice:

    • Your final grade will be lowered by 5% if you have 4-6 absences.

    • Your final grade will be lowered by 10% if you have more than 6 absences.


  • Bonus points will be awarded for excellent attendance:

    • For perfect attendance, you will receive ten bonus points.

    • If you miss only one class, you will receive five bonus points.

JOURNALS/ Psychology in Your Life:

Your journals comprise 10% of your grade. The purpose of the journals is to increase your appreciation and understanding of how psychology relates to your life. Journal entries should connect what you learn to real life examples and applications of psychological concepts.

To meet the minimum requirement, write 2-3 journal entries per week. Journals may be typed or hand-written. Each entry should be at least one paragraph in length. Journals will be collected and graded twice during the semester, at midterm and at the end of the semester.
Note #1:

  • Journals are not diaries of the events in your life.

  • Journals are not restatement of course content, such as class notes, chapter summaries or outlines, definitions, or explanations of concepts.

Note #2:

  • Journals are your reflections on what you’ve learned and how it relates to your life.

  • Journals emphasize application, insight, synthesis, and/or analysis of what you learn.

  • Journals may include, but are not limited to, personal observations, insights, and critical thinking related to readings, news, movies, media, and recreational and cultural events.

Journal entries should go beyond course content. Journals that focus mostly on course content or diary entries will receive a grade of “C” or lower. Instead, reflect on what you’ve learned and how it relates to your life, rather than defining terms or restating points from the textbook or class discussion. Look for ways you can apply what you learn to gain insight, achieve goals, strengthen relationships, and enrich our world.


The participation component accounts for 30% of your grade. The participation component includes class activities, assignments, discussion forums, group work, surveys, attendance, and two self-assessments.

Each self-assessment will be a reflection on your learning in this course, how psychology relates to your life and personal development, and your goals in this class and beyond. Self-assessment reports will be collected along with your journals at midterm and at the end of the semester. Minimum length requirement for each self-assessment is one page, typed and double-spaced.


Group and individual projects and assignments will make up 20% of your grade. Notes, textbooks, and other resources may be used to complete these assignments. Class time will be used to begin most of these projects, but some work outside of class will be necessary to successfully complete them.

CHAPTER TESTS (Multiple Choice, True-False, Matching):

Chapter tests count as 20% of your grade. Chapter tests will be posted in Blackboard and taken outside of class sessions. Each chapter test consists of multiple choice, matching, and/or true/false items. Once posted, tests will remain available throughout the semester.

You may retake chapter tests as many times as you choose. At the end of the semester, the test scores that appear in the gradebook, i.e .the scores of the tests taken most recently, will be used to calculate your grade. Please see me if you have questions or concerns about online testing.


The comprehensive final exam comprises 10% of your grade. The final exam may include some essay questions in addition to fifty multiple-choice, matching, and/or true/false items over all material discussed in this course. The final exam will be posted in Blackboard at the end of the semester.


The final project and class presentation comprises 10% of your grade. For this assignment, you’ll select and learn about an aspect of psychology that interests you and to share your knowledge and insights with the class. You may work individually or in groups of no more than three members. More information will be provided later in this course.


Plagiarism constitutes the appropriation of another person's exact words or original thoughts or writing without extending proper credit (using in-text citations and a works cited / reference list) to the original source. As such, plagiarism exists as an illegal action—a type of theft that, in the business/professional world, for example, could result in severe penalties against you.
The administration and faculty of Illinois Valley Community College prohibit plagiarism, whether the language and the ideas originate from a published source or from work done by another student. Commission of plagiarism and/or cheating may result in failure of the course and/or dismissal from the college. Please refer to IVCC's Style Book for additional information and examples of plagiarism. Cheating will not be tolerated. If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero on the assignment or exam. You also may be referred to administration for further disciplinary action.


I will not withdraw you from this class unless you specifically request to be withdrawn. The last day for student withdrawal is Tuesday, July 28. Withdrawal and/or failing a course can affect financial aid. Students who receive financial aid should see an advisor in the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from a course.

If you need to withdraw, please contact me to discuss your decision and complete the necessary paperwork. Identifying problems and implementing strategies for success often help students complete their classes.


Grading Scale

Components of the Final Grade:

A 90-100%

Journals / at least 2-3 entries per week


B 80-89%

Chapter Tests / Multiple Choice, True/False, Matching


C 70-79%

Projects / Reflective Writing / Short Answer Items


D 60-69%

Final Exam


F 0-59%

Final Project & Class Presentation



In-Class Activities / Assignments / Discussion Board

Group Work / Survey / Attendance / Self-Assessment



You may earn up to 15 extra credit points during the semester. Extra credit requires an activity and a one-page paper linking the activity to your learning in this class. For each activity and paper, you will receive two extra credit points. For volunteer work, you will receive one extra credit point for two hours of volunteer service and a written discussion of your experience.

Here are some ways to earn extra credit:

    • Attending IVCC and community events (guest speakers, student activities, theatre, music, sports, field trips),

    • Volunteering (Human service programs, United Way, IVCC projects),

    • Attending meetings (IVCC student organizations, IVCC or community board meetings, IVCC or community support groups, study groups, committees), and

    • Participating in community or political events.

ReaCH FaR…


Responsibility, Caring, Honesty, Fairness, Respect


Class Sessions


Assignments / Due Dates

Classes Begin:

June 17-18

Introductions & Overview

Week 1

June 22-25

Chapter 1: What Is Psychology?

Chapter 2: How Psychologists Do Research

Week 2

June 29-July 2

Chapter 3: Genes, Evolution, & Environment

Chapter 4: The Brain: Source of Mind & Self

Week 3

July 6-9

Chapter 5: Body Rhythms & Mental States

Chapter 6: Sensation & Perception

Journals, 1st Installment

Due: Thursday, July 9

Week 4

July 13-16

Chapter 7: Learning & Conditioning

Chapter 8: Behavior in Social & Cultural Context

Class Presentation—Submit Plan

Due: Wednesday, July 15

Week 5

July 20-23

Chapter 10: Memory

Chapter 11: Emotion

Chapter 12: Motivation

Week 6

July 27-30

Chapter 13: Theories of Personality

Chapter 14: Development Over the Life Span

Last Day for Student Withdrawal—Wednesday July 28

Class Presentation—Final Plan

Description / Paper / Materials

Due: Wednesday, July 29

Week 7

August 3-6

Chapter 15: Health, Stress, & Coping

Chapter 16: Psychological Disorders

Chapter 17: Approaches to Treatment & Therapy

Journals, 2nd Installment

Due: Thursday, August 6

Chapter Tests (Chs. 1-15)

Deadline: Thursday, August 6,

at midnight

Week 8

August 10-11


Final Exam, parts 1 & 2

Deadline: Tuesday, August 11

at noon
Class Presentations

Monday & Tuesday, August 10-11

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