Welcome to HouskaPsych

The Psychology Course Site

It seems as though websites are always under construction, and this one is no different. All I can say is check back frequently for updates to the site.

This site is my initial venture into programming and design. My motivation has been due to the course management system we currently use (i.e., Blackboard). It is somewhat user-friendly but lacks the aesthetics and flexibility for what I envision for my classes.

Aside from the gradebook and online quizzes, the majority of the required and supplemental instruction for my courses can be found here. Links to the video log, podcasts, blog, course Wiki, and so on are available by clicking on the respective link on the left navigation bar.

Best wishes,

JH

Course Features

VideoLog

Supplemental instruction

My Video Log or (VLog for short) has arisen out of a desire to improve a classroom practice. At the end of each class, I have a “2 minute drill” in which students recall main points of the class session, muddiest points, and what they would like to learn more about. I typically keep continuity between classes by beginning the subsequent session by revisiting some of the muddiest points. I am experimenting with the VLog format on YouTube this semester. The VLogs will go into more depth on topics in which students are interested. As well, I intend to revisit concepts that require more additional clarification. I have been known to include helpful hints for the quizzes and mastery tests on the VLog entries.

Please note that the VLog serves as a visual Recap. This form is especially useful if I am referring to graphical representations or doing a demonstration. Some people (e.g., visual learners) also prefer to see who is talking to them. An easy way to visit the VLog on the weekends is by bookmarking this page. The Recaps are an audio form of the VLog.

Podcasts a.k.a. “Recaps”

Supplemental instruction

For the most part, course podcasts on iTunes have been merely recorded class sessions. This may be useful for classes that are heavily lecture format. Still, I question their utility. One notable exception to this trend is David B. Miller’s Precasts and Postcasts on his iCube site. I agree with Miller’s use of supplemental instruction and have implemented a similar approach. My podcasts or “Recaps” serve as closure for the past week and a transition toward new material we will we be discussing next week. I have been known to include helpful hints for the quizzes and mastery tests on the Recaps.

Please note that the Recaps are less useful if I am referring to something visual. However, if you like repetition you can save and listen to these on your iPod or MP3 player. Don’t worry, you can also listen to them on a computer with Microsoft Media Player.

Blog

Required postings

My blog is an opportunity for reflection on the course, coverage of articles I find particularly interesting, and applications of course content to my life. Its purpose is not for solitary rambling, but to continue dialogue outside of the classroom. Each week students are required to post at least once on the blog or discussion board.

 

Remember that I lock the discussion forums each Saturday at 12 noon. Students: be sure to have your postings in well before then to receive participation credit.

Discussion Board

Required postings

One weakness of discussion boards on course management systems is that they are operational for a particular section and for a semester duration. I am attempting to foster a more active and lively forum by moderating a board for ALL students enrolled in the Introduction to Psychology course for a given semester. I anticipate the discussions will be more productive for the three sections I am teaching in Spring 2008 than each on its very own. Also, I am attempting to leave the private forums active for alumni of my courses to keep in touch with me and each other.

Wiki

Course assignment

Previously I required reaction papers from my Psychology 101 students. I was only somewhat satisfied with the final products. This semester I am experimenting with two required Wiki postings for each student. The use of Wikis in education has taken off in the last couple years. This may be due in part to the widespread use (and misuse) of Wikipedia.

My rationale for this culminating activity roots from the heavy writing emphasis I place in all my courses. The research enterprise and information literacy is also a high priority. After completing my course, students should be novice information gatherers, being able to gather peer-reviewed journals from electronic databases. Another aspect of my teaching philosophy is allowing opportunities for collaboration. What better way to integrate the writing process, research skills, and working with others than a class Wiki?

All Psychology 101 students will be contributing to a compendium and critique of current research in the major areas of psychological inquiry.

All Wiki deadlines are noted on the syllabus and/or mentioned in class.

WebCT

Required to take quizzes and tests

Much of the information students need is available on this website. However, I still use the WebCT gradebook. All online quizzes and mastery tests are administered there also.

Students receive a review guide in the form of a crossword puzzle before every online quiz. The crosswords allow students to engage with the chapter at the knowlege and comprehension levels. Frequent short online quizzes require students to utilize their crosswords, text, and other resources for higher level application and conceptual items.

 

All testing deadlines are noted on the syllabus and/or mentioned in class.

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