This course is designed to accomplish the following objectives:
Assignments and Grading
Examinations: There will be three exams. Each exam will be composed of objective multiple choice and true/false items, as well as a few short essay questions requiring you to respond to a given scenario. Each test is worth 100 points. The 3rd exam will be given during the final exam period (Thursday, Dec 12, 10:30-12:30).
Reaction papers: Part of being an active learner and class participant is reflecting on what you are learning. A great way to do that is through short reaction papers, in which you use what you are reading and discussing in the course. In the reaction papers you can integrate the readings with (a) class discussions, (b) something that you read in the newspaper, (c) something that you study in another course, or (d) something that happened to you. You can design an empirical study to test an idea you have. You can look up laws (in Texas or elsewhere) and report on what you find. You can present two arguments on different sides of an issue. In any case, it should be obvious from your reaction papers that you’ve been to class, done the reading, and thought about what’s happening. Each reaction paper is to be no more than two pages, typed (12-point font), double-spaced. You will submit 3 papers to me during the course, no more than one in any given week (this is so that you will be thinking throughout the semester!). The papers will be graded on a 50 point scale for a total of 150 points toward your total grade. Full credit (50 point) papers will demonstrate excellence by being well-written and demonstrating a thoughtful approach to the issues discussed. I am looking for your take on the subject, so don’t just summarize the readings. You may submit more than 3 if you choose. I will use the 3 reactions papers with the highest scores to calculate your grade.
Mini-Assignments: Four assignments will be given over the course of the semester. There will be two options for the 3rd assignment. They will each be worth 50 points each for total of 150 points.
1) Chapter 2 Mini-Assignment – Ethical Decision Making: Read and consider the case example I will provide and outline your thoughts following the ethical decision making strategy outlined in the chapter (pp. 21-23). For each step, explain what factors you would consider and how you would implement that step.
2) Chapter 5 Mini-Assignment – Therapy Contract: Develop a therapy contract and explain why you chose to include or exclude the various possible elements (see K & KS pp. 105). You are limited to 3 pages so part of the challenge is to decide what elements you will include and to write the contract in concise language that would be understandable to a typical client.
3) Choose one of the following:
A. Chapter 9 Mini-Assignment - Do It Yourself Testing: Find a test that measures some kind of psychological phenomenon on the Internet, take it, and report on what you think of its reliability, validity, and potential for good or harm to those who take it seriously.
B. Chapter 15 Mini-Assignment – Self-help Books: Go to a bookstore or library and look in the “psychology” or “self help” sections. Pick out a book, not written as far as one can tell by a licensed mental health professional, that purports to offer great benefit to those suffering from some problem. (Unfortunately this criterion is hampered by the fact that many authors list diploma mill degrees, giving the appearance of credibility.) Answer the following questions:
(a) Is there evidence of a factual or research base?
(b) Does the author make up words and symptoms?
(c) Is the advice common sense?
(d) Does any of the advice cause concern?
(e) Would there be any harm done if an individual who self-diagnosed him or herself as having the relevant problem?
(f) Would that individual be disadvantaged if this book was the only assistance sought?
Participation: To learn the most from this course, you must read the readings prior to the class for which they are assigned and be prepared to discuss the material. The class meetings will focus on discussion and activities designed to promote integration and deeper understanding of the material. To encourage preparation and participation, you will be graded on this aspect of your performance.
Participation will be graded daily on a scale from 0 (absent) through 4 (highest), using the criteria below. The criteria focus on what you demonstrate and do not presume to guess at what you know but do not demonstrate. I expect the average level of participation to satisfy the criteria for a "3". I will use these daily grades to calculate a final grade for participation at the end of the semester. Participation grades can be lowered by poor listening, disrespectful, rude or insensitive comments, or attempting to dominate class discussions.
% of total grade
Once points are calculated, grades will be assigned as follows:
90% = +585
80% = 520 - 584
70% = 519 or fewer