DE Psyc 200 Sample Syllabus 18-Week Session

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Psyc 200 Sample Syllabus

The following is a sample of what the syllabus looks like for my Research Methods course. Content in this sample is subject to change.

Dear Student,
Thank you for considering my Research Methods in Psychology course! In this class, we will focus on how knowledge in psychology is obtained. Additionally, an important goal of this class will be to develop critical skills in scientific writing as well as evaluating and consuming research claims. I feel confident that what you learn in this class will be extremely helpful for both your future academic career as well as your day-to-day life as a consumer of information.
I promise to do my best to make this course engaging! This course is an 18-week 3-unit course that is conducted completely online and asynchronous. There are NO face-to-face or scheduled Zoom meetings for this course. I look forward to having you in my class!



Is This Class For You?

There are a few things to consider before enrolling in my class. First, this course demands that you are self-motivated. It is your responsibility to keep on top of the reading assignments, to log-on to the course site frequently, to turn in the required work on time, to take the examinations during the time period specified (you will have a 48-hour window to take exams—more on this later), and to reach out to me if you are struggling in any way with the class.

Second, this course requires a large amount of reading and a significant time commitment–expect to spend at least 9 hours per week dedicated to this course. Much of the instruction in this course will be coming to you in written form, videos, links, and through the discussions. Only you can evaluate whether this type of course is for you, but I urge you to take this self-assessmentLinks to an external site. to determine whether you have the learning style that is compatible with an online course. I am also here to support you in meeting the challenges of an online course so do not hesitate to discuss strategies with me early on that will help you succeed.

Your Professor

Your Professor: Katy Dittmer

Hi! There are many reasons you may need to contact me throughout the term, but in particular if you are struggling in any way with the material or need extensions on due dates, know that I want to help. I will do my best to answer all email received Monday through Friday within 24 hours, and any emails received on weekends first thing Monday morning, if not sooner.

Please reach out to me at  or email me directly through Canvas Mail (you can access this feature by clicking "Inbox"  in the left-hand global navigation bar) or leave me a message on my office phone (Voice Mail: 805-592-9683)

Note: Federal law prevents me from having a discussion of your course grade via email.

Let's Meet Up!

Take advantage of the drop-in student hours over Zoom on Mondays from 9:30-10:30am, schedule a one-on-one Zoom session with me using Student Connect on Canvas, or email your questions to me I would love to help you understand the class material better or talk to you in more detail about preparing for our class exams. This is also a great chance for us to get to know each other a little better.

Required Books are Free!

  1. Jhangiani, R., Chiang, I-C. A., Cuttler, C., & Leighton, D. C. (2019). Research methods in psychology (4th Ed). Access the book for free here!Links to an external site.

  2. American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual (7th). Washington, DC: APA. (ISBN-13: 978-1433832161). Access the APA Manual for free here!Links to an external site.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the rationale and basic principles of the scientific method and research designs;

  2. Search literature and critically evaluate and synthesize research findings;

  3. Select appropriate research designs to develop and test hypotheses; and

  4. Describe the requirements for ethical treatment of human and animal research participants.

Graded Work

Course Assignments and Exams

In order to achieve the student learning outcomes you will be evaluated through the following assignments and exams:

  • Exams (150 pts):  We will have 3 exams (each with 50 multiple-choice questions). The last one will take place during the final exam period, but will only cover the third section of the course (NOT a cumulative final). Questions on the exams will come 50% from the lecture material and 50% from the text. All exams will be taken online during a two-day time frame—see the course calendar for dates. Once you open an exam, however, you will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. If you need extended time, please contact DSPS and have them send me your accommodations.

    • Textbook Reading (50% of exam content). Definitely use the Textbook Study Guides (posted on the Canvas Homepage) to guide your reading of the textbook. This is the only information from the text that you will be tested on. I recommend that you take reading notes (focusing on key terms, theories and concepts) using this document as your guide.

      Lecture Videos (90% of exam content). My lectures are posted in Modules on Canvas. All lecture material is fair game for exams

  • Myth Papers (75 pts): You will have four homework assignments leading up to a final myth-busting paper. The purpose is to utilize empirical and peer reviewed research to dispel a myth in psychology and to gain experience with scientific writing and APA style and format. The instructions and list of topics can be found under on Canvas.
  • Discussions (50 pts):  You will have one or more discussions each week related to a prompt/series of questions regarding something from that week’s text/lecture material. (Discussions are linked in Modules on Canvas.) To earn full credit, you will be expected to write a minimum of two sentences in reaction to each discussion prompt/questions. You are NOT required to respond to your classmates’ posts. However, you are certainly welcome to use discussions as an opportunity to connect with your classmates.

    • In your postings, do your best to 1) show thought and synthesis with text and lecture material and 2) thoroughly answer the prompt questions.

    • When are discussion posts due? All discussions close at the end of the week ( Sundays at 11:59 pm) for which they are posted. Late responses are accepted if they are submitted before the next exam occurs.

    • Will discussion material ever show up on an exam? Yes, my end-of-the-week response may show up as an answer to a question on the next exam.

Final Course Grades

Final grades will be based on points accumulated from the above assignments. You will be able to track your course grade on Canvas by clicking on Grades in the left-hand navigation panel. My grading scheme is: 89.5-100% = A; 89.4-87% = B+; 86.4-79.5 = B; 79.4-77% = C+; 76.4-69.5% = C; 69.4-67% = D+; 66.4- 59.5% = D; 59.4 or below = F

Course Policies

Personal Commitment to Equity in the Classroom

My teaching is committed to the principle that our community is richer when it includes a diverse range of individuals and their experiences. This course welcomes the presence, perspective, and experience of students of all races, genders, ethnicities, sexualities, abilities, ages, religious backgrounds, socio-economic classes, and national origins. Though our readings and discussions are intended to reflect a commitment to diversity, I’m always open to suggestions, and am interested in hearing your ideas for ways in which this course could be further improved for you or for other students or student groups. As a white-identifying and cis-gendered person, I am committed to recognizing the privilege of my positionality, and to a life-long journey of learning about diverse perspectives and identities. If something is said in class (by anyone) that makes you feel unwelcome, unseen, or at risk, please talk to me about it. 

Late Work

I want you to be successful in this course. Each week (or most weeks) you will have some combination of the following: reading, discussion boards, and practice quizzes to complete. You will struggle on the exams and the homework if you put off studying or completing the coursework. So do your best to stay on schedule and on top of your course reading. However, I do understand that life happens, so please reach out if you fall behind. 

Specifically, my policy is to accept late work within a section module up until the exam closes for that section. But please communicate with me about the situation so we can find ways of alleviating the root of the issue and get you back on schedule. 


This course has NO mandatory on-campus or Zoom meetings, however, I expect you to log in to the course on the first day of the class and to log in at least once a week thereafter. Students who fail to log in on the first day of the course risk being dropped from the course to make room for waitlisted students. If I do not hear from you and you miss an exam, you may be dropped as well. Please reach out!

Will you be dropped from the course?

I hope not! However, yes, students who fail to log in on the first day of the class or miss an exam (without contacting me) may be dropped. So please reach out if situations arise that prevent you from staying on top of these requirements. I will be flexible if you are accountable!

Please review the campus add/drop policyLinks to an external site.

NOTE: If you drop this class after the census date (see course calendar) you will receive a “W” on your transcript.  Find out how to drop a courseLinks to an external site. All courses in which you earn a grade of “D”, “F”, “NP” and/or “W” are counted as “unsatisfactory” attempts to successfully complete the course. You are only allowed 3 attempts to repeat courses for which you receive an “unsatisfactory” grade.  A “W” on your transcript will count as an “unsatisfactory” attempt to successfully complete the course

Make-up Exams

Again, I want you to be successful in this class and therefore, to make up exams you miss. If you miss an exam, you should contact me immediately with a full explanation as to why the exam was missed and a request for a make-up. However, I withhold the right to refuse a make-up.

Academic Honesty

Taking a research methods course can be difficult and stressful. Please understand that I am here to support you in any way I can. I believe you can achieve your academic goals. If you are struggling with learning the concepts in the course, please reach out to me before you decide to act dishonestly with the submission of your work. Some examples of dishonest actions: 

  • Sharing answers with another student to complete assignments or exams
  • Submitting someone else files as your own
  • Submitting either your assignments or another student’s files from a previous semester
  • Helping someone or receiving help on an exam
  • Getting someone else to take your exams

The plagiarism policy is one of most serious policies on the syllabus, and it’s because it concerns the integrity of your work. Plagiarism occurs whenever an individual uses (copies or paraphrases with very little alteration) the ideas or work of another person without giving that person credit. (This does not include certain common phrases.) Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Submitting writing that has been wholly or partially completed by another person,
  • Using ideas or language from a text without attributing them to the author,
  • Copy-pasting any section of any text written by another person into your essay without the use of quotation marks,
  • Or paraphrasing someone else’s words without giving that person credit.

In this course, you will learn the APA’s methods for appropriately incorporating and acknowledging the work of others in your writing through quotation and citation.  If I suspect that the academic integrity policy has been violated, I will discuss the situation with you before determining a course of action. Often, honest misunderstandings or mistakes appear as academic dishonesty when that is not the case. After discussing the situation with you, if I determine that academic dishonesty did occur, I will follow the process in the Student Code of Conduct, which could include the student receiving a “0” for the assignment and will include a referral to the Office of the Vice President of Student Services and Support Programs. For more information, see the Student Code of Conduct in the General College Catalog.

Civility Requirements & Netiquette Suggestions

For the interactive portion of the course, it is important that you respect your classmates’ comments even if you disagree with their opinions; challenge the idea and not the person. Furthermore, in our discussions, please voice your opinions, yet be sensitive of others’ differences (race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). Please be respectful of these differences and do not say things that could be hurtful to others. Here are some other netiquette suggestions to put into practice when posting to discussions online:

  • Use respectful and appropriate language in your forum discussions. 
  • Emoticons are acceptable ways to show emotion. 
  • Avoid CAPS as they come across like YOU'RE SCREAMING. 
  • Read all forum posts. 
  • All messages are public, so be careful and courteous when you post. 
  • Make your posts thorough and your replies as well. 
  • Complete sentences and thoughts are mandatory for forum posts. 
  • Use a person's name when you reply to their post. (People really like this!)

Students with special needs or a disability

This course has been designed to be accessible to students with diverse learning needs. At Cuesta, we have the support of our Disabled Students Program & Services office (DSPS), a resource office that helps to make sure that students with diverse learning needs have the right tools to be successful in the classroom. A list of some services offered by DSPS Links to an external site.

If you think that you may qualify for assistance or accommodation, you can make a virtual appointment Links to an external site. to discuss your situation and needs with a DSPS counselor or contact the DSPS office at (805) 546-3148 or

I fully support the use of services and accommodations by student who need them! For students who wish to use their accommodations in this class, please complete the following step: 

  • If you qualify for services or accommodations that you would like to use in this class, make sure that I receive the electronic notification of your accommodations from DSPS Links to an external site.. (This usually takes the form of an electronic letter written by DSPS that you have the option to "send" if you decide you want to use accommodations in a particular class.)

Contact Expectations

You may email me at any time, I will respond as soon as possible (though please be advised that emails sent after 5pm may not reach me until the following day). Sometimes it may take me a full day to respond. Please allow for 48 hours before sending a follow up email. If you have questions about what we are doing each week, please consult the syllabus first. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! In addition to meeting with me in person, you are also welcome to schedule a one-on-one "office hours" conference with me any time over Zoom. When you’d like to schedule a meeting, first check my schedule on Student Connect (see our Canvas navigation) and if there is not a time that works for you there, send me an email and we’ll coordinate a time that works for both of us.  

Authentication Policy

Authenticating student identity will be conducted through the use of the Learning Management System, Canvas. Canvas requires each student to log into the program using a secure login and password to access. 

Regular and Effective Contact Policy

Regular and effective contact between the instructor and the students will be achieved by some of the following means: 1) Weekly online discussions with appropriate instructor participation; 2) Email, phone or messaging to individual students; 3) Weekly announcements to students; 4) Weekly constructive feedback on student work; 5) Instructor office hours will be available by individual appointment; and 6) Weekly Instructor prepared lectures.

General Campus Policies

Follow this link for General Campus Policies Links to an external site.(including: Withdrawal, Repeatability, Student Code of Conduct).

Technology Tools

A working Cuesta e-mail account, access to Adobe Acrobat ReaderLinks to an external site. download Adobe hereLinks to an external site.and the Internet (and a back-up plan if your internet access or computer go down).

You should also Review the Canvas Quick Reference for Students OnlineLinks to an external site.

Cuesta Resources

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