Psyc 200 Sample Syllabus 6-Week Summer 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 6-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 two 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

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

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. 

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

In this course, there is a “no tolerance” policy for cheating. If you are caught cheating, it will result in an “F” for the course. You will also be reported to a Judicial Officer. For more information, see the Student Code of ConductLinks to an external site. in the General College Catalog.

What do we mean by “cheating?”

      • 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

What happens if you cheat?

      • Both you and the other students involved will receive an F on the assignment, exam, and/or for the entire course.

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.

Civility Requirements

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 your 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.

Contact Expectations

Please note that email is the best way to get in contact with me (I do not check my voicemail often!). I will make every attempt to answer your emails within 24 hours. And to preserve my sanity, I expect all email correspondence to be include the following:

  1. The CRN for the course you are in

  2. Address the email to me so I know it is for me; and

  3. Send a message with punctuation and enough detail for me to help you appropriately. 

Students with special needs or a disability

Students with learning, emotional, or physical disabilities who require academic support services must contact DSPS for authorization. Before receiving special accommodations, I need documentation of accommodations in the form of a Student Educational Contract (SEC) from the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) at Cuesta. Please have that authorization emailed to me as soon as possible to ensure that you receive accommodations.

  1. Contact the DSPS officeLinks to an external site. (805) 546-3148

  2. Present documentation of disability for review by a disabilities specialist

  3. Discuss options for support through DSPS

  4. Present a signed DSPS authorization for accommodation to your instructor

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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