PS301 Social Psychology

for S2T 2007

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


PS 301 Social Psychology


S2T 2007 DLC


Houston, Natasha


Assistant Professor of Sociology and Psychology/Adjunct Faculty


BA/Organizational Communication
MSW/Social Work
EdD (ABD)/Education

Office Location

Home~ MT

Office Hours

Anytime~ Please email me.

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

3/19/07- 5/13/2007

Class Days


Class Time




Credit Hours



Social Psychology (6th Edition) by Brehm, Kassin and Fein. Houghton Mifflin; ISBN # 061840337X

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Allyn & Bacon Book Specific Resources for Parrillo, Stranger to These Shores, 8th ed:,8189,2214298-,00.html

Internet Detective: Wise up to the web: Research Resources: What is citation?:


OWL at Purdue APA Formatting & Style Guide:

Landmark's Citation Machine:

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Course Description:
( SO 301) A study of the impact of the real or imagined social environment on individuals; particular emphasis is placed on the role of social and cultural influences on individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy is one that reflects the facilitation of learning through learner interaction with course content, the facilitator, and other online learners. As a learner in my online classroom, you will be encouraged to explore new ideas and viewpoints, reason critically and objectively, apply, analyze, and synthesize what you have learned, and reflect on your learning throughout the course.

As a social scientist, I believe that we are heavily influenced by our past experiences and relationships with others.  My philosophy of teaching is not based on any formal educational philosophy that I know of. The experiences I've had, and the things I've learned throughout my life and my educational career form the basis of my own philosophy of learning and my ideas about my role as an instructor. These have evolved over time as I have moved from face-to-face to online instruction.

First and foremost, my own experiences have taught me that nothing of value is easily acquired. It was not the easy courses I took that stuck in my mind. It was not the easy professors who made an impression on me or who were instrumental in altering the course of my life. I learned the most and received the most from those professors who challenged my way of thinking and pushed me to discover my potential. I learned that it is not the easy road that leads to self-confidence and continued success. It is overcoming the challenges and difficulties of life that create belief in oneself and confidence to go on and meet greater challenges ahead. I believe it is essential that today's adult learners be challenged sufficiently to build self-esteem and the confidence to meet whatever difficult circumstances they may face in the future. I want to encourage students to develop the potential they have to succeed in whatever area of life they choose.

Secondly, education for me has been a life-long process. I am still learning and will continue to learn for the rest of my life. I have not simply acquired knowledge, but I have acquired the requisite skills and attitude needed to continue to learn. I have learned how to learn, and it is this valuable commodity that I wish to pass on to my students. I see my role as assisting students to acquire the critical thinking and other methodological skills necessary for a lifetime of learning. I am not here to merely impart information. I'm here to promote the skills and the enthusiasm students will require to continue learning and applying what they've learned throughout their lives.

Thirdly, I see my role as an instructor evolving to meet the changing world we live in. Success today is increasingly dependent upon the ability to communicate effectively in writing and to think critically to solve problems. My course is designed to help students acquire and/or improve these skills. I see these skills as crucial for success in graduate school, the workforce, and for preparing learners for a lifetime of learning. Class participation and writing assignments are designed with these goals in mind.

Within this larger context, class assignments are structured to:

  • provide a learning experience that is relevant and interesting.

I try to involve students in the online classroom by presenting thought-provoking topics that I feel are of interest to most students taking this course. I encourage students to share their own experiences and points of view while making it clear that everyone's view is equally important and valuable.

  • provide a learning experience that is challenging.

I ask students to think beyond simple memorization of material to an application of what they have learned to their own experiences and to new or different contexts. Students are asked to apply theory and to compare/contrast similarities and differences in various groups and situations. The CA Essay is a measure of how well students are able to apply, analyze, sythesize, and evaluate  the concepts and theories presented in this course with research information drawn from peer-reviewed academic sources.

  • provide a learning experience that is valuable and rewarding.

I firmly believe that each course a student takes should contribute something of import to his/her personal and professional life. This course is designed to do both. Students consistently state that this course has been invaluable in preparing them for further academic challenges and for dealing more effectively with people from all walks of life in both a personal and professional context. Many students recommend this course to others, and I can't think of a greater compliment or affirmation.

The lessons and experiences from my own life form the basis of everything I do in the online classroom. I try to create a learning environment that is both challenging and encouraging. I believe my role is to guide or facilitate learning rather than to impart information. To that end, I also believe the corresponding role of the student is to actively participate in and to accept responsibility for his/her own learning. If students accept this challenge, they will find this course invaluable.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Define key theories and principles relevant to social psychology.
  2. Critically apply social psychological concepts to enhance one's understanding of their own behavior in a societal context.
  3. Identify and critique research methods in social psychology.
  4. Define and contrast key factors relevant in theories of group dynamics, conformity, leadership, obedience, and interpersonal attraction.

Core Assessment:

Literature Review

The purpose of the literature review is for students to research a topic relevant to social psychology, formulate a research question, and conduct a literature review to address their target question. A literature review is not simply a report or an annotated bibliography; a literature review is a summary of the available information on a specific topic organized by common themes, trends or findings.


  • Utilizes a minimum of 6 empirical, peer-reviewed, research articles as the basis of the literature review.
  • Information must be organized, presented and referenced using APA style.
  • Literature review should be approximately 10-12 pages (plus title and reference pages).
  • Includes an explicit section examining multicultural implications, findings, relevance and/or significance.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

You will know in advance the standards for each assignment. My goal is to give you prompt, clear, and useful feedback to help you critically analyze psychometric information and communicate this knowledge in a professional manner. Each student is responsible for:

  • Completing weekly reading assignments
  • Completing weekly homework assignments
  • Completing weekly quizzes
  • Participating in weekly on-line class discussions
  • Completing a literature review
  • Completing an application movie analysis
  • Completing a proctored final examination


You will be able to track your grade throughout the term. Grades will be determined by your performance on a final exam, literature review, movie application analysis, weekly homework assignments, weekly quizzes and participation in online exploration class discussions. Points will be assigned as follows:

Final exam (Week 8) 100 points
Literature review (and corresponding article critiques) 100 points
Weekly homework assignments 80 points
Weekly quizzes 70 points
Movie application analysis 30 points
Participation in online exploration discussions 120 points
Total 500 points

Final course grades will be determined as follows:

A 90% - 100% 448 points and higher
B 80% - 89% 398 – 447 points
C 70% - 79% 348 – 397 points
D 60% - 69% 298 – 347 points
F 59% and lower 297 points and lower

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Discussion Responses are due at Midnight MST every Thursday, and you need to have your Peer Response completed by Sunday Midnight MST.  You may find that you can't get your Discussion Response completed by Thursday. If so, you will receive a 1-point deduction in your overall class participation score for that week. You must have both your Discussion and Peer Response completed by Sunday Midnight MST in any week. I do not accept late weekly participation in the class discussion threads in this course for any reason.  If you do not complete the required discussion assignments by the midnight deadline in the week they are due, you miss your chance for class participation in that week. No Discussion Response or Peer Response will be accepted for credit after Sunday midnight MST of the week in which the assignment is due. There are no exceptions, regardless of the reason you could not complete the assignment. You cannot make these up. They must be completed and submitted within the week they are due. This also applies to work on group projects. You must complete your portion of the group project within the week the project is due. 

Late online activities/journal entries may be considered for late credit for the following reasons: death in the family, medical emergency in immediate family or unexpected deployment. You must notify me prior to the due date of a problem with completing the assignment and provide documentation as to the reason. I will not accept the late assignment if you have not notified me prior to the due date.  Upon notification, I reserve the right to decide whether or not I feel your reason falls within these stated guidelines.  Any late journal entry will receive an automatic 25% deduction (3 points), regardless of the reason.  My goal in establishing this rule is to create an online environment that is fair to me and to those who have made the effort to submit assignments on time. If you think that your present work schedule, family responsibilities, or health will prevent you from regular participation in the classroom and/or from timely completion of the assignments, you may want to consider whether or not this is the best time to take this course. Balancing work, family, school, and other responsibilities sometimes requires us to set priorities and make sacrifices.


Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Learners are to treat each other and the instructor with consideration and respect. No offensive or inflammatory remarks will be tolerated. If you have a complaint/difference of opinion with the instructor on course requirements or course content, you are encouraged to contact the instructor via email. Please do not use the discussion threads for posting messages other than that related to the content of the course.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

PS301 Social Psychology provides an overview of the key theories and perspectives that explain the power of the situation in shaping our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. As such, the course covers issues ranging from prejudice to gender to social influence to interpersonal attraction. As we move through each of these topics, your task is to critically apply the relevant concepts to your own life. The following table highlights the weekly topics:

Week 1 Introduction to Social Psychology
Week 2 The Social Self and Perceiving Persons
Week 3 Stereotypes, Prejudice and Discrimination
Week 4 Attitudes and Conformity
Week 5 Group Processes
Week 6 Attraction and Close Relationships
Week 7 Helping Others and Aggression
Week 8 Applying Social Psychology

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Identifies and incorporates 7 or more empirical, peer-reviewed research articles that directly address the target research question.

Identifies and incorporates 6 empirical, peer-reviewed research articles that are appropriate and relevant for addressing the target research question.

Utilizes 5 or fewer research articles OR fails to utilize empirical, peer-reviewed research articles OR research articles are inappropriate for addressing the target research question.

No references or empirical basis for paper.

1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Literature review provides a cohesive, accurate analysis of the target question by organizing current information into logical themes, trends and findings; literature review provides a clear portrait of the current research status on the target topic.

Literature review is organized according to common themes, trends and findings that address the target question.

Literature review is presented as a series of unrelated findings/summaries OR literature review does not address the target question OR information fails to show any cohesiveness to topic.

Fails to provide a review of literature; paper is editorial, opinion, or personal reference.

1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student accurately interprets and presents empirical findings while going beyond the presented information to highlight original gaps, errors, inadequacies or unanswered issues in the research base.

Student accurately interprets and presents empirical findings that correctly address the research question while summarizing reported gaps or inadequacies in the research base.  

Student inaccurately interprets or presents the empirical findings OR findings do not address the research question OR fails to note any gaps/inadeqacies in the research base.

No relationship between literature review and research question.

1, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Student accurately and consistenly utilizes appropriate social psychological concepts that demonstrate a clear understanding of terminology.

Student accurately utilizes social psychological concepts to discuss the research literature.

Student utilizes social psychological terminology inaccurately OR fails to consistently use social psychological terminology.

Utilizes no social psychological terminology.

1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student proposes an insightful, original research question that utilizes current social psychological information to extend our understanding of humans as social creatures.

Student provides an appropriate researchable question that can be addressed within the scope of social psychology.

Student provides a philosophical or unanswerable question OR utilizes a research question that cannot be addressed from a social psychological perspective.

Fails to provide a research question.

1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student shows a sophisticated knowledge of research methodology in their ability to critically evaluate the research question; addresses flaws or concerns with the research literature.

Student correctly applies their knowledge of research methodology to interpret and integrate empirical information in relation to their target question.

Student is inaccurate in their application of research methodology OR fails to apply their knowledge to accurately address the target question.

Student unable to understand or interpret research methodology OR fails to apply research knowledge to the review of literature.

Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student utilizes APA style throughout paper with fewer than 3 errors.

Student utilizes APA style for title page, citations, references and overall organization of information; student has 4-6 errors in technical use of APA style.

Student utilizes APA style but has 7 or more errors.

Student fails to use APA style.

1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Body of literature review is 13 or more double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

Body of literature review is 10-12 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

Body of literature review is 7-9 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional) OR missing title/reference page

Body of literature review is less than 6 double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font (title and reference pages are additional)

M/LL Courses                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
1, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Student provides insight beyond what is presented in the literature in examining the multicultural implications, findings and/or significance; highlights awareness of the research question in relation to contemporary issues.

Student accurately addresses the multicultural implications, findings and/or significance of their research question.

Student mentions multicultural implications but fails to elaborate on the implications, findings and/or significance OR student fails to show an accurate understanding of multicultural issues.

No mention of multicultural issues, implications or findings.



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Last Updated:3/3/2007 2:57:48 PM