PS341 Positive Psychology

for S1T 2010

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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 341 Positive Psychology


S1T 2010 DL


Waxse, Linda J.


Senior Adjunct Instructor


B.S. English Education, New York University
M.S. Counseling Psychology, Avila College

Office Location

Dearing Hall, Parkville Campus

Office Hours

8 am--4:30 pm Monday--Friday (15 August--15 May)

Daytime Phone

816-584-6237 (15 August--15 May)


Semester Dates

11 January--7 March 2010

Class Days


Class Time



PS 101 Introduction to Psychology or permission of instructor

Credit Hours



There are 2 books required for this class:

1.  Snyder, C.R., Lopez, S.J. (2007) Positive Psychology, The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths.  Thousand Oaks: Save Publications. ISBN 0-7619-2633-X

 positive psychology text

2. Bolt, Martin. (2007) Pursuing Human Strengths, A positive psychology guide. Worth Publishers. There are 2 ISBN Numbers listed in the text that I have ISBN-13:978-0-7167-0112-5 and ISBN-10: 0-7167-0112-X

 pursuing human strengths--Bolt

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
PS341 Positive Psychology PreRequisite:PS101 or permission of Instructor. - An exploration of scientific and applied approaches to identifying a persons strengths and promoting their positive functioning. The course will focus on human potential, emotional and cognitive processes that contribute to a persons well-being and that increase prosocial behavior and the ability to create positive environments. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine the history, intentions and scope of positive psychology. (Program Competency #1, 4)
  2. Analyze, synthesize, critically examine and evaluate positive psychology literature. (Program Competency #2, 4)
  3. Investigate, guided by the literature, what kinds of experiences fulfill people, what human characteristics lead to personal effectiveness and what social conditions appear to elicit these qualities and experiences. (Program Competency # 1, 2, 3, 4)
  4. Assess and evaluate one's own well-being, strengths and limitations. (Program Competency # 3, 6, 8)
  5. Apply positive psychology to important domains in one's life and in the lives of others. (Program Competency #1, 4, 7)
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of APA style. (Program Competency #1, 4, 7)

Core Assessment:
All Park University courses are required to include a Core Assessment in order to measure the specific Departmental Learning Outcomes for each course. The Core Assessment for PS 341 involves writing a 10-page research paper using empirical research and the APA format. The paper provides an opportunity to explore the important research in Positive Psychology and utilize the concepts and terminology for a perspective and application of this knowledge to your intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness and current and future prosocial behaviors. 

The length of the paper needs to be at least 10 pages of text with at least 10 references that support the areas of focus listed below. Each area of focus needs to have at least 1 empirical reference that supports your observations, is discussed critically, and relates to that particular area of focus. References need to be from empirical research journals. Textbooks, websites books and magazines are not to be used.

Paper needs to be organized using the Areas of Focus as section headings so the information can be easily identified.

Areas of Focus:

1. What major principles have you learned from the Positive Psychology course and according to the research why do you think these principles are important?

2. What changes do you notice in your emotional states, processes and experiences and according to the research why are these changes important?

3. What changes do you notice in your cognitive states and processes and according to the research why are these changes important?

4. Describe examples of how you are currently applying the information and what changes have you observed?

5. Describe your goals and plans for applying the information from the course in the future. (Include in your discussion how these goals and plans will build strengths in a multicultural environment.

6. How will you apply this information to prosocial behavior in your current workplace or future career to create a positive environment? What research supports these behaviors to be important?

  1. Within the concepts and terminology of Positive Psychology list and describe your challenges and obstacles.
  1. Within the framework of Positive Psychology what are your unanswered questions or areas where you question the validity of the information?

A good starting point is to examine the area(s) in your Positive Psychology textbook for references and researchers associated with your topic. The references in the back of the book are examples of APA citation. Use this format for the references you use in your paper.

The paper needs to be written in the APA style, e.g., title page, abstract, 1 inch margins, running heads, DS, proper reference format, etc. See the following websites for more information: or

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

PS 341

Discussion Topic—minimum of 300 words for each question--Due on Thursday of each week.  See assignment for grading rubric

8 questions (15 points each)

120 points

Discussion Topic Response—2 responses each week to the assignment and question of another student—due Sunday of each week.

16 responses (3 points each)

48 points

Homework—minimum of 300 words for each question--Due on Sunday of each week. See assignment for grading rubric

2 questions (30 points each)

30 points

Homework—Compare/contrast Empirical Research—minimum 3 pages.

1 assignment (30 points)

30 points

Class Activity—2 well-developed paragraphs--Due on Thursday of each week.  See assignment for grading rubric

6 activities (5 points each)

30 points

Class Activity Response—response to the Activity assignment of another student—due Sunday of each week.

6 responses (3 point each)

18 points

Journal 1—Reflection—1 well-developed paragraph for each topic—2 topics each week.

16 Reflection journal entries (2 points each)

32 points

Journal 2—Gratitude—1 well-developed paragraph for each gratitude entry—3 entries each week.

24 Gratitude journal entries (2 points each)

48 points

Mastery--Due Sunday of each week

8 quizzes

80 points

Core Assessment—Due Saturday of week 7.  Core Assessment assignment and rubric in Syllabus

200 points

Midterm Exam--Due Sunday of week 4

100 points

Final Exam2 parts, 50 points for each part.  Part 1multiple-choice is taken in the course without a proctor.  Part 2—essay is a Proctored exam to be taken by Friday of week 8 (see for additional information on requirements for proctored exam.)  Both parts of the final exam are to be taken during week 8. 

100 points


836 points



(Topic: 120 pts, Responses: 48pts)


Homework (2)


Homework--Empirical Research paper


Class Activity
(Topic: 30 pts, Responses: 18pts)


(Journal 1--Reflection--2 entries per week: 32pts)
(Journal 2--Gratitude-- 3 entries per week: 48 pts)


Mastery quizzes


Core Assessment


Midterm Exam


Final Exam--2 parts--50 points each--Part 1--in course; Part 2 with Proctor




Grading Scale:

A = 90%                = 752.4 - 836           points
B = 80%                = 668.8 - 752.3        points
C = 70%                = 585.2 - 668.7        points
D = 60%                = 501.6 - 668.6        points
F = Less than 60%  = less than 501.5    points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
This is an interactive class and not a correspondence class; therefore, assignments are expected to be posted by the deadline indicated for the assignment. It is not equitable to the other students in the class to permit late assignments to receive credit.  Assignments that are posted after the deadlines will not receive credit unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor and late assignments should be the exception and not become a pattern.

Learning in online courses is the most effective if assignments are timely.   Not having face-to-face contact is a great challenge for this new medium of instruction and one way to feel a part of the class is to keep discussions going.  The most optimal learning environment for an online class is when assignments are posted and responded to in the week they are due. After each week is completed, the class moves onto another topic and students are not expected to go back to read and respond to a late posting.   If you enter the class late you are expected to be completely caught up by the end of the 2nd week and assignments need to be posted on time from that point forward.

POINT DEDUCTIONS.      Points will be deducted for lateness as follows:

Assignments and Journals:  

Thursday assignments after

Midnight on Thursday (Mountain Time) will not receive credit

Saturday assignments after

Midnight on Saturday (Mountain Time) will not receive credit

Sunday assignments after

Midnight on Sunday (Mountain Time) will not receive credit



Sunday after

midnight Mountain Time

will not receive credit



Sunday after

Midnight Mountain Time

- 5 points

Monday after

Midnight Mountain Time

no credit will be received (after this date the Midterm Exam cannot be accessed)


Core Assessment:

Saturday after

Midnight Mountain Time

24-hour "grace" time

Sunday after

Midnight Mountain Time

- 5 points

Monday after

Midnight Mountain Time

-10 points

Tuesday after

Midnight Mountain Time

no credit will be received

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Online Etiquette/Courtesy:  Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course.  What you put into an online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  It is important not to take disagreement personally.  Responses to different ideas and observations need to be objective.  Being objective means maintaining boundaries and not making personal attacks on the ability of others or making statements that have the potential to be taken personally.  An important part of online learning is discussion.  Differences in thinking are good because our knowledge is broadened.  Because we have differences, we will have conflict.  The important thing is to handle conflict in a way that does not create defensiveness which blocks learning.  Here are online references that discuss online writing and netiquette .

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
Discussion Topic (8)--due Thursday of each week 

Discussion Topic Responses (2 each week)--due Sunday of each week

Homework Assignments (2)--due Sunday or week 2 and week 8 

Homework—Empirical Research Paper (1)—due Sunday of week 3

Class Activity (6)—due Thursday of each week

Journal 1—Reflection—2 entries per week--due on different days during the week--Sunday deadline

Journal 2—Gratitude—3 entries per week--due on different days during the week--Sunday deadline

Mastery Quizzes (8)--due Sunday of each week

Midterm Exam--due Sunday of week 4.

Core Assessment/Research Paper--due Saturday of week 7.

Final Exam--2 parts.  The multiple-choice exam, part 1, will be taken in the class without a proctor and will be due Sunday of week 8.    The essay exam, part 2, will be taken with a proctor and is to be completed by Friday of week 8.

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 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
In addition to the information on plagiarism provided in the Syllabus, it is important to add additional information that will prevent problems that have occurred in previous classes.

Assignments are expected to use outside sources such as reliable websites, the textbook Doc Sharing and Webliography information to support your ideas, but this information needs to be integrated into the paper in appropriate ways to highlight and support your ideas, observations and conclusions. This information should not be the major part of your assignment or response.  Information from outside sources needs to be evaluated and discussed critically.  Outside information is not to be used instead of your own thoughts and observations.  

The assignments must NOT contain large chunks of quotes. When outside sources are used, they need to be documented within the assignment and at the end. Direct quotes (used very sparingly) need to be in quotation marks. It is not acceptable to copy directly from the textbook or websites even if this information is documented at the end of your assignment. Assignments need to be in your own words indicating that you have read and understood the information. A report of the material is not acceptable—the information needs to be applied to the specific questions that are asked in the assignment.

Responses need to follow the above expectations as well. The information used from outside sources needs to be described and discussed as to why this information supports either the question or the assignment of another student. It is not enough to just provide a list with little description or discussion.

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 "F".
  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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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)
Analysis & Evaluation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 - Areas of Focus 1, 2, 3, 7, 8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from at least two different empirical research sources that are critically examined, and the discussion reflects a depth of understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus. Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from 1 empirical research source that is critically examined, and the discussion reflects a depth of understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus. Each Area of Focus includes positive psychology concepts, support from empirical research sources, but the information is reported and not critically examined and does not reflect an understanding of the research and how it relates to that particular Area of Focus.  
Outcomes 2, 3, 5 - Areas of Focus 4, 5, 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Each Area of Focus is supported with personal observations, positive psychology concepts with an application of at least two different empirical research articles. Each Area of Focus is supported with personal observations and positive psychology concepts with an application of one empirical research article. Areas of Focus lack substantial support from personal observations and positive psychology concepts. Empirical research is minimally applied or not applied to all Areas of Focus.  
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Outcome 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Artifact displays professional writing and utilizes correct APA format.  More than 10 empirical sources in the paper. Professional writing displayed and APA format is generally followed (1 error: cover page, abstract, running head, internal citations, headings, references, etc).  10 empirical sources. Professional writing problems (e.g., excessive quoting, lack of proofreading, informal language, lack of organization) and/or 2 or more APA errors: cover page, abstract, running head, internal citations, headings, references, etc.) or less than 10 empirical sources.  


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Last Updated:12/28/2009 9:35:58 AM