Course Name:

Introduction to Psychology

Course Number:

PSYC 160


Miami, Florida


Instructor’s Name

Robert E. Beneckson, M.S.

I.  Instructor’s Contact Information, Course Pre and Co-Requisites

Room Number:



Office location:


Office hours:

5-6 PM Friday



Course Equivalencies:


Course Prerequisites:


Course Co-requisites:


 Course Description

Examines basic psychological concepts, such as the nervous system, memory, intelligence and development along with Freudian, humanistic, social, cognitive, and trait theories. Presents an introduction to the issues, methods, and descriptions of psychology. Discusses individual and social problems of everyday life through the viewpoints and methods of modern scientific psychology. Examines the psychological processes through which people deal with the challenges of everyday life.

Total Course Credits:


Total Course Hours:


Lecture Hours In-Class:


Lecture Hours Online:


Lab Hours:


Supervised Clinical/Practicum Hours:


Externship/Internship Hours:




 Course Learning Outcomes

1.      Discuss the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

2.       Explain basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

3.      Compare and contrast the major perspectives in psychology (psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, biological and sociocultural).

4.      Demonstrate critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

5.      Apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.

6.      Demonstrate insightful awareness of their feelings, emotions, motives, and attitudes based on psychological principles.

7.      Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life. 






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 Program Learning Outcomes



General Education Program Mission

The General Education program provides students with a measureable, outcomes-based foundational education that not only integrates with and complements the chosen academic emphasis, but also transcends the major discipline. The General Education program prepares students to be competent and ethical problem solvers. They will be adept at demonstrating critical reasoning, scientific methodology, multidisciplinary inquiry, and communication skills that will enable them to make intellectually sound decisions that will embody a cultivated and deep appreciation for cultural diversity for the world in which they live.

General Education Program Philosophy

The General Education program prepares students to be responsible, informed, and ethical citizens, and to develop the dimensions of character needed to navigate, adapt, and succeed in an ever-changing complex world. The General Education curriculum challenges students to explore and analyze the dimensions of the human condition through an intellectually coherent, meaningful, and transformative foundational education. The General Education program is designed such that engagement in high-impact learning experiences, technology, and integrative learning will advance students’ knowledge and skills in written and oral communications, critical reasoning, cultural diversity, scientific reasoning and innovation, quantitative reasoning, and technological and informational literacy. The achievement of General Education core competencies affords students the foundation to grow personally, professionally, and socially, and seek opportunities for lifelong learning.

General Education Program Learning Outcomes

Following completion of the General Education curriculum, students will be able to:

1.      Demonstrate competent written communication skills.

a.      Demonstrate an understanding of creative, academic, and other professional written communication.

b.      Demonstrate competence in written English communication through intensive, research-based practical application of basic and advanced writing principles.

c.      Demonstrate the ability to organize, develop, and present coherent written work that reflects a strong command of English grammar, sentence mechanics, paragraph structure, and paper formatting, and be able to employ these competencies effectively in a range of writing.

2.      Employ effective oral communication skills.

a.      Demonstrate the ability to effectively apply verbal and nonverbal communication in a range of academic and nonacademic settings.

b.      Demonstrate the ability to analyze and address usages of ethos, pathos, logical fallacies, audience reception, cultures of communication, language choice, nonverbal cues, effective listening, and speech delivery.

3.      Interpret quantitative data using mathematical principles to effectively identify core issues and solve problems.

a.      Demonstrate competence in quantitative reasoning by applying mathematical concepts and basic quantitative literacy to real-world applications.

b.      Demonstrate the ability to effectively synthesize, analyze, and interpret mathematical data to draw inferences and connect findings to a range of other disciplines.

4.      Illustrate competence in the biological, physical, and natural sciences.

a.      Demonstrate an understanding of scientific concepts, theories, and principles.

b.      Demonstrate an ability to analyze, interpret, and apply scientific theory and investigative methodologies through laboratory and practical experiences.

c.      Demonstrate an effective connection of quantitative and critical reasoning to the biological, physical, and natural sciences.

5.      Demonstrate technological and informational literacy by locating disparate information through multiple sources.

a.      Demonstrate the effective use of a multidisciplinary and ethical approach to electronic and print information access, retrieval, analysis, and synthesis of general and specialized information.

b.      Demonstrate the application of critical and quantitative reasoning skills to determine reliability and validity of information.

6.      Analyze ideas and make decisions using critical thinking skills.

a.      Demonstrate an understanding of how to differentiate and analyze critical reasoning, perception, cognitive development, decision making, emotional intelligence, deductive and inductive reasoning, and formal and informal logic.

b.      Demonstrate an understanding, recognition, and construction of critical reasoning in relation to written and spoken arguments.

c.      Demonstrate competence in the application of critical reasoning techniques to address real-world situations and issues.

7.      Describe and interpret diverse perspectives, value systems, histories, cultural traditions, and artistic expressions.

a.      Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the profound interconnectivity of diverse human behaviors, value systems, societies, cultures, and traditions.

b.      Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of the complexities and interconnections of society and culture across a variety of historical and contemporary contexts.

c.      Demonstrate the ability to explain how global culture and diversity impact students’ own values, ethics, character, and judgment.

8.      Articulate issues and arrive at a defensible conclusion, given a set of ethical dilemmas.

a.      Demonstrate the ability to recognize contexts in which ethical dilemmas arise.

b.      Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical values and principles to discipline-specific and other real-world situations.

c.      Demonstrate the ability to delineate competing ethical claims in the process of articulating a values-based, critically reasoned defense

 Course Materials

Visit the WCU bookstore to purchase any required materials, including publisher access codes, as needed.


Text:  Understanding Psychology

  • Author: Feldman, R.S. (2017)
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill
  • Edition: 13th ed.
  • Availability: Available in the WCU bookstore

An Access Code is required in this course. The “Required” ISBN is a bundle that includes the Access Code with eBook and the print version of the book together. Students may choose to just purchase the “Optional” ISBN – that is, the stand alone Access Code with eBook-and that will fulfill the required materials for the course. Directions for accessing the text and online materials are in the course.

Supplemental Materials

Supplemental materials are located in the Blackboard Course under Web Resources.



West Coast University Grading Scale (Reflective of final course grade; see associated policy in Catalog)



WCU Grading Scale




































59 or below












Not Passed






Transfer Credit




(Before Drop Deadline)




(After Drop Deadline)

Note: AU, CR, P, NP, I, TC, W, and WF are used on the Academic Record but have no point values and are not computed in the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) 

A minimum passing grade is required for each course and varies by program. Earned grades below the minimum passing grade reflect that the course has not been successfully completed. Each academic program has unique prerequisite requirements. Please see the specific program section for additional information.

Students should review the program specific grading scale in the University Catalog.


Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation criteria consists of Formative and Summative assessments of student learning.

Formative: Assessment that occurs throughout the course to provide feedback and support for improved performance as part of an ongoing learning process.
Examples: Evidence-based research, presentations, case studies, specific class projects, weekly quizzes, homework assignments, clinical or lab assignments, practice exams

Summative: Assessment that occurs at the conclusion of the course to determine whether student learning outcomes have been achieved. 
Examples: Final exam, term paper, or term project 
Signature Assignments, where applicable, are course assignments designed to comprehensively measure student achievement of course and program learning outcomes.


Additional Information: 

·        All assignments are to be submitted via the online classroom except where otherwise noted. Email submissions will not be accepted. Grades and comments on graded items will be posted in the Blackboard Gradebook, unless otherwise specified. All assignments submitted for each course must be created for that particular course. Any assignment (a paper or presentation) submitted for credit in one course may not be duplicated and submitted for credit in any other course unless approved by the faculty or noted in the syllabus.

·        Please review all rubrics in the course for assignment grading criteria, found under the My Grades tab.

·        It is important that you save all of your completed assignments for your records.

·        Please ensure that you have saved copies of all your work on a drive such as Dropbox or a personal hard drive as you may be asked to recall these assignments as you near the end of your program.




Due Date


Midterm Exam



Final Exam






Signature Assignment



LearnSmart (Class Participation)



Personality Analysis Paper



Online Discussions



DSM V Paper







Types of evaluations and related weights


Weight / Points

Week Due



Online Weekly Discussions

15 pts each/105 pts total


There are online discussions starting after the first in class session.

You must participate in these discussions in order to be accounted as present for the class.

Review the rubric in the course for content grading criteria. 

Online LearnSmart Assignments

150 Points


Your textbook activities are mandatory. Please make sure to purchase the

bundled code for McGraw Hill from the WCU bookstore. 

DSM-5 Written Paper

65 Points

Week 6

Review the rubric in your course for grading criteria. 

In Class Assignments

280 Points


There are 7 total in-class assignments, worth 40 points each. 


Mid Term Exam

150 Points

Week 5

The Mid Term Exam will be proctored and delivered in class. 

Article Critique Written Assignment

100 Points

Week 8

This is a Signature Assignment. Review the rubric in your course for grading


Final Exam

150 Points

Week 10

The Final Exam will be proctored and delivered in class. 


1000 points

 Course and Program Specific Policies



Attendance Policy for Blended Courses

Blended delivery courses require in-class and online attendance. Students are subject to the Attendance Policy for each and both are described in the University catalog ( In-class attendance is determined by a weekly signed roster and presence in a registered course. Online attendance is determined by weekly gradable academic activities as noted in the syllabus.


Discussion Board Details for Blended Courses

The Discussion Board is an online academically related activity designed to stimulate class dialog with and between classmates and the instructor. If/when a blended course has a gradable online Discussion Board forum in any week, the following criteria pertain to the associated grading and attendance.

1.      Grading: As directed by the instructor, students are expected to submit well-developed posts. A well-developed post is meaningful, shows relevance to the topic, and reflects knowledge of the material. Well-developed posts demonstrate synthesis of the subject matter, extend the discussion by building on previous posts, and include proper source citations, when applicable. Posted content will be assessed using a rubric found under the My Grades menu item in Blackboard. Please see the syllabus course agenda and Blackboard course for specific posting requirements. There is a 10% grade deduction for late Discussion Board forum postings.

2.      Attendance: Online attendance for a gradable Discussion Board forum post requires that the post must be completed during the assigned week. Activity that is posted in advance of or after the assigned week will not count toward weekly online attendance. Online attendance also requires substantive interaction in Discussion Board forum as outlined in the University catalog ( Posts limited to "I agree," "Great posting," or "Thank you" will not count toward weekly online attendance. 

Minimum Passing Grade

The Minimum Passing Grade in a General Education course is a C. 

Late and Make Up Work

Assignments and Activities (written papers, journals, blogs, projects or similar, both in class or online):

·        Students may be allowed to make up assignments and work missed as a result of absences with penalty. Assignments submitted after the established due date will be penalized at 10% per day. Late assignments will not be accepted more than 3 days after the due date unless preapproval from the instructor has been obtained in writing. Be sure to contact the instructor if you believe you must submit an assignment after the due date. Approvals outside the 3 days are generally provided for extenuating circumstances only.

Quizzes and Tests*

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member within 48 hours of the original examination date of a quiz or test and follow the program policies for missed work. Students will not be allowed access to a quiz or test after the due date. Students may be able to complete a make-up quiz, test, or alternative assignment based on instructor discretion. Students who do not contact the faculty within 48 hours of the original examination date will earn a zero.

Examinations (Midterm and Final Examinations, Proctored Examinations, Proctored Assessments, or similar)*

Students are required to be present for all examinations. If the student must miss an examination due to a compelling reason**, the student must complete and submit the Examination Date Change Request form with the required supporting documentation for the event to the faculty member for that course. The documentation must be submitted at least three (3) weeks in advance of the examination. The faculty member will review and sign the request before submitting the documentation to the Dean, Chair, or designee for approval or denial of the request. The documentation must be submitted at the time of the request, and the decision based on the original request is final.

Extenuating Circumstances

An extenuating circumstance is defined as an absence that is due to an unforeseeable circumstance and not a compelling reason or scheduled event. The student must notify the faculty member of the course within 48 hours before or after the date and time of the examination. The Dean, Chair, or designee will make a determination regarding student eligibility to take an alternate form of make-up examination. If the student is able to demonstrate extenuating circumstances (such as the inclusion of healthcare provider documentation, a copy of obituary notice or death certificate, or a copy of police report for automobile accidents), the Dean, Chair, or designee may permit an alternate form of a make-up examination. The student may earn up to 100% on this make-up examination based on the review of the supporting documentation of the extenuating circumstances.

·        The make-up examination must be taken within five (5) business days of the initial examination administration or before the date of the next class.

·        The make-up examination may not be the same examination but may be an alternative format such as an essay examination.

·        The student must take the make-up examination in a proctored environment.

·        If the student is not able to provide acceptable documentation for either a compelling reason or an extenuating circumstance, the maximum score that the student may earn on the examination is 76%.

·        Students who do not take the examination on the scheduled make-up date or who do not contact the instructor within 48 hours of missing the examination will receive a zero score for the examination.

·        One form is required for each request. Any future make-up requests require a new form.

·        Receiving the maximum amount of points on a make-up examination will be considered only for students who provide documentation of a compelling reason** for missing the examination or if an extenuating circumstance occurs and is supported by documentation. This does not apply for students who miss their regularly scheduled examinations due to student choice or error (e.g., oversleeping). The final determination for approval of a make-up examination is at the discretion the Academic Dean, Chair, or designee.

*Course curriculum varies from course to course. Not all courses have quizzes, tests, or examinations. It is your responsibility to review each syllabus for assignment criteria.

** A compelling reason is defined as planned events or discretionary participation in activities such as weddings or required travel.

 Course Agenda

Online activities: completed prior to the in class session

In-Class activities: completed during the in-class session.

Weekly activities



Define Psychology; Discriminate between psychology as a science and a pseudoscience; Compare and contrast the major perspectives in psychology.

1- Introduction


2- Psychological Research


13- Personality


Personality Test





Chapters 1, 2, 13, & 4


Online for week 2



Discussion Board:

Systems of Psychology

Instructor Blog

·        Personality

·        Freud and Psychoanalysis

Media Gallery

·        Where do People's Personalities Come From?

The Enduring Self

Media Gallery

·        The Scientific Approaches to Psychology





Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior. Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.

13- Personality


Journal 1 Due




Chapters 3, 5 & 6

Week 3 online


·        Psychology and You, Media Portrayal



Instructor Blog 

·        Sensation and Perception

Media Gallery

·        Optical Illusions: How We See the World

Perception: The Art of Seeing




Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.


7- Memory


4- Sensation and Perception



Personality Analysis Due


Journals Due







Chapters 7 & 8

LearnSmart/McGraw-Hill Readings & Activities

·        Ch. 5,

Instructor Blog

·        Consciousness

Media Gallery

·        Why Do We Sleep?


·        Ch. 6, 7


·        Memory Process and Study Skills

Instructor Blog

·        Enhancing Memory and Problem Solving









Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.




5- Consciousness


6- Learning     


3-  Neuroscience and Behavior





Journals Due














Prepare for Midterm Exam

LearnSmart/McGraw-Hill Readings & Activities

·        Ch 17


·        Social Psychology and Deception

Instructor Blog

·        Classic Experiments from Social Psychology

Media Gallery

Invitation to Social Psychology





Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.


17- Social Psychology


Journals Due






Chapters 17, 9, 10, 11&


LearnSmart/McGraw-Hill Readings & Activities

·        Ch. 8, 9,


Conformity, Obedience and Social Roles

Instructor Blog

·        Intelligence, Motivation, and Emotion

Media Gallery

·        Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Multiple Intelligences




Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.

Mid-Term Exam




8- Cognition & Language


9- Intelligence






Journals Due








Chapters 12, 13 & 14


LearnSmart/McGraw-Hill Readings & Activities

·        Ch. 11, 12


Choosing a Therapist


Instructor Blog

·        Changes Across the Lifespan

·        Gender Differences


·        DSM-5 Paper




Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.


15- Psychological Disorders


16- Treatment of Psychological Disorders






Journals Due


DSM5 Paper Due





Chapters 15 & 16


LearnSmart/McGraw-Hill Readings & Activities

·        Ch. 15, 16


·        Studying the Lifespan


Instructor Blog

·        Psychological Disorders


·        Article Critique

Media Gallery

·        Generalized Anxiety Disorders

Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders





Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.


10- Motivation and Emotion



12- Development


Signature Assignment Due


Journals Due






Work on Learnsmart




Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.


Discussion of key course material



Review for Final Exam














Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior.  Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub-divisions in the field of psychology.

Final Exam












University Mission 
At West Coast University, we embrace a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. We deliver transformational education within a culture of integrity and personal accountability. We design market-responsive programs through collaboration between faculty and industry professionals. We continuously pursue more effective and innovative ways through which students develop the competencies and confidence required in a complex and changing world.

Institutional Learning Outcomes
Institutional learning outcomes are designed by the University as a whole, taking into account the role that both instruction and student services play in contributing to a student’s success. Institutional learning outcomes assume achievement of the stated programmatic learning outcomes of one’s discipline. Upon graduating from a degree program offered by West Coast University, students will be able to:

1.      Implement intellectual and practical problem-solving skills through information assessment and critical thinking.

2.      Demonstrate effective written communication skills.

3.      Demonstrate effective oral communication skills.

4.      Demonstrate computer proficiency and information literacy.

5.      Describe ethical standards and legal guidelines associated with one’s chosen career field.

6.      Explain why knowledge of and respect for the societal contributions of diverse cultures and perspectives is an important quality in one’s discipline.

7.      Articulate the importance of working collaboratively with other healthcare providers in support of the client/patient.

Academic Integrity and Dishonesty
Students should review the Academic Dishonesty Policy in the 
University Student Handbook. Students are expected to approach their academic endeavors with the highest academic integrity. They must cite sources and submit original work. Academic honesty is central to the institution/student partnership toward student success. Students are accountable for adhering to the Academic Integrity and Academic Dishonesty policies in the University Student Handbook.

Attendance Policy
West Coast University has a clear requirement for students to attend courses. Students should review the Attendance Policy in the 
University Catalog.

Reasonable Accommodations 
West Coast University strives to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a defined need and who follow the appropriate steps toward seeking the accommodation. The Reasonable Accommodations Policy is found in the 
University Catalog and the Student Handbook.

Classroom Policies
Students are expected to dress professionally during class time as required by the Code of Conduct in the Catalog and any rules in your programmatic handbook. No children are allowed in classes or to be unattended on campus. Use of cell phones, smart phones, or any other electronic devices in the classroom during class time is strictly prohibited. Unauthorized use may lead to faculty member confiscation of the device for the remainder of the class. Behavior that persistently or grossly interferes with classroom activities is considered disruptive behavior and may be subject to disciplinary action. A student responsible for disruptive behavior may be required to leave the class.

Grade Rounding 
At West Coast University, scores are not rounded to the whole number until the end of the term. All student assignments, quizzes, and examinations will be rounded to the first decimal point. At the end of the terms, final course grades will be rounded to the nearest whole point. For programs that use the exam average to determine whether other course assignments are included in the final scoring (e.g., Nursing), the end-of-term exam average may be rounded (using the above rules) to make that determination.

WCU Quiz, Test, and Exam Policies

Quiz, test, and exam policies vary by course objectives and programmatic expectations. Some quizzes, tests, and exams utilize a timed approach, password verification, authentication process, proctoring protocols, and academic integrity software. Students must follow the policies as outlined in the syllabus and in accordance with the university, program, and any third-party company (i.e., ATI®) policies. Refer to the Code of Conduct and Academic Honor Code found in the University Student Handbook. Reference the Late and Make-Up Work policy for specifics regarding missed quizzes, tests, and exams.

Late and Make-Up Work Policy

All students are expected to submit evidence of learning as established by the academic program, which is outlined in the course syllabus. Students are required to meet the course objectives by submitting coursework no later than the assigned due date. In order to demonstrate achievement of the course learning outcomes, students may be allowed to submit late work. Specifics regarding late work are listed in the program and/or course section of the course syllabus. If a student submits late coursework, the instructor, at her or his discretion, may deny acceptance of the assignment or award partial to full credit in alignment with the program policies. Technological issues are not an excuse for late submissions unless the problem stems from university equipment, Blackboard outages, or third-party content providers.

Missed Quizzes, Tests, and Exams

All quizzes, tests, and exams must be completed by the date they are assigned. If a quiz, test, or exam is missed due to a documented emergency situation (e.g., death in the immediate family), it is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member within 48 hours of the original due date and follow the program policies for missed work. Students who do not make up the quiz, test, or assessment as scheduled or who do not contact the instructor within 48 hours will receive a zero score for that assessment.

Final Week of Term/Semester/Trimester

Quizzes, tests, and exams must be completed and assignments must be submitted no later than the last scheduled day of class during the final week of the term/semester/trimester. In the final week, some courses will have an alternative class meeting day, time, and room, or submission deadline. Specifics regarding the final week are listed in the course syllabus. Refer to the University Attendance Policy for maximum absences and other details.


West Coast University utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System. Technical support for Blackboard is offered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. There are minimum system requirements to access not only Blackboard but also any resources that may be posted in Blackboard or utilized in a course. Please refer to the University Student Handbook. for minimum technical requirements. For tech support options, please click on the Support tab located at the top of your Blackboard home page. Blackboard can be accessed here:

Library Information 
You can access the library through the Library tab at the top of your Blackboard home page or here:

Course Related Policies 
West Coast University has specific course related policies for overload, auditing, repeats, courses passed but not successfully completed, add/drop and withdrawal. Please see the 
University Catalog for course related policies. 


Guidelines for the Journal Assignment 

The study of psychology is based on the observation of human behavior, mental processes, and growth and development.  Because this is a study of human beings, rather than an abstract science like some aspects of mathematics or quantum physics, it should be possible for the student to apply the knowledge gained from psychology to real events in their lives: to themselves and other people they come in contact with. These journals provide the student the opportunity to apply the material studied to themselves in a practical and useful way which is intended to help the student gain insight in a manner that is helpful to them in an applied, meaningful way.

Each  student will write a minimum of five journals applying the material from the text to aspects of their life as they see fit.  The journal will be typed, double spaced in a 12 pt. font. The paper should be two pages in length.  Further explanations of this assignment will be provided in class.

Guidelines for the Personality Analysis Paper Assignment:

After you take the 5 Factor Personality test during the first week of class you will write a paper analyzing your results.  You will utilize critical thinking to discuss the traits the test assigns to you, adding supporting evidence from your actual behavior to support you analysis.  This will be discussed in detail in class.