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

Phone Number:



Office location:


Office hours:

5-6 PM Friday



Course Equivalencies:


Course Prerequisites:


Course Co-requisites:


This course is delivered in a Blended Learning modality. There will be both online and face to face expectations and assignments throughout this course. Attendance will be taken both online and face to face.  Please review the course agenda below for specific course expectations.

Note that week 1 begins on ground. After week 1, is it the expectation that you complete all readings, assignments, and weekly activities before the next class ground/face to face session.

II. Mission and Outcomes

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.

Program Mission:

The General Education program has been designed to facilitate students’ acquisition and application of knowledge through intellectual stimulation, scientific methodology, information and computer literacy, and communication competencies.  Students master problem solving abilities necessary for success in the core curriculum and with application to personal and professional growth and well-being beyond the curriculum.

Program Learning Outcomes:

1.      Demonstrate competent written communication skills

2.      Employ effective oral communication skills

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

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

5.      Locate disparate information through multiple sources demonstrating technological and informational literacy

6.      Analyze ideas and make decisions using critical thinking skills

7.      Describe and interpret diverse perspectives, value systems, history, cultural traditions, and artistic expression

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


III.  Course Information


Fall 2 2018

Class Meeting Dates:

Friday 11/2/2018 – 1/15/2019

Class Meeting Times:

6:00pm – 9:30p

Class Meeting Location:

Room 269

Class Credit Hours:

3 semester credits/5 contact hours/week (Lecture and online) 45 hours per term

Out of Class Time Hours:


Class Credit Length:

9 weeks

Class Required Texts, Learning Resources:

Feldman, R.S. (2015) Understanding Psychology (13thed).

        Boston: McGraw-Hill. 


Class Recommended Texts, Learning Resources:






Course Catalog 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.

Course Learning Outcomes:

·      Course outcomes are comprised of the knowledge, skills, values and/or behaviors that students should be able to demonstrate upon completion of the course.

·      Course outcomes map to the Program Learning Outcomes

·      Must be assessed in the course to determine if learning outcomes are met

·         Define psychology and discriminate between the science of psychology and pseudoscience

·         Compare and contrast the major perspectives in psychology (psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, biological and socio-cultural)

·         Explain how psychological theories are used to describe, explain, predict and modify behavior and mental processes

·         Identify kinds of research and its application of the different sub divisions in the field of psychology


Teaching and Learning Strategies

·      Updated per course reflecting the instructional strategies appropriate to the subject area.

·      Examples:. simulation laboratory, clinical experience, discussion, case studies, blended learning, on line assignments, quizzes or other electronic teaching devices, lecture, guest speakers, community projects, class presentations, videos/DVD,  kinesthetic learning activities

This course is presented in a lecture format with the use of video, class presentations, student journals, learning exercises, and group discussions. The emphasis is understanding the connections between psychological knowledge and life-experience.




IV.  Evaluation Methods, Grading


Formative Assessment of Student Learning:

·         Will not count more than 80% of final grade

·         Examples -- Evidenced-based Research, presentations, Case Studies, Specific class projects, Weekly quizzes, homework assignments, clinical or lab assignments/assessment, practice exams

Summative Assessment of Student Learning:

·         Will not count more than 30% of final grade

·         Examples – Final Exam, Term Paper or Term Project


·         Student Participation will not account for more than 10% of the final grade.


Due Date


Midterm Exam



Final Exam






Signature Assignment



LearnSmart (Class Participation)



Personality Analysis Paper



Online Discussions



DSM V Paper






















V.  Policies and Procedures

West Coast University Grading Scale (reflective of final course grade.  See associated policy in Catalog)



WCU Grading Scale




































59 or below



Transfer Credit










Attendance Policy

West Coast University has a clear requirement for students to attend courses.  Students should review the Attendance Policy in the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the University Catalog.

Academic Integrity Policy

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 towards student success.    Students are accountable for adhering to the Academic Integrity and Academic Dishonesty policies in the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the University Catalog.

Academic Dishonesty

Students should review the Academic Dishonesty Policy in the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of 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 towards seeking the accommodation.  The Reasonable Accommodations Policy is found in the “Academic Policies and Procedures” section of the University Catalog.  

West Coast University Make-up Work Policy

·      In order to meet course objectives, students may be required to make up all assignments and work missed as a result of absences.  The faculty may assign additional make-up work to be completed for each absence.

·      Students are required to be present when an examination is given.  If unexpectedly absent for a documented emergency situation (i.e. death in the immediate family), it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for a make-up date by contacting the faculty member within 48 hours of the original assessment date.  The make-up work must be completed within five (5) school days of the originally assigned date.  Students who do not take the exam on the scheduled make-up date or who do not contact the instructor within 48 hours will receive a zero score for that assessment activity.  The highest score possible on a nursing or dental hygiene make-up examination is passing grade (e.g., if a student obtained a perfect score (100%) in the make-up examination, the grade will still be recorded as a passing grade). 

Classroom Policies

·     Students are expected to dress professionally during class time.

·     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. 

Testing and Examination Policy

·      The university testing policy stipulates that no phones or other electronic devices, food or drink, papers or backpacks can be taken into the examination area.   In specific courses the faculty may have additional requirements. Talking during testing or sharing of information regarding the test questions is not allowed. 

·      Once the exam results are available, students may schedule reviews of their exams with their instructors. Once the exam results are available, the instructor may review the test with students. This review is intended to help students learn, and is not intended for further distribution to other students.   

Additional Program or Accreditation Requirements





Section B:  Course Outline

·         Class objectives reflect the teaching activities that, if engaged in, are intended to lead to specific, measurable student learning outcomes as identified in Section A.

·         Content outline provides the student with a course roadmap.  Which topics are intended to be covered each week?

·         Specific course activities outline the teaching strategies used

·         Student assignments identify the learning and assessment requirements that students are to fulfill throughout the duration of the course. 



Class Objectives/Course Learning Outcomes


Content Outline

Specific Course Activity

Student Assignments



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


Journals 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













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

Examples: Evidenced-based Research, presentations, Case Studies, Specific class projects, Weekly quizzes, homework assignments, clinical or lab assignments, practice exams

Will not count more than 30% of final grade
Examples: Final Exam, Term Paper or Term Project
Signature Assignments, where applicable, are course assignments designed to comprehensively measure student achievement of course learning outcomes.


Additional Information: 

·         All assignments are to be submitted via the online classroom except where otherwise noted (i.e.participation in class). Email submissions will not be accepted. Grades and comments on graded items (assignments, discussions, and exams) 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.

·         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 because you will be asked to recall these assignments as you near the end of your program.


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 7

Review the rubric in your course for grading criteria. 

In Class Assessments

280 Points


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

Mid Term Exam

150 Points

Week 6

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

Final Exam

150 Points

Week 10

The Final 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 criteria. 


1000 points


Discussion Board or Collaboration Requirements

Blended courses may have a discussion board or similar collaboration component. These are designed to stimulate class dialog and allow students to express ideas in text, audio or video; then continue these discussions in the face-to-face class for that week.  

To earn full weekly discussion credit, students are expected to comment and post on all prompts and provide responses to classmates and instructors where applicable. Posted content and collaboration will be assessed using a rubric ( found under the My Grades menu item).

In addition to reviewing the grading criteria in the rubric, please note the following expectations: Discussion posts or other collaboration activities must be completed during the week they are assigned unless otherwise noted. Activity that is posted in advance of the assigned week will not count toward your grade. If you wish to work ahead, please compose your responses in a Word document, then post when the week arrives.  

In some courses, you may be required to submit replies to your peers and instructors as part of your grade. Please see the agenda, course, rubric and instructor for specific posting requirements.

There is a 10% automatic deduction for late discussion postings. 

Collaborative posts should be well developed. A well-developed post is meaningful, shows relevance to the topic, and reflects your 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. Posts limited to "I agree," "Great posting," or "Thank you" will not be assessed as well-developed, and will therefore not be considered a contribution to the number of required weekly posts.

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, Tests and Exams: It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member within 24 hours of the original due date and follow the program policies for missed work.

·         Students will not be allowed access to the 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.

Make Up Exams (Midterm and Final Exams, Proctored Exams, Proctored Assessments, or similar):

·         Students are required to be present for all examinations. If an unexpected emergency situation occurs (e.g., death in the immediate family, sudden illness, or an accident), the student must notify the appropriate faculty member within twenty-four (24) hours of the date and time of the examination.

·         If the student wishes to take a make-up examination, the student must complete and submit the Examination Date Change Request form, with the required supporting documentation, to the faculty member for that course. The faculty member will review and sign the request for a make-up examination prior to submitting the documentation to the Dean, Chair or designee for review and approval or denial of the request.  The documentation must be submitted at the time of the request, and the decision made based upon the original request is final.

·         The Dean, Chair or designee will make a determination regarding student eligibility to take an alternate form make-up examination. If the student is able to demonstrate extenuating circumstances (such as inclusion of healthcare provider documentation, copy of obituary notice or death certificate, or copy of police report for automobile accidents), the Dean, Chair or designee may permit an alternate form make-up examination. The student may earn up to 100% on this make-up examination based upon the review of the supporting documentation of the extenuating circumstances. Please note that prescheduled vacations, weddings, or discretionary participation in other activities are not considered extenuating circumstances.  

·         If the student is not able to provide acceptable documentation and/or the reason for the make-up examination request is not due to extenuating circumstances, the Dean, Chair or designee may permit the student to take an alternative make-up examination. However, the maximum score that the student may earn under these circumstances is 76%.

·         Students who do not take the exam on the scheduled make-up date or who do not contact the instructor within 24 hours of missing the examination will receive a zero score for the exam.

·         The make-up examination must be taken within five (5) business days of the initial exam administration or before the date of the next class. The make-up examination shall NOT be the same examination, but shall be an alternative format such as an essay examination.  The student must take the make-up examination in a proctored environment.

·         Exams and Proctored Assessments must be taken in person or in a proctored environment. If your course has a proctored component it will be noted in this syllabus. 

*Please, no food or drink in the exam area. Communication between students in the exam area is strictly prohibited.

No work is accepted after the last scheduled class (on ground) or the last day of class (online). 

Minimum Passing Grade

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


Policies for the PSYC 160 Class



·         When a student arrives in class after the 6:00 starting time, they must sign-in the class roster indicating the time that they arrived to class.  Remember that any tardy is counted as 1/3 of a full absence (100 minutes).  Returning late from a break requires that you sign in as returning late before taking your seat and likewise results in a 1/3 absence.  There is no grace period to the start times of class.


·         It is the student’s responsibility to insure that they have signed the class roster for each class. If a student should later indicate that they were in class, but did not sign the roster, the attendance will not be changed and it will be counted as an absence.

·         When a student leaves before the end of class, they must sign out on the class roster.  Should a student leave class without signing out, they will be given attendance credit for the first 60 minutes of the class, only.

·         Any student that repeatedly arrives late to class or leaves early will be referred to the Academic Dean.

·         There will be no exceptions to the 30% limit on absence to pass the class.

Leaving the class except during break time

·         Students will be given regular breaks and are expected to remain in the class at all other times.No student is to leave for any reason other than an emergency, except during break times.

Crosstalk during class

·         Students are expected to attend to class activities during lectures and discussions.  Individual discussion distracts those students as well as surrounding students.  Those who do not respect this policy will be assigned seats in the class for the remainder of the term.

Electronic devices

·         Cell phones must be turned off and put away in the class room. The only exception to this policy is the rare event of a legitimate emergency, where the student may leave their phone turned on “silent” to quietly leave the class to take the emergency call.  In this rare case, the student must notify the instructor.  Any other use of a phone in class is prohibited.  In the event that a student uses a cell phone in class without permission, the phone will be impounded until the class ends & an incident report may be filed with the WCU Conduct Committee.

·         Computers, Bluetooth or other electronic devices are not allowed for use in class.  If a student wishes to use their computer to take notes, they must sit in one of the first three rows of seats and email the instructor a copy of their notes immediately after class.  Failure to do so will void the right to use the computer in class.

Quiz make-ups

·         When a student misses a quiz due to absence, they will be assigned a take-home, essay quiz.  You have two weeks following an absence to turn in the Make-Up Quiz. Any quiz not made up within the two weeks will receive a “0” score. This quiz is not graded for points, but is assigned a pass/fail, depending on the quality of the work.  In calculating the quiz average for the course grade, a “pass” will not be factored into the average, but a “fail” will be counted as 50 points.  Failure to complete the make-up will result in “0” points.  All make up quizzes must be typed, double spaced and have a cover page with the student’s name and class information.  Any paper submitted otherwise will be returned to the student ungraded. The student has two weeks after the absence to submit the make-up quiz. Any make up quiz not submitted by the second week after the absence will result in a grade of zero “0” for that quiz.

Midterm & Final Exams

·         There are no make-ups for the midterm or final exam unless the student can produce documented evidence of a major illness or family emergency.  No midterm or final exams will be given before the scheduled day and time. Any make-up will have 10 points deducted from the student’s score to account for the additional study time.


·         No grades will be given through email or over the phone.

·         15% of your grade comes from “class participation”.  In addition to your actual involvement and interaction in class discussion and activities and since you cannot participate when absent from class, your attendance will factor into this 10% of your grade (out of 100%) as follows:

       Up to 10%                        -             5% points deducted

     10% to 20%                       -           10% points deducted

     20% to 30%              -        20% points deducted


·         Asking questions and participating in class discussions will factor into your class participation grade in a positive fashion.  Crosstalk, leaving the class during lecture, arriving late, using your cell phone or disrupting the class in any other way will factor into your class participation grade in a negative fashion. 










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.




Instructions for the Signature Assignment:


For the signature assignment, you will find an article pertaining to a psychological topic in a popular publication, like Time or Newsweek.  You will discuss and critique the article using APA format.