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Viewing: PSYCH 4972W schachtmant : Animal Learning Capstone - Writing Intensive

Last approved: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:41:45 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:40:54 GMT

Proposal Type

Writing Intensive

Contact Information

Psychological Sciences
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Instructor for whom you are submitting proposal:
Psychological Sciences
Subject Area’s Department Chair/Director:
Psychological Sciences

Term for Proposal

Spring 2017

Course Catalog Information

Psychology (PSYCH)
Animal Learning Capstone - Writing Intensive
Survey of principles of animal behavior and animal learning and cognition. The course includes laboratory projects on research in animal behavior and animal learning. Enrollment limited to psychology majors with senior standing who have a grade of C or better in PSYCH 3020.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
Instructor's consent required.

Instructor Information

Psychological Sciences
(numbers only)
Tenured Professor
210 McAlester

The Campus Writing Program conducts a two-day faculty workshop to assist with the design and implementation of your writing intensive course. Once your course proposal has been approved by the Campus Writing Program, you will receive information on time, date and location of the workshop.
Indicate below if additional instructors are planned, but specific individuals have not yet been chosen. Check all that apply
Graduate Student
Briefly describe the qualifications of the known graduate instructors, or planned qualifications if graduate instructors are still to be selected, bearing in mind that graduate students teaching honors courses should be advanced students with a record of excellent teaching.

Honors Course Information

Answer the questions below as they would apply to one section. For all other sections, provide similar information in the Additional Sections Information box below.



Writing Intensive Course Information

This course is a laboratory course in which students learn and appreciate many of the concepts and principles of animal behavior and learning and conditioning in animals. We will also apply our knowledge of these topics through laboratory and naturalistic experimentation. There are discussions in which students have to write response/reaction papers in which they express their own ideas about text material that they read. Therefore, the students must engage in critical thinking when writing these papers. The book we use is called SOCIETY OF MIND by Minsky which is a very thought-provoking text.
There will be no changes
Self paced?

Should this course be considered for funding?

Large Enrollment Courses:

Writing Intensive Assignments

All assignments
The instructor does at least 70% of the grading including at least 70% of the grading of writing that will be revised for this course. The TA grades the rest. The course is graded using a point system: There are five components of the course grading quizzes - 200 points total possible, reaction labs - 75 points each for a total of 300 points maximum, that is, you can do more than 4 reaction labs, an exam - 200 points possible based on the reading on reserve in Ellis library (Domjan book), reaction papers and attendance on discussion days - 50 points each for 350 points total, and lab reports - 200 points each for one's first lab report, the initial draft is worth 50 points and the remainder is worth 150 points.

All of these components except the one exam are achieved by the mastery system, that is, either you earn all of the points for an attempt or you earn zero points. Everyone in the class must master at least one lab report and do either two reaction papers or one reaction lab to complete the course, but the rest is up to the student. This system may seem peculiar, but it gives students control over what they learn, as well as control over when they learn since a student can skip a certain project during a particular week if they have a lot of exams in other classes at that time or have some other conflict. By allowing students to decide how they wish to earn their points, it gives students control over how they are graded. -If you earn 900 points, you receive an A for the course; -If you earn 800 points, you receive a B for the course; -If you earn 700 points, you receive a C for the course; -If you earn 600 points, you receive a D for the course. All students will have minimally one full lab report written, graded with comments from the instructor or TA written on it, and revised to incorporate the instructor or TA's comments and one reaction lab or two reaction papers written, graded with comments, and revised to incorporate the comments.

Quizzes. There will be four quizzes in the course. Each quiz is worth 50 points if you master the quiz. The quizzes will not be cumulative and will consist of somewhere in the range of 3-7 questions -- definitions and short answer or essay questions. Anyone caught cheating on a quiz will receive zero points for that quiz and may be given a failing grade for the class. All students must be on time on the day of a scheduled quiz or the instructor can deny the student's an opportunity to take the quiz.

Reaction Labs. Reaction Labs should be about 2-3 pages in length and should include a two or 3 sentence abstract, a 3 or so sentence introduction, a 4-5 sentence procedure description, a few sentences describing what was found, and a 2-3 sentence conclusion. The reaction lab requires that students generate the reason for the experiment or lab project, what the results mean, and the implication of the results for animal behavior. It is important to convey an accurate description of what the purpose of the project was to obtain credit. Although the syllabus requires that all students revise one lab report and either one reaction lab or two reaction papers, the instructor and TA can require that students rewrite any reaction lab in order to improve the writing in order for the student to obtain credit or, of course, they can simply give zero points for it.

Lab Reports. Students are required to complete at least one full Lab Report. Lab reports are typically 8 or so pages long. This project requires that that students think about the purpose, methods, and results of the experiment or project as well as the implications of the data for animal behavior. Examination. You must earn at least 50 points on the exam in order to earn any points at all. There will be an examination on April 18 for those wishing to take the exam. The exam will be on material from Chapters 3 and 4 Two classical conditioning chapters from Domjan and Burkhard's Principles of Learning and Behavior text. If you wish to take the exam, you must notify the instructor by April 14 so he knows how many exams to create. As mentioned, all answers are produced in written form -- short answers, definitions, essays.

Reaction Papers and Discussion Days. Students must read the assigned reading in the text (Minsky) before the class meeting when discussion will occur. Students must also hand in a reaction paper about the assigned reading at the beginning of that class meeting. Class participation in the discussion is also recommended but not necessary to obtain the 75 points credit. Attendance might be taken at these sessions since attendance as well as the reaction paper is mandatory for obtaining credit. Reaction papers should be about 1.5-2 pages long. This paper should be based on the material in the readings, but the paper should also extend beyond the material in the readings. The student will receive a mastery grade to the extent that you make it clear that the student understood the readings, and then -- more importantly -- to go beyond the readings by putting thought into their own ideas. In order to receive the 75 points, a revision of two reaction papers or one reaction lab must be turned in such that students incorporate the comments of the grader.

Additional Writing: Writing will occur in 5 different ways: 1) quizzes 2) one exam 3) reaction labs 4) reaction papers 5) lab reports. Since every student must write one lab report 8 pages total, and either one reaction lab 2 or 3 pages total or two reaction papers 2-4 pages total, the total number of pages for their first drafts will be a minimum of: 10 pages. And these pages will get revised so they must produce 10 pages of second drafts. In truth, every student will produce more than this because, in addition to those activities, they will take quizzes, write more reaction papers and/or more reaction labs than mentioned above.

Hence, all students will end up doing a total of about 30 pages of writing or more but the students get to decide how they wish to try to earn their points. All students or nearly all students will do 10 or more pages of additional writing contingent upon which options they choose.
Length of assignment:
Todd Schachtman and Rachel Richardson, Graduate Student
Todd Schachtman and Rachel Richardson, Graduate Student

Total pages for all assignments:
First drafts:

Writing Intensive Teaching

Peer review
The students will be doing two things that involve writing about issues that concern interpretation and analysis. First, they will engage in lab exercises/experiments regarding animal learning and animal behavior and they must specify the purpose of the activity and the meaning of the results and the implication of the results for animals Second, they may read the Minsky Society of Mind book, which is about the extent that the human mind, cognition in particular, can be reduced to a computer program -- the students will write reaction papers about chapters in this book such that they provide their opinions of the chapters and their ideas must extend beyond what is written in the chapter i.e., they will not get credit for simply summarizing the chapter, instead, they must have ideas of their own.
The quizzes occur in the first 1.5 weeks of the semester. The first lab projects, there are about 8 total, begin around week 2 of the semester and the students can begin writing reaction labs or a lab report. Projects then occur approximately every two weeks during the semester. Also, around week 2 or 3, the students bring their reaction paper/discussion days in which they read a Minsky chapter and write a reaction paper on this reading and then discuss it in class. These also happen throughout the semester. An exam occurs towards the end of the semester.
TAs will be trained to look for substantive, analytical thinking in the reaction papers and to be able to detect the proper purposes of the lab exercises and the implications of the projects. They will also be encouraged to mark up papers for grammar, misspellings, poor phrasing, awkward or confusing exposition, etc. Nonetheless, the instructor does end up grading a large proportion of the papers.

Course Syllabus

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Administrative Information

Education and Social Sciences


I have read and reviewed the updated proposal

Additional Comments

There will be no changes from that of Spring 2016
Patricia Luckenotte (luckenottep) (Thu, 03 Nov 2016 19:40:54 GMT): I have added PSYCH 4972W, 01 for the Spring 2017 Schedule of Classes and cancelled the regular section of PSYCH 4975, 01 for Spring
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