Course Catalog Information
Clinical Psychology Capstone - Writing Intensive
Students work at assigned agencies to gain "real-world" experience in the practice of psychology and attend regularly scheduled class meetings in order to integrate their academic knowledge with their practical experience. 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)
Departmental consent required.
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.
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Assistant Faculty Member
Honors Course Information
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Writing Intensive Course Information
This course is a capstone experience, intended to give students the opportunity to draw together the knowledge and skills learned throughout their undergraduate career. In this clinical psychology capstone, students will work at assigned community agencies in a semester-long service-learning project while completing coursework designed to integrate academic knowledge with this "real-world" experience. While students learn firsthand about clinical agencies and populations, in-class readings and discussions will highlight advanced ideas on topics such as diagnosis, clinical interventions, and ethics. Students will also conduct an individual research project on a topic in clinical psychology, culminating in a final written report. The emphasis of this course is on: 1) enhancing the critical thinking skills used in clinical research and treatment; 2) using writing as a tool for knowledge building and consolidation; and 3) integrating academic knowledge with practical experience in the clinical field.
I am continuing to refine the new in-class peer review activity, which seemed to work fairly well. Students bring their current draft to class in order to receive peer feedback on writing. Specific instructions are provided, along with a rubric. This is evaluated by the teaching assistant and instructor. I have a lecture class devoted to writing, citing, and plagiarism. After the lecture, I have a class period devoted to "writing activities," which includes a variety of tasks to help students edit their paper. Students were able to choose from a list of possible activities, but I may limit those choices this semester (some were less helpful than others). For example, one activity requires them to create an outline using the first sentences of each paragraph; they review that for flow and content using specific instructions. Students seemed to respond well to these activities; they definitely want and need help with basic writing. Immediately before the primary assignment is due, I also have a class period devoted to "paper assistance." Students come to class for help with their paper, and the TA and I are there to answer any questions they have about the feedback they received or any other area of the paper.
Should this course be considered for funding?
Large Enrollment Courses:
APA-Style Literature Review
To synthesize research on a topic in clinical psychology, creating a comprehensive summary and analysis of that topic. And, to learn to communicate ideas clearly and concisely as well as hone scientific writing skills.
Length of assignment:
Teaching assistant and Instructor
For one revision, the TA and instructor evaluate. For the last revision, only the instructor evaluates.
Total pages for all assignments:
I was not sure if these should be listed as true writing-intensive activities, but they are part of the course: Students also write 21 discussion posts (each approximately .25 pages long) during the semester, and two brief response papers (.5 page each). In addition, they write two "service-learning process reports," which summarize their activities and duties at their placement, as well as their opinions and evaluations of their placement and their performance. These are not graded for writing quality, but content must be clear and contain relevant, detailed information. These assignments are not revised, and feedback is generally only received in class discussions.
Writing Intensive Teaching
Instructor provided feedback
Oral presentation by student, followed by feedback
The teaching assistant and instructor both provide feedback to each student. Students must wrestle, at times, with differing feedback from reviewers, which (I think) encourages them to think critically about content and made independent decisions. (They don't like this, but I do.)
Every assignment in this course addresses a question for which there is more than one interpretation or explanation. The Research Project, which involves the Research Proposal, the Literature Review, and the Final APA-Style Paper, requires each student to research a clinical disorder, a clinical controversy, or a relevant clinical issue. All of these possible topic areas are likely to be complex, with multiple scientific findings and contradictory opinions. Students will be encouraged to develop a knowledge base on their topic first, and advised to form their own opinion of their topic only after carefully considering the results of their research along with their experiences in their service-learning placement.
For the Research Project, each writing assignment will build on the previous one, working toward the final goal of an APA-style paper. These writing assignments will be alternated with the less formal service learning process reports.
Teaching assistants are assigned to me, although I attempt to request the same TAs when possible. Teaching assistants will assist with the grading of the writing assignments, using highly specific rubrics to help them grade appropriately, accurately, and constructively. The instructor will review all feedback and edits provided by the teaching assistants and will be making all final edits and suggestions. We meet during the course to first discuss how to grade writing assignments, and then to come to consensus on any grading issues during the process.
One goal of having graduate-level teaching assistants is to ensure that each student receives feedback from multiple editors, as mentioned previously. Although this can be difficult for students at times, particularly when reviewers' comments differ, this is a valuable experience. Psychological journals frequently provide feedback from multiple reviewers, and writers must decide how to proceed, even when such feedback is contradictory. This class will help students to consider feedback from multiple reviewers, and assist them in developing their own abilities to problem-solve and revise in such situations.