Learning and Motivation
Guidelines and Groundrules
In this course you should learn a special way of talking about some basic facts, concepts and experiments in psychology, and to use them in predicting, interpreting, and perhaps even changing what some people and other creatures do. In arranging to accomplish this, I have used some of the key principles in planning the course itself, as you will see in the coming weeks.
For several reasons, I try to break away from the conventional information-dispensing format that is typical of most university classes, cultivating a situation where students can interact with each other as well as with the instructor. You will find that our class time seems to pass quickly; we might even be having fun most of the time. Still, it will be a no-nonsense, intellectually challenging enterprise. It will require more work on my part than would be required by a conventional lecture format. From you I shall require preparation before most class meetings, with frequent evaluations of your performance. On the other hand, you should encounter little uncertainty, no rude surprises, frequent indications of how you're doing, and opportunities to improve your grade even if you get off to a poor start.
To accomplish these things, the latter parts of most class meetings will be spent in "interteaching:" one-to-one discussion based on assigned readings and occasional lectures.
1. An "interteach" is a mutually probing, mutually informing conversation between two people. It lasts about 30 minutes, and deals with the main points in a specified selection of material (textbook or articles).
2. A "Preparation Guide" will be provided in advance, indicating the source material, the due date, and what should be stressed.
The Guides may be used as guides for studying, and will probably provide the structure for supplementary notes. During interteaching, however, supplementary notes should be used little if at all. You should use that time for discussing, not reading. Use the Guide as a prompt.
3. As you interteach, be sure that you can clearly define any of the key concepts that are involved in the study questions, even if the questions do not specifically ask for definitions. If you do this, there will be less danger of, and less damage resulting from possible misinterpretation of the questions. If you are unsure, or if you disagree about an answer, check it out with me or with one of the advanced students who may be assisting in the course. Our job during interteaching will be to provide individual help and clarification for those who request it. If you never have difficulty or disagreements, or if you consistently finish ahead of everyone else, you are not preparing adequately.
4. RECORD KEEPING: As you interteach, complete the record form that is provided. Record forms will be provided on interteaching days. They include: Identification of you and your partner Topics that gave difficulty Topics that you would like reviewed in lecture.
5. There will be a due date for each interteach, with credit for interteaching in class and on time, and reduced credit for lateness or for interteaching out of class. This credit allocation is small, relative to that based upon evaluated performance, but if you wind up near the border between two letter grades, it can be crucial.
6. You should work with many different people over the weeks, as directed. Repeated interteaching with the same person within a given probe cycle will result in no credit for those sessions.
7. Ten percent of your final grade will be based simply on participation in interteaching. An additional ten percent will be based on the quality of interteaching, as explained below (see B.3).
There will be five probes during the semester, spaced two to three weeks apart. A probe is like a quiz, except that you know the possible questions in advance. Directed toward effective interteaching, the probe includes a written paragraph answer to one of two questions drawn from the Guides covered since the preceding probe. The probe also includes a few true/false or multiple-choice or matching questions that are based on other questions in those study guides.
1. Probe grading is on a 12.5-point absolute scale. There is no curve; I will be delighted if everyone scores the max, but
10.0 - 12.5 = A
7.5 - 9.9 = B
5.0 - 7.4 = C
2. Probes will count 50% of your final grade. 2.5 - 4.9 = D
Your lowest probe grade will be discarded; thus, each of your four best counts 12.5 % of your final grade.
3. QUALITY POINTS BASED ON INTERTEACHING:
If, on a given paragraph question, both you and the person with whom you intertaught on that question scores an A or B, 2 points will be added to your probe score. Thus, it is worthwhile to interteach effectively.
4. If you miss a probe, it counts as your lowest and is discarded. If you miss an additional probe, the makeup will be more difficult than the original, partly because it will allow no choice among questions.
C. FINAL EXAM OR PAPER: 30% of total grade.
The nature of this final item will be developed during the course, and will be announced well in advance of exam week. The possible questions for the conventional exam option will be supplied at least two weeks in avance. The alternative will be a book review, from a selection of books relevant to the course, which will be specified in advance.
D. SUMMARY of the basis for grading:
Interteaching - participation 10%
Quality points 10%
Probes -- best four of five 50%
Final Item 30%
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