This site is the public face of my General Psychology (PSY 101) course at Austin College. General Psychology is an an introduction to the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. It prepares students for pursuing more advanced coursework in psychology and provides a basic understanding of psychology for those entering other fields. The course introduces the problems, methods, and findings of modern psychology. Students are exposed to the breadth of topics studied by psychologists, with an emphasis on major research findings and applications to personal and professional situations.

Course Blogging Assignment

Why do my students blog? There are several reasons. One of the goals for this course is to help students apply psychological concepts to real-life situations,  so having them write about current issues (e.g., parenting advice, legalization of marijuana, how commercials attempt to persuade you to buy things) is a great way for them to practice. We know from learning science that the more you interact and think critically about a topic, the better it will stick. This area of research also tells us that when students make personal connections with a topic, it will be retained more effectively. So the course blogs roll all these aspects into one aspect, while also helping students practice writing for a different audience. Being able to explain it in a way that anyone, regardless of their previous knowledge about psychology, means you have to understand it in a deeper way than just memorizing terms.

To these ends, my General Psychology students create blogs for the duration of the course. I prepare writing prompts related to what we’re covering in the class for the students to choose from for their assignment. Students are responsible for responding to a specified number of prompts throughout the semester, as well as commenting on each other’s responses. I’m in the process of revising the specific requirements, but I post a link to the current syllabus once the semester starts in February.

How to Engage with This Site

I typically teach this course during spring semesters (February to early May), so there will be frequent posts in those months but little outside this time period. To  make it easier for you to see the content my students produce and interact with them about their ideas, this site will display their posts and you can follow the link to the original post to add comments or ask questions about what they wrote.

I very much hope this will be an interactive experience for my students, so please let them know what you think of their ideas. If you disagree, respectfully offer your counterargument and/or include links to additional information you think they should consider. If you don’t understand what they are saying or they use a term you’re unfamiliar with, ask them to explain. If you think their post is awesome, let them know. We welcome all feedback and look forward to engaging with you!

***You’re at Our New Location***

This site was previous hosted at macfarlanepsy101.wordpress.com, but we have upgraded in order to have more flexibility. All of the previous content is now available here on our current site. Please update your bookmarks and/or links to our new address. The old site will remain active until January 1, 2017, but it will automatically redirect you here. After January 1st, the old address will just contain a link to the new address.