Introductory Blog Recap

It was a pleasure getting to know my new students from reading their brief introductions and I’m always curious to know what students are thinking when they look over the syllabus. I asked them each to blog about the three topics from the course schedule they were most excited about and the three topics they were least excited about (for those of you not enrolled in the course, I’ve attached the syllabus to this post).

Starting with what students were least excited about, there were not many surprises there. Covering the scientific method, research methods, and experimental design are nearly always the top three responses, though the order varies from semester to semester. Students typically state they know these things already and/or expect the sessions to be dreadfully boring. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as they think, but even if it is these topics are all covered in the first 2 weeks of class so at least it’s done early. Students are also often wary of the brain, specifically it tends to be more about having to know so many structures while they are more excited about how it functions as a whole.

This semester my students seem really into memory. Several commented on having been fascinated with memory for some time, while others are hoping to get practical tips they can use for studying and exams. Social roles and personality are also rated highly this semester, while mental health issues came in toward the middle/back of those ranked, which is somewhat lower than they’ve been in my courses in the past.

It’s always interesting to see where my class will shake out in terms of sleep, stress, and drugs, alcohol, and the brain. These topics seem to generally split the class, and this was the case this semester as well. Some students described being interested for academic or personal reasons, while others said these topics have been done to death or just remind them how they aren’t doing well in these areas.

I’ve put the full responses in the table below. Does anything stand out or surprise you about my class’s preferences? If you were taking a general psychology course which of these topics would you be most/least excited about? Leave your answers in comments!

Class Topic Most Excited Class Topic Least Excited
Memory Encoding 9 Scientific Method 12
Memory Retrieval 8 Research Methods 9
Memory Failures 6 Sleep 5
Sleep 6 Brain Structures 4
Drugs, Alcohol, & the Brain 6 Experimental Design 4
Social Roles & Conformity 6 Drugs, Alcohol, & the Brain 3
Personality Theory 5 Stress 3
Personality & Culture 5 Stereotypes & Discrimination 3
Brain Functions 4 Neurons 3
Mood Disorder & Anxiety 4 Psychology Then & Now 3
Cognitive Development 3 Memory Encoding 2
Moral Development 3 Social Roles & Conformity 2
Brain Structures 3 Brain Functions 2
Classical Conditioning 3 Memory Retrieval 1
Emotion 3 Memory Failures 1
Classifying Mental Illness 3 Cognitive Development 1
Operant Conditioning 2 Moral Development 1
Observational Learning 2 Classical Conditioning 1
Theories of Motivation 2 Emotion 1
Personality Assessment 2 Operant Conditioning 1
Stress 2 Treating Mental Illness 1
Stereotypes & Discrimination 2 Attachment Theory 1
Treating Mental Illness 2 Obedience 1
Attachment Theory 1 Psychotic, Traumatic, & Personality Disorders 1
Neurons 1 What is Psychology? 1
Theories of Intelligence 1 Personality Theory 0
Coping with Stress 1 Personality & Culture 0
Obedience 1 Mood Disorder & Anxiety 0
Psychotic, Traumatic, & Personality Disorders 1 Classifying Mental Illness 0
What is Psychology? 0 Observational Learning 0
Psychology Then & Now 0 Theories of Motivation 0
Scientific Method 0 Personality Assessment 0
Research Methods 0 Theories of Intelligence 0
Experimental Design 0 Coping with Stress 0
Assessing Intelligence 0 Assessing Intelligence 0

Link to syllabus: PSY101C_sp15_macfarlane

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2 thoughts on “Introductory Blog Recap

  1. Pingback: Reaching Beyond General Psychology | Dr. MacFarlane's General Psychology Blog

  2. Pingback: Week 2 Blogging Spotlight – Topic: Research Methods | Dr. MacFarlane's General Psychology Blog

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