Odd format for an intro Psych course?

  1. Heavy emphasis on "deep learning" and "critical thinking" (not quite of the nursing program type). All learning is measured by writings -- journals, essays, online debates -- whose topics are incredibly broad. No exams, no need for memorizing/learning anything about the history of psych, or the names of different theories, etc. Due to it all being essays, grading is terribly subjective.

    So far I've not found anyone who's ever heard of such a setup for an intro Psych course. Some Psych majors have said that format existed for their upper level courses.

    At first I thought it is actually a great way to organize a course. I'm big on practical knowledge and applied knowledge so such a format is rather in line with my own beliefs. However I'm thinking my instructor and I aren't on the same wavelength (what I swear he wants in an answer isn't right, even though supposedly there isn't any right/wrong answer in this stuff?) and that's going to make passing this course....challenging to impossible.

    In addition to my probability of flunking, I'm very concerned that if I continue with this course and somehow pass, I won't have the foundation required for my Developmental Psych course through a different community college (where I'll be transferring to). I'm considering dropping while I still can; though I hate the idea of that because I'm not the quitting type.

    So.....has anyone experienced this format with their Psych course? Did you actually learn better that way? How was your course set up?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Irene joy
    That's a really odd format. I'm in psych 100 right now on line, and it's totally by the book, weekly tests on line and a couple homework essays, but nothing like your describing! I'd also be worried about being prepared for lifespan and developement, psych206.
  4. by   lisabeth
    that was nothing like my general psych. class.
  5. by   AZmom
    You know what? I decided to drop it. I hadn't long to decide before losing money so figured I'd drop and if I decide to later I can still take it through there.

    I'm leaning towards not, though, simply because I can't see getting a practical foundation for Developmental Psych. Really throws off my course-taking schedule, but ah well. I guess I'll just have to tack another course onto second semester and find the time.
  6. by   SummerGarden
    Quote from AZmom
    Heavy emphasis on "deep learning" and "critical thinking" (not quite of the nursing program type). All learning is measured by writings -- journals, essays, online debates -- whose topics are incredibly broad. No exams, no need for memorizing/learning anything about the history of psych, or the names of different theories, etc. Due to it all being essays, grading is terribly subjective.

    So far I've not found anyone who's ever heard of such a setup for an intro Psych course. Some Psych majors have said that format existed for their upper level courses.

    At first I thought it is actually a great way to organize a course. I'm big on practical knowledge and applied knowledge so such a format is rather in line with my own beliefs. However I'm thinking my instructor and I aren't on the same wavelength (what I swear he wants in an answer isn't right, even though supposedly there isn't any right/wrong answer in this stuff?) and that's going to make passing this course....challenging to impossible.

    In addition to my probability of flunking, I'm very concerned that if I continue with this course and somehow pass, I won't have the foundation required for my Developmental Psych course through a different community college (where I'll be transferring to). I'm considering dropping while I still can; though I hate the idea of that because I'm not the quitting type.


    So.....has anyone experienced this format with their Psych course? Did you actually learn better that way? How was your course set up?
    I think my Psych class was a similar format except I had a written final and a term paper as well as journals and an in-class debate throughout the semester. I think the word "Intro" and the fact that my class had no pre-req was misleading.

    I found that my work experience in psych and my background in Developmental Psych, Philosophy, and Biology (A&P I and A&P II), and Anthropology classes helped me to successfully complete Psych 101. In fact, Psych 101 was easy because of what I learned before.

    On the other hand, people in my class complained as you are doing because they did not have the classes I had before or my work experience. Many dropped my class while others continued to struggle.

    I do not know if you should drop, but given that GPAs are extremely important you may want to do so. Then hunt around at other schools and see if there is a Psych 101 course you will like and a Professor others like that is more suitable to your learning needs.

    Psych was my very last co-req because it took me so long to find a Professor I would liked. Although the class I choose was tough, as I said earlier, my background helped me to succeed.

    I do not know if you noticed but I took Developmental Psych first. That is because the course I took did not have a pre-req and I found a Professor others I knew liked.

    By the way, the critical thinking and deep learning aspects you are covering is the same as the skill you will need in nursing school. I have not started school yet, but I worked in Health Care prior to my journey. Critical thinking is critical thinking.. it does not come in different forms though you may apply the skill in different ways. Deep learning is helpful to know as well since you will be learning a lot of information in a short amount of time. To be honest, I encourage you to complete the class you are in, however, you know your limitations. Good luck. :spin:
  7. by   SummerGarden
    Quote from AZmom
    You know what? I decided to drop it.
    Oops, I just read this!! Well, my advice from above is still the same. Good luck. :spin:
  8. by   AZmom
    I disagree that critical thinking is critical thinking. When the assignment reads "pick out the three main points from the last two (incredibly long) chapters which really resonate with you and explain blah blah blah" they're bound to get a very subjective answer, different for each student. In nursing, when they talk critical thinking, they have one answer in mind that's the "correct" answer and there's a logical reason for it.
  9. by   SummerGarden
    Quote from AZmom
    I disagree that critical thinking is critical thinking. When the assignment reads "pick out the three main points from the last two (incredibly long) chapters which really resonate with you and explain blah blah blah" they're bound to get a very subjective answer, different for each student. In nursing, when they talk critical thinking, they have one answer in mind that's the "correct" answer and there's a logical reason for it.
    No, critical thinking is critical thinking. And it is VERY subjective. Logical thinking is thinking where, if 1 = true, then blah, if not then blah.

    I have talked to nursing instructors (one who gave a seminar on critical thinking) who told me that critical thinking in other fields is EXACTLY the same as in nursing. How I apply my critical thinking skills to nursing is different then it was in social/psych work. And that is what I will be taught in nursing school.

    If you ask nurses you will find that there is always more then one right answer, but one answer is more correct then the others given the situation you are in at the time. This holds true in nursing school too. This is also the PRIMARY reason why good student nurses fail tests. There is always more then one right answer to choose.

    As I have mentioned before, I have worked in health care and have developed treatment plans, done assessments, and worked on implementing treatment plans in treatment teams. People who could not critically think, did not do well in my line of work.

    I was never taught how to critically think in school. On the other hand, I was expected to critically think and taught how to implement my critical thinking skills. The Psych class actually patterned out the concept of critical thinking. I wrote it down on a note card because I found it to be EXACTLY what I was doing working with patients in the past but never had it explained so well.

    Now that you are not in the class, I guess you no longer have to deal with this concept until you attend nursing school (unless you are already doing so). I wish you luck and I'm not being sarcastic. :spin:
  10. by   AZmom
    We're mincing words. Sure the foundation of critical thinking is the same. How it's used or applied in different courses and in life is certainly not.

    Frankly critical thinking is just some schmancy name/philosophy given to what all students should, and what all successful learners likely do already do. It's certainly not a new concept for me. I dunno. Maybe I give people too much credit and they all truly are bluffing their way through school. Don't really care, lol, all that matters to me is that I get it.

    Bottom line for me: I don't need this course to teach me critical thinking. I also don't feel it would sharpen my existing skills. Heck using my critical thinking skills I pretty easily deduced that the course setup was deeply flawed on alot of levels. And that's not my emotion or fear of flunking talking. Saying "this course emphasizes critical thinking" doesn't make it so. IMO, anytime grading is involved, students will be motivated to first and foremost "play the game." IMO it would be incredibly easy to "play the game" of writing essays and only learning the minimum......and you wouldn't have to utilize true critical thinking to any significant level.
  11. by   AZmom
    Furthermore, lol, not to sound defensive, because I'm completely comfortable with my decision to drop this course.......

    Dropping doesn't make me a loser, nor a quitter. To stay in a course simply because "it's what you do" is just dumb. Alot of people think like that, that they have to always take a hardline approach to things in life, and sorry but I just can't respect that.

    "Critical thinking" is saying "hey, this course isn't a match for me, I won't have the foundation for my future course(s), I won't learn the types of things I feel are relevant...but I can pick up a course over here which will give me the good foundation for future courses, which teaches relevant concepts" THAT is wise.
  12. by   catzy5
    Quote from MBA2BRN
    No, critical thinking is critical thinking. And it is VERY subjective. Logical thinking is thinking where, if 1 = true, then blah, if not then blah.

    I have talked to nursing instructors (one who gave a seminar on critical thinking) who told me that critical thinking in other fields is EXACTLY the same as in nursing. How I apply my critical thinking skills to nursing is different then it was in social/psych work. And that is what I will be taught in nursing school.

    If you ask nurses you will find that there is always more then one right answer, but one answer is more correct then the others given the situation you are in at the time. This holds true in nursing school too. This is also the PRIMARY reason why good student nurses fail tests. There is always more then one right answer to choose.

    As I have mentioned before, I have worked in health care and have developed treatment plans, done assessments, and worked on implementing treatment plans in treatment teams. People who could not critically think, did not do well in my line of work.

    I was never taught how to critically think in school. On the other hand, I was expected to critically think and taught how to implement my critical thinking skills. The Psych class actually patterned out the concept of critical thinking. I wrote it down on a note card because I found it to be EXACTLY what I was doing working with patients in the past but never had it explained so well.

    Now that you are not in the class, I guess you no longer have to deal with this concept until you attend nursing school (unless you are already doing so). I wish you luck and I'm not being sarcastic. :spin:

    i agree what they emphasize at our school all the time is critical thinking one of the main excuses(oh I mean reasons) we have to take chemistry is it helps us with out Critical thinking.
  13. by   BSNtobe2009
    I have had several Psych courses and I don't really see how you can learn to apply the theories before you learn the theories to start with. Knowing the theorists and the reasons behind them is extremely important and is a huge foundation for understanding child and adolescent development.

    You are right, that is an odd format and it doesn't make sense.
  14. by   collegebound
    My Human Growth and Development course was somewhat like this. We had weekly "discussions" in which we had to research a topic then write about it, we then had to read and respond to two other classmates responses. It was very subjective too. But, we also had quizes and tests that covered the book so it was a mix of the black-and-white and the subjective. At any rate, you know yourself. Don't second guess--if you are afraid of your grade in the class, I would drop simply because GPA seems to be such a hot commodity in getting into nursing school. I hope you are able to make the best decision for yourself--best wishes!

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