Monday, April 8, 2013

A Classy Post

Welcome dear reader to a post of self-promotion. I am teaching TWO special topics classes coming up and I want you to take them. So here I will give you a brief sketch of what each class is going to be about and hopefully you want to register for one or both of them.

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First, this summer I'm teaching Psychology on Film. This will be the third summer that I've taught this course. The theory of this class works thusly:

  1. Art imitates life
  2. Artists (film makers in this case) are attempting to capture moments of the human experience
  3. Psychology is an integral part of the human experience
  4. Artists, perhaps inadvertently, capture psychology in their art (in this case film).
  5. As fledgling psychologists we can examine, discuss, and evaluate this process in order to gain not only a better understanding of the film, but also a better understanding of the underlying psychological phenomenon.
In summer class we meet for three hours twice a week, so that means in each class we will watch a film, and then discuss. I try to pair the films each week so that both are about a related topic. Each week you will write a short essay that explores the psych phenomenon in each or both films. Generally during the discussion I give you a solid sample outline of a perfectly acceptable paper. So if you like talking about movies, or psychology, then this might be a good class for you.

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The second class, coming this fall, Drugs and Behavior. This is the first semester I've been able to offer this class and I think you'll enjoy taking it. This is an introductory psychopharmacology class where we will talk about various chemical agents and how they interact with the brain and change behavior. This is not a class about addiction, treating addiction, drug policy, or the criminality of certain drugs. We will however be studying both therapeutic and recreational drugs including: alcohol, amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana, nicotine, opiates, psycho-therapeutic medications, stimulants, and probably some other drugs. So I imagine this class is valuable for students majoring in criminal justice, human services, nursing, or psychology. Although anyone with an interest in the effects of drugs on behavior would be welcome.

Third, is an old class delivered in a new way. This summer. I'm offering Intro to Psych as a Hybrid class. The purpose of a hybrid class is to blend on-line and face-to-face class elements. On-line you'll be doing all the content work, reading material, watching videos lectures, etc. In class we will work specifically on applying that content in activities, projects, and such. So this results in meeting once a week instead of twice a week. For example, you might read in your textbook about the principles of operant conditioning, watch a video on-line about pet training, then class will meet at Rabbit Run Park and we can teach your dog a trick. If you are someone you know needs to take Psych-101 then I think this would be a fun and interesting way to do it.

So I hope you register for my classes, I'll look forward to seeing you. And if you've take my summer film class in the past, feel free to write a testimonial in the comments! 

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