Students develop skills in the design and conduct of undergraduate courses in psychology through observation and supervised experiences: acquaints students with university, college, and department policies and resources in support of instruction; familiarizes students with disciplinary resources; assists students in evaluating personal strengths and weaknesses.

Jody Davis | Teaching Practicum
Teaching Practicum Syllabus Outlines Paper Assignments Class Presentations Resources

795Psychology 795 Teaching Practicum, Fall 2013

> Link to full printable syllabus
> Jump down to Course Outline

Course Objectives

1. Learn about university resources for teaching
2. Become familiar with department advising policies and resources
3. Develop course materials that you will use in the future
4. Create a teaching portfolio that can be used for job applications
5. Explore at least one type of online learning tool
6. Seek out resources that will support your present and future teaching
7. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to teaching
8. Discover strategies for enhancing students' experience in your classroom
9. Develop some familiarity with the research literature on college teaching

Blackboard

Course materials and readings will be available for download from Blackboard. Students are expected to check Blackboard regularly for announcements.

Textbook

Forsyth, D. R. (2003/2004). The professor's guide to teaching: Psychological principles and practices. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

University Policies and Deadlines

Standardized information that applies to all courses is available here.

Attendance and Participation

The value of a seminar primarily is a function of the quality of your informal contributions to the shared intellectual atmosphere. Accordingly, I expect that you not only will have read the assigned readings prior to each session, but that you also will have given serious thought to the readings and general topic (how it relates to other topics covered in the seminar, your present or future experiences in the classroom, other content areas in the field of psychology, etc). Also, we will be inviting guest speakers to share valuable insights that will help us. If you have to miss more than one class you should consult with me about appropriate make-up work. Your participation in class discussions will be key to the success of the class; my expectation is that each student will participate during each class period.

Reflection Papers

You will write three short papers (2 pages, plus reference page) in response to reading assignments of your choosing (but not on your own class presentation topic). Alternatively, you could write about a CTE session you’ve attended or a class that you’ve observed; you should also link your experiences to a reading. The objective for the assignment is to apply concepts from the reading or experience to past, present, or future experiences in the classroom. In what way was the reading/experience useful or thought-provoking for you?

Class Presentations

You will give a 5-7 min presentation on a journal article on teaching and then facilitate a class discussion of the article. The article may be selected from the index of Forsyth (2003/2004) or not. Examples of acceptable journals include: Teaching of Psychology, Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, Review of Educational Research, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Instructional Psychology, Research in Higher Education, Educational Psychologist.

Activities

As this course is a practicum, you will engage in activities that support the objective of the course outside of class time. You and I will work together to develop an appropriate and useful set of activities for you. Some activities will be common and required for all students: (1) observing at least two different classes taught by someone else, (2) attending two training sessions (e.g., CTE sessions) related to teaching, (3) developing some type of online teaching skill/product, and (4) meeting with me to develop your goals in this practicum. Other activities will vary depending on student interests; examples of such activities include: identifying and meeting with someone who is an appropriate mentor for teaching, applying course concepts to current teaching assignments, identifying and sharing resources for teaching materials, videotaping a course session or getting feedback from a live observer (guest lecture if necessary), seeking out a guest lecturing opportunity, developing course materials for a current teaching assignment, learning about teaching-related issues from a helpful web site.

Projects

You will complete two projects: (1) a teaching portfolio and (2) a project of your choosing. Projects will vary among students and may include: developing course materials for a future course, developing a web site or Blackboard pages for a future course, writing a research paper synthesizing information from research articles on teaching, developing orientation materials for new teachers in our department. You and I will work together to develop an appropriate and useful project for you. Development of a teaching portfolio will be required of all students.

Plagiarism (see University Honors System)

Any form of cheating or plagiarism will be dealt with severely. When you write papers, you should (a) use your own words to express your own ideas; (b) use your own words to express someone else’s ideas and cite the source; and/or (c) put quotes around someone else’s words and cite the source. If you violate any of these rules, your work will be submitted to the Academic Integrity Office (Honor Council). Possible sanctions include receiving a zero on the assignment or failing the class, depending on the severity of the infraction. I encourage you to ask for help before turning in a paper (the Writing Center would be a good resource, www.vcu.edu/uc/writingcenter).

Grading Policy

Possible Points
Reflection Papers 30
Class Presentation 30
Activities 100*
Projects 100
Participation 40
TOTAL POINTS 300
Grading Scale
Divide your points by the possible points:
A 90-100%
B 80-89%
C 70-79%
D 60-69%
F <60%

* In order to receive a grade in the course, you must fulfill the Activities requirement.

Course Outline

Note: The course outline will be updated to accommodate student interests, guest speakers, and valuable readings. Check back here for updates!

Date Topic/Activity Reading
August 19 and 20,
1:00-4:00
pre-semester class sessions
Guest speaker, Monday at 1:45: Karen Belanger, Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (topic - honors system)
Guest speakers, Monday at 3:10: Daniel Snipes and Brandon Griffin, fellow PhD students (topic - lessons learned and advice)
Guest speaker,
Tuesday at 1:00: Dr. Patty Strong, director of Writing Center (topic - grading papers)
Guest speaker, Tuesday: Dorothy Fillmore, Assoc Director of Academic Operations in the Psyc Dept (topic - advising)



September 6 Prepping: Planning to teach a college class
Chapter 1
September 13 Journal article presentations
Lecturing: Developing & delivering effective presentations
Reflection Paper due
Chapter 2 
September 27 Journal article presentation
Guiding: Student-centered approaches to teaching
Innovating: Using technology creatively in teaching
Chapter 3
Chapter 7
October 4 Documenting: Developing a teaching portfolio
Chapter 9 
October 11 Journal article presentation
Managing: Fostering academic integrity, civility, & tolerance
Reflection Paper due
Chapter 6
October 25 Journal article presentation
Evaluating: Assessing and enhancing teacher quality
Reflection Paper due
Chapter 8
November 1 Teaching Portfolio due even though there will not be class that day  
November 8 Journal article presentation
 
November 15 Journal article presentation
Testing: Strategies and skills for evaluating learning
Chapter 4
November 22 Grading (and Aiding): Helping students reach learning goals
Final Project due

Chapter 5

Note: No class will be held Aug. 23, Aug. 30, Sep. 20, Fall Break (Oct. 18), Nov. 1, Thanksgiving Break (Nov. 29), or Dec. 6.