Course Syllabus

Nevada State College Course Syllabus

Spring 2019

 101 Introductory Psychology Section 004 (30000)

On-Campus: 6pm-8:50pm, Wednesday, LAS 120

Instructor's Name and Contact Information

Dr. Jon Skalski

Primary Contact: Please use the conversations tool within Canvas
Office Location: 
Please contact instructor for the best location to meet.

Instructor's Office Hours

Office hours by appointment. Please contact the instructor to schedule.

Email and Classroom Response Time

Students can generally expect a response to emails within 24-48 hours (or slightly longer on weekends or holidays). Feedback for completed discussions, quizzes, and assignments is dependent upon the length and breadth of the activity and could take up to 10 days. For questions on the status of a completed assignment, discussion, or test please contact your instructor.

Required Text(s)

We will be using a textbook that is available FREE online!  Please make sure you can access the book on your smartphone on the first day of class.  Go to to access the book:  You can also access the book:

  • through the Kindle app on your smartphone or on any Kindle device
  • through the Openstax app on your smartphone
  • through Canvas, the learning management system of our institution
  • downloaded as a pdf to read on your device or print
  • as a printed copy of the whole book for $38.50
  • through iBooks

Research shows that some students are more likely to pass the class and are less likely to drop or withdrawal when using free textbooks (Hilton, Fischer, Wiley, & Williams, 2016). 

Required Supplementary Material


Course Description

Presents psychology as a science concerned with the actions of organisms in a social and cultural context. Satisfies Social Sciences Core Curriculum.

Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

Recall psychological concepts

Analyze the psychological concepts that are evident in hypothetical examples and situations

Demonstrate critical thinking skills

Demonstrate research skills

Summarize contemporary scholarship with professional writing

Class Schedule

Course Schedule

NSC Assessment Program Information

See “Syllabus Help (Assessment Program Information)” document: Syllabus Help (Assessment Program Information).pdf

NSC's Outcome: Develop communication abilities.
Level: 1,2,3 (clarity, structure, tone and audience)
Course Objectives: Summarize contemporary scholarship with professional writing
Assessment and Key Performance: Final Mythbuster Essay


NSC's Outcome: Develop critical thinking abilities.
Level: 1
Course Objectives: Demonstrate critical thinking skills
Assessment and Key Performance: Correlation Versus Correlation Assignment


NSC's Outcome: Develop effective citizenship.
Level: 1
Course Objectives: Analyze the psychological concepts that are evident in hypothetical examples and situations (Cross-cultural considerations)
Assessment and Key Performance: TBD

Assignment Description and Due Dates

MYTHBUSTER ASSIGNMENT- Beliefs Survey, Outline, Essay, and Revised Essay.  This course will introduce you to essential psychology material and content, and I will test your comprehension with examinations.  Yet, I understand that most of you will not major in psychology, and much of the psychology content that we cover will fade from your memory after this semester.  Therefore, I have thought much about what I hope will remain with you long after your time in this class has ended. 

I hope that some of your beliefs about psychology will change in lasting ways.  In this spirit, we will think critically about popular beliefs that are often perpetuated as proverbs and pop psychology on internet sites, Facebook, and other media.  According to Lillienfield (2014) erroneous beliefs about psychology happen by word-of-mouth, desires for easy answers and quick fixes, selective perception and memory, inferring causation from correlation, poor logic and reasoning, biased sampling, exaggerating a small truth, and confusing terms, etc.  It is my goal that you will learn why some of these errors happen and become better at avoiding these misconceptions. 

Therefore, at the beginning of the course, you will take a survey about psychological beliefs.  You will receive credit just for completing this survey in Canvas.  You will eventually write a well-polished paper, in which you describe one of 50 popular psychology misconceptions and summarize the research that refutes it.  I expect your essays to be a minimum of 1000 words (which is approximately 4 pages), double-spaced, in 12 pt. Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. 

After completing the survey about your beliefs, you will receive research-related instruction from librarians and from your instructor.  You will then select one of the myths from 50 Great Myths in Popular Psychology, which is available as an ebook from the CSN library page  The short chapter that you select will serve as the basis of your essay.  It will be a starting point to acquire and study peer-reviewed journal articles on your topic.  You will need to cite 5 sources with at least 3 journal articles both in-text and in your reference list in your outline, draft, and revised essay.

After you receive research-related instruction, you will construct a brief outline on your topic.  You will later develop your outline and construct your essay.  You will receive feedback from your peers and instructor to help you revise your essay.  Your outline and essay will only be a small portion of your grade, but your revised essay will be worth a substantial portion of your grade; I will grade each assignment according to more detailed rubrics in Canvas, but the essay rubric generally looks like this:    



% of grade


You excelled in introducing the misconception in a way that was engaging for your reader.  You were clear in orienting your reader to the purpose of your essay with a direct thesis statement (e.g., “This essay will...”).  You avoided first and second person to stay with the style of a research essay (third person).  You did this using about 125 words or more. (about 12.5% of your essay)


Why the Misconception Occurs

You excelled in describing reasons why the misconception occurs and provided evidence and/or specific references to people or places that have perpetuated the misconception.  You did this in a way that provides support for your assertions about why the misconception occurs.  If there is an earlier research study that has been misinterpreted, you summarized this earlier study consistent with the “Research” section of the rubric below.  You did this using about 250 words or more. (about 25% of your essay)



You excelled in describing research that refutes the misconception.  You were careful to avoid plagiarism and obtained a green similarity report through Turnitin.  You used the author's or authors' last name(s) and the year of publication when you were summarizing research (e.g., Smith, 2012) and used quotes and the page number whenever you were using the language of any source (e.g., Smith and Wilson’s (2012) write, “…” (p. 3).  You did this in about 500 words or more. (about 50% of your essay)



You summarized the main idea of each section above (i.e., you summarized the misconception itself, why it occurs, and the research that refutes it… probably in the form of a statement similar to your thesis statement).  You considered the implications of perpetuating this misconception as well as the benefits of correcting the misconception and getting it right. (about 12.5% of your essay)


Clarity and Precision

Your writing was exceptionally clear, concise, and easy to read throughout; there were no vague pronouns referring to prior sentences, like “This shows us…,” ambiguities, or guessing for the reader.   Your writing was also largely free from redundant wordiness, thoughts and feelings, author’s first names or initials, the titles of articles in-text, the editorial we, you referring to the reader, overstatements, and sexist or biased language.  


Format, Voice, Spelling, and Grammar

Your formatting looked professional and was 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1-inch margins.  You did not have your name and my name on the essay.  You just began with a title, centered, in title-case. You used a formal voice and grammar that provided an ethos of credibility throughout your writing.  There were little to no informalities, like singular uses of they/their, contractions or slang, spelling errors, typos, or grammar that negatively affected the credibility of your voice and writing.


Reference List

You have a reference list that begins on a new page with the word "References" centered at the top of the page in regular text, not bold nor italic.  Each reference cited in text is included alphabetically in your reference list, and you cited each reference at least once in the text of your paper.  You listed at least 5 sources, with at least 3 scholarly sources (which are peer-reviewed journal articles of actual research) in your reference list that are correct in terms of APA formatting.  You may have copied and pasted the citation from somewhere like Google Scholar, and although there may be minor formatting errors, the important information has been included in the correct style (APA).  Your formatting was, or was close to, APA style with double spacing and hanging indentation. 


This assignment may be challenging, but I have built a structure to help you succeed and develop important skills.  These writing and research skills will serve you in this class, in other classes, and throughout your life.  In order to succeed on this assignment:

  • You must read and study one chapter in the 50 Great Myths book carefully.
  • You must learn/know how to research scholarly peer-reviewed resources using library databases and Google Scholar. Consider meeting with a librarian in-person or virtually for help.
  • You must learn/know how to cite your sources after each and every instance in the text of your essay AND at the end as a reference list using APA style. Consider meeting with a librarian in-person or virtually for help.
  • You must submit your essay to Turnitin through Canvas, and you must receive a low level of similarity with other sources. If you do not receive a green similarity report, then you may fail this assignment. 
  • Consider visiting the writing center.
  • Consider submitting your essay to your online tutoring resource in Canvas (e.g., Smarthinking or Brainfuse)
  • You must incorporate feedback from your peers, the writing center, Smarthinking/Brainfuse tutors, and/or me in ways that show substantial revisions and improvements in your revised essay.

Quizzes.  There will be quizzes in Canvas for most chapters.  These quizzes are open book and you can take them as many times as necessary.  Your highest score will be recorded in the gradebook.  You can use your textbook and the internet to succeed on these quizzes, but you are not permitted to use Openstax testbank materials (if you find them on the internet) or collaborate with other students who are or have ever been part of an Openstax psychology course.    

Attendance, Participation, and Other Assignments.  Class attendance is an essential responsibility for you, and missing class will put you at a serious disadvantage.  Therefore, I will take attendance throughout the semester.

Participation is instrumental for your success.  Each of you brings a unique perspective and background to this course, and I welcome your contributions to our dialogue and class community.  I will subjectively evaluate your class contributions.  There will also be opportunities to earn points in this category by assisting your peers via a discussion thread in Canvas titled “Ask a Question” in which you can create comments and replies.

There will be other short assignments throughout the course.  For example, there is a syllabus quiz.  You will complete a quiz in Canvas with questions about this syllabus and CSN campus resources.  The quiz is “open-book” and you can use the syllabus to complete this quiz.  You can take the quiz as many times as necessary, and your highest grade will be displayed in the grade book.  There is a brief quiz about your study habits and another short assignment in which you take a personality assessment and write about what your learned about yourself.  There will be a few more short assignments throughout the course. 

Attendance, participation and other assignments will be relatively easy points to acquire towards your grade.  Please do not miss out on these points; make a commitment right now to attend class and participate.  If you must miss class, please let me know in advance. 

Extra Credit. As mentioned, to incentivize you to take assessments seriously, you may receive a small amount of extra credit for each correct answer.  Other extra credit opportunities may emerge throughout the course, but do not depend on extra credit opportunities.  

Exam Description and Due Dates

Examinations.  Four examinations will consist of multiple-choice questions and may have short answer questions.  The first three examinations will predominantly consist of material since the prior examination, but may include material from earlier chapters.  I will administer examinations through Canvas, and you will have a window of time to complete each examination outside of class time. 

The final examination will be cumulative and focus on content from prior examinations.  The final examination will be administered during finals week.  More information about the final exam will be forthcoming.

 Please expect and plan for technical difficulties by taking examinations earlier in the availability period.  Technical difficulties are more likely to occur when a large number of students are taking an examination just before the deadline.  You are more likely to receive my assistance and avoid penalties if you take the examination earlier in the availability period.  Please note the dates and times of the availability periods as indicated in Canvas.  Missed examinations are subject to my late policy (see Grading below for details).

Examinations (and quizzes) may be open book and notes.  You can use the internet, but collaboration of any form is absolutely prohibited (see below).  However, examinations are timed, and it is important that you come to class, take good notes, and study in advance. 

Collaboration with anyone during the administration of any examination (i.e., speaking with another student before they have taken the exam, taking/sharing pictures of the exam) is considered cheating, and there are grave consequences for academic dishonesty.  As mentioned in the Academic Integrity section below, “The minimum penalty for a single instance of academic dishonesty or misconduct will be to fail the assignment, examination, or test in question, but may result in failing the course.  Multiple infractions may lead to suspensions, expulsion, transcript notations and other sanctions.”        

Assignment and Exam Late Policy

Please submit all assignments in Canvas for grading, unless otherwise directed.  Learning new software like Canvas helps to develop skills that are important for your future employment.  The CSN Office of Technology Services (OTS) has informed me that Microsoft Internet Explorer or Edge are more likely to experience problems with Canvas.  I recommend using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.  When you encounter problems with Canvas, progress through these steps:

  • Make sure that you are using a computer (not the Canvas app)
  • Try two different recommended browsers (e.g., Chrome AND Firefox)

Canvas will record a timestamp when you submit assignments.  I will only accept late assignments, examinations, etc. for full credit due to extenuating circumstances, and whether the situation involves extenuating circumstances is based upon my discretion.  In order for me to accept a late assignment or excuse an absence, I must receive some form of formal documentation.  If your doctor provides me with an email or note, please do not include protected health information.  If I elect to accept unexcused late assignments (i.e., without formal documentation/justification), generally they will be marked down 10% per day of the week including weekend days.  The absolute deadline for all assignments, if I am willing to accept them, is midnight on the Friday before the week of finals; I will not accept any assignments past this date.  The 10% deduction policy does not apply to assignments turned in past the Friday before the week of finals and may not apply in certain circumstances.   

Grading Criteria

Mythbuster Assignments ......................................................30%

Quizzes...................................................................................... 15%

Attendance, Participation, and Other Assignments....... 15%

Examination 1.......................................................................... 7%

Examination 2.......................................................................... 9%

Examination 3......................................................................... 11%

Final Exam................................................................................13%

Letter and Point Range

A 93% or higher

A- 90%-92.99%

B+ 87%-89.99%

B 83%-86.99%

B- 80%-82.99%

C+ 77%-79.99%

C 73%-76.99%

C- 70%-72.99%

D+ 67%-69.99%

D 63%-66.99%

D- 60%-62.99%

F less than 60%

Your grade in Canvas is an estimate of your performance in the course.  Sometimes there are discrepancies between your estimated grade in Canvas and your actual grade.  For example, Canvas has the option to display missing assignments as zeros or not include missing assignments in its grade calculation.  Since missing assignments may not be included in Canvas grade calculations, then, if you have missing assignments, your actual grade may be lower than it appears in Canvas!  This is the case when there is a “- and the assignment has not yet been graded (i.e., regarded as missing).  If the assignment has received a 0 in the gradebook, then Canvas incorporates the 0 into your final grade calculation.  Overall, your grade in the Canvas gradebook is a decent estimation of your current grade and performance in class.

Additional Information

Classroom Etiquette:

Diversity and Inclusiveness.  Relationships are central and critical in fulfilling human needs for connection and a meaningful life.  My relationship with you is important to me, and the relationships among those of our class community are important to me and our institution. 

I aim to facilitate a learning community grounded in respect and compassion, in which no one experiences shame about issues related to core aspects of self (e.g., age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, etc.).  Shame, as feeling unaccepted, and even unworthy of acceptance, is debilitating psychologically, and shame is often at the core of psychological suffering and mental illness.  In this class and beyond, we should strive to honor the inherent dignity and majesty of each human person. 

Respect.  In the spirit of inclusiveness expressed above, I promise to respect you, and I expect you to respect others.  I ask you to display maturity, seriousness of purpose, and self-discipline in ways that are typical for a college student.  More specifically, I ask that you avoid the use of personal devices for purposes other than classwork, audio earbuds, and hooded shirts and sunglasses; I also ask that you avoid eating, talking, and sleeping during class.

Whenever possible, I will try to speak with you privately about any distracting behavior, usually after class and sometimes during class, but, depending on the circumstances, I may have to ask you publically to stop some behavior(s).  Again, I will try to speak with you privately whenever possible, and I hope that you will never experience embarrassment about your behavior in class.  These statements represent my effort to be up front and clear about my expectations for your behavior in class, and I hope that you will read these expectations carefully and abide by them so that you can avoid embarrassment, the loss of participation points, or serious consequences.   

Use of Personal Electronic Devices.  Research has demonstrated that the use of personal electronic devices for purposes other than those directly related to our class negatively affects your learning and the learning of your peers.  Therefore, using your phone, tablet, or computer for purposes unrelated to the course is unacceptable.  If you need to remain accessible for a family member or emergency, then please let me know before class.  If you appear to be using an electronic device in any way that is distracting to me or your peers, then your participation grade will be negatively affected.  Distracting behavior includes, but is not limited to, texting, playing games, using social media, shopping online, etc. 

Sometimes we will use personal electronic devices together as part of a class, and the use of laptops, tablet PCs, etc. is acceptable in the college setting.  Please note that typing notes from class lecture is not always superior to handwriting notes; typing notes enables most students to record more content, but usually students think less about the content and make fewer connections when typing (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014). 

It is also customary to request your professor’s permission whenever recording class lectures or discussions; please inquire with me about recording class lecture or discussion before you create any recording every time.  Often, I record lecture/discussion screencasts, which have audio and video of my computer screen, and I post these recordings in Canvas for your review.  I will let you know whenever I am recording. 

Use of Audio Earbuds.  The use of audio earbuds or an earbud in one ear, to listen to music or engage in other unnecessary behavior during class is distracting and unacceptable. 

Hooded Shirts and Sunglasses.  I welcome hijabs, turbans, and other justified forms of religious or customary headdress as well as needed eyewear, but hooded shirts, when worn over the head, and sunglasses can be distracting and conceal facial expressions.  Whenever possible, I prefer to see as much of your face as possible, which provides me with feedback about the effectiveness of my teaching.  If there is a reason for you to wear a hood over the head or sunglasses, then please let me know before class. 

Eating During Class.  Eating meals or substantial snacks can be distracting to others and inhibits your ability to participate actively in your learning.  If there is a justified reason for you to consume food during class, then please speak with me before you enter the classroom with a full meal or distracting snack.  In some circumstances, it is acceptable to consume a small snack, like a granola bar, discretely.      

Talking During Class.  After I take attendance and begin class, please keep personal conversations to an absolute minimum.  Sometimes, I will tolerate brief side-conversations when they appear related to class discussion.  Conversations that are excessive or distracting are unacceptable, and I may ask you to move or even leave the classroom.   

Sleeping.  Sleeping during class can be distracting to me and your peers.  Please try your best to get adequate rest and make sure that you are alert and attentive during our class meetings.  Sleeping during class is unacceptable, and I may ask you to leave the classroom.  

Additional Information 2

Canvas Computer Instructions.  I use the NSC learning management system, Canvas, to organize our class assignments and due dates, grade assignments, provide feedback, and display grades.  If it will be difficult for you to use Canvas, please let me know during the first class meetings.  Canvas is an important academic tool that can help you stay organized for this course and all of your courses.  For example, Canvas displays upcoming activities in your to-do lists, and Canvas has a convenient smartphone app that provides notifications.  Please become familiar with Canvas and explore our Coursepage during the first week of class.  There will be an “Ask a Question” Discussion where you can get answers from your classmates; feel free to post any questions there. 

Title IX.  It is my responsibility to help create a safe learning environment on campus.  I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to my role as a member of this institution. It is my goal that you feel comfortable sharing experiences in classroom discussions, in your written work, and in our one-on-one meetings.  I seek to keep the information you share with me private and confidential to the greatest extent possible.  However, I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on campus.  You are welcome to speak with me, but please note that you can always speak to someone with full confidentially through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (see information above). 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due