Syllabus for CEP 564
Cognitive Psychology

State Univ. of New York at Buffalo

Spring 2001

Instructors: Tom Shuell

Last updated 1/21/01
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Office Hours (411 Baldy)
Monday 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Thursday 3:30-5:00
or by appointment
e-mail: Shuell@buffalo.edu


Top of Page Text & Readings Course Description Assessments
CEP 564 Homepage Projects & Assignments Research Paper Final Examination
Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations






















Text & Readings

Sternberg, R. J. (1999). Cognitive psychology (2nd ed.). Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace

  • Livingston, J. A. (1997). Metacognition: An overview.
  • Shuell, T. J. (1997). The nature of scientific investigation.

  • Several additional readings will be assigned during the semester.




    Top of Page Office Hours Course Description Assessments
    CEP 564 Homepage Projects & Assignments Research Paper Final Examination
    Participaton Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Course Description

    This course is concerned with various issues and research associated with the way people think, process information, and utilize various cognitive processes. The primary emphasis is on acquiring a basic knowledge and understanding of the research and theories that comprise modern-day cognitive psychology. These topics, however, will be related to various educational and counseling concerns, especially issues concerned with students and clients learning from instructional (including counseling) intervention. Emphasis will be placed on asking and answering relevant questions, which is seen as the hallmark of both good science and effective practice. The various topics to be addressed during the course are listed on the semester schedule.

    The course has been designed for students working on doctoral degrees in the various departments of the Graduate School of Education, although qualified master's-level students in GSE and graduate students in other units may enroll in the course with permission of the instructor. CEP 560 (The Psychology of Learning and Instruction) or its equivalent is considered a prerequisite for the course. The format of the course will be mixed, including short lectures, whole-class discussions in which all students are expected to participate, and small-group work.


    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Assessments
    CEP 564 Homepage Projects & Assignments Research Paper Final Examination
    Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Assessments

    During the semester, there will be two mastery-type assessments of about an hour each. These will consist of both a small number (perhaps 10) of multiple-choice items and one or more short-answer essays. Each assessment will be based on the topics discussed during the preceding class periods and the readings associated with them. A score of 80% must be obtained on each assessment; if a student does not achieve mastery the first time the assessment is taken, he or she must demonstrate mastery by either taking an alternative form of the assessment or by convincing the instructor that he or she understands the material on which the assessment is based


    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Projects & Assignments Research Paper Final Examination
    Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Projects and Class Assignments

    Written Critique

    One goal of this course is for students to become proficient in understanding and evaluating psychological research. To assist in achieving this goal, students will be asked to select an empirical study related to cognitive psychology and provide a written critique of the study. Information on reading and critiquing psychological research and criteria for evaluating such research will be discussed in class prior to the assignment.

    A more complete description of the project, including a checklist of issues to be addressed in the critique, is available on this web site. The Project and its evaluation also will be discussed in class. This project will account for 20% of the student's grade for the course.



    Class Assignments

    Short written assignments or in-class projects may be assigned from time to time. Criteria for evaluation of these projects will be discussed when an assignment is made, and any student who does not demonstrate satisfactory mastery of these criteria will be asked to revise the project.



    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Research Paper Final Examination
    Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Research Paper

    This paper is perhaps the major assignment for the course. Its purpose is to provide you with an opportunity to think about, develop, and define a problem associated with the psychology of human cognition and instruction that you find interesting and to design a study that will help answer one of the questions arising from the problem. A detailed description of the paper is available on this web site. Expectations for the paper and suggestions for ways to approach the assignment will be discussed in class. This paper will account for 35% of the student's grade for the course.



    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Final Examination
    Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Final Examination

    A comprehensive examination at the end of the course serves pedagogical as well as evaluative purposes, since it encourages the student to review and integrate material presented during the entirety of the course. Thus, one aspect of this course will be a comprehensive final examination. This examination will consist of both multiple-choice items and essay questions, and its format will be discussed during the course. The final examination will account for 35% of the student's grade for the course.



    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Research Paper
    Participation Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Participation

    Students are expected to attend class regularly, participate in whole-class and small-group discussions, contribute to group projects, and participate in the electronic discussion forum for the course (see below). Participation will count for 10% of of a student's grade and will be based on:

    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Research Paper
    Final Examination Discussion Forum Grading Special Accommodations





















    Class Discussion Forum

    Robert M. Hutchins has been quoted as saying:
    "Education is a kind of continuous dialog, and dialog assumes different points of view."
    Much of this course will consist of substantive (theoretical, practical, and professional) dialog among the students and the instructor, both in class on in the on-line discussions. Each of us brings a different perspective to these discussions. These dialogs should help us to better understand the theoretical, practical, and professional issues being considered.

    To further this dialogue, an electron discussion forum (or discussion board) has been established for the course. This forum can be accessed from the course homepage listed at the top of syllabus. The following guidelines may prove helpful in establishing worthwhile discussions. Hopefully, they will help us think about ways in which we can create an interesting and meaningful dialogue. If you think of other points, please share them with the class.


    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Research Paper
    Final Examination Participation Grading Special Accommodations





















    Grading

    The issue of grading raises a number of problems in any course, and unfortunately, it frequently becomes the major concern of students. It is not unusual for students to be more concerned with the grade they receive than with what can be learned from taking the course. This, I feel, is a sad misplacement of priorities.

    I personally have a strong preference for a "Pass-Fail" system of grading, although I recognize that in some situations and for some individuals the traditional "Letter-Grade" system seems more appropriate. Given the nature of this course, students enrolled in or having aspirations for a doctoral degree in educational psychology or counseling psychology (including school psychology) will have their performance evaluated by means of the "letter-grade system." Other students may elect to have their performance evaluated on a pass-fail basis by notifying the instructor in writing during the first month of the course.

    Letter Grade -- In order to receive a passing letter grade in the course, the student must achieve mastery on both assessments and any other assignments that may be made, including in-class assignments. The critique, research paper, and final examination each will be assigned a letter grade, and the overall grade for the course will be determined by combining these grades on a 20%, 40% and 40% basis, respectively. In general, an "A" will indicate exceptional mastery of the course objectives, a "B" will indicate mastery of all of the major objectives of the course, a "C" will indicate mastery of the majority of the major course objectives, etc.

    Pass-Fail -- In order to receive a passing grade ("S") for the course, the student must achieve mastery on any and all assessments and assignments, including in-class assignments, made during the semester, including the critique and the Research Paper. If the work is not satisfactory on the first attempt, it may be redone until an acceptable criterion has been achieved. While you must take the final examination, the score you receive on the final will not be used in determining your grade for the course.

    Incomplete -- A grade of Incomplete ("I") will be assigned only if the student is making regular and reasonable progress toward mastering the appropriate criteria for a grade and if advance arrangements have been made with the instructor for completing the requirements for a grade within a reasonable and specified period of time.


    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Research Paper
    Final Examination Participations Discussion Forum Special Accommodations





















    Special Accommodations

    If you have a disability, special need, or circumstances of which I should be aware, please let me know as soon as possible, and we will make appropriate arrangements, if at all possible, to accommodate your special needs in a reasonable manner.


    Top of Page Office Hours Text & Readings Course Description
    CEP 564 Homepage Assessments Projects & Assignments Research Paper
    Final Examination Participation Discussion Forum Grading