Education | Web Based Educational Psychology
P251 | 5516 | Emily Hixon

Course Description
The field of Educational Psychology largely focuses on learning and
instruction and the factors affecting these two closely related
concepts. In this course, you will gain an understanding of the
theoretical foundations of Educational Psychology as they pertain to
your chosen field. This course will also help you realize how the
theoretical knowledge you acquire can be put into practice. It is
important to realize from the beginning, however, that this course
will not provide you with step-by-step instructions of how to deal
with specific instructional or classroom situations. Much of what you
will learn can provide guidance in making future decisions about
learners, classrooms, instruction strategies, assessment techniques,
and the learning process in general. It is my hope that this course,
in conjunction with your field experience, will assist you in
developing a personal theory about how learning takes place as well as
how instruction should be designed to best accommodate that learning

Course Objectives
Throughout this course, students will:

o Apply critical thinking and self- reflection skills for meaningful
contributions to the web-based community via discussions and

o Recognize, define, and identify key concepts and terms related to
assessment strategies, learning theories, child development, and

o Compare and contrast teaching, learning, and development theories as
they are applied in today’s classrooms and on the Internet.

o Develop an understanding of changes that occur in
childhood/adolescence, and identify examples of typical and atypical
growth and development.

o Assess teaching situations through observation/case studies,
identifying aspects of individual and group motivation, instructional
approaches, and developmental concepts.

o Thoughtfully reflect on the content of the course as it relates to
their own experience as a student, and future work as a teacher.

o Construct and elaborate on a personal theory of learning and
teaching congruent with an understanding of child development and
learning theories.

o Develop an attitude of professionalism for good teaching; foster
personal flexibility in order to open avenues for learning and growth
throughout a lifetime; and integrate theories of learning and
development to multiple perspectives.

Methods to Achieve Course Objectives

o This course is taught online, which means that the discussions and
activities that would typically take place in the classroom will be
conducted over the web. All students are required to actively
participate in the online discussions and activities.

o In order to participate in the online discussions and activities,
you will need to complete the assigned readings in a timely manner.

o Each week, you will be asked to analyze a case study or video clip
based on the concepts being addressed that week (though you will also
be expected to relate previously covered material).

o The online activities will require you to use scholarly research and
personal experience/observations to support your claims. It is crucial
that you be able to support your opinions, beliefs, and arguments
(remember that your opinions/beliefs are not being judged, just your
ability to adequately support them).

o Completion of assignments and activities will require you to self-
reflect on your experiences as a student and as an observer in other
classrooms (through your virtual field experience and video clips).

Required Text and Websites
Course Textbook : Snowman, J., & Biehler, R. F. (2003). Psychology
applied to teaching (10th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Course Website:

Discussion Forums: (access through

Textbook Website:

*The textbook site has lots of great resources including self-testing
opportunities, PowerPoint slides, and study strategies.

Responsibilities and Submission of Work Attendance and Participation:
Although there is not a traditional attendance policy in a web class,
there are three mandatory in-class meetings (see times and places
above). Because these meetings are very important, excused absences
will only be considered if the student brings proper documentation
to me.

Participation in all course activities is required. Since much of this
course will involve online interchanges with your peers, it is crucial
that your work be submitted on time. Assignments submitted past the
due date (including online posts) will be penalized 20% for each day.
Late work will be excused only with proper documentation.

***You are expected to logon to the course and participate in online
discussions/activities at least 3 separate days each week.***

Work Policy: You are required to adhere to the Indiana University Code
of Student Ethics policy on academic dishonesty and plagiarism. You
will be citing and referencing outside resources for this course; you
should adhere to the APA 5th edition style guidelines for all work
(including reference citations). See for

When completing assignments, please keep in mind that the quality of
your writing does matter. You should always proofread your writing for
spelling and grammar errors. Remember to ask, “Who is my audience?”
when writing (Hint: it should not be your instructor!!).

Submitting Your Work: You will submit all of your assignments through
the course website ( The online discussions
and activities will take place in the course discussion forums (in
ILF). It is advisable to compose and save your discussion postings in
a word processing program (e.g., Microsoft Word). You can then copy
and paste the text into a message within the discussion forum. For
lengthy postings, it is recommended that you attach the Word document
to the online message so your peers can more easily read and access
the information.

For assignments that are not posted in a discussion forum (e.g.,
reflection statements, personal theory paper, etc.), you should use
Microsoft Word to create a document to submit to the appropriate drop
box in Oncourse. Please DO NOT submit files created in WordPerfect or
Micorsoft Works!

Course Assessment
Participation in Online Discussion 350 Points (25 pts/wk; 14 wks)
Online Activities 150 Points
Quizzes (4) 175 Points
Instructional Resource Project 100 Points
Personal Theory of Teaching & Learning (Letter Home) 75 Points

Grading Criteria
A range: Extraordinary high achievement; shows unusually complete
knowledge of the appropriate ideas and issues; incorporates extensive
and insightful analysis and interpretations;includes high-quality
writing combined with thoughtfulness and creativity

B range: Very good understanding of major issues and ideas, overall
above-average analysis and writing

C+, C range: Acceptable understanding of issues, with areas that are
somewhat underdeveloped or with particular ideas missing

C-, D ranges: Does not meet a basic level of satisfactory
understanding; does not meet minimal requirements of the School of

F: Completely unacceptable quality

A 94.0–100%
A- 90.0–93.9%
B+ 88.0–89.9%
B 84.0–87.9%
B- 80.0–83.9%
C+ 78.0–79.9%
C 74.0–77.9%
C- 70.0–73.9%
D 60.0–69.9%
F 59.9% and below

Participation in Online Discussions (weekly)
Each week, you will be able to earn 25 points through your
participation in the online discussions. For this course, the week
will start on Sunday morning and end at 11:30 pm on the following

The discussions are where you will interact with your peers and where
much of the learning for this course will take place. Please note that
your participation in these discussions is worth roughly 40% of
your grade in this course…obviously your participation is crucial to
your success in this course. Although there is not a required minimum
number of weekly postings, you will be expected to be an active member
of the online community posting your thoughts and responding to your
peers. Remember that you are expected to participate in the
discussions at least 3 days a week.

Each week, you will be asked to respond to 2 structured assignments
(specified below) and comment to your peers in the online discussions
that develop. Remember that there is no one right or wrong answer to
the assignments/questions. You should feel free to express your
opinions/beliefs…just be sure that you have adequate support and
justification for the claims you are making.

o Analyze Case (10 pts – see rubric)
Each week a text-based case will be posted with suggested questions to
answer. The questions will ask you to apply concepts you are learning
from the readings to what is happening in the scenario being
explained. You will be expected to adequately support your analysis
with scholarly research, online information, and personal experience.
Your initial analysis of the case must be posted by Tuesday at 11:30

o Respond to Thought Question (5 pts – see rubric)
Each week at least one thought question related to the current
readings will be posted. These questions will ask you to reflect on
what you are reading and think about how the topic relates to you as a
future teacher. You will be expected to adequately support your
analysis with scholarly research, online information, and personal
experience. Your initial response to the thought question(s) must be
posted by Tuesday at 11:30 pm.

o Participate in Online Discussions (10 pts – see rubric)
Each week you will be expected to participate in that week’s online
discussions that develop from the above-stated assignments as well as
any additional activities posted by the instructor. There is not a
required number of postings, but you are expected to actively
participate in the discussions.

This includes (but is not limited to)…

o replying to your peers’ analyses of the case study and response to
the thought questions

o replying to postings in response to your initial analysis or
response to thought question

o completing additional activities posted by the instructor

o answering peers’ questions in the “Ask a Question, Get an Answer”

o participating in the weekly mind boggler

o contributing a weekly mind boggler (send to instructor via email)

o starting and facilitating a new line of discussion (contact
instructor to create a new discussion forum)

Remember that you are expected to participate in the online
discussions at least 3 days a week (i.e., you cannot login and do all
your postings for the week on one day). The weekly discussions
will close at 11:30 pm on the Saturday of the given week.

Online Activities
This course is divided into four units. During the first three units,
you will be participating in an online activity that will stretch the
entire length of the unit. Each activity is worth 50 points.

o Unit 1: Town Hall Meeting (50 pts – see rubric)
For this activity, you will be divided into smaller groups to
conduct/participate in a town hall meeting concerning the recently
declining standardized test scores in the town’s school. Here’s
the scenario…

In recent years, a common use of standardized test results has been in
helping determine the value of real estate. That is, homes often sell
for more in school districts where the test results are high. In a
small Indiana town that has been growing steadily for the past 5
years, the standardized test scores of the corporation have started to
fall. Real estate agents and house builders are upset because they are
not selling as many homes anymore and they are not getting the prices
they would prefer. They mayor has called a town meeting with the
involved parties to discuss the issue.

You will be assigned one of the following roles: mayor (I will ask for
volunteers), real estate agent, home builder, teacher, superintendent,
high school student, parent of elementary school student. During the
“live” class meeting on January 18th, you will have a chance to meet
with everyone playing the same role as you and discuss how you will
proceed in assuming your assigned identity and gathering research to
support your views.

1. Report on Research: Each individual will be expected to gather
outside information related to standardized test scores and your
assigned role in the given situation. Each person should find and
review at least 3 outside resources (mayors only need 2), which you
will present to your group during the “live” class meeting on January
25th. These might include journal articles, web information,
newspaper/magazine articles, interviews (with a teacher,
administrator, university admissions officer, etc.), etc. For each
resource, you should bring a copy of the resource as well as a 300-500
word summary of the resource and how it relates to the given
situation. You should bring a copy of your summaries for each person
in your group (i.e., everyone playing the same role as you) and for
the instructor.

Some topics that you might want to consider when gathering information
and defining your character’s role include:

o Use of standardized test scores

o Validity & reliability of test scores

o Teacher/school accountability

o Factors affecting test scores

2. Online Meeting: For the meeting, you will be broken into different
groups where each role is represented. The town hall meeting will take
place online in the discussion forums as follows:

a. Before leaving the live class meeting on January 25th, the mayors
will post an introduction and opening questions to get the meeting

b. Each person must respond to the mayor’s initial posting by January
29th at 11:30 pm.

c. The mayor will continue to facilitate a discussion with the meeting

d. The mayor will summarize the discussion thus far and ask for
proposed plans of action/resolutions for the given situation by
February 1st at 11:30 pm.

e. Each person must respond to the mayor’s request with a plan of
action/resolution by February 5th at 11:30 pm.

f. The mayor will consider the proposals given to him and wrap up the
discussion with the action plan the town will follow. This must be
posted by February 8th at 11:30 pm.

3. Reflection Statement: The final part of this activity requires you
to reflect on your experience preparing for and participating in the
town meeting. You sho uld discuss if/how your understanding of this
topic changed during the activity and whether you agree with the final
resolution. You should also address your experience assuming your
assigned role and participating in an online discussion with your
peers. This should be submitted to the appropriate Drop Box (in
Oncourse) by February 8th at 11:30 pm.

o Unit 2 Activity: Movie Review (50 pts – see rubric)
For this activity, you will watch a movie that portrays teaching and
learning and use that context to understand some of the theories and
concepts discussed in the text. You must choose a movie from those
listed below:

o Dead Poets’ Society

o Kindergarten Cop

o Mr. Holland’s Opus

o Dangerous Minds

o Man Without a Face

This activity has three parts:
1. Initial Analysis: After watching the movie, you will write a
800-1,000 word analysis of at least 2 scenes in the movie. You should
describe each scene in detail and discuss each scene based on your
knowledge of learning theories and approaches to instruction. Some
questio ns that you might want to address are listed below:

o Is the movie/scene realistic? Have you had similar experiences? Can
you envision the events happening in real life?

o Is the teacher effective? If so, what characteristics demonstrate
effectiveness? If not, what could be done to improve effectiveness?
Provide examples.

o What did this teacher do that you would like to do in your future
classroom? What did the teacher do that you would try to avoid?

o What instructional strategy/learning theory seems to be guiding the
actions? Do you agree that the instructional approach being used is
effective given
the situation?

o What factors do you think are affecting the teacher’s choice of

o How does the teacher know that learning has taken place? What
assessment strategies is the teacher using (if any)? Are they
effective? What other assessment strategies might be used given the

o Identify the educational concepts being demonstrated in the

Your analysis should be posted to the appropriate discussion forum by
Wednesday, Feb. 26th at 11:30 pm.

2. Response to Peers: You should read and comment on everyone that
reviewed the same movie as you and feel free to comment on other
movies that you have seen. There is no required minimum number of
replies, but you should actively participate in this discussion
on several different occasions. Remember that each response should add
something of value to the discussion. You are encouraged to provide an
alternative analysis or elaborate on the one that has already been
given. Your response to your peers should be posted by Wednesday, Mar.
5th at 11:30 pm.

3. Reflection: The final part of this assignment requires you to
reflect on this assignment.  Were there similarities across the
different movies reviewed? Were there different interpretations within
the same movie? What impact does the media portrayal of teachers
have on the public perception of teachers? Was it difficult to analyze
a popular movie based on the concepts you’re learning in this class?
Was this a beneficial activity? This should be submitted to the
appropriate Drop Box (in Oncourse) by Saturday, Mar. 8th at 11:30 pm.

o Unit 3 Activity: Teachers’ Lounge Discussion (50 pts – see rubric)
In this activity, you will be asked to research a specific theorist
and participate in several online exchanges responding as if you were
that person. You will be assigned to one of the following theorists:
Albert Bandura, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, B. F. Skinner, Len
Vygotsky. Here’s the scenario…

A new teacher just finishing her first semester of teaching walks into
the teachers’ lounge where you and several of your colleagues (the
other theorists listed above) are having lunch. The teacher asks
several questions (one at a time) and listens to the responses that
each person gives as well as the conversations that develop.

Throughout the entire activity, you will participate as if you were
your assigned theorist. This will require you to become very familiar
with that person’s beliefs and theories about education. You
will need to use outside references to gain a better understanding of
your theorist than your book can offer (you will be asked to list the
references you used). You will be required to use that information to
formulate responses to the questions posed by the new teacher. For
each question that is posed by the new teacher (will be posted in
discussion forum), you should post a 300-500 word response. You should
also react and respond to the comments made by your colleagues
(remembering that you are your assigned theorist). The activity will
follow the schedule below:

Question Posted (Sunday) Question Response Due
Replies to Peers Due

March 23rd March 26th at 11:30 pm March 29th at 11:30 pm

March 30th April 2nd at 11:30 pm April 5th at 11:30 pm

April 6th April 9th at 11:30 pm April 12th at 11:30 pm

Reflection Due April 12th at 11:30 pm

At the conclusion of this activity, you will write a brief reflection
paper, which must include a full list of the references you used to
learn about your theorist. In your reflection paper, you should
discuss what you have learned about the various theorists (not just
the one you were assigned) and learning theories in general. You
should also reflect on your experience of learning about another
person and trying to “get into their head.” You should also comment on
what it was like to discuss issues with other theorists and what you
learned through this activity. This should be submitted to the
appropriate Drop Box (in Oncourse) by 11:30 pm on April 12th.

In this course you will take four exams, one at the end of each unit.
The first three quizzes will be worth 50 points each and the last quiz
will be worth 25 points (since it covers only 2 chapters). The quizzes
will include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions and
will be given online (via Oncourse). You may use your textbook and
other resources, but you may not work with another student or share
the answers.

The quizzes will be made available for a 2-day period at the end of
each unit. There will be a time limit specified for each quiz. If you
surpass the time limit, your answers up to that point will be
automatically submitted. You will have only one attempt at each
quiz…that is, you cannot click the back button or leave the quiz
screen for any reason. Be sure that you are somewhere with a reliable
Internet connection when you take these quizzes (I would recommend
taking the quizzes from a campus computer).

Instructional Resource Project (100 pts)
Working individually or in groups of 2 or 3 (you choose), you will
plan and “present” a project to the rest of the class on an issue from
this course. The topic should be one related to educational
psychology, perhaps something that we covered but you would like to
explore in more depth or a topic that is related but we haven’t been
able to fully cover. I will provide a list of possible topics early in
the semester, but you may choose any topic as long as it meets the
requirements and you get my approval. Your goal with the project might
be to inform, clarify, offer alternative perspectives, and/or
otherwise explore the issue.

Your project should…
o Address child development and other relevant topics as covered in
our book

o Include a review of research on the topic

o Include interviews with real people

o Be useful/informative for students, parents, administrators, and/or
community members

o Be relevant to our class

o Be self-sufficient/informative (i.e., it shouldn’t require any
additional information from you for people to understand it)
This will not be a “paper.” Your project can take many forms; although
I list some possible ideas below, you can do anything you like as long
as it meets the requirements and you get my approval. Some possible
ideas are below:

o Poster

o Website

o PowerPoint presentation

o Brochures

o Informative Booklets

o Game that you create

o Video

o Live play/skit

o Pre-recorded “radio address” or talk show (doesn’t need to actually
be on the radio)

o Images, digital art, paintings, drawings, sculpture, etc. that
conveys information in a visual way

You will choose your group members (if any) and pick a topic early in
the semester. You will meet with me during the week of March 2nd to
discuss your project plan and the material you have gathered thus far
(Hint: you should have done some preliminary research at this point!).
At this meeting you will also submit a draft of the rubric for your
project (see below). Your project will be on display during the
Resource Fair on Saturday, April 26th. At the fair, each person/group
will have the opportunity to present/explain their project.
You will also be creating the rubric that I will use to assess your
performance on this project. It will account for 80 of this project’s
100 points (i.e., you should design it for a total possible score of
80). You and your group members (if any) should discuss what qualities
an excellent project would include. You should then designate possible
points for each category and write verbal descriptions for each
possible point value in a given category (see rubrics for other class
projects as examples). Your rubric should also specify how group
participation will be handled. That is, will all group members get the
same grade regardless of participation? Will each group member
complete an evaluation of each others’ performance? If so, will this
be included in the rubric? Will it be a specific number of points that
will be added to the project value?

You will submit a draft of the rubric to me when we meet during the
week of March 2nd (see above). We will discuss the rubric and come to
consensus on what is should include. You will submit a finalized
rubric for my approval to the appropriate drop box (in Oncourse) by
March 15th at 11:30 pm.

As stated above, 80 points will be based on your self-created rubric
for the project. Each person must also submit a 2-3 page paper that:

o describes the project you are presenting

o discusses how/where it would be used

o explains the process of creating the project and working in a group

o discusses who did what in the process

o discusses what you learned by doing the project

o provides an overall reflection of your experience with the project

The paper will be graded individually and will account for the
remaining 20 points for this project. The paper should be submitted to
the appropriate Drop Box (in Oncourse) by April 29th at 11:30 pm.
Personal Theory of Teaching and Learning (Letter Home) (75 pts – see

This assignment is designed to help you think about and reflect upon
your personal theory of teaching and learning. Your personal theory
should be the culmination of 1) your own experience as a student; 2)
your insights from observing classrooms (live or video); and 3) the
content and activities introduced in this course. For this assignment,
you will express you personal theory in the form of a letter written
to a friend or relative. You should assume that the person to whom you
are writing knows nothing about educational psychology and the
theories we have discussed in class. The letter should therefore be
written in common language and avoid any jargon of the field.
Your letter should be 4-6 pages in length (double-spaced) and should
touch on a variety of topics covered in this class. You should explain
why the topics you are covering are important to you and how your
beliefs will impact your future teaching. Always be sure to support
your opinions with a full explanation and adequate
evidence/justification. You are not being graded on whether or not I
agree with your philosophy – you should feel free to express your
ideas. You will be graded on the criteria explained on the rubric
including your ability to reflect on your prior experiences, connect
your beliefs to real life, make connections to class content,
adequately support your claims, etc. This paper should be submitted
to the appropriate Drop Box (in Oncourse) by 11:30 pm on May 3rd.

Connection to Principles and Standards
IUB Teacher Education Guiding Principles
In February 1996, the IU School of Education provides a core of six
principles as a framework for the development of education classes.
P251, P254, and P255, Educational Psychology for Elementary
Teachers, are organized around these principles, which include:
community, critical reflection, meaningful experience,
intellectual/personal/professional growth, knowledge and multiple
forms of understanding, and personalized learning. These courses
incorporate these principles in daily activities, assignments, field
experiences, and discussions. More information and explanation can be
found online at:
INTASC Core Standards

This course also adheres to the “Model Standards for Beginning Teacher
Licensing and Development” as established by the Interstate New
Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). These
standards identify a “common core of teaching knowledge and skills”
that INTASC deems necessary for effective, high-quality teaching. More
information about INTASC and the model standards can be found online

P251 and P254 (elementary education programs) specifically address
INTASC standards (described as principles) 2.1A, 2.1B, 5.1A, 5.1B, and
8.1A as explained below:

o Principle 2.1A and B: Understand how children learn and develop
Evaluation/Criteria: Students will read/view and critique several case
studies in this course. They will answer questions and analyze
situations from a developmental perspective focusing on the
appropriateness of lessons and teacher expectations. In addition,
students will also demonstrate their understanding of development and
learning by successfully answering exam questions. Over the course of
P251each student will develop a personal theory of teaching and
learning that incorporates theories and concepts learned and that also
describes their understanding of child development. They will also
analyze a popular movie as it relates to educational concepts and
instructional theories and participate in an online discussion as if
they were a famous developmental theorist.

o Principle 5.1A and B: Understand individual and group motivation
Evaluation/Criteria: Case studies focusing on motivational issues will
be read or watched.

Students will analyze specific situations in terms of types of
motivation, effectiveness of practices, and reasons for various
behaviors observed. In addition, the personal theory of teaching and
learning that students develop, the movie review and the