Like many General Psychology courses, I have a research participation requirement. Along with this, I also have to provide an alternative assignment as research participation is voluntary. In the past when I’ve taught General Psychology, I had students write article summaries as the alternative assignment, but this isn’t the most exciting assignment for the student or the instructor. (Grading these is less than thrilling.) One of my fellow faculty members, Dr. Kayce Meginnis-Payne felt the same way. At our first faculty meeting this year, she brought up the subject and wanted to come up with a different approach to the typical alternative assignment. She proposed that we give students opportunities to get involved with the department outside than research.
Here is what we came up with:
We felt that these alternatives are still getting students involved with the discipline of Psychology and the department. Which is why we are calling this requirement “Participating in Psychology” instead of “Research in Psychology.”
This is how I phrase this section of my syllabus:
Participating in Psychology:
As we will discuss in class, modern psychology is based on scientific research. The vast majority of this research is conducted at universities such as WPU. Students will be required to get involved in this research process by participating in psychological research studies here at WPU.
Students will be required to complete 3 credit-hours by the end of the semester. Suggestion: DO NOT WAIT until the end of the semester to complete your credits.
To sign up and receive credit for research participation visit the bulletin board on the 3rd floor of Flowe. Paper sign-up sheets will be posted with available times. Sign up for a time that coincides with your schedule (i.e., not during class time). It is your responsibility to sign up and show up at your appointment time. Be on time for these appointments. If you’re no longer able to show up for your appointment, email the researcher to let them know.
All research conducted with human subjects is voluntary. As such, students who cannot, or choose not to, participate in research will complete an alternative assignment. The alternative assignment is designed to take as much time and effort as research participation. You will complete one assignment per credit, but you can do a combination of alternative assignments and research participation. Please arrange to meet with me ahead of time if you decide to use this option.
The different psychology experiences that count toward the alternative assignment are the following:
Do you use other non-typical options for the research alternative assignment? I would love to hear about them!
written by Jen Blush