Mini-Syllabus – EDUC 6304 – Advanced Educational Psychology


Welcome to our course in Learning and Cognition. At UT - Permian Basin this course is titled, Advanced Educational Psychology, but the course focus is the same. We will be taking a look at teaching and learning and how, with the support of theory and research, we can improve that process. I hope you find this to be an enjoyable adventure. During our exploration into human growth and development, teaching methods, what makes students tick, what makes teachers tick, and so on, you will be given a valuable opportunity to develop your own personal theory of learning. I say valuable because it will be built on solid principles, have practical application and be something that a lot of educators don't have. While it will require work up front, in the end it will make your job easier and will help develop the full potential of your students. So welcome, I look forward to working with you, and now let's get started on this exciting adventure together.

Course Title

Learning and Cognition (or Advanced Educational Psychology)


Dr. Fern Clemmer
UT Permian Basin






SUGGESTION: Read the syllabus through once for familiarity and then read it through again for comprehension. When you have finished reviewing this syllabus, take the test for Module I, Lesson 1 – the Syllabus Test.

Refer to the syllabus often to stay familiar with its contents and the course requirements.

Course Description

This course has been designed to provide educators with the most up-to-date information concerning the teaching-learning process. This course will provide an opportunity for students to incrementally develop an educational theory and practice based on solid research and theoretical concepts.

Students will be provided with a working knowledge of learning theory from various viewpoints, developmental influences, practical application and teaching methods. Students will also become familiar with approaches dealing with the management and motivation of students and measurement of individual differences.

There is a good chance that we have not considered all of the procedural issues that are involved in a course of this nature. Watch the Announcements section of the course for changes (That's the first page you see when you log into the actual course). We will also contact you by email from time to time with course information and updates. We will guarantee that the course schedule will not be changed nor will the course requirements, unless such changes are advantageous to the students in this course.

Dr. Chips is the "virtual professor" for this course. He is on the job 24/7/365, just look for "Dr. Chips" on one of the buttons in the left-hand navigation bar. Of course, he has no life! His role is to help you make it through the course with a minimum of craziness. Although Dr. Chips lives and breathes educational psychology, he may not always be available. On occasion, he leaves the office to take a shower, change his clothes, or eat a meal.

Dr. Chips has already figured out some questions you need answers to. Visit the Ask Dr. Chips button which is available from the left-hand navigation bar.

Course Structure

Once you complete your review of this syllabus (Module I, Lesson 1), you will discover that the course is divided into ten modules/lessons. These are organized as follows:

Module II - Focus on Learning Theory
Lesson 1 - Introduction to and History of Educational Psychology
Lesson 2 - Learning Theory Today
Lesson 3 - The Behavioral View
Lesson 4 - The Cognitive View

Module III - Focus on Human Growth and Development
Lesson 1 - Fundamentals of Growth and Development
Lesson 2 - Cognitive Growth and the Early Experience
Lesson 3 - Personal Growth

Module IV - Focus on Practical Applications
Lesson 1 - Methods and Models of Teaching
Lesson 2 - Individual Differences: Measurement and Research
Lesson 3 - Managing Students in Groups

As you will note in the Course Calendar, we will be covering these lessons at the rate of approximately one each week.

Check the Course calendar for dates

To help you in your thinking and planning regarding this course, it might be useful to know the basic time frame that was considered as the course was developed. The concept is pretty traditional - for every hour of "in-class" time it is expected that the student will do at least two hours of "out-of-class" time. If this class were meeting in a face-to-face classroom situation, we would have about 3 hours together every week. The expectation would be that you would devote an additional 6 hours of additional time to the course. If you don't have this kind of time to devote to this course this semester, you may wish to reconsider whether you should be enrolled.


We would like you to obtain three from the following sets of books:

Set One: Select one from the following –

  • If you are interested in an Adlerian approach to learning, select -
    Dinkmeyer, D. & Dreikurs, R. Encouraging Children to Learn [ISBN: 1583910824]
  • or if you are interested in Glasser’s Choice Theory -
    Glasser, W. Choice Theory in the Classroom [ISBN: 0060952873]
  • or if you would like to take a peek at why children aren’t learning/thinking -
    Healy, J. M. Endangered Minds [ISBN: 0684856204]
  • or if you would like to know about Howard Gardner’s take on thinking and teaching –
    Gardner, H. The Unschooled Mind [ISBN: 0465088961]
  • or if you just want to get philosophical, read both of these –
    Hoff, B. The Tao of Pooh [ISBN: 0140067477] and
    Hoff, B. The Te of Piglet [ISBN: 0140230165]

Note: You need to obtain one of the above immediately since the first paper is due in four weeks (see calendar)

Set Two: Select one from the following –

  • Elkind, D. The Hurried Child [ISBN: 0738204412]
  • or Elkind, D. All Grown Up and No Place to Go [ISBN: 0201483858]

Set Three: Select one from the following –

  • Dreikurs, R., Grunwald, B. B., Pepper, F. C. Maintaining Sanity in the Classroom [ISBN: 1560327278] or
  • Hartmann, T. Beyond ADD. [ISBN: 1887424121] or
  • Kohn, A. Beyond Discipline [ISBN: 0871202700] or
  • Kohn, A. Punished by Rewards [ISBN: 0618001816] or
  • Kohn, A. The Schools Our Children Deserve [ISBN: 0618083456]

You should have no difficulty finding these books in such places as your local bookstores or online from sources like efollet, Barnes & Noble,,, etc. Just enter the ISBN numbers in the “search” box and see what you can find. Shop around – you might find better prices from one place than another. However, plan ahead as shipping times seem to vary.

You will be asked to write a reflection paper for each of the three books you select. You will find additional information about these assignments and the scoring criteria for your papers further on in this syllabus.


You will want to use MS Word as your word processor, so the formatting will stay the same when I view your pages. Since you are a student at a University of Texas System university, you are entitled to significant savings on the Microsoft Office software suite. In fact, you can get Office for 100% off the suggested retail price, plus a small fee for the media (CDs) it comes on. You can purchase Office for the price of the CDs it comes on. You can order a copy of Office from the UTPB bookstore. The Office software comes on five CDs so you will be charged about $30. To get your copy of Office, you will need to download a copy of the EULA (end-user license agreement) at, sign it, and send it along with a copy of your driver's license and a note that you are in my course and want the Office software to

UTPB Bookstore at UTPB
4901 E. University
Odessa, TX 79762

Or you can fax your agreement and a copy of your driver's license to them at 432/552-3721. Then, when you call for your text, you can ask for the Office software, too.

Course Orientation

This could be conceptualized as a "pass/fail" course. Obviously, you will all receive individual grades for your participation in this course, but the quality of our experience will be based on how well we work together in this learning endeavor. Either WE all pass or WE all fail! If we pass, you will be able to influence the level (your grade) at which you care to do so; if we fail, it will be the outcome of not being able to develop from a teacher-led class group into a learning community.

Basic to becoming a learning community, we need to establish a commitment and connection to the goals of our endeavor, to each other, and to our individual needs for learning and discovery. As this unfolds, we should be developing an observable level of cooperation, especially since we are all in this together. The best measure of our working together will be evidenced in the Discussions area. It is expected that considerable course interaction will occur through this medium and I encourage you to address both the course content and the course structure through this medium.

Now, cooperation does not require that we all "row the boat with the same stroke." Quite the contrary! Cooperation necessitates that we develop a high degree of give and take that allows each of us to participate according to our individual interests and assets. Within this atmosphere of cooperation, we should be able to discover both the acceptance and support for contributing to the learning of others.

Contribution at a high level is probably the best indicator of the essence of a learning community. At the heart is shared knowledge; in its operation is ownership of this being a shared responsibility. We each become both teacher and pupil engaged in the pursuit of common goals. When this occurs, we all stand to benefit. And when it doesn't. . . .

There are probably some basic ground rules that need to be discussed regarding "Course Netiquette" and "Course Management". Proper etiquette necessitates that when writing or replying to emails, you include a subject so that the reader has an idea of what the message is about.

When replying or forwarding emails, please use the delete key to get rid of any extraneous or superfluous content. There is nothing more aggravating than receiving a message loaded with junk! When you post to the Discussions, try to be as specific in your answers as you can. Long, rambling discourses are likely to go unread which, consequently, will lead to a lack of response. The best way to kill a discussion, is to be off-task and irrelevant.

Discussion Groups

The Discussions area is a message board functioning as a "virtual classroom"-a forum for discussion among students and the instructor. Clicking the Discussion button in the left-hand menu will take you to the discussion area. To enter the discussion, click the appropriate topic in the Discussions area.

You will each be randomly assigned to a small discussion group as soon as the course enrollment is verified. This will be the group with whom you will interact in the Discussions area throughout the course.

Being in a small group will help considerably in eliminating the number of postings you will have to read through as well as respond to. Don't get in too big a hurry (like a week or more in advance) and don't be too late (like a week or more behind) in your postings and responses - like Goldilocks, keep it just right!

The idea is to simulate an opportunity for class discussion as if we were all together in the same room. However, it will feel somewhat like a time warp since this activity will not have the same sense of immediacy or spontaneity. However, it will get you talking among yourselves.

Course Design

As you approach each lesson in this course, you may wish to follow the design that was built into each lesson! The lessons were created so that you would initially take a pre-test. This is two-fold in purpose: (a) to help you get a picture of what you may already know; and (b) to help you obtain a focus for the lesson. When you have finished the pre-test, take time to "listen to" (read through) the mini-lecture. These were designed to give you an overview of the lesson content.

Next, you will find that there are discussion activities included in the lesson and you should post your response as well as respond to the ideas posted by others in the class. Because there is a large number of students in this class, you will be randomly divided into small groups for discussion purposes. Finally, take the post-test. This is an opportunity to see how you have improved.

Course pre- and post-tests and discussion activities must be completed/submitted during the times/dates shown on the Course Calendar.

Discussion activities must be completed during the particular week that is assigned to the Module/Lesson. If you feel compelled to work ahead of the course schedule, write your discussion activity and save it until the "window" for that activity opens. We are operating on the "as if" frame- if we were in class, we would not have a specific discussion until the class meeting reserved for that purpose. So, pretend you are in class and the activities are to be prepared for a specific class period.

The consequence of missing these "windows of opportunity" is that you will forfeit your opportunity to complete this specific course element and receive zero points.

Reflection papers must be completed no later than the time/date shown on the Course Calendar. These should be sent as attachments formatted in Word. Further information regarding the papers is included later in this syllabus. None will be accepted after the deadline.


Grading in this course will be based on T/Q Points (T = time; Q = quality). Part of your T/Q points will come from taking pre- and post-tests and participating in the discussion activities. The remainder will derive from the quality of the papers you develop. A full explanation of each of these course elements follows in this syllabus.

There are 113 points available for the combined T/Qs earned on discussion activities and pre-tests and post-tests. There are also 112 T/Q points available for writing the four papers. Total points possible for this course equals 225. We only require that you earn up to 100 points on each of these activities. Actually, then, there are 25 bonus points available in this course - thirteen for the discussions/tests and twelve for the papers. This gives you an edge in case you miss a test or discussion or if you don't fare as well as you would like on a paper or two.

When we compute your final grade, we will add together the points earned (up to 100) on the two course components to ascertain your final grade. The final course grade will be assigned according to the following schedule:
93 - 100% = A
85 - 92% = B
77 - 84% = C
65 - 76% = D

Module/Lesson Activities -

Each of the ten module/lessons contains pre- and post-tests and discussion activities.

The focus of each exam will be on the material included in the lessons. All exams will be taken on-line in accordance with the times/dates noted in the calendar. The "window" for test taking begins at 9 AM on the first date for that test shown on the calendar and ends at 9 AM on the second date shown from the same test. These tests are mainly for your benefit to assess your knowledge level prior to reading the material (pre-test) and after the reading (post-test). You will receive one TQ point for taking each pre-test and post-test. Thus, you will earn two TQ points for each lesson just by taking the tests.

Each lesson also includes the directions for discussion activities. These will be completed in discussions assigned to your group. In order to limit the amount of chaos that might occur in discussion postings, we will initiate the thread for each lesson. Once the threads are posted, you will have one week to complete all of the discussion activities. Most activities require that you post at least one opinion per chapter followed up by responses to the postings of others in the class.

You receive T/Q points for posting to the discussions. One T/Q point can be earned for each post whether it be an opinion or a response, however, we expect these to be thoughtful and not just chatter! A T/Q point will be received if the post has an element of substance or depth. A post with no depth or substance will receive 0 T/Q points. No posting will also count as zero (0).

In addition to the Discussion T/Q points, you can earn additional T/Qs by taking the pre- and post-tests. Since there is a pre- and post-test for each lesson in each of the modules and this is a total of 10 lessons, up to 20 T/Q points can be earned when you take the test in a timely fashion. When these 20 points are added to the 93 possible discussion T/Qs, a total of 113 points are available for this part of your grade. We only count a maximum of 100 T/Q points from this part of your grade. Therefore, if you should miss a pre- or post-test or somehow are unable to participate in some of the discussions, 13 "catch up" points are available within the discussions and tests.

The papers can earn up to 28 T/Q points each. Four papers at 28 points each is a total of 112. We will only count a maximum of 100 T/Q points from this part for your grade from the papers. Therefore, if you should miss a few points on a paper or papers, there are 12 "flex" points available. The instructions and assignments for the papers follow:

Reflection Papers

At four times during the course, you will be required to submit a short paper.

The due dates are listed on the course calendar and coincide with the completion of each course module. Please submit these papers as attachments to an email addressed to Format your papers in Word for PC (MS Deal is available through the University Bookstore) and write, where appropriate, according to APA style. You will note on the "Reaction Paper Evaluation Rubric" that grammar and form count in the points awarded.

Reflection papers should be both thoughtful and scholarly, and approximately five to seven pages long. In terms of thoughtfulness, focus on your thinking about your thinking. You are not just merely reacting to or summarizing the book. In terms of scholarship, include references to your textbook or other readings that support your point-of-view and are relevant to class concepts or issues. In order to insure the receipt of maximum possible points on these papers, we suggest that you submit the paper to either a writing center or S.M.A.R.T. Thinking for evaluation and review. Since doing so takes at least 24 hours in turn around time, you may wish to anticipate the deadlines for your papers by several days. As noted earlier, papers not received by the deadlines will not be evaluated.

Topics for the four papers you are to write during this course are as follows:

Paper #1 - In as short a time as the past decade, our culture and our schools have been witness to and part of some dramatic and even radical changes. This has caused us as educators to stand back and review what we believe about learning and the learning process. Our old standards for teaching and discipline have radically changed. The book you selected to read was part of a set of texts that focus on some of these changes or alternative views of education. What did you discover in your reading? What ideas did you encounter that caused you to think? What did you relearn? How can we put some of these practices into practice? Is it good in theory? Can you make it work in your classroom?

Paper #2 - Your second book was one of the two by David Elkind. Recently, I saw a report on the CBS Early Show about clothing for children that emulated that of adults. Basically, these were mini-versions of adult clothing styles that were designed for children so they could dress like their mothers and fathers! It reminds me of a return to the “homunculus theory” of development wherein children were perceived as miniature adults. From this perspective, all children had to do developmentally was to grow – to get bigger! Then we discovered child development! We figured out that children were children and not little versions of big people! However, in our rush to hurry children, we are rediscovering the making of mini-adults.

As we hurry children, what price do we/they pay? Can this really be a good thing for our society? A developmental view would indicate that our children are designed to have a longer childhood followed by a short adolescence. It would appear that we have created just the opposite! We have “teenagers” or teenager wannabes sitting in the third and fourth grade. Short childhood; long adolescence. In a recent conversation with a young woman (late 20s) I learned that she was introduced early into being the mature “mother” in her family. At age three, due to the dysfunctions of the adults in her family, she was forced to take on responsibility for not only her younger brothers and sisters but the adults as well. Today, she is a Type A personality. Our conversation, though, was focused on her efforts to become less structured and more playful in her approach to life. This is work for her because changing this life pattern is extremely difficult.

Paper #3 - There are a couple of different options for you at this point. Dreikurs et. al. provide a theory for making a difference in the classroom through developing and implementing more democratic techniques. If you liked the book, Encouraging Children to Learn, you might find this a useful extension of those ideas. Thom Hartman poses a unique view of ADD and the issues that surround this all too common problem in the classroom. You might find his ideas intriguing. Alfie Kohn has been extremely critical of schools and various school practices over the years. However, in addition to his criticism, he offers suggestions for change. Many of us know that there is a need for change in our schools – what we are doing doesn’t always seem to be working. Absenteeism is increasing, the dropout rate continues to go up; we are offering more and more remedial/catchup programs; and our test scores do not seem to improve. What’s going on?

Paper #4 - Throughout this course, you have been focusing on theories of learning. For this final paper you will be asked to submit a short paper defining what your theory of learning is all about. In this case, short papers are defined as having no more than five to seven pages excluding references. The goal is to be focused and concise in the explication of your theory. Be sure to include three parts in your paper:

Part 1 - Define "learning" and delineate the learning process from a theory and research perspective. (You are free to include your own opinions as long as they can be supported in the literature.)

Part 2 - Look at the learning process from the veiwpoint of "developmentally appropriate instruction." How do the ages/stages at the developmental level of the students with whom you work impact your theory? (Again, include your own opinions as long as you can support them with the literature.)

Part 3 - Focus on the methods and strategies that are required in order to implement your theory. Obviously, everything presented here should be compatible with the ideas presented in Parts 1 and 2.

As you look at the flow of these three ideas, think in terms of: What is it that inspires you? How does that fit with the people with whom you work? And then - How does that translate into action?

Technical Requirements

The UT TeleCampus has many technical support resources available to students and faculty. The following technical information helps you to participate in a TeleCampus online course.

System Requirements:

Since your entire course will be accessed through your computer and Internet connection, it is imperative that you have the proper computer configuration. The following website lists the minimum and recommended computer configurations for participation in a TeleCampus course.,0,83,69,html


If you need an e-mail account and are at the University of Texas Permian Basin campus, go to

You may want to have Microsoft Office 2000 or XP for this course (Dr. Chips uses it). You may purchase the Microsoft Office XP through any University of Texas Campus Bookstore at a very reasonable cost. Go to

Browser Configuration:

UT TeleCampus courses make extensive use of Java, JavaScript, cookies, and plug-ins. These features must be installed/enabled in your browser for optimal viewing of the features and functions of your online course. For Browser Configuration, please go to,0,83,70,html

From your computer, you can remotely access both the UT Permian Basin Library and the UT System Digital Library allowing you to search their databases. For this course, you will find enough materials through the UTPB library system. If you want to use the UT System Digital Library, you will need to refer to the Library website here about setting up an account and proxy access.

UTPB Library
Netscape is required for proxy access, click the Library button above for more information. Remote access requires two steps: (a) gaining authorization (username and password) and (b) configuring your proxy server preferences in your Netscape browser.

To ensure you have the correct version of Internet Explorer or Netscape, install the programs provided on the Getting Started CD. Netscape is required for the online library access to the Digital Library or UTPB library.

To configure your proxy service for the UTPB library remote access, you must complete the application. Request for Proxy Access form. Note: if you are accessing the Internet through UTPB Dial-up service, you do not need to set the proxy. You already have access rights.

Proxy settings in Netscape:
(1) Direct Connection to the Internet. This is setting is for general Internet access.
(2) Manual proxy configuration. This setting is required for the UTPB Library to search UTPB online databases.

Evaluation Rubric

Listed below are links to the evaluation rubric we will be using for awarding T/Q Points for the four papers due in this course. Please note that the rubric is designed to allow you maximum freedom for expressing your ideas and thoughts while still maintaining an emphasis on format, structure and readability. Be sure to use APA style in formatting the paper wherever possible. You may wish to take advantage of the S.M.A.R.T. Thinking resource to have your paper reviewed prior to submission.

For a reference on the APA style of writing, click the link below:
NOTE: At the prompt, choose "Save this file to disk" and click "Ok". Once the file has been saved, you can click "Open" and view the PowerPoint presentation.
APA Style Essentials

To view a copy of the Reaction Paper Evaluation Rubric, click on the following link:
Reaction Paper Evaluation Rubric

To view a reference for online documentation, click here:
Electronic Reference Formats Recommended by APA

For additional assistance, take advantage of the S.M.A.R.T. Thinking opportunity by having your paper previewed before submission. The UT TeleCampus provides academic students with free access to SMARTHINKING, an online tutorial service. SMARTHINKING offers real-time and asynchronous tutoring in writing, math, statistics, accounting, economics and psychology, and a full range of study resources including sample problems, diagnostic tests, and study skills and writing manuals. All you need is Internet access; no special software or hardware is required. To start SMARTHINKING, use these directions: There is currently a link for SMARTHINKING on the UTTC Portal, the screen you see immediately after logging into the course. There should be a box in the upper left-hand corner entitled "Resources" with a link to SMARTHINKING. If you've had a UTTC SMARTHINKING account previously, enter your SMARTHINKING username and password to add your previous work to this new account. If you have never had an account, just press the Skip button at the login screen.

General Academic Policies

Academic Honesty - Students are bound by the UTPB standards of academic honesty which are listed in the UTPB Student Handbook. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a failing grade in the course and may result in suspension from the program or University.

Ethical Behavior - Students are expected to adhere to high standards of ethical behavior. At a minimum, failure to adhere to these standards may result in failure in this course.

Changes in the Syllabus - The instructor reserves the right to make appropriate changes in the course syllabus and structure as needs dictate. The Course Schedule and Course Requirements will not change - however, we may make procedural modifications as necessitated by course management concerns. All course changes will be posted in the "announcements" or by group email. Be sure to check on a weekly basis.

Disabilities - If you have a disability and need a special accommodation, consult with Student Services at the UT TeleCampus and then inform the instructor of the accommodation required.

Grades of I - A grade of "I" (Incomplete) will be considered in the event of an emergency that occurs at the end of the semester. However, this option is only for students making satisfactory progress in the course.

Office Hours - Virtual office hours are maintained by Dr. Chips on a 24/7/365 basis. However, he may not be available for a response at all times. Be sure to check "Ask Dr. Chips" if you have a general course question or post your concern in the Discussions area. Someone in the class may be able to supply you with the answer.

Dr. Clemmer will be available on the UTPB campus by appointment. If you are looking for a quick response by email, please be sure to use the following address – -- since this is the only email address that will be checked on a regular basis for course questions and information.

You will not see your discussion group until I put you into one. Once you are in a group, look for the discussion thread - "Who Are You?" - and post a short bio describing yourself. I will post a short bio about myself to give you the flavor of what you may wish to include in yours. This way, we will have a chance to get to know a little bit about each other and the members of the class.

I'm glad you could join us for this adventure in learning about learning! Your comments and suggestions will be appreciated as we proceed through the course. Please feel free to share your thoughts and advise us of any errors or omissions.