Principles of Psychology Syllabus (Emmett)

Ms. Farris advised that I put the class syllabus up on WordPress to prove I’m taking it. Furthermore, this class is one component of my Original Research; the other will be to make an autism friendly drama class proposal.

PSY 200-43 Principles of Psychology

Fall 2020

Instructor: Adam Johnson, Ph.D.

Office Location: Dickinson Building, D204

Office Hours: MW 11:30-1:30, TR 12:30-2:30 (via Canvas through Zoom)

Instructor email:

Instructor office phone number: 434-961-5412

Preferred contact method: email, will respond within 48 hours

Class location: online

Class time: asynchronous instruction via Canvas

Course Description:

Surveys the basic concepts of psychology. Covers the scientific study of behavior, behavioral research methods and analysis, and theoretical interpretations. Includes topics such as: physiological mechanisms, sensation/ perception, motivation, learning, personality, psychopathology, therapy, and social psychology. Lecture 3 hours per week. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Textbook:

Openstax College textbook Psychology. It is a pdf file available on Canvas. Other materials, such as research articles or internet content, will be provided as needed. All course materials (including the textbook) will be posted on the course Canvas site.

Attendance, Withdraw and Participation Policy: 

Class attendance is an integral part of a sound academic program for most classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  For online anytime (asynchronous) classes, students are expected to log into Canvas regularly to complete assignments and observe the course due dates.  

Students who have missed more than the permissible number of classes may be withdrawn by the instructor from the course.  A grade of “W” will be recorded for all withdrawals completed by “Last Day to Withdraw without Academic Penalty” for the semester.  Students withdrawn after this withdrawal deadline will receive a grade of “F” except under mitigating circumstances, which must be documented and approved by the Vice President of Instruction and Student Services.

Last day to drop a course with a refund: 9/28/20

Last day to drop a course with a grade of “W”: 11/9/20

It is the student’s responsibility to drop a course. This may be done electronically by logging into MyPVCC. To obtain a refund, the course must be done by the last day to drop and qualify for a refund. To obtain a “W” grade this must be done prior to the last date to withdraw without a grade penalty.  Please consult the academic calendar for these dates.

Per VCCS policy, a grade of “incomplete” (I) is to be used only for verifiable unavoidable reasons when a student is unable to complete a course within the normal course time. To be eligible to receive an “I” grade, the student must (1) have satisfactorily completed more than 50% of the course requirements and (2) must request the faculty member assign the “I” grade and indicate why it is warranted.

It is the student’s responsibility to request a grade of “incomplete” and initiate the process by scheduling an appointment with the faculty to discuss requirements for satisfactory course completion and consequences of failing to meet established deadlines. The official written request must be completed prior to the “grade due date” for the course.Students who fail to complete coursework and do not request a grade of “incomplete” will receive 0 for the missed assignments and awarded a final course grade based on these calculations.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students should will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology. 

2. demonstrate knowledge of basic research methods, including research design and interpretation of results.

3. think critically and use the scientific approach to weigh evidence and solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

4. apply psychological concepts and principles to their own lives and to the lives of others.

5. understand all sides of controversial ethical issues and be able to tolerate ambiguity regarding these issues.


The “Canvas” web-based course delivery system will be utilized for this course.  Log on to Canvas by clicking on “MyPVCC” and then “Canvas.”  In Canvas click on this course to access this syllabus (which includes the schedule), detailed information on tests, quizzes, and other assignments, links to other useful websites, and any announcements or other information that changes throughout the semester.  You are responsible for knowing the content of all such announcements as well as all information posted on the Canvas course website.  

Class Equipment and Technical Support:

IT Help Desk can assist with SIS (Student Information System), myPVCC login,  student email, and basic computer problems. Email or call (434) 961-5261. VisitIT Support Services for more information.

The Academic Computing Lab (M832) is available for students Monday – Thursday, 8:30AM – 7PM  and Friday, 8:30AM – 5PM. Protective masks are required.

Apps to download and use for class include: Microsoft Office, Canvas Mobile, Zoom, Respondus Lockdown Browser (if required by instructor when announced on Canvas.)

Canvas Support: 

Students have access to Canvas Support at any time of the day or week (24 hours a day/7 days a week). In Canvas, click on Help at the bottom of the blue bar on the left. There you will find links to Canvas Guides as wells as links to Canvas phone support, chat, and problem submission form.

Canvas 24/7 Support Hotline: (877) 875-8359

Canvas Support Chat:

Be advised that if you cannot complete assignments or access Canvas because your own personal computer is not working this is NOT an excuse, or a reason to receive an extension of the deadline.  You can always use a computer in the PVCC library or in a PVCC computer lab, or one at any college or university or public library.  In order to allow time to resolve computer problems or use another computer, plan ahead and try to complete assignments before the deadline (see calendar at the end of this syllabus and Canvas.) 

Grading and Evaluation:

  • Discussion Board Activities (5 worth 10 points each, 50 points total): Discussion board activities will be completed and posted on Canvas. Due dates will be posted on Canvas.
  • Quizzes (5 worth 10 points each, 50 points total): Quizzes will be taken on Canvas. Their due dates will be posted on Canvas.
  • Tests (5 tests worth 50 points each, 250 points total): Tests will be taken on Canvas or in the testing center. Tests will reflect all course materials including in-class and Canvas content. Each test will cover two chapters of course materials. The tests will be constructed of multiple choice and short answer questions.
  • Writing Assignment (50 points total): There will be a writing assignment for the course. There will be a separate post on Canvas describing the expectations, grading and scope of the writing assignment. The writing assignment will be submitted online via Canvas.
  • Final Exam (50 points total):  The final exam will be taken in the classroom on the designated day and time in the syllabus. It will be cumulative in nature and cover course content from the entire semester. 

Test Policy:

There are a total of 6 tests during the semester (including the final).  Your lowest test score will be dropped automatically when final grades are computed (only 5 tests count, including the final).  If you miss one test for any reason it will become your dropped test and not affect your grade. Missing two or more tests will negatively affect your grade, as only the first missed test is dropped.  As a result of this flexibility, NO EARLY OR LATE EXAMS WILL BE GIVEN.  It is up to YOU to use this situation wisely.  I recommend saving the dropped test for unexpected future events (illness, transportation issues, family emergency, etc.) rather than skipping a test.

If your final exam score is higher than your lowest test score, then the final will replace your lowest test score.  If your final exam score is lower than any of your previous tests then the final exam will be dropped.  In other words, taking the final exam cannot hurt your grade unless you have already missed a test. If you have missed a test before the final, the final will replace the dropped test. The final can only replace one test.

Final Grades:

Final course grades will be assigned based on the student’s accumulated points out of the total of 400 points possible.

A (400-358)

B (357-318)

C (317-278)

D (277-238)

F (less than 237)

Policy for Late Assignments:

All course assignments, such as quizzes, discussion board activities, papers, etc. must be completed/submitted on time in order to be eligible for full credit. Any late assignment will be subject to a 10% penalty per late day (including weekends.) Any assignments submitted/completed more than 7 days late will be refused by the instructor. Late assignments will be accepted without a point deduction with a valid excuse cleared by the instructor. Note: Valid excuses are documented excuses that make it clear that it was not possible to complete the assignment or come to class (e.g. medical note of serious illness, car repair receipt on the day of class, etc.)

Class Behavior/Expectations:

It is your responsibility to show up prepared for each class. I work hard to make sure my classes are worth attending.  You should find the course material easier to understand if you regularly show up for class. Reading course materials ahead of time, taking notes during class, participating in class discussions, asking questions during class, and making use of the instructor’s office hours are expected student behaviors.

Students are expected to respect everyone in class, including the instructor. Inappropriate and disrespectful class behavior includes insulting or threatening language towards others, interrupting lecture or class discussions, sleeping, excessive eating/drinking, and using distracting devices such as cell phones. I will do my best to discourage disruptive behavior through verbal warnings, written warnings, individual meetings, and as a last resort withdrawing the offending individual from the course.

Occasionally the course content may involve sensitive or mature subject matter, including chapter materials, research findings, discussion topics, or external sources such as internet/popular culture examples. Students who find themselves uncomfortable with some of the course materials are free to discuss their concerns with the instructor. I will do my best to warn the class about potentially sensitive topics or content ahead of time.

Netiquette is a way of defining professionalism through network communication. Meaningful and constructive dialogue is encouraged and requires willingness to listen, tolerance for different points of view, and mutual respect from all participants. The following guidelines are intended to create a productive learning atmosphere for all students in a variety of online learning environments:

  • Avoid offensive or personally insulting language.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Proofread your posts to check correct spelling and grammar before submitting them.
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you.”
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING.
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or sound offensive.
  • Make posts that are concise and on topic and within the scope of the course material.
  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source.
  • Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying.
  • Don’t repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it.
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree or add to the previous point.

Students who publish personally insulting or threatening posts or behave in a disruptive manner are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Please bring any concerns you may have to your instructor’s attention.

Code of Conduct: 

All students are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct. Students can access the Code of Conduct and download a copy at

ADA Statement: 

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, email Susan Hannifan at or call 434.961.5281 to schedule an appointment.

Academic Support Services: 

Tutoring, in most courses, and academic coaching are offered to all students at no additional cost. 

The First Quadrant Math Center (434.961.5284) assists students in business, mathematics, sciences, and technologies. The First Quadrant Math Center is located in M253 Main Building and The Writing Center is located in M607 Main Building. Visit for more information about academic support services.

The Writing Center offers online writing assistance in any discipline, as well as tutoring in Spanish, German, and humanities and social science courses. Tutoring is available via Zoom, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.  to 2 p.m., and Sunday, by appointment only, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tutors are available by appointment and on a walk-in basis. To meet with a tutor, schedule an appointment via Navigate in the MyPVCC portal or drop-in to the Virtual Writing Center to schedule an appointment or to see if a tutor is available. For further information, visit the Writing Center website site or call 434.961.5499 during our open hours.

Online tutoring is available through Brainfuse which provides on-demand, online tutoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it provides detailed, personalized critiques of written assignments within 24 hours of submission.

Academic coaching, available in the Writing Center, promotes deep learning and facilitates student success for the long haul, during and after college. Coaches help students access resources, manage priorities, prepare for exams and set goals, master active study skills.

If you want to set up a phone appointment or video appointment via Zoom with an academic advisor, student success advisor, financial aid counselor, tutor/academic coach, or with career services, you can use Navigate:

  1. Log in to MyPVCC
  2. Click the “Navigate Student” icon
  3. Click “Appointments” on the left side of the screen
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen

Student Success Office: 

The Student Success Office is deeply committed to providing academic and personal support to students as they identify and achieve their educational and personal goals. We seek to provide a supportive, encouraging, and understanding environment where each of our students may seek transformation and improvement. We strive to empower students to reach their personal definition of success by recognizing and utilizing their internal and external resources. Our office is committed to the belief that every unique individual has the power to change his or her own life through education. 

Please contact us through email at: or call 434.961.6581. You may also schedule phone or Zoom appointments through your MyPVCC account using Navigate Student.


EAB’s Early Alert system is a communication and information tool for faculty, staff and students. You can access EAB through your MyPVCC account. Through EAB, instructors can send information regarding your performance in a course. If you have questions, contact the PVCC Help Desk at 434-961-5261.

Student Resource Center (Food/Snack Pantry and Clothing Closet):

The PVCC Student Resource Center provides educational and financial support to eligible students by connecting them with campus and community resources. Students may receive assistance in the following areas: food, clothing, emergency funds, textbooks, healthcare, childcare, transportation and other non-academic needs.

Contact Amanda Key at (434)961-6538 or

Academic Honesty Policy: 

[as stated in the PVCC student handbook] Piedmont Virginia Community College sets high standards for academic integrity and takes academic dishonesty very seriously. The following misconduct is considered an honor offense and is subject to disciplinary action: cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the college or instructors, and the forgery, alteration or use of college documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud. Students are advised that a written summary of this violation and the resulting penalty will be placed in the student’s official college record. After one year of no further occurrences, the student may request that the Dean of Student Services remove the statement from the official record.

Children on Campus: 

College facilities, including the library, cannot accommodate the care of children while parents are working or attending class. Since the college and its staff cannot be responsible for the safety and welfare of your children, you must make arrangements for them off-campus. Children may not be brought into classrooms or laboratories without permission of the instructor. 

Inclement Weather Policy: 

PVCC remains open when primary and most secondary roads are passable. When travel to the campus is unreasonably dangerous the entire college closes. The website is the first method of notification, followed by local television stations, then local radio stations (both FM and AM). 

The following phone numbers will also have delay/closing information: PVCC main phone: 434.977.3900 PVCC Inclement weather/emergency message line: 434.971.6673 

Due to the unpredictable nature of Virginia’s weather, PVCC may be required to close or delay opening. If a delay announcement is made, that delay is based on an 8 a.m. opening time. In the event of a delay, you should attend the class that is in progress at the time you arrive at the campus. For example, if the college is on a 2-hour delay, you would arrive at the campus at 10 a.m. to attend your 10 a.m. class (not your 8 a.m. class.) 

Television Stations WVIR-TV WVAW 16 WCVA 19 WAHU 27 Radio Stations All local Charlottesville stations WKCI/WKDW/WSVO in Staunton/Waynesboro WFLO in Farmville WVTF in Roanoke 

Emergency Notification:

PVCC uses the e2Campus emergency text and email notification system to provide quick notification in the event of an emergency, including college closings and weather related events. Users can have an emergency message sent to their cell phone or email address. 

PVCC’s emergency notification system will be used only for emergency messaging, college closings and class cancellations. It will not be used for general communications, and users will not be bombarded with extraneous text or email messages. There will be an occasional test of the system to ensure that it is working properly. 

Register for text alerts: (A link is also located on the PVCC home page.) This is an “opt-in” system and you can also “opt-out” of the system at any time. 

Academic Disaster Planning:

In the event of a College-wide emergency, course requirements, classes, deadlines, and grading schemes are subject to changes that may include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, class materials, and/or classmates, a revised attendance policy, and a revised semester calendar and/or grading scheme.

Elements of this schedule or syllabus are subject to change at any time. The schedule may be modified as the semester unfolds. Changes in the schedule or syllabus will be announced in class, email, and/or Canvas.  Students are responsible for any changes in the schedule or syllabus.    

Class Schedule for Fall 2020
Week 1:
Chapter 1,2, 9 (Quiz 1 Posted)

Week 2:
Test 1 Posted; Discussion 1 available

Week 3:
Chapter 3, 4 (Quiz 2 Posted)

Week 4:
Test 2 Posted; Discussion 2 available

Week 5:
Chapter 15

Week 6:
Chapter 12 (Quiz 3 Posted)

Week 7:
Test 3 Posted; Discussion 3 available

Week 8:
Chapter 11

Week 9:
Chapter 14 (Quiz 4 Posted)

Week 10:
Test  4 Posted; Discussion 4 available

Week 11:
Chapter 6, 10 (Quiz 5 Posted)

Week 12:
Test 5 Posted; Discussion 5 available

Week 13:
Chapter 13

Final Exam: TBA during final exam week

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