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Computers in Psychology - PSY293
Dr. M. Plonsky - Fall, 1998

Last update 9/4/98.


Course Description
Tentative Class Schedule
Projects   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
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Course Description

The specific goal of course will be to familiarize you with how professionals in the field of psychology use computers. The general goal will be to make you computer literate than you are currently. The IBM PC and its compatibles will serve as the model computer platform with which you will become familiar. No knowledge about computers will be assumed. However, General Psychology is a prerequisite for the course.

If you have not already started to use computers in your studies, this course will hopefully be the one to get you going. If you are already familiar with computers, this course will give you the opportunity to learn some of the finer details of software that can increase your productivity dramatically. To use an eating analogy, we will approach the subject as a smorgasbord rather than an intimate, candlelit dinner. In other words, we will not spend a great deal of time on any one application, but will learn a little bit about a number of different applications. This way you can pick the applications you are most interested in and learn more about them on your own.

Some of the topics we will examine include:

We will use versions of the software that the campus has available in it's numerous Student Computer Labs, offices, residence halls, classrooms, etc. In addition to these general applications, a number of specific applications of the computer within the field of psychology will be discussed and in some cases demonstrated.

The readings issue is difficult because we will learn about many different aspects of computing which are typically not found in a couple books. Therefore, we will rely upon electronic forms of information (on the web and in the help facilities of the applications we use) and the lecture material. For example, the computer page that I maintain is a good source of information relevant to this course. When online materials are available for a topic, I will make the URL's (i.e., web addresses) available via the tentative course schedule.

A written source of communication that you may find helpful is magazines dealing with computer issues. Thus, I encourage you to buy, barrow, or subscribe to either PC World, PC Week, PC Computing, or some other such magazine. Note you can also get to this type of info online.

You may wish to purchase book(s) that introduce you to Windows, file management, and/or any of the applications that we will employ. Any such books will do as long as they cover the software versions currently available on campus.

Finally, you will need several 3½ inch, high density, floppy disks (and perhaps some kind of case for their safe keeping).

While I do not formally take attendance, it is unlikely that you will do well in the course if your attendance is poor. This is due to the fact that the exams will include material that is only presented in the lectures. If you miss a class, it will be to your benefit to find out what occurred during that class from a classmate.

The class meets three times each week. Note that the Thursday meetings (beginning 9/10) will take place in Science Computer Lab-East (Room B-228). Thus, supervised, hands-on experience will be an integral part of the class.

There will be a total of 400 points; two exams at 100 points each (i.e., a Midterm and a Final) and 200 points worth of Projects. The final will be cumulative. The format of the exams will vary. They may include multiple choice, acronyms, short answer, definitions, essays, problems, etc.

Your grades will be determined by your exam and project scores. However, class participation and improvement during the semester may help you. I will provide you with a conservative estimate of your overall performance in the course shortly after the midterm. Cheating on an exam or project will lead to automatic failure and possibly other penalties. Another way to fail an exam is to not show up for it.

My office is located in Science B-341. I will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00-2:00 p.m. and on Thursdays from 11:30-12:30 a.m. (or by appointment). You can reach me at 346-3961 (and please leave a message if I'm not available) or through electronic mail at mplonsky@uwsp.edu. You can see my schedule and just stop by. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Tentative Class Schedule

Note that the days we meet in the computer lab are shown in blue.

Week Date Lecture Topic Project Due Relevant URLs
1 9/3-Th Introduction & Orientation   Electronic Mail 
2  9/7-Mo
  9/8-Tu Sign on & Electronic Mail    Windows '95 
  9/10-Th Windows     
3  9/14   1  
  9/15 DOS & file management   General Stuff 
4  9/21 Wordprocessing    
5  9/28   2  
  9/29 PsyLit   Searching PsyLit
6  10/5   3  
  10/6 APA Format   APA format
7  10/12      
  10/13 Netscape 4 Handbook
  10/15 Searching the web   Search page
8  10/19   5  
  10/20 Review & perhaps more detail     
Midterm Exam 
9 10/26 Spreadsheet Basics   Excel 97 Tutorial 
10 11/2 Hardware    
  11/3   6  
11 11/9 Spreadsheet Graphics    
12 11/16 Minitab 7 Statistics-Minitab 
13 11/23 Data description & analysis   Psychological Statistics 
14 11/30      
  12/1 Web page creation
Web Weaving 
15 12/7   8  
16 12/14  
(10:15-12:15 a.m.) 

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