PSYCH303: Educational Psychology

Course Syllabus for "PSYCH303: Educational Psychology"

Purpose of Course

Educational psychologists work to understand how to structure educational systems in order to meet the cognitive and affective needs of students. They study how people learn and develop, identify and suggest efficient teaching methods, and evaluate the effectiveness of various educational policies and practices. Below are a few examples of their matters of focus: - Educational psychologists often point out the inherent social nature of our current educational system. Particularly at the elementary level, education involves responding to social instructions just as much as it does learning new academic material. Most of the books that children read not only assist them in learning basic skills, but also convey some sort of moral or social lesson. Teachers spend much of their time focused on social instruction and management. - Educational psychologists study the ways that learning environments affect education. A child entering the education system must adjust to a new environment and a new set of rules and goals while also undergoing many personal changes in body and mind. Educational psychology provides us with the tools we need to understand these changes and adaptations. - Educational psychologists also study the ways that societal, local, and family issues affect learning and classroom practice. Children come to the classroom with various attitudes about schooling, about teachers, and about goals and possibilities. They come from many different socio-economic situations, parenting styles, and cultural, religious, and political traditions. Educational psychologists are experts who help educators understand this diversity.

Generally speaking, Educational Psychology has two major areas of focus: education theory, and the practicalities of classroom life. This course will attempt to blend those two areas of focus as often as possible, so that you—as the reader, student, and (future) teacher—can get the most out of the material.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to

  • explain why knowledge of psychology is important to effective teaching;
  • discuss, compare, and contrast cognitive, constructivist and behaviorist models of teaching and learning, as well as their applications in classroom management;
  • identify important cognitive stages of development, the typical age range of each stage, and the ways that teachers can use that knowledge;
  • identify strategies for enhancing students’ abilities to use complex cognitive skills;
  •  differentiate the cognitive vs. affective domains of learning and their influence on effective teaching;
  • identify important aspects of personal, emotional, and moral development, and ways that teachers can use that knowledge;
  • discuss relevant research in relation to the importance of identifying teacher emotions and the role on student learning;
  • identify diversity in terms of differences in learning styles, intelligence, cultures, and gender, as well as specific abilities and disabilities, that a modern classroom might need to accommodate;
  • discuss theories of motivation and provide rationale for those you would use in your classroom;
  • explain the significance of Flow Theory in motivating reluctant learners;
  • discuss classroom management strategies that facilitate the learning process and prevent or deal with misbehavior, and provide rationale for those strategies you would use in your classroom;
  • identify communication skills that enhance learning, management, and coordination with students’ families;
  • identify the major parts of a lesson or unit plan;
  • explain the significance of effective assessment on student performance;
  • identify and discuss types of teacher-made assessments;
  • discuss the uses of and issues surrounding standardized testing;
  • construct an objective assessment using the rules of RSVP; and
  • identify and discuss factors that influence job satisfaction in a teaching career.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√ have access to a computer;

√ have continuous broadband Internet access;

√ have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader  
and Flash);

√ have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√ have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√ be competent in the English language;

√ have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

√ have completed the Psychology Major’s Core Program (PSYCH101 and
It is highly suggested that you have experience with and/or access to K–12 classroom(s).

Course Information

Course Designer: Dr. Norman Rose

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. You will also need to complete:

  • Unit 1: Saylor Discussion Board
  • Unit 9: Saylor Discussion Board
  • The Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to prepare adequately for this exam, you will need to work through the materials in each unit.
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on will be tabulated as soon as the exam is completed. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again following a 14-day waiting period.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 110 hours to complete. Each unti includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It might be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.