Unit 01

Unit 1:
How to Think Critically about Life
NOTE: Prior to beginning any of the Assignments, you must have completed the Pre-Course Essay, the link for which was sent to you via email from Professor Gernsbacher. If you have not yet completed the Pre-Course Essay, do NOT begin this Unit’s Assignments. Instead, first complete the Pre-Course Essay.

Unit 1: Assignment #1 (due before 11:59 pm Central on THU JUN 21):

  1. Read How to Email a Professor.
  2. Read closely (and thoroughly) the Course Syllabus.
  3. Copy and paste the contents of the Course Contract into the contents of an email message.
  4. Fill in the blanks of your email message with the information you learned from the Course Syllabus.
  5. Email your completed Course Contract, in the body of an email message, not as an attachment, to Professor Gernsbacher. Title the subject of your email message, “PSY 225: Course Contract“.

Unit 1: Assignment #2 (due before 11:59 pm Central on THU JUN 21):

  1. From the Course Syllabus, learn how to take advantage of the Flexibility Accommodation that is built into this course.
  2. From the Course How To:
    1. Learn “How To Control the Size of the Display on Your Screen.”
      • Practice adjusting the size of the display on your screen with the Course Website’s Homepage.
      • You’ll probably want to adjust the size of the display on your screen until the Course Website’s Homepage looks like this image.
    2. Learn “How to Access the Course Website” (and learn that you should NOT try to access the course through Canvas or through Learn@UW);
    3. If you plan to access the Course Website or Discussion Boards on a smartphone or tablet, learn “How To Access the Course Discussion Boards on a Smartphone or Tablet.”
  3. From the Course How To:
    1. Learn “How To Upload a Photo to Your Discussion Board Profile” and upload a picture of yourself to your Discussion Board profile.
      • Be sure to learn that you’ll need to crop your photo to show as much of your face as possible and ONLY your face (no pets or friends, because they’re not taking this course; you are!; not a lot of background scenery; just your face rather than the rest of or any other part of your body).
    2. Learn “How To Turn On or Off Discussion Board Notifications” and set both your Submission Comments (which are comments sent to you by your TAs or instructor) and your Discussion Board notifications to your desired frequency.
  4. Read Professor Gernsbacher’s (2014) article, “Why Internet-Based Education?
    • Of the five fundamental principles of learning on which Internet-based higher education capitalizes, identify the one principle that resonates the most to you.
  5. From the Course How To:
    1. Learn “How To Make a New Discussion Board Post.”
      • Learn that if you compose your post elsewhere and copy/paste it into the text box, you might see that there are extra blank lines (meaning more than one blank line) between your paragraphs. You need to delete those extra blank lines before you click “Post.”
      • Learn why it’s important to break each of your Discussion Board posts into at least two or three, even four paragraphs. Learn that a good rule of thumb is no more than three or four sentences per paragraph.
      • Learn that you should check to make sure that your Discussion Board post appears on the Discussion Board. Learn that it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that ALL of your posts appear on the Discussion Board.
    2. Learn “How To Edit or Delete Your Discussion Board Post.”
      • Learn that most assignments will be graded shortly after you submit them, even if before the deadline.
      • Learn that it’s best to read over your assignments immediately after you post them and make any edits or corrections right then.
      • Learn that if you submit only part of an assignment, that part is what will be graded, even if before the deadline.
  6. Go to the Unit 1: Assignment #2 and #4 Discussion Board and make a new Discussion Board post of at least 200 words. In your post, tell us
    1. a mnemonic to remember your first name (to create a name mnemonic, you’ll need to read this handout);
    2. approximately what time (which four hours) each day for six days a week you are planning to work on our course during the coming term; and
    3. which one of the five fundamental principles of learning (on which Internet-based higher education capitalizes) resonates the most to you – and why.
  7. From the Course How To, learn how to find out which section you are in and find out which section you are in.

Unit 1: Assignment #3 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUN 22):

  1. To learn how to separate opinion from evidence:
    1. Read Philosophy Professor Stokes’ (2017) article, “No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion.”
      • Make sure you understand the distinction Professor Stokes’ draws between two common uses of the term “my opinion.”
    2. Read Brown’s (2016) article, “Actually, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion.”
      • Again, make sure you understand the distinction Professor Stokes draws between two categories of opinions.
    3. Read Rathi’s (2016) article, “A Philosophy Professor Explains Why You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion.”
      • Make sure you understand why the article concludes that “everyone is entitled to have an opinion, but only as long as they are able to reasonably argue for it with evidence” (and that you understand which of the two common uses of “opinion” this statement refers to).
    4. Read former U.S. Senator and Sociology Professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s (no date) quote.
    5. Read Rouner’s (2015) article, “No, It’s Not Your Opinion.”
    6. Read the excerpt from Braithwaite’s (2005) article, “Seven Fallacies of Thought and Reason.”
      • At this point, you should have a good understanding of the difference between the two common uses of the term “my opinion.”
  2. From the Course How To:
    1. Learn “How To Embed a URL into a Discussion Board Post.”
    2. Learn “How To Embed a YouTube or Vimeo into a Discussion Board Post.” Remember that you must always use the “Embed Small” option.
  3. Find three situations on the Internet (that no other student in your section has yet posted) in which someone has said that something is their opinion.
    1. Based on all the reading you’ve done, identify each situation as either the first or second use of “opinion.”
    2. Also identify whether in each situation the person would be justified in saying that they are “entitled to that opinion.”
  4. Go to the Unit 1: Assignment #3 Discussion Board and make a new Discussion Board post of at least 200 words. In your post:
    1. Describe each of the three situations you identified (it would be best to describe each situation in a separate paragraph).
    2. For each situation, explain which of the two uses of “opinion” the situation exemplifies and why you deem the person to be justified or unjustified in being “entitled to that opinion.”
    3. For each situation, embed in your post either the URL to that situation (using the technique you learned from Course How To, so that your link shows up as actual text, rather than just a URL or the word, Link) or, if a video, embed the YouTube or Vimeo (using the technique you learned from the Course How To; remember to “embed small”).

Unit 1: Assignment #4 (due before 11:59 pm Central on FRI JUN 22):

  1. From the Course How To, learn “How To Make a Reply to a Discussion Board Post.”
  2. From the Course Syllabus, review “What’s the best way to respond to another student’s Discussion Board post?” Remember that your responses to other students should always include at least two of the four recommended components.
  3. Go to the Unit 1: Assignment #2 and #4 Discussion Board and read all the other students’ posts. Then, make a response (a reply) to three other students’ posts.
    1. Each of your three responses must be at least 200 words.
    2. One response must be to a student who chose the same fundamental learning principle as you did; your other two responses must be to two students who chose a different learning principle than you did.
    3. If no other student, who has already posted, chose the same learning principle as you did, then all three of your responses can be to students who chose a different learning principle than you did.

Unit 1: Assignment #5 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUN 24):

  1. Watch Professor Gernsbacher’s lecture video, “Four Cognitive Biases.” (A transcript of the video is available here.)
  2. Teach the four Cognitive Biases to three separate people.
    1. You can teach each person via email, phone, text, Facebook, Skype, in person, or any other communication medium. But you must teach all four Cognitive Biases to three separate people at three separate times.
    2. When you are teaching the four Cognitive Biases to three different people, be sure to provide examples of each bias.
    3. To make sure that each of the three people learned the four Cognitive Biases, ask each person to tell you another example (one that you did not tell them) of each of the four Cognitive Biases.
  3. Go to the Unit 1: Assignment #5 Discussion Board and make a new Discussion Board post of at least 200 words in which you
    1. describe how you taught the three persons about the four Cognitive Biases;
    2. state each of the three persons’ initials (e.g., MG) and their approximate age; and
    3. report the examples each person told you of each of the four Cognitive Biases.

Unit 1: Assignment #6 (due before 11:59 pm Central on SUN JUN 24):

  1. Read, then download and save to your own computer, the Course Journal Instructions.
    1. For the current Unit (Unit 1), in addition to making a typical Unit entry in your own Course Journal, you must also make a Goals Setting entry. Thus, you will be making two Course Journal entries for Unit 1:
      1. a typical Course Journal entry, like the entries you will make for each of the 14 Units in this course, AND
      2. a Goals Setting Course Journal entry.
  2. To find out which skills employers want you to acquire during college:
    1. Read Ward’s (2017) article, “Google Exec, Mark Cuban Agree that these College [Skills] Are the Most Robot-Resistant.”
    2. Read the excerpt from Coplin’s (2012) book, 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College.
    3. Read Brooklyn College’s handout (summary) of Coplin’s (2012) book.
      • Identify three “What Employers Want” skills, as mentioned in Ward’s article or Coplin’s book excerpt (or the summary of Coplin’s book), that YOU want to develop further in this course.
  3. To find out which skills are considered 21st Century Skills:
    1. Read through Karbach’s (no date) infographic, “Learning and Thinking Skills of the 21st Century Students.”
    2. Read through the Center for Teaching Quality’s (no date) infographic, “Paths to 21st Century Success.”
    3. Assess yourself on the excerpt from the “21st Century Skills Self-Assessment.”
      • Identify three “21st Century Skills,” as mentioned in the Karbach’s infographic, the Center for Teaching Quality’s Infographic, or the 21st Century Skills Self-Assessment that YOU want to develop further in this course.
  4. To understand why during this course we will emphasize
    1. using technology correctly (by learning how to embed URLs, videos, and images), read through the graph provided by the Pew Research Center (2016) on “The State of American Jobs.”
    2. “following instructions” and “meeting deadlines,” read the excerpt from Collegiate Employment Research Institute’s (2007) report, “Moving Up or Moving Out of the Company? Factors that Influence the Firing of New College Hires.”
  5. To better understand how to succeed in this course:
    1. Review from the Course Syllabus the section on “How Can I Do Well in this Course?”
    2. Read Professor Gernsbacher’s handout on “Why and How to Pay Attention to Details in this Course.”
      • Identify three “How to Succeed in This Course” strategies, as mentioned in either the Course Syllabus or the “Why and How Pay Attention” handout that YOU will follow so that you can succeed in this course.
  6. In your Course Journal, make a Goals Setting entry. Your entry should express, in at least 200 words:
    1. the three “What Employers Want” skills you want to develop further during this course;
    2. the three “21st Century Skills” you want to develop further during this course; and
    3. the three “How to Succeed in This Course” strategies you will follow to succeed in this course.
    4. Take a screenshot or photo of your Goals Setting entry in your Course Journal. (If you do not know how to take a screenshot, this website will help you. It provides instructions for mac, Windows, and other operating systems.)
  7. In your Course Journal, also make a standard entry for Unit 1, expressing, in at least 200 words:
    1. what you have learned in this Unit;
    2. why you have learned what you have learned in this Unit; and
    3. how you’ll apply what you have learned in this Unit to other courses and to your life.
    4. You do not need to take a screenshot or photo of your standard Course Journal entry for Unit 1 (you do, as mentioned above, need to take a screenshot or photo of your Goals Setting entry).
  8. From the Course How To, learn “How To Embed an Image into a Discussion Board Post.”
  9. Go to the Unit 1: Assignment #6 Discussion Board and
    1. embed the image that you made of your Goals Setting Course Journal entry.
    2. Remember to size the image correctly (no larger than 500 pixels as explained in the Course How To) and be sure to embed the image, not “Attach” it.

Congratulations, you have finished Unit 1! Onward to Unit 2!