William S. Altman, Ph.D.


Welcome to Educational Psychology

I am an educational psychologist, so this course is sort of my home. Educational psychologists are different from most of the other sorts of psychologists in much the same way that an engineer is different from a theoretical physicist. While the physicist may want to understand the basic nature of the universe, the engineer needs to build things that work for people right now. I'm more like the engineer. I am interersted in the theories behind what we'll talk about in the class, and I have an active research program of my own. But in this class we'll concentrate on the practical uses of psychology for teachers, psychologists, and helping agents of all sorts.

This course involves a lot of active learning. The links below tell you more about the kinds of activities we'll do, and this website has all sorts of other information to help you learn more about educational psychology, and do well in our course. Please explore it and have fun!

Important Course Information

Below is information about the specific assignments you'll need to fulfill in this course.

Video Case Studies

You will be responsible for leading discussion about two video case studies in educational psychology. Each case will present a particular problem or issue for you to analyze. All cases are available on the Cengage website.

Wiki Development

Each member of the class will research a particular educational issue and construct a page about that issue on the class wiki. Everyone will present their research in a session at the end of the term. You can see the existing pages on the wiki here. And you can see how you'll be graded by looking at the Wiki Grading Rubric. I've also put together a set of guidelines for how to create a better wiki page, which you can get here.

Online Discussion

There will be several cases presented for online discussion. Each member of the class is expected to post reasoned arguments and responses to the discussion list on a regular basis. In practical terms, this requires at least four postings per week.

Primary Source Presentation

Primary source material, including both research reports and popular press items, is essential to understanding educational psychology and how it is used. I will assign each of you one article to read and present to the class. You will be summarize the most important points in your article and lead a discussion about the article in class, at the appropriate time.

In Class Writing Exercises (ICWE)

These are short reaction papers for the beginning and end of each class. At the beginning of class, they help us generate discussion and center your thoughts on the topics of the day. At the end, the ICWE helps solidify your learning of the day’s topics.