PSYCHOL 2008 - Big Picture Psychology: Global Challenges, Psychological Perspectives

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course will encourage students to critically consider the contribution that psychology can make to understanding, predicting and influencing human behaviour with respect to contemporary global challenges. How do different perspectives in psychology approach these challenges, what are their limitations? How can psychology contribute to cross-disciplinary approaches to solving problems? Specific topics covered will vary, but will be drawn from a pool that includes climate change and threats to the natural environment; global movements of people; global violence and conflict resolution; Fake news and social media; social and criminal justice; health habits and quality of life, and combating extremism.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 2008
    Course Big Picture Psychology: Global Challenges, Psychological Perspectives
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 1 hour per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 1001 and PSYCHOL 1005
    Restrictions Available to B Psych Science students only
    Assessment SGD participation; group presentation; online and written assessment
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Carolyn Semmler

    Semester 2 Course Coordinator: TBA
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Demonstrate critical thinking and an understanding of how psychology as a scientific endevour can inform our capacity to identify and counter popular misconceptions about human behaviour.

    2. Describe how a range of theoretical perspectives in psychology can be used to investigate and address specific global challenges.

    3. Demonstrate effective teamwork, collaborative problem solving and oral presentation skills.

    4. Demonstrate an understanding of the limitations of psychology's contribution to addressing specific global challenges.

    5. Develop knowledge of the role of cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to addressing specific global challenges.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Curated online resources including journal articles, podcasts, United Nations TV, and specialised online presentations will be delivered via the E-Learning platform MyUni.
    Recommended Resources

    Writing & presentation skills will be provided including specific skills in researching and writing a White Paper, engaging in debate via a panel Q&A session, and developing a website to present practical solutions to a nominated Global Challenge.

    Recommended resources will be provided via the MyUni course site and may include:

    United Nations TV.

    Australian Psychological Society Position Papers

    Online Learning
    The course content is organised into 4 modules - the first introduces the learner to a set of critical analysis and problem solving skills
    based within the psychology discipline. The other 3 modules then address a Global Challenge from a Psychological Perspective.
    Note: Global Challenges may change from year-to-year.

    Module One: Critical Analysis and Problem Solving in the Age of Misinformation

    Module Two: Global Challenge 1

    Module Three: Global Challenge 2

    Module Four: Global Challenge 3

    Each module includes online presentations, reading lists and links to resources. Each module becomes available as the course progresses.

    Groups can interact via the discussion board and work on their presentations and White Paper using Google Docs.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    A flipped classroom approach will be used with weekly online lectures to present core material followed by small group discovery experiences where students will work collaboratively to develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication skills by focussing on a series of global challenges.

    Development of the Learning Outcomes will use an adapted MELT (Model of Engaged Learning and Teaching) - where through each of the learning activities - student will work to engage in the 6 facets of the research process (see RSD framework). The activities are aimed at Level 2 of the RSD.

    Course content will be presented as modules, the first focusing explicitly on critical thinking about human nature and the other 3 on select contemporary challenges.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Face-to-Face Contact Hours
    2 hours per week in online lectures over a 12 week period (Total 24 hours)
    12 hours per semester in SGDE as scheduled (Total 12 hours)

    Revision of Material/ SGDE Preparation

    2 hours per online lecture (4 hours per week) revision of lecture content and set readings (Total 48 hours)

    Assessment Tasks

    38 hours meeting and collaborating on group webpage
    10 hours preparation for oral presentation &
    20 hours locating, reading and assimilating background material for preparation of the White Paper (Total 68 hours)

    4 hours preparation for modular assessments (4 hours)

    Total time commitment: 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    SGDE Participation: Students engage in weekly small group activities involving group work, collaborative problem solving and discussion with peers and an academic facilitator.

    Group project - Q&A and presentation: Small teams of students work together to identify a contemporary challenge; each team in the SGDE class will work on a different global challenge with team members taking a different perspective on their issue. Group presentations will be held in class in the form of a Psychology Q&A panel session - recorded and broadcast to the entire course - the team will engage in a moderated debate and discussion answering submitted questions from the audience (ie., the ABC's Q&A program).

    Modular Assessments - Online assessmens of learning for content in modules 1-4 (10% each). The assessment detail will depend upon the module content. For example, Module 1 may invole a short portfolio gathering common misconceptions about human behaviour and provide a brief analysis and reflection up the issue.

    White Paper: Students will have identified a global challenge, have found relevant psychological research and will provide a position paper arguing for an approach to solutions for aspects of the challenge based upon psychological perspectives, also highlighting the limitations and scope for cross-disciplinary approaches to solutions.
    Small Group Discovery Experience

    Each student will have the opportunity to engage in twelve SGDEs during the course

    Each SGDE will be tailored to address the development of skills in critical thinking and evaluation of psychological perspectives. Students will be expected to form small groups for the assessment components of the course and the final SGDE activity will involve the Q&A session - where groups will present their global challenge and answer questions from the audience regarding the challenge they have adopted.

    Attendance at the SGDEs will be recorded - along with engagement in the activities throughout the semester.

    Disclaimer: The content described here is provisional and subject to change.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    SGDE Participation Summative


    10% 1-5
    Group Q&A session Formative and Summative To be scheduled in week 10-12 20% 2,3,4
    Modular assessments Summative and Formative Fortnightly 40%
    White paper

    Week 10


    Assessment Related Requirements
    SDGE Participation: students engage in weekly small group activities involving prepapration for assessment, collaborative problem solving and discussion with peers and an academic facilitator. Attendance and participation in the SGDE will be recorded.

    Group Project Q & A presentation: In the final weeks of the course students will participate in a Q&A style forum on their particular global challenge. All group members will provide input into a panel discussion answering audience submitted questions.
    Assessment Detail
    SGDE Participation: Students engage in weekly small group activities involving group work, collaborative problem solving and discussion with peers and an academic facilitator (10%).

    Group Project and Q&A presentation: Small teams of students work together to identify a contemporary challenge; each team in the SGDE cass will work on a different challenge with team members each taking a different perspective in the global challenge they have adopted. Group presentations will be held in class in the form of a Psychology Q & A panel session with the team presenting a panel debate and discussion (answering audience questions). (20%)

    Modular Assessments: Online assessments of learning for the content in modules 1-4 will take place over the semester. Assessment detail will be dependent on the module content but may include a short reflection upon a popular misconception or myth, and analysis from a psychological perspective or a brief MCQ test on content. (40%)

    White Paper: Students will identify a global challenge and outline a position with supporting evidence to address the global challenge using psychological perspectives, and identify the limitations of the psychological approach along with the potential for inter-disciplinary contributions to solutions. (30%)
    Submissions for assessment will occur online via MyUni using the Turn-it-In submission tool.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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