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PSYCH-101 - Introduction to Psychology - Kathryn ("Katye") McGill-Gartner

Course:Introduction to Psychology
Professor:Kathryn ("Katye") McGill-Gartner
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Cartoon picture  with the quote, "You can do it!"

Welcome to Intro to Psychology! This is a foundation course for a pathway into the field of Psychology. I am excited to be teaching all of you the many different areas within this social science with the hope that the knowledge you learn during this course will spark curiosity and interest for pursuing further coursework for a degree in Psychology.

A little professional background about myself. I'm Katye McGill-Gartner and I will be the instructor for this course section. My background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Legal Studies from San Jose State University. I have certifications in Paralegal Studies in Civil Litigation and Corporate Law from California State University Los Angeles. I completed two Master's Degrees. One is in Public Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from California State University Fullerton and the other is in Behavior Psychology from Pepperdine University. I was also a certified Registered Behavior Technician with the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. 

A little personal background about myself. I am a Santa Clarita native raised most of my life in the Saugus area of town. I graduated from Valencia High School back when Rye Canyon did not exist yet and there was only one road leading to campus. I attended COC while I was in high school just like you and it was the best experience I could have put myself through to get ready for the College University lifestyle. My goal in this course is not only to teach Psychology course content but also to help you navigate the waters of becoming a college student at a university.

Course Description

Course Description   

  • Introduces the scientific study of behavior through an exploration of major concepts, methods, and research findings. Topics include biological, physiological, and cognitive processes; learning and motivation; life span development; individual differences; behavioral disorders and therapies; social behavior; and applied psychology. Transfer credit: CSU; UC. 

Course Student Learning Outcome 

  • Compare and contrast the major concepts, major perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology. 

Course Objectives: 

  1. Compare and contrast the major perspectives in psychology including psychodynamic, behavioristic, humanistic, cognitive, and physiological/evolutionary, and examine the scientific methods used by psychologists to gather information about behavior. 

  1. Distinguish between the structures and functions of the brain, nervous system, and neurological communication. 

  1. Distinguish between the processes of sensation and perception and delineate the various senses in terms of their sensory organs, their sensory receptors, and the stimulus energy appropriate for each. 

  1. Compare and contrast the theories of the purpose of sleep and its stages, and explain different altered states of consciousness, including the effects of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinations. 

  1. Distinguish between different methods of learning including classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational (vicarious) learning. 

  1. Compare and contrast the storage capacity, duration, and type of remembering and forgetting associated with sensory register, short-term memory, and long-term memories along with their characteristic properties, and the brain structures associated with the storage of each type. 

  1. Distinguish between problem solving, decision making and their related errors. 

  1. Evaluate the contributions of Binet, Wechsler, Gardner, and Sternberg to the understanding of intelligence. 

  1. Compare and contrast three theories of motivation and three theories of emotion. 

  1. Examine the physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes that take place from prenatal development through late adulthood. 

  1. Examine social cognition and differentiate between the types of social influence. 

  1. Differentiate between the psychoanalytic, behavioral, trait, and humanistic theories of personality and assess the advantages and disadvantages of their related objective and projective tests. 

  1. Examine stress and delineate the psychological and physiological effects of stress. 

  1. Examine the current DSM categories of mental disorders and differentiate between different types of disorders and their related therapies. 

What to Expect in this Course

The course is organized in modules, where each module covers approximately 1-3 chapters and includes each of these graded components. The Discussion Boards require a personal response to a question I pose to the class, as well as a response to another student. Each Discussion response must consist of at least 6 sentences using college level writing skills. It encourages reading of the chapters ahead of time but is most heavily based on your own opinions and reflections. The core assignments require more in-depth reading and understanding that is demonstrated in a well- organized and clearly written study guide outline for each chapter. There are times that the assignments may require other types of activities and essay writing. Again, in order to really do well, you will need to read each chapter and use the practice quizzes that are provided to be best prepared. The details for each task is included in the syllabus and I will make it available to you no later than the Friday before classes begin so you can schedule accordingly. In some cases, I may have it available even earlier to you. If you have any questions regarding expectations, please let me know!! 

Because this is an online course, you are required to master the material outside of a classroom setting. This requires approximately 20-40 hours per week of studying in order to complete the reading assignments and other work for this class. If this seems like more than you can manage without external prompting, perhaps a more traditional class is for you. If you are highly motivated, then this is the course for you. This class promises to provide you with a good overview of the field of psychology, as well as the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of students from many different backgrounds. 

Exams are administered online with Honorlock, which is an extension through your internet browser that allows for integrity controls and requires the use of a video recording device while taking all exams. You will need to have a functioning video source that accurately records your behaviors during the exam. The camera may be a built-in part of the computer or an external device. The Santa Clarita Community College District no longer uses Proctorio as of June 30, 2023. You may contact the Online Ed Team ( if you have any questions or need help with setting up and using Honorlock. The Learning Center (TLC) on campus also offers proctored testing services if taking the test in an online proctored setting is not possible. 

Confirm Your Presence in the Online Classroom: 

Log in to the website and post to the “Roll Call” Discussion Board on Canvas by a date specified in the announcements in the course syllabus to confirm your presence in the online classroom. The deadline is 24- 48 hours (about 2 days) after the course begins. Please consult the schedule of classes to determine the first day of the course. The “Roll Call” Discussion Board is our class attendance for the beginning of the semester. Log into Canvas, enter the “Roll Call” Discussion Board, add a new thread, and just type “here,” “present” or something to indicate that you have successfully logged into the online classroom and are able to participate. Doing so will confirm your enrollment in the course and avoid being dropped as a “no-show.”  

To accommodate students on the waiting list, you may be dropped from the class if you do not log in and post to the “Roll Call” Discussion Board inside the online classroom by the specified date and time. A student from the waiting list may be added to your place. Please note it is the student’s responsibility to drop and withdraw from the course after this point. If you no longer wish to continue in the course, please consult Admissions and Records for drop and withdrawal deadline dates and use the online registration system to withdraw. It is your responsibility to be accountable for your academic records. If you stop participating in the course after the withdrawal date, it may result in a final grade of “FW” or “Failure to Withdraw” on your transcript. 

Types of Assessments

Summary of Assessments:

Assessments in this course will be comprised of written assignment activities (generally written essay style submissions), proctored exams, and online discussion board prompts requiring peer interaction. There will be several opportunities to earn extra credit during this 8-week course. Students will also have the opportunity to earn extra credit up to 15 points per exam period by completing SAFMEDS. If you choose to complete the SAFMEDS extra credit option, instructions and a rubric will be made available on Canvas. Extra credit assignments will be due the day before the midterm and the final by 11:59 PM. The points of extra credit earned will be added to your semester grade. More assignment details will be provided on Canvas along with a grading rubric. Other extra credit opportunities may be made available based on the discretion of the course instructor.

Weekly Discussion Board (80 + ⭐ Bonus Points) 

  • Being prepared for class ahead of time will increase your opportunities for active participation in this course's weekly discussions, which will enhance your learning process. “Activity” is defined as any participation or assignment for an in-class assignment individually or in groups, including responses to topic discussions. There will be a Weekly Discussion Board. Each weekly Discussion Board initial response and participatory responses will be worth 10 points with potential ⭐ bonus points opportunities such as additional responses to other classmates or responses to discussions by the due date. This course is an 8-week course which means there will be 8 discussion board topics. Initial Responses to the prompt are due by Thursday at 11:59 PM and responses to student posts are due each Sunday by 11:59 PM.

Weekly Writing Assignments (70 points + ⭐ Bonus Points) 

  • In lieu of a semester project during this 8-week course, each week there will be one (1) writing assignment that will include topics discussed in the Unit Modules for that week starting Week 2. A writing prompt will be provided for each assignment along with instructions and a rubric outlining all the assignment requirements. Each writing assignment is worth 10 points. There are 7 weeks between Week 2 and Week 8 so there will be 7 writing assignments totaling 70 points. Opportunities to earn bonus points will be made available. All weekly writing assignments will be due on or before Sunday each week by 11:59 PM. 

Unit Chapter Tests (300 points) 

  • Each week will conclude with a test for the chapters covered that week. The purpose of these Weekly Quizzes is to provide you with advance access to Midterm and Final Exam questions that may appear on your test. You will have the opportunity to review the test questions and answers as you proceed through the exam. Each test will be comprised of 20 questions, each question worth 1 point, making the total exam worth 20 points. There are 8 weekly tests worth 20 points making this section worth 160 points. Completing these weekly tests is a crucial studying method for the bigger exams later in the course. All exams are due by Sunday 11:59 PM Pacific Time.  

Study Tip 1: I highly recommend writing down questions you missed and their answers onto your study guide outlines so those questions are available to you during the Midterm and Final Exam. 

Study Tip 2: Highlight the learning objectives the test questions come from when reviewing the answers. Most if not all of the questions have the Learning Objective listed in the answer explanation.   

Midterm & Final Exams (520 points) 

  • There will be a midterm for Units 1-6 and a comprehensive final exam for Units 1-12 with an emphasis on Units 7-12. The Midterm and Final Exams will cover the content in the textbook, lectures, chapter tests, and study guides. All midterm and final exams are closed book; however, anything you write in your chapter study guide outlines will be fair game to use during the exams. The examination process for this course is 100% online using Canvas. All exams are due by Sunday 11:59 PM Pacific Time. There will be a Midterm Review Study Guide provided the week before the Midterm and Final to help you study for the tests and use it during your exams with your other Study Guides. My analysis of the exam responses will determine whether certain questions should be thrown out. If during taking an online exam, you come across a problematic question, answer the question to the best of your knowledge and then email me as soon as the exam finishes with the actual question you had problems with. Do not give me the questions number as the exam questions are randomized for each student. If enough students report the same problem or I see that many students end up getting the question wrong, I will throw it out and give you the points for that question. 

  • Remember, if you are having an issue with a particular question, you may not be the only one and bringing it to my attention may help everyone else with the same issue. I take grading these exams very seriously due to the overall percentage they count toward your course grade. 

  • MIDTERM EXAM (240 points): The midterm is worth 240 points with 20 questions per Unit (i.e., 6 units = 120 questions total) with each question worth 2 points. The questions may consist of multiple choice, true false, and matching. The exams will be taken on Canvas either proctored by Honorlock or proctored in the COC Learning Center (TLC). 
  • FINAL EXAM (280 points): The final exam is worth 280 points consisting of 140 questions with each question worth 2 points. There will be 20 questions per unit for Units 7-12 (I.e., 120 questions) plus 20 total review questions from Units 1-6. The questions may consist of multiple choice, true false, and matching. The exam will be taken on Canvas either proctored by Honorlock or proctored in the COC Learning Center (TLC).  

Unit Chapter Study Guide Outlines (150 points) 

  • Study Guide Outlines (a.k.a. outlines or study guides) will be based on course modules, lectures, and the textbook. Each completed outline will be worth 10 points (a total 150 points for the semester for all 15 chapters). “Completed” is defined as 95% of blank spaces are filled in with the correct word or phrase but does not include the defining of chapter key terms. You will receive 1 ⭐ bonus point for submitting your completed Study Guide Outline by the Sunday 11:59 PM due date. Blank document submissions on Canvas by the due date will not be eligible to receive that 1 point for submitting on time. Study guide will be your “cheat sheets” for completing the midterm and final exams which are not open book; however, anything you write on your chapter study guides will be fair game to use during the exams. 

? Extra Credit Bonus Points 

  • Students will have the opportunity to earn extra credit throughout the semester up to 15 points per exam period. If you choose to complete the SAFMEDS extra credit option, instructions and a rubric will be made available on Canvas. Extra credit assignments will be due the day before the midterm and the final by 11:59 PM. The points of extra credit earned will be added to your semester grade. More assignment details will be provided on Canvas along with a grading rubric. Other extra credit opportunities may be made available based on the discretion of the course instructor. 


Textbook Information

Required Textbook:  
Ciccarelli, S., & White, J. N. (2020). Psychology (6th ed.). Pearson.  AND/OR: Revel code (This should come with the text).

To access REVEL course material during the Fall 2023 term visit:  

PSYCH 101-70496 

PSYCH 101-77125  

Recommended Books: 
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th edition). American Psychiatric Publishing. 

American Psychological Association (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition). American Psychological Association. 

What you Need to Know about Required Course Materials 

Given that this is an online course, you MUST have a computer available to you with reliable internet access and a valid e-mail address that you check regularly, preferably daily. 


Other Relevant Course Information

Course Availability: 

  • The course will be available on COC’s Canvas system the first day of the term. On that date, you must login to Canvas to enter our classroom. You may access canvas from the College of the Canyons homepage. Click on Canvas and follow the log in username and password instructions. 

Due Dates & Late Policy Guideline:  

  • Study Guide Outlines, Unit Chapter Tests and Written Assignments will be due every Sunday at or before 11:59 PM. Initial Discussion Board responses to the prompt will be due on Thursdays at or before 11:59 PM. Responses to peer Discussion Board responses (if applicable to the assignment) will be due each Sunday at or before 11:59 PM. Due to the short-term, fast-paced nature of this course, and the amount of ground we need to cover, it is imperative that you complete and turn in assigned coursework by the specified due dates. 

  • I understand that deadlines are annoying and at times inconvenient; however, the purpose of the specified due dates is to ensure you can maximize your learning in the short time allotted. One important skill a student can benefit from learning is effective and efficient self-management. My goal is to provide ways to facilitate opportunities for you to practice self-management skills and one way to do that is to set and enforce deadlines. 

  • Life happens. My job as your instructor is to ensure your success throughout your college journey. One way I can do that is by making accommodations for students who communicate their circumstances with me throughout the semester involving late or missing assignments. If an assignment or exam is late or missing, let's chat and figure out how we can work together to get it turned in for credit. Communication is key. When an instructor is not in the loop about the challenges you are facing, transparency and direct communication are key when coming up with a solution for resolving the late or missing work. We are in this together! 


  • Attendance will be tracked based on initial responses to the module discussions during each unit. Recording student attendance will not only show your dedication to participating in this course but will also give me a method for awarding ⭐bonus points to students who have perfect attendance for the semester. In the event you are unable to complete the weekly assignments by the due date, keeping an open line of communication with me is the best way to maintain your spot in the class. You are responsible for all assignments, material, and announcements regardless of attendance. Therefore, if you choose not to complete assigned work or not participate in discussions, do not assume I will automatically drop you from the course, just know I do have the right to drop you. Ultimately it is your responsibility to officially drop the course if you decide not to be involved in or attend class. 

Attendance During Examinations:  

  • All exams are due by Sunday 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Students are expected to complete all examinations by the specified dates on the syllabus on Canvas. Any student who misses an exam will be subject to the late policy guideline. 

  • The College of the Canyons Psychology Department faculty values the virtues of ethical behavior and academic rigor as students proceed through our classes and on to further coursework.  Students' understanding and mastery is the measure of evaluation. Proctored exams enrich the student’s educational journey and underscore the ethical basis that provides the foundation of psychological science. To instill uniform practices in our department, effective Spring, 2024, the College of the Canyons Psychology Department faculty have implemented a departmental policy that all classes offered by the Psychology department shall use exams/quizzes to assess student learning of the material in the Course Outline of Record. All mandatory course content contained within the Official Course Outline of Record should, at some point in the duration of the course, be assessed. No less than two of these summative exams during the course duration shall be given in a proctored environment. A summative exam is an exam in which a substantial amount of course content is being assessed. Faculty may elect to require more than the minimum number of proctored assessments. Exams may be proctored by the instructor of record, a faculty proxy in The Learning Center (or approved testing facility), or proctoring software supported by the college.  The proctored exam policy applies to all formats offered by the department including but not limited to in-person, online, hybrid, online LIVE, or any combination thereof. 

If the class is closed and you would like to add … 

  • If you are on the official waiting list, the COC web registration system automatically adds students from the waiting list to the course. All wait-listed students will receive priority over those not wait-listed. If there is room in the course, I will add students based on their number on the waiting list. If you are on the waiting list, please send me an email indicating your interest in adding the course with your COC ID number that will authorize you to add via the COC online registration system, “My Canyons.” For more information on adding, dropping, repeating, or auditing classes at College of the Canyons, visit the Add/Drop Website location to find all semester deadlines can be found on the Academic Calendar

Changes to the syllabus:  

The instructor retains the right to make changes and/or alterations to this syllabus.  If any changes are made, the instructor will notify the students. 

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/16/2023 Sub#: 1660