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PSYC 3305 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PSYC 3305 - Learning and Memory

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:
Course Outcomes:

The goal of this course is to expose you to a broad overview of (a) the important phenomena and concepts in the areas of learning and memory, and (b) the types of data that relate to these phenomena and concepts. Both human and animal learning will be considered and it is important to realize that the course will cover an extremely broad subject matter. No area will receive detailed coverage and no attempt will be made to survey the research literature related to any of the topics covered. I hope that you find learning and memory to be a fascinating discipline and come to appreciate some of the conceptual issues associated with the various topics covered. In addition, I hope that you will understand how the existing body of empirical research data relates to these conceptual issues. You will have considerable opportunity to explore areas and questions that are of interest to you personally, and that is one of the big differences in this online section compared to sections of the course taught in a traditional classroom. It will, of course, be necessary for you to read the assigned chapters in the text in order to pass exams. However, you will also have the opportunity to select topics from each chapter that are of particular interest to you and explore those topics in greater detail. I hope that this approach will allow you to appreciate the many possibilities for applications of this information and the field of learning and memory to everyday life.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Satisfactory completion of at least one course in introductory psychology is required. This prerequisite is necessary to ensure that students have some familiarity with the language, basic concepts, and general methodology of psychology.

Course Topics:

The following topics will be covered in this course:

· Introduction to the field of learning and memory

· Basic principles of classical (respondent) conditioning

· Theoretical issues in classical conditioning

· Basic principles of instrumental (operant) conditioning

· Theoretical issues in instrumental conditioning

· Generalization, discrimination, and concept learning

· Models of memory · Encoding in long-term memory

· Retrieval from long-term memory · Conscious and non-conscious processes in long-term memory

Specific Course Requirements:

Open and read carefully the “Honor Code” located in the Course Info section. If you are willing to agree to the points specified in this code, send me an e-mail message (using the D2L Course e-mail, not my Memphis account) promising to abide by the code. You may not remain in this section of the course if you do not send me an e-mail message promising to abide by all of these points.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

No additional materials beyond those necessary for accessing the World Wide Web are necessary for this course.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Students are required to complete a quiz over each assigned chapter of the text. The examination procedure is described below.

Grading Procedures:

Your grade in this course will be based upon the points you earn in each of the three components

(described below) of each weekly assignment. You can determine your grade in the course at any time by

simply dividing the number of points you have earned by the total number of points possible so far. You

will be able to see your points earned at all times by selecting the "Grades" link in the Course Menu.

Grading Scale:

The following percentages of total points will determine semester grades:

A 89.01% - 100.00%

B 79.01% - 89.00%

C 69.01% - 79.00%

D: 59.01% – 69.00%

F: <59.00%

Assignments and Projects:

1. Approximately 25%: Chapter Quizzes. These quizzes will be multiple-choice questions randomly selected from the text’s test bank concerning the reading assignment for the section. You can take exams as often as you wish and only your most recent grade will count. Realize that your most recent grade may not be your highest grade! When you take your first quiz, you will see that there are 13 questions, each of which is worth 2 points; so you can earn a total of 26 points. That 26th point is extra credit if you earn it. You are free to use the text while taking exams. However, exams will be timed, so you won’t be able to take too long on an exam. [IMPORTANT: Exams missed will be scored as zero--there will be NO makeup exams.] All exams must be completed by the date and time specified, and after the deadline, access to the exam will no longer be allowed. However, because of the large number of exams and recognizing that students occasionally encounter emergencies, I will (automatically) drop your lowest exam score (this could be a 0 for a missed exam). Thus, this part of your semester grade will be based upon your best 10 scores. 2. Approximately 45% Essays. Every student in the course will write eight essays. The first essay will be an autobiographical sketch and your expectations about the course. The next six essays, worth 90 points each, will be relevant to topics in the textbook, and the seventh will be a capstone essay and will be worth 120 points. All students will write an introductory essay and an essay for Chapter 1. Around the second week of class, students will be randomly assigned to either Group A or Group B. The purpose of splitting into groups is to break up essay assignments so you only have an essay due every other week. Group assignments will be sent via e-mail and are not expected to change. Students in Group A will write essays relevant to the topics of Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Students in Group B will write essays relevant to the topics of Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. These essays should all be written for the purpose of informing your classmates about material relevant to this course and in addition to what is covered in the textbook. All students will also write a capstone or final essay that will require you to integrate material from throughout the course and relate it to your own personal interests and needs. Students in "off weeks" (when they do not have an essay due) will be required to send me an e-mail message that (a) describes the general topic they have chosen for their next essay, and (b) provides URLs of at least two Web sites that will be used as resources for their next essay. These Web sites must be in addition to the sites that I have listed as potential resources. Your e-mail informing me of your topic and of the resources you have located must be sent by 9:00 p.m. on the Thursday of your off week. A 10- point penalty will be imposed upon your essay score for each day or partial day that your e-mail notification is late. Assignments for each week will be posted in the "Discussions" section of the course site. Several essay topics will be listed for each week and you may choose which one you wish to complete. (But, remember that you must inform me a week in advance of the topic you have chosen.) I will provide you with URLs for several Web sites relevant to each topic, but you will be responsible for locating at least two additional Web resources for the topic you choose, as described above. Please note that all resources beyond the textbook must be available on the Web to all students in the class. You must read the material in the resources identified and write an essay on that material of at least 800 words. In many cases, I will ask you to discuss specific issues, but in every case, you will also be free to express your own thoughts on the topic you choose. Please note that 800 words is the minimum length necessary for you to earn a C grade. At least 900-1000 words will almost always be necessary to earn a B, and at least 1000-1200 words will almost always be necessary to earn an A. A final point is that your writing is expected to be at the college level and you will lose points for frequent spelling and grammar errors. I strongly suggest that you do almost all of your writing in a word processor and use the spelling and grammar checking tools. Copy and paste your work into the course only after it has been carefully proofread. DO NOT POST YOUR ESSAY AS AN ATTACHMENT! If you have concerns that your writing is not of sufficient quality for any given assignment, I encourage you to use the SMARTHINKING tutorial service available to you free of charge as an RODP student. One of the services available through SMARTHINKING is a writing review process where you submit a writing assignment and receive feedback on it (usually within 24 hours). SMARTHINKING is one of the RODP Bookmarks on the home page of this class). Check out the tutorial to get started. You will have the option during Weeks 2-11 to write your essay on an optional topic. To do this, simply inform me of (a) the topic of your choice and (b) at least two URLs of sites you will use for reference materials by 9:00 p.m. on the Thursday of your off week. Of course, you are welcome to communicate earlier about various optional topics you are considering, but your final decision must be made by the specified time. I encourage people to develop optional topics because (a) a topic you choose is more like to be something you find interesting, and (b) it adds to the variety of what others read for the class. However, understand several points about this option. First, your optional topic must be clearly relevant to the subject of the current section. Second, your essay must extend the material presented in the text; you will not receive credit for simply explaining the material in the text. Third, your URLs must work. I will test every URL you cite and there will be severe penalties for any that don't work. I strongly suggest that use copy and paste rather than trying to type even short and simple URLs. When you have completed your essay, you will post it in the appropriate section of the "Discussion Forum" of the course site. You will be required to post your work on or before a specified date (Thursday) to allow other students time to read and comment on it. You will lose points if your work is posted after the specified deadline, as detailed below. Also, please note that students who post by 9:00 pm CST of the day before the deadline will receive 10 extra credit points. Thus, a student who posts early for every section can earn a total of 35 extra credit points. Remember that, whether you write your essay on one of the specified topics or develop an optional topic, the following length requirements will almost always apply: at least 800 words to earn a C, at least 900-1000 words to earn a B, and at least 1000-1200 words to earn an A. 3. Approximately 30%: Participation. Every week all students whether in Group A or B will need to read and make substantive comments about the postings of other students. The purpose of this requirement is to promote an active interchange among students in the class about issues relevant to the course. I want you to think about these issues and express your opinions. And very importantly, I want you to do the best you can to support those opinions in an educated way. By substantive, I mean at least several sentences and more than just wordy versions of "good job" or "I agree." You can provide your own personal examples of or elaborations on points made by either the student posting the essay or others who have commented on the essay. (Let me repeat that you are encouraged to respond to comments as well as to essays.) You certainly can disagree with conclusions expressed by others as long as you do so in a polite and civilized manner. However, recognize that disagreement is most convincing when some evidence is provided to support the different point of view. It isn't very convincing to say simply "I think such and such;" try to provide some evidence to support your beliefs. In addition, feel free to ask questions of others who have posted, and this leads to an important point. I expect you to read all comments made about everything you post and to respond when others ask questions or disagree with your essay. You must check the discussion forum on a very regular basis, and you will lose points for failing to respond in an appropriate manner to the questions and comments of others. Of course I will be the judge of what is an "appropriate manner," but use your common sense. You certainly don't have to respond to every comment and you certainly don't have to thank every person who comments on your essay, but I do expect you to answer questions and to elaborate on your work when asked to do so. Of course, I do not expect people to answer questions posted near the deadline, so try to read and comment as early as possible. At this point, I don't know how many essays will be posted for each section (i.e., how many students will be in the class). However, I generally expect you to read most if not all of the essays posted and most if not all of the comments posted. You may not have anything to say about many of the postings you read, but it is important for you to learn to do critical thinking and you should do enough thinking about what you read to formulate opinions of your own. As a very general rule, I will look on 5 to 6 substantive comments in each section as the minimum acceptable level to earn a C grade. Higher grades will result from more frequent participation and/or contributions that I judge to make important points.

Class Participation:

As noted above, a significant portion of the semester grade is based upon the quality and quantity of your discussion in the form of comments on the essays posted by other students.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017