IntroPsych News

April 12 , 2012

IntroPsych News provides periodic announcements, course updates, and additional teaching resources for introductory psychology instructors at the University of Alabama.

1. Epigenetic landscapes. A 10-min video that provides a brief tutorial on how our environment and behavior can affect the expression of our genes. The researcher who is the focus of the video is traveling see his identical twin, who suffers from alcoholism.

2. Teaching introductory psychology: Tips from ToP: A collection of over 100 articles from the journal, Teaching of Psychology. Articles cover demonstrations and activities, approaches to the course, and technology in teaching. Looks like a gold mine.

3. Student Opinions of Instruction (SOI): Students may complete an evaluation of your course during the interval of April 16-April 29. The link is on myBama. I've had higher response rates and fewer questions by using a statement such as the following:

The UA course-instructor evaluation (called the Student Opinions of Instruction-SOI) will be available on myBama beginning April 16. This form is used to evaluate the effectiveness of instructors and is reviewed by the Psychology Department Chair, the A&S Dean, and me.

The link to the evaluation can be found under the student tab on myBama. On the page is a box that reads Your Opinions Matter (It has an image of a computer mouse on it). Click the mouse and then you will sign in using your myBama logon/password. You will then be able to click on our course number to complete the survey. At the end of the survey, you are given the opportunity to write comments about the course and my teaching. Your opinions are important to me and I urge you to complete the ratings and supply comments.

Once you have completed and submitted the survey you will see the course list again and a status note (e.g., "PY 105-900: Submitted"). I suggest sending me a screenshot or other image of the status note. To receive credit, you must complete the evaluation and get the verification to me before April 29.

4. Empathy may drive rats to help each other, suggesting the feeling is not limited to humans and other primates, according to research led by University of Chicago scientists. The team put pairs of rats together in cages, allowing one rat to roam freely and restraining the other in a clear tube at the cage's center. The researchers found that the free rats would release the door and set their captive, distressed companions free. The findings were replicated even when the free rats were denied access to the liberated rat, suggesting that the desire for a playmate was not the driving force behind their empathy. (Science)

5. UA final exam policies:

6. Last day to post course grades: May 8.

7. Subject pool deadlines: The last day for students to participate in experiments is April 25th. The final day for submitting papers for credit is April 23rd.

8. Teaching resources: There are several resources on the Teaching of Psychology course website and I invite you to make use of them. Should you find additional resources that might be helpful to others, please let me know and I will post them. Resources for New Instructors contains information on assisting students and on teaching. The Multimedia Library is a compilation of videos, demos, and websites. You can find these resources by going to the Teaching of Psychology course website ( and clicking on the desired link in the left margin. 

I’m available to help with issues that arise in your course this semester. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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