:: UT Professor Uses the Latest Research & Technology to Engage Students Online

Dr. Samuel Gosling
Award-winning psychology
professor Samuel Gosling will
co-teach a new kind of online
course this fall.

Posted: August 20, 2013

UT Professor Uses the Latest Research & Technology to Engage Students Online

This fall’s PSY 301 - Introduction to Psychology course is ahead of its time, says co-instructor Dr. Samuel Gosling. Airing live from The University of Texas at Austin, it’s one part traditional classroom to one part television show, a blend that expertly capitalizes on the available technology to create a whole new kind of class unlike anything on the market today. By signing up, Gosling says, students have the chance to “get it now, rather than five years down the road.” And in case that’s not enough incentive, he adds another hook: PSY 301 students have been reported to excel not only in this class but throughout their college careers.

What’s the secret to their success? Gosling points to the unique course structure and objectives. “We want to teach students how to learn,” he says. To do this, the course replaces traditional exams with weekly benchmark quizzes, assessed near the beginning of each class. These quizzes come with nearly instantaneous feedback to gauge success and help create realistic study goals. As instructors, Gosling says, “we are drawing on what we know of the psychology of learning. Much of what makes this course so cutting-edge is that the methods used in class further research.”

Research plays a huge part in PSY 301 and also in Gosling’s own eclectic lab. In 2009 he wrote the NPR-featured book “Snoop,” an accessible and fascinating take on what possessions say about a person’s personality and how individuals frame themselves in the spaces they choose—blank walls or family photos, cluttered or clean? To get the basis for the book, he explored and studied the homes of volunteers with surprising results. The research continues and Gosling hopes to follow up “Snoop” with a second book expanding the idea he calls “the psychology of space.”

Even before he snooped around people’s rooms, he studied other interesting groups for examples of personality: explosive detection dogs, hyenas, chimpanzees, and squid. This comprehensive take on the world around him is echoed in the content of PSY 301, as each class opens with a segment called “Psychology in the News.” Gosling wants his students to learn inside and outside of class by seeing the science behind every decision and headline.

PSY 301 is an innovative online course with a cutting-edge format available to non-UT students through University Extension. Students working toward a college degree can register for transferable credit, while those interested in just being part of something extraordinary can register as “auditors,” with no academic credit. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

The deadline to register to receive credit was 3 p.m. on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

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