According to the syllabus, PSYC 290 (General Psychology) is a three-credit introductory psychology course that follows PSYC 289 (Psychology as a Natural Science). PSYC 290 “provides an introduction to behavioural areas of study” and shares the same textbook as PSYC 289, covering the entire second half.
General Psychology is comprised of ten units, five graded quizzes covering two units each and worth six percent each, two journal article critiques worth five percent each, one research paper worth twenty percent, and one final exam worth forty percent. The ten units discussed within this course cover topics such as motivation, emotion, human development across the life span, treatment of psychological disorders, stress, coping mechanisms, intelligence, and personality. For those who are concerned about the journal article critiques and the research paper, the course supplies a journal article critique template, a journal article critique sample, and two sample research papers that will guide you through the entire writing process.
Dr. Adam Howorko is a tutor for multiple psychology courses, including PSYC 290, PSYC 333, PSYC 402, and PSYC 450, and has been tutoring at Athabasca University for over twelve years. Howorko states “PSYC 290 evaluates students on a variety of measures. The five quizzes have multiple choice questions that are a mixture of factual and conceptual short-answer questions based on the course text. Also, there are three papers to be written. Two of these papers are one to two-page critiques whereby a student chooses one article from a wide selection and follows a set of prescribed questions from a template to interpret the article by. The third paper is approximately four to five pages in length and has similar approach as the critiques, but four articles are integrated through synthesis and critique. The final evaluation is one hundred multiple choice questions covering the complete second half of the text.” The final exam is done online and nothing can be taken to the examination room.
Howorko continues, “when most people think of psychology they usually think of it in clinical terms and PSYC 290 does not disappoint in that. Diagnosis and treatment is taught for human psychological problems. Though for those interested in family dynamics or nursing, PSYC 290 also addresses the developmental stages of human development. This course is not as science oriented with biology as PSYC 289 but nonetheless, PSYC 290 remains science driven by its discoveries and research. Students who take this course will have a window into the discipline of psychology and from that will get a greater appreciation for understanding human relationships.”
Lastly, he states “this type of course is recommended for students interested in understanding human personality and a variety of aspects of the discipline of psychology that many students are surprised the discipline covers. Many students upgrading from nurse assistants to registered nurses take this course. Also, other paramedical field interests would make this a good course choice as further understanding of human behaviour is explored.”
When asking students their thoughts and opinions on PSYC 290 the replies were all positive. Katy Lowe stated “I am currently in it and I wish I had taken PSYC 289 first as it looks like it covers some of the same things. I really do enjoy the course though and find the quizzes easy since they are open book and often verbatim of the textbook or the psychtrek online resources. It’s heavy content and reading but the course does a good job of being interesting and engaging. I find my tutor very knowledgeable, helpful, and he responds quickly when I have questions. I would absolutely recommend this course to those interested.” Moreover, Isabelle Stehle had similar feelings, stating “I am writing the final tomorrow and I have really enjoyed the course. It is a challenging course, though extremely rewarding. There is a lot of reading and loads of theories and concepts to be learned. I am very glad that I took PSYC 289 beforehand as it made the course easier. My tutor was amazing and very efficient as assignments were grades within three days and she replied very quickly, even during this busy time of year.”
Katy and Isabelle had similar opinions to the nine students who answered the PSYC 290 survey question “I would recommend this course to other Athabasca University students.” Eight of the nine students said they would recommend PSYC 290 to other Athabasca University Students and one person said they would not recommend this course to other students. When you are close to completing PSYC 290, you will be prompted and encouraged to complete this survey as it gives other students and faculty insight to what students thought of the course.
From personally taking this course, I can tell you that it is very definition and content heavy, similar to PSYC 289. It is a course that will require you to read many chapters repeatedly to understand and retain the content. Fortunately, the quizzes and final exam are also definition heavy so if you spend enough time studying it should pay off. My strongest advice would be to not procrastinate and to read more than just the pre-highlighted text within the textbook as it will give you a stronger understanding of the content.
Whether PSYC 290 is a required course for your chosen program or if it is just a general interest of yours, it is almost guaranteed that you will enjoy it and learn a lot interesting content surrounding human behaviour.