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Colloquium   PhD Seminars  


(Tentative...Updated September 8th)  



Psychology of Learning and Teaching

 80-503 (Fall 2010)

Professor: Dr. Larry Morton Office #3342A Telephone: #3835
Location: Room: 1122 Monday 5:00-7:50 p.m.



The principal objective in this course is to address various aspects of learning and teaching in the current educational context by focusing on one prominent issue--"Self-Regulation." This issue permeates  Learning, Teaching, Classrooms, Curriculum, Psychology, Research, Philosophy, Society, Health, Civics, and so on.  Using contemporary themes (e.g., Problem Behaviour, Violence, Technology, etc.)  we explore various aspects of educational psychology in the context of self-regulation. Such topics provide a context for considering (1) the child as a learner, (2) various models of child learning, (3)  the teacher and (4) the teaching process (and the theories or models of instructional practice that can impact self-regulation).

Of particular interest, recurring themes in the psychology of teaching would be, for example, constructivism, cooperative learning, discovery learning, direct instruction, problem-based-learning, computer-assisted instruction, and distance education. How do these themes link to self-regulation? Recurring themes in the psychology of learning would be, for example, development (language, cognition, self esteem, social, moral, physical), self-efficacy, self-esteem, motivation, environment, family, assessment, intelligence, and so on. How do these themes link to self-regulation?

We situate the psychology of learning and teaching within such contexts as: personal experiences, worldviews, paradigms, current research, history, and so on. How do these contexts link to self-regulation? One construct which unites the various aspects of the course is "thinking--" critical thinking, creative thinking, clear thinking, ...

"Most people would rather die than think. In fact, they do." --Bertrand Russell

The various  topics may mesh with a student's graduate research plan--a plan which normally culminates in a thesis or major paper.


  1 2
1 Psychology Research
2 Teacher Teaching


  1 2
1 Psychology Research
2 Learner Learning

More specific objectives are:

1. to introduce a wide range of research ideas and topics that relate to the psychology of learning or the psychology of teaching in the context of facilitating self-regulation.

2. to examine the psychological, conceptual and empirical underpinnings of several key instructional methods (e.g., PBL, Constructivism, CAI, and Distance Education).

3. to develop expertise in critiquing research studies in a thorough, informed and scholarly manner (particularly empirical or conceptual studies that impact teaching and/or learning).

4. to provide guidance and experience in a writing genre that is characteristic of the Literature Review section of a thesis or major paper.

5. to provide models of research, philosophical underpinnings of research, research problems, research principles, research issues, and research examples, that relate to the broad field of the psychology of learning and teaching.

6. to provide resources and tools for research practices, and writing research papers.

7. to encourage high quality graduate research in teaching and learning.

Your Evaluation Checklist

Research Ideas  
Models of Learners  
Models of Teaching  
Critiquing Skills  
Writing Genre  
Writing Skills  
Models of Research  
Research Problems  
Research Tools  
Thinking Skills  


The course will be conducted using a conventional seminar format (i.e., lecture, discussion,  problem-based learning, seminar) as well as on-line educational variations ( www, e-mail, internet discussion threads, on-line asynchronous presentations and discussions), and your suggestions.



It is assumed that all students have taken an undergraduate course in educational psychology and have a general understanding of those areas usually addressed in such a course. (Various introductory texts are available--in-class and in the library-- and should be used where appropriate to review topics and issues, and provide a context for class work. See the attached listing of texts). We will be using these texts periodically in class to inform the discussion, to research ideas, concepts and issues, and to provide further direction. You will also be expected to draw on such texts outside of the classroom when such preparation is warranted or requested prior to a class session.

Our specific focus will be on current publications-texts, empirical studies, position papers, and opinion papers-which address select topics related to (1) the learning process, (2) the teaching process, (3) the learner, and (4) the teacher.


Critique an Empirical Study. A paper will be assigned for this critique. Students are expected to write a brief report on this paper (500 to 1000 words). You will aim to present the gist of the study to an uninformed reader such that the reader will know what the study is about (i.e., number and type of subjects, test measures, types of analyses, findings, strengths of the study/paper, and weaknesses) (10%).  (Discussion in class of the paper is expected for September 27th. The write-up is due October 4th, and submitted as an e-mail attachment in MS-Word or rtf format.)

Critique a Conceptual Paper. You choose a paper for this critique. Students are expected to write a brief report on this paper (500 to 1000 words). You will aim to present the gist of the paper to an uninformed reader such that the reader will know what the central concept entails, along with the strengths and weaknesses of the paper. (10%) (Discussion and write-up is due as an e-mail attachment in MS-Word or rtf format October 25th)

Presentation. Students will be required to prepare a seminar type presentation (Ideally this will involve the presentation of one or more journal articles describing empirical studies, or conceptual papers, on a particular educational topic). One paper could be distributed to the class the week prior to the presentation so that the class will be prepared to discuss the paper/s and topic. The studies selected would fit ideally into one of the topical areas addressed by educational psychology. The aim is to have one to three seminar presentation per class during the  weeks designated for seminars. (20%) Due during seminar presentations.

Research Paper. Students will be required to write a research paper on an appropriate topic for educational psychology. This research paper will review (i.e., describe each empirical study reviewed in detail--nature and number of subjects, why the study was done, the design of the study, what test instruments were used, what the results were, weaknesses in the study, etc.) and synthesize a number of existing empirical studies (7 to 10 papers) on a selected topic, along with relevant conceptual papers and position papers. The final paper is due at the last class. The paper should parallel a literature review (albeit a mini-review) similar to the literature review in major papers and theses and, therefore, should provide the student with guidance for their own future work. (50%) (Due last class)


Participation (10%)

Date Due Assignments Weight
Weekly Contributions to discussion (in-class & on-line) 10%
Sept 27th Paper read for class discussion  
Oct 4th Critique of the above empirical article (Written) 10%
Oct 25th Critique/Presentation of a conceptual article (Written) 10%
Oct 25th --Dec 6th? Seminar Presentations 20%
Last Class (Dec 6th) Research Paper 50%

Structure for Critiques

Title Page
50-75-word Abstract
Critique (500-800 words)



Structure for Presentation

Present (On-line or In-class)
Focus on a Key Published Paper
Lead Discussion


Structure for research Paper

Title Page
Introductory Paragraph
Conceptual Framework
Review of Studies (Empirical & Conceptual)
Synthesis in a Paragraph or Two
Emergent Questions





Texts For Educational Psychology

1. R. F. Baumeister & K. D. Vohls (Eds.) (2004). Handbook of Self-Regulation, Research, Theory, and Applications. New York: The Guilford Press.

2. Any recent text in Educational Psychology (later than 2004).

General: (Various editions available in the classroom and the library)

Santrock McCown, et al
Glover & Bruning Slavin, R
Bielher and Snowman Dembo
Woolfolk, Anita et al Sprinthall & Sprinthall

Canadian: (Various editions available)

2. O'Donnell, A. M., D'Amico, M., Schmid, R. F., Reeve, J. & Smith, J. K. (2008). Educational Psychology (Canadian Edition). Mississauga: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.

Woolfolk, Winne, Perry (2006-2010)

Bowd et al.

McCown et al.

Winzer, M.

Suggestions For Seminar Presentation Papers and/or Research Papers

See outline.  

Other Ideas

The Course


READINGS: Check Here! Texts

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