M2-Duke: Abnormal “Abnormal Psychology”

I will be attempting to transform a standard course in abnormal psychology into an online course. Having taught abnormal psychology in the “normal” manner for more than 25 years, teaching it online will be quite “abnormal!”   It’s my sense thus far, however, that this might be a fine thing to do for the following reasons:

  1. Teaching abnormal psychology requires lots of case examples, photos, videos, audio recordings, charts and graphs.  All of these should translate well into an online format.
  2. Students find abnormal psychology inherently interesting so they will be motivated to overcome some of the frustrations and challenges that starting out online seems to present (at least that’s how I feel about our experience this far).
  3. The study of abnormal behavior affords many opportunities for the use of interdisciplinary resources and materials.  Among these are artworks, music, film, dance and other media through which the stresses of life have been depicted.  Again, online presentation seems a natural!

I have loved learning abut Voice Thread and can see how it could be adapted to my style of lecture and discussion in face to face classes.  I really like interacting with students and VT allows that to happen with surprising ease. Also, Scholarblogs (SB) seems very accessible and it is something that most students are used to.  This means that I won’t need to be seen as, nor be, a high tech advisor.  Students will likely know more than I will about the platforms we will be using.

I also like diigo because it allows me to read and comment critically on research articles and websites.  Psychology has been under fire recently for some methodological sloppiness (well-deserved, I might add) and I think that, for students, having a professor comment on readings in a personal way will be very enlightening and engaging.  diigo felt oddly comfortable and casual–conversational–and I think that it will help me to establish the kind of relationships with students that I feel are critical to teaching.  These relationships are the things that I feared most losing in transition to online teaching.  I am intrigued by diigo’s potential for providing a channel for interspersonal connection.

4 thoughts on “M2-Duke: Abnormal “Abnormal Psychology”

  1. Marshall–and by the way I’m so delighted to have you in this discussion–I too am excited about the element of diigo that lets us comment on readings and bibliographic materials: one of the real challenges, particularly for early undergrads, is to assess the value of a source, rather than merely parroting or prooftexting. To be able to recommend materials while articulating caveats or questions seems very useful.

    1. Michael, Marshall, I am still trying to figure out diigo in my online classroom. It may have to do with the fact that it’s another password, another wall of fire, and my psychology with passwords is quite abnormal (or, who knows, perhaps future surveys and numbers shall reveal, lying, or not, that trouble with passwords is not only my abnormal psychology…). Or it may be that I come from a heavy philological tradition that was bound to accept the authority of the professor, and bibliographies were meant to be read, not commented, unless you were writing your paper already. Hm. Perhaps I can incorporate diigo in my upper division seminars, those where bibliographies are critical for the paper. Hmmm… Thanks for your comments.

  2. Thanks, Marshall, for pointing out that we can use diigo cooperatively with students in a way that models how to examine and critique sources. I hadn’t thought about it as instructive, only informational.

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