Fall 2001 - Psych 1311 (Using Computers in Psychology) - Dr. Burton

Kozlowski 350 - M, W 8:30-9:45

Office Hours: M 10-11, R 9-11 or by appointment

Office: Kozlowski 353 - Office Phone: 275-2701

Also: Fahy 110; ext  7947

e-mail: burtongr@shu.edu

There will be two exams in this class, with the first on Monday, October 15th and the final on Friday, December 21st at 12:45. There will also be 3 skills quizzes, which will be taken around November 12th; more detail on page 3. There is no class on Wednesday November 21st (for Thanksgiving), but Monday, October 8th (Columbus Day) is not a holiday this year; we will have class.


The other major basis of evaluation will be independent assignments. These homeworks can be completed during open lab hours (some can also be done at home). Once the open hours for the classroom are known, please arrange your schedule so that you have some time each week to work in the laboratory; please do not try to complete homeworks during class. Late homeworks will be deducted by 1/5th of their total value for each class session that it is late. The homeworks will count as 20% of your final grade.


The assigned text will be:

Oakman, R. L. (1997). The Computer Triangle: Hardware, Software, People. New York: Wiley.

You will also need a new "floppy disk." These are available in the bookstore; purchase the 3 inch size, formatted for the PC. This disk should be brought to class each day; it should only be used for Using Computers class or assignments. All Seton Hall students are automatically assigned e-mail accounts. Check if you have one as soon as possible and send me e-mail so I can keep track of who can be contacted electronically. If you don't have an account, consult the help desk in Corrigan Hall as soon as possible.


By the end of the semester, the student should

¨ Be reasonably facile with use of the IBM-PC microcomputer, including basic operation, handling of disk storage, and the Windows shells,

¨ Know some of the basic terminology of computers,

¨ Be able to use a CD-ROM database (PsycLit), and the Internet,

¨ Be able to enter and control data in a spreadsheet,

¨ Be able to construct an APA-format report using a Word template,

¨ Be reasonably familiar with other basic applications useful for the reporting, analyzing, and depiction of psychological data.


Introduction to computer use.

Applications of computers in psychology. [OAK1-2; Dreyfus Prologue]

Process Control

Statistical Analysis
Don'ts of computer usage [OAK 3]

Basic terms and contrasts [Weizenbaum handout, ch. 2, OAK 4]

Operating Systems: DOS and Windows[OAK 5]

Introduction to Word and EXCEL [OAK 6]


Exam 1: October 15th


Intermediate issues.

Additional terms and contrasts

Programming and debugging

Advanced Word and EXCEL [OAK 7]

Databases [OAK 8]

Introduction to Graphics [OAK9, handout]

Comparison of applications

Statistical packages: SPSS


Skills Quizzes: Around November 12th


Advanced issues.

Networks and Web-research [OAK 10]

Advanced Graphics

Peripheral devices [OAK 12]

Transfering data from package to package.

Artificial intelligence [Dreyfus handout, ch. 4, OAK 11].

Computers and society [OAK 12]


Final Exam: December 21st, 12:45




Scores from two skills quizzes will be included in your final grade. The first skill quiz (counting as 5%) will be taken by April 12th; this is the Open-Save-Help quiz. Students will arrange with the instructor to take a roughly 15-minute test in which they demonstrate their ability to Open a file, Save a file, and obtain a Help screen, in three of the applications we will encounter this semester: SPSS, Excel for Windows, and Word for Windows.


The second skill quiz (counting as 15%) will focus on additional operations in the aforementioned applications, and it will be in the form of a sheet of instructions for the student to follow in a short period of time (around 20 minutes). The more of the instructions the student is able to complete, the higher the grade. Two of these quizzes will be taken in-class around April 12th; one will cover word processing and the other will cover spreadsheet use. Your best score of the two will be entered into the course grade.


Advice on skills quizzes:


Ø Some students feel that the time it takes to carry out instructions in a computer application (or to answer any question in general) is irrelevant to how thoroughly the student knows the material, and they believe they should not be asked to complete instructions under time pressure. To be fair, I should warn you that I do not agree with this belief. Certainly, there are personal differences in how fast people can work; homework assignments are included in the grade to allow students to show what they can accomplish with less of a time constraint. But a quiz is meant to measure how thoroughly material is known, and the speed with which you can find or recall this material is an indication of the depth of your understanding. Furthermore, the speed with which you can carry out an action is relevant for using that skill in the real world; if it takes you a week to produce a file that takes your co-worker a day, you will accomplish less.


Ø The presence of the skills quizzes does not mean that there will be no questions on the regular exams about basic features and actions of these packages and others we might encounter.




There will be 9 or more homeworks assigned, covering the use of The Internet, SPSS, WORD, Excel, and PsychLit. The term project will involve elements of several of these. The student will control a BASIC program (to be provided), and turn in first a graph (in EXCEL Graphics) of the predicted outcome. In class, he or she will conduct 5 classmates through the experiment, and will turn in printouts of the output files for each. EXCEL will be used to calculate the mean and standard deviations of the results, and WORD will be used to turn in a final report.