Provider: Saylor Academy [course page]
Course Design: Dr. Helena Martin and Dr. Michael Poulakis
Subject: Science / Psychology
Delivery: self-paced asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 97 hours over 7 units
Completion Date: 09/31/2014
Description: This course lays the foundation for future study of Psychology.
Strengths: Will all of the offerings of Saylor Academy, this course makes use of free and open source online materials. The seven units culminate in a final 50-question multiple-choice exam of which 70% is a passing grade. Students are able to retry the exam, but are locked out for a two-week period. Students that pass the exam can download a PDF certificate of achievement. This exam is preparation for the Excelsior College exam that allows up to 3 hours of course credit towards their degree programs. Students looking to transfer credit hours to other institutions should enquire at the specific university or college.
This course goes over the history of Psychology over the past two centuries. It discusses the various figures whose research has transformed this once-solitary science into one that informs many sectors of society. Psychology also consists of numerous sub-fields that vary based on what and how they study human behaviour. The course discusses the basic ideas and knowledge that informs all of these fields as well as the biological underpinnings of human behaviour and mental disorder. As for the question of nature versus nurture, the materials support the idea that both play equally important roles in how we negotiate the world around us.
Weaknesses: This course requires some grounding in high school level Biology. There is also lots of reading. Oh, the humanity!
Conclusion: In lieu of recent discussions of mental health in the media, this course offers students a solid introduction to Psychology. I recommend this course to anyone curious about human behaviour, have a family history of mental illness, and/or are looking for a grounding in Psychology for their employment.