Introduction to Psychology
I am taking an online intro to psychology this summer through Coursera. I will be documenting my journey here. Similar to most courses that I’ve taken, the class starts with a history of psychology, with a special focus on American psychology.
The first reading focused on the development of psychological science after the mid 19th century. This is around the same time that the mindset of studying psychology switched from behaviorism to cognitive psychology. Psychological science actually comes from philosophy and physiology. In order to understand the roots of psychology, we would have to refer to early(18th and 17th century) philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Reid. As for physiology, in the 19th century, Hermann Von Helmholtz, a German physiologist, set the foundations for psychology after exploring the physiology of hearing and vision. He came to the result that our senses are deceiving and are not an actual representation of the actual world; this led to the theory of psychological reality versus physical reality. If we fast forward to the 20th century, we stumble upon the theory of structuralism (what the mind is) versus functionalism (what the mind does).
The general overview and layout of this online course is structured similarly to that of a regular lecture class with a few adjustments. Unlike an in-class lecture, there is no limit for the amount of students allowed to partake in this course. The course is open to anyone at all and requires no prerequisites. It is divided over a period of 4-6 weeks, with already provided readings, videos and also extensions to outside sources (All of which are free of charge). Your progress is measured by weekly modules (quizzes/peer assignments) based on the aforementioned readings, videos etc. provided for that week. There is also a discussion forum
available for students with general FAQ’s about the course or course content given. This forum can prove effective if you’re actively engaged with the moderator team which comprises of different mentors and teaching assistants. This brings me to my next important point about the course, although there is a discussion available, and you do get background information about the professor of the course, you do not get any meeting time with the professor, whether online or otherwise. Other than these slight differences, this intro to psychology online course is no different from any other in-class lecture I’ve already been in. Though I must admit, I do find the online course to be a lot more accessible and resourceful than many in-class lectures.