Syllabus for Psych 409a (WI & O)  (Mondays)   Spring  2006  G24

Instructor: Dr. Leon James, Professor of Psychology
Telephone contact and messages (call during normal office hours): 261-2382   
e-mail:  Walk in office hours: Before and after classes (M, T, R) at Gartley 213A.

Course Description:  Driving Psychology
Focusing on the component skills of driving behavior and their developmental stages, including adaptive techniques that are effective and successful for driver self-improvement. Students publish their reports on the Web, give oral presentations in class, and exchange email on course topics. Includes computer lab where students can do their Web work and can receive help in Web publishing. This is a WI course and requires more writing than the average class. Students will publish a minimum of two reports and will make the requested changes when the instructor reads the drafts. Students also read each other's reports online and make appropriate suggestions.

Required textbooks: (1) Leon James and Diane Nahl (2000). Road Rage and Aggressive Driving: Steering Clear of Highway Warfare. (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books)  (2) Peter Rothe, Editor (2002). Driving Lessons: Exploring Systems That Make Traffic Safer. (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press).


40 points

Three class oral presentations -- 10 points each = 30 points (this includes evaluation of participation in class discussions)

Ten typed Outlines based on the assigned readings for oral presentations -- 1 point each = 10 points

30 points

Appearance, content, and quality of your Web site containing your Home Page, your oral Outlines, and  Report 1 totaling approximately 15 pages.

30 points

Appearance, content, and quality of your Report 2  totaling approximately 15 pages.

A+ =95 points; A =94-90; A- =89-85; B+ =84-80; B =79-75; B- =74-70
C+ =69-65; C=64-60; C- =59-55;  D=54-50; F=49-0

Attendance is taken at the start of each class. Absence Penalty: - 3 points per absence regardless of reason.  Being late for class or leaving early: -1 point each occurrence. (Penalty points are on account of non-participation when not present in class). Late Work Penalty: - 3  points per week late (maximum = -9 points per report).   Due Dates are given in the instructions for Reports 1 and 2 (see G24 Class Home Page). Penalty points for any excused absences must be made up by additional work (consult instructor for details).

Grading Policy:  (1)  If technical reasons prevent you from uploading any required work on time, you must submit on time a printed version of it to the instructor to avoid a late penalty. Always keep a back up copy of your files on a separate disk or CD not just on your hard drive.  Note that you can upload your files to your UH UNIX account where you can get them if needed.

(2) You will receive email from the instructor with your grade for each oral presentation you give and for each report you publish on the Web, along with recommendations on how to improve them. You are allowed to apply for re-grading of Report 1 after you made the recommended revisions. Use the instructions specified in your email grade report.

(3) For publishing your work on the Web, you are allowed to use a Pseudonym that is registered with the Instructor by email. You are allowed to delete your own published files at any time during the semester, or you can request the instructor to remove them from the Web after the semester, and at any other time in the future (just email the instructor: The purpose of publishing your reports on the Web is threefold: (i) to enhance your Internet literacy skills; (ii) to leave your reports for future generations of this course who will be instructed to read and review them for their own reports; (iii) to share your scientific reports and topical reviews with the entire world.

(4) If you take more than one course with Dr. James, you must do different reports for the second course. Consult him for instructions.

Class Structure: Every class is made up of three portions. First Portion: instructor answers your questions about preparing for the oral presentations and  doing the written reports. He also discusses the topic of the week. Second Portion: several students give the scheduled oral presentation of 10 minutes (for details see Instructions for Oral Presentations on the G24 Class Home Page). A general discussion follows. Be prepared to speak up in class. It is part of the requirement for getting an A grade. Third Portion: Optional Lab work in Saunders 635, reserved for this class from 2:30 to 3:30 M, T, R. A personal password is needed to access lab computers.  You must register online as a Lab User during the first three weeks of the semester:

The G24 Class Home Page to access all course information is at:  
The Instructor's Home page is at:
The Instructor's email is: