Syllabus for Psych 409a (WI & O)  (Mondays)   Fall  2006  G25

Instructor: Dr. Leon James, Professor of Psychology
Telephone contact and messages: 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.

Note: Student Reports from prior semesters for this course are accessible here:

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
oral grade

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
WI grade

Appearance, content, and quality of your Web site containing your Home Page, your oral Outlines, and  Report 1 totaling approximately 20 pages of your own text.

30 points
WI grade

Appearance, content, and quality of your Report 2  totaling approximately 20 pages of your own text.

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. Being late for class or leaving early: -1 point each occurrence. Penalty points are on account of non-participation when not present in class during the initial discussions for the day. Absence Penalty: - 3 points per absence regardless of reason, again due to non-participation by being absent.  Late Work Penalty: - 3  points per week late.   Due Dates are given in the instructions for Reports 1 and 2 (see G25 Class Home Page). Penalty points for any absences excused by the instructor, must be made up by additional work (consult instructor for details).

Grading Policy:  It is expected that every student will upload their required work according to the instructions. 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.

You will receive email from the instructor with your grade 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 the email grade report. You will also receive a written feedback Form following each of your oral presentation.

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.

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 (for details see Instructions for Oral Presentations on the G25 Class Home Page). A general discussion follows each oral presentation. 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 3:20 M, T, R. You will need a personal password to access lab computers.  You must register online as a Lab User during the first three weeks of the semester:

The G25 Class Home Page to access all course information is at:  
The Instructor's Home page is at:
The Instructor's email is: