Syllabus for PSY-331

INTRODUCTION TO COUNSELING


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Introduction to Counseling introduces counseling theory and practice. Various aspects of the counseling profession are explored including: the foundations of counseling; psychological theories; techniques and processes relevant to counseling; professional, ethical, and legal issues; and counseling practice.

The purpose of this course is to provide you with the opportunity to examine these areas of counseling and to introduce you to this profession. This course should serve as a foundation for other counseling courses.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Describe the history of the counseling profession.
  2. Identify current issues and trends in the counseling profession.
  3. List the various work settings for counselors.
  4. Identify the major psychological theories of human growth as they relate to the field of counseling.
  5. Describe aspects of individual and group counseling.
  6. Explain the dynamics of family and marriage counseling.
  7. Identify aspects of vocational and career counseling.
  8. Delineate the issues related to substance abuse counseling.
  9. Identify counseling issues related to a pluralistic world.
  10. Identify counseling outreach activities.
  11. Describe issues related to professional, ethical, and legal matters as they impact on the field of counseling.
  12. Identify the practice of counseling as it relates to various environments.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the college's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. Introduction to the Profession of Counseling, 5th ed., by Frank A. Nugent and Karyn Dayle Jones (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill, 2009)

ISBN-10: 0-13-514430-2

COURSE STRUCTURE

Introduction to Counseling is a three-credit online course, consisting of five (5) assignment modules. Modules include study materials  and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Foundations of Counseling

  1. Module 2: Theories

  1. Module 3: Counseling Activities

  1. Module 4: Counseling Specialties, Part 1

  1. Module 5: Counseling Specialties, Part 2

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored online midterm examination, and submit two papers: 1) a written report based on your observation of a counseling agency, and 2) a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Introduction to Counseling requires you to participate in participate in five (5) graded class discussions,  in addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum in Module 1.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted activity and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete five (5) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the written assignment questions for each assignment module before you begin that module's reading assignments.  Be sure to complete all relevant readings before answering the written assignment questions.

Before you begin to write, you may wish to outline your answers, listing the points you wish to make and the examples you will use to support your ideas.   Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the course materials. Formulate responses in your own words (do not merely copy answers from your reading materials), citing text materials where appropriate and in an appropriate manner. Creative thinking and your own wording are important aspects of an effective answer.

Type your assignment double-spaced. When you have completed the assignment, proofread your answers for correct grammar, spelling, etc., and be certain you have answered the questions completely.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Agency Report

You are required to visit a counseling agency (e.g., a shelter for the homeless, a rehabilitation center, a college counseling center, etc.) and write a report based on your observation of the agency.

The report must be 3–5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced) and should include descriptions of the type of agency, its purpose, the counseling provided, and the staff structure. See the Agency Report area of the course Web site for further details.

If you are not sure of the appropriateness of a particular agency for your report, contact your mentor to discuss your choice before making a decision.

The report is due the week following the midterm exam, but you should begin thinking about and working on the report as early as possible to allow yourself ample time to complete it.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a closed-book, proctored online midterm examination. It is two hours long and covers material from textbook chapters 1–10. The exam consists of four (4) essay questions.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
  5. Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

In lieu of a final exam, you are required to complete a final project. The final project asks you to choose a counseling specialty and to complete a 5–7 page paper (typed, double-spaced) on a specific problem related to that specialty.

The project entails two stages:

  1. Stage 1: Prepare and submit either a detailed sentence outline or a rough draft of your paper to the mentor for comments and feedback.
  2. Stage 2: Complete and submit the final paper.

Please see the Final Project area of the course Web site for further details.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (5)—10 percent
  2. Written assignments (5)—30 percent
  3. Agency report—10 percent
  4. Midterm exam (proctored online, modules 1–3)—30 percent
  5. Final project—20 percent
  1. Stage 1—sentence outline or rough draft (5 percent)
  2. Stage 2—final paper (15 percent)

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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