Course Overview

This course provides an overview of motivational research in psychology and education, focusing on different theories of motivation, and the broad question of how individual and social-contextual factors shape and influence motivation.

Course Requirements

Class Participation. his is a graduate seminar emphasizing critical discussion of course concepts and readings. Accordingly, students should participate in all course activities, except in cases of illness and/or extenuating circumstances. This expectation includes both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

Required Readings

Course Expectations

Academic Dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes obvious offenses such as copying another student’s work and less obvious offenses such as unauthorized collaboration on a paper or copying sections of an article for an essay. It is assumed that all students understand MSU’s definition of academic dishonesty and associated consequences.

Incompletes. A grade of incomplete will be given only if (a) all completed work is satisfactory (i.e., averages 3.0 or better) and (b) there is a valid reason you cannot complete the course. Students should contact me as soon as possible regarding an incomplete.

Students with Disabilities. If you are a student with a documented physical or learning disability, please contact me so that we can make any necessary accommodations.

Course Assignments and Grading

Participation (5%) – This is a discussion-oriented seminar and therefore everyone is expected to engage in thoughtful and scholarly discussion.

Discussion Questions (15%) – Each asynchronous online week you will be asked to respond to questions about the readings. Each discussion question is worth 10 points.

Research Report (n = 5, 20%) – The purpose of the research report is to practice and improve your written and oral summaries of empirical research (i.e., an article reporting the gathering of data and drawing of inferences from those data). Thus, for each Research Report, your task is to (a) find a new study that interests you, (b) write a brief, 1-page (~300 words) summary of the study, and (c) present a 5-minute oral summary to your classmates. Your written summaries are due by e-mail to the course TA by the date indicated on the syllabus. Please label your Word file as follows: “LastName_RR#” (e.g., “Roseth_RR1”).

Essay Sets (n = 3, 60%) – Essay sets require mastery and some integration of material from readings, lecture notes, and classroom discussions. Each essay set requires 3-4 essays of 2-3 pages each. Each set allows choice among questions (e.g., choose 3 of the 5). Questions will be distributed at least one week before the essay set is due. The second essay set emphasizes material covered since the first essay set and, in addition, some integration of material covered across the course. You need only draw from the course readings, lecture notes, and classroom discussions. Thus, additional sources are not necessary, nor are formal bibliographies required. Citations from the course should be explicit however – e.g., author(s), year, and page numbers.

Optional Course Paper (20%) – An optional 15-page paper may be substituted for one of the essay sets and should address some aspect of the broad question of how individual and social-contextual factors shape and influence motivation. In contrast to the essay sets, papers should include additional sources in addition to assigned readings, and a formal bibliography should be appended. Your paper should draw on both theory and empirical findings and should identify important gaps and/or promising new directions in knowledge.

Final Course Grades – Final grades will be based on the total number of points you earn and assigned as follows:

4.0 = 94-100 2.5 = 78-82 1.0 = 63-67
3.5 = 89-93 2.0 = 73-77 0.5 = 58-62
3.0 = 83-88 1.5 = 68-72 0.0 = >58