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Katie Gregory

PSY270: Community Psychology
Best Fully Online
“Community engagement in an accelerated online course.”
- Katie Gregory -

Psychology 270 ­ Community Psychology, was designed to introduce students to the field of community psychology, including the study of social problems and their solutions (e.g., issues around education, food systems, gender­based violence, homelessness, juvenile justice, mental health, substance abuse and addiction, and veterans’ issues). Rather than focusing on deficits of individuals, community psychology examines the contextual and structural factors that affect individuals’ overall health.

The first part of the course was focused on providing students with the tools and skills community psychologists use to analyze and understand social problems. Once equipped with the tools and skills, the course moved into exploring the theoretical frameworks in community psychology and how they are applied to the study of social problems. The goals of the course were for students to be able to: distinguish between community psychology and other fields in psychology; examine social issues, including actions and events, through an ecological lens; describe power, privilege, and oppression, and how they relate to social issues; evaluate interventions and programs designed to address social problems; and identify common research methods used by community psychologists.

In this course, students were challenged to think about social problems, power and privilege. I had experience instructing this course in a face­to­face course two prior semesters, and I had observed how student interaction and collaboration was important in facilitating this experience. When I conceptualized this as an online course, there were key activities I identified that would be important to translate online that would not be successful without student interaction. Keeping in mind the accelerated nature of the online course, I wanted to bring in some form of collaboration that would introduce students to multiple perspectives when thinking about social problems as well as power and privilege, ultimately challenging a singular way of thinking about the world. Additionally, it was important to incorporate technology that would simple, accessible, and consistent across course activities.

All activities in the course were designed to scaffold on each other, preparing students to complete a larger project during weeks 4 and 5. During those weeks, students participated in an adaption of a photovoice project. For this activity, students took photos related to their topics of interest paired with multiple short writing assignments.

Technologies included in this course: