California State University, San Marcos

Fall 1997

Psychology 495, Section 1

Field Experience in Psychological Settings


Meets Tues., 1:30-2:30 in  ACD 314

Meets Tues. & Thurs., Boys and Girls Club, 2:45-5:00PM


Prof. Miriam W. Schustack                                        

Office:  Craven 6125

Office Hours:                     Monday 1:00-3:00

(Or by appointment)                                                                                                                     

Phone: (760) 750-4095                        



Readings:  (the first three are handouts, the other three are at the bookstore):


                      Schustack, M.  (1997).  A Wizard Assistant's Guide to the Fifth Dimension.


                      Schustack, M. W., King, C., Gallego, M., & Vásquez, O. A. (1994).  A Computer-oriented afterschool activity:  Children's Learning in the Fifth Dimension and La Clase Mágica.  In F. A. Villarruel & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), New Directions for Child Development, Number 63:  Promoting Community-Based Programs for Socialization and Learning.  (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).


                      CSUSM (1997) Student Guide to Service Learning.


                      Fine, G. A. & Sandstrom K. L. (1988).  Knowing Children: Participant observation with minors. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.


                      Rogoff, B. (1990).  Apprenticeship in thinking.  New York: Oxford Univ. Press.


                      Gardner, H.  (1991).  The unschooled mind.  New York: Basic Books.


                      In this class, you will participate in a variety of research-related activities.  The research program in which you will be involved is called either The Fifth Dimension Project (the name of the activity from the perspective of the child subjects) or the Mellon project (because funding for the research comes from the Mellon Foundation).  The CSUSM project is part of a larger collaborative project that includes other sites (the nearest ones in Solana Beach and the most distant ones in , Sweden, Moscow, and Australia).  The main goal of the CSUSM portion of the project is to examine the potential of recreational, out-of-school activities to enhance children's performance in traditional academic areas (like math and writing) and to increase their computer literacy.


                      The research activity is focused on "The Fifth Dimension Club", a structured afterschool activity offered at the Baker branch of The Boys and Girls Club of Escondido on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  The children who attend are mostly in grades 3-5, and they play games, mostly on computers, with the participation and supervision of the student interns (the Psychology 495 students).


                      In order to provide sufficient orientation to the project, we will begin going to the Boys and Girls Club at the usual site hours starting on Thursday, September 4th (2:45 to 5:00 on Tuesday and Thursday) so you can practice the games and learn the structure, but we will not have any children in the room.  After one or two practice sessions at the Club, we'll unleash the children on you (or vice versa). 


The objectives and requirements of this course are:


                      * Learn about participant-observer and field research methodologies

                                            -read the Fine & Sandstrom book

                                            -experience the roles and environment


                      * Participate at the research site

                                            -attend reliably and on time

                                            -engage in appropriate joint activity with the children


                      * Combine psychological research and educational objectives

                                            -record children's activity data

                                            -submit fieldnotes for each session, in hardcopy and via email

                                            -help maintain the research environment


                      * Learn about cognitive and psychosocial aspects of learning

                                            -Read  Gardner and Rogoff books 

                                            -Contribute to class discussions

                                            -Make a brief oral presentation on one week's readings,

                                            and provide a written outline of your presentation 

                                            -Submit written comments on books

                                            (one per book, 2-3 pages each)

                                            -Learn about multi-site electronic collaboration


                      * Gain expertise in computer use (hardware and software)

                                            -Learn about a variety of microcomputer platforms

                                            -Master word-processing, e-mail, and game software


                      * Participate as a subject in the research

                      -Complete test instruments at various points during the course

                      -Have your activities and reactions recorded in your own

                        fieldnotes (and possibly in the notes of other students)


Course grades will be based on performance in all required activities, weighted as follows:


                      Attendance and performance at research site                               40%

                      Submission of timely and adequate fieldnotes                              25%

                      Attendance and participation in class                                             10%

                      Oral presentation in class on the readings                                     10%

                      Quality of written comments on readings                                        15%

 Reading and Writing  Schedule, Fall 1997

Psychology 495, Section 1

Field Experience in Psychological Settings



Date                                   Assignment


Sep. 2          Read the How-To Manual (Handout) and Service-Learning Guide

                      Begin submitting Fieldnotes for each session at the Club


Sep. 9          Read the How-To Manual again, especially Fieldnote examples


Sep. 16        Read Fifth Dimension chapter from "Current Directions" (handout)

                                            Quiz on Fifth Dimension Procedures


Sep.  23       Read Fine Ch 1-3                                                                                                   


Sep. 30        Read Fine Ch. 4-5                                                                                                  

                                            Submit written comments on Fine book


Oct. 7            Read Rogoff:  Chapters 1-3                                                                                  


Oct. 14         Read Rogoff:  Chapters 4-6                                                                                  


Oct. 21         Read Rogoff:  Chapters 7-10                                                                                

                                            Submit written comments on Rogoff book


Oct. 28         Read Gardner:  Chapters 1-2                                                         


Nov. 4           Read Gardner:  Chapter 3-4                                                                                 


Nov. 11         Read Gardner:  Chapter 5-6                                                                                 


Nov. 18         Read Gardner:  Chapter 7-8                                                                                 


Nov. 25         Read Gardner:  Chapter 9-10                                                         


Dec. 2          Read Gardner:  Chapter 11-13                                                       


Dec. 9          Course wrap-up

                                            Submit written comments on Gardner book

                                            Last day at site will be Thursday, Dec. 11


Dec. 16        Submit final set of Fieldnotes

                                            Finals Week--no exam in this course


Tanya S. Taylor

California State University, San Marcos