Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Psychology

Academics

RPP for Course Instructors

Here is information about the Research Participation Pool (RPP) that is specific to course instructors:

Note: The RPP for the semester officially closes the last regular day of classes (not the last day of final exams) at 6:00 pm. All research participation (including non-study writing assignments) must be completed by this time.

Additional Note: Starting this year (2014-2015), important changes have been implemented regarding both (a) the way that research participation "units" are counted, (b) what happens if you fail to show up to a research appointment without canceling, and (c) the penalty for failing to complete the participation requirement for PSY 101 and 202 on time. These changes are reflected in the rest of the RPP web documentation.

Do I need to have an RPP system account?

No. The RPP coordinator will manage the system for you.

How much research do students have to participate in?

Students enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202 are required to complete four units (see explanation below) of research participation. One of these units can be earned by attending one of the mandatory scheduled orientation meetings at the beginning of the semester (see explanation above). Another unit can be earned by completing the mandatory account activation survey by the assigned deadline (see explanation above). Therefore, students who complete both of these tasks correctly will only have two units of research participation left.

For students enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, then the amount of research you should participate in and what types of participation may count is up to you as their instructor. The same is true for the result of a student participating in research. For instance, you may use research participation as an way for students to earn extra credit.

What counts as a "unit" of research participation?

For research studies, a unit corresponds to 60 minutes of participation. Therefore, a two-hour study would count as two units of research participation. The unit value of a study, which ranges anywhere from one half unit (30 minutes of research participation) to two units (two hours of research participation), will be indicated in the study description. Students cannot use the same unit of research participation for multiple courses (see explanation below).

Can one participation unit be used for multiple courses?

When students participate in a research study, they cannot use the same unit of participation for multiple courses. However, they can split how their units are allocated. For instance, if a student is enrolled in both PSY 202 (requires four units) and PSY 203 (for extra credit), here are two scenarios:

  • If this student completes one unit: S/he should choose to apply this unit to PSY 202 (will still be three units short for that course).
  • If this student completes six units: S/he should choose to apply four units to PSY 202 (will fulfill that course's requirement) and apply two units to PSY 203 (will count as extra credit).

What if someone fails to complete the RPP requirement?

For students enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, failure to complete the mandatory RPP requirement by the deadline listed above will result in a change to their final grade for the course. In particular, their final course grade will be reduced by one third of a letter grade for each hour of the required participation they have missed. For instance, a PSY 101 student who earned a “B” final grade but only completed three of the four required units of participation will find a "B-" grade on his/her transcript (instead of a "B"). If that student only completed two of the four required units of participation, he/she will find a "C+" on his/her transcript (instead of a "B"). The maximum amount that your grade can be lowered is two thirds of a letter grade.

For students enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, then the effect of not participating in RPP research is up to you as their instructor.

How do I include my class in the RPP system?

If you teach PSY 101 or PSY 202, then your students will be automatically included in the RPP system. The RPP coordinator will contact you near the beginning of the semester to provide you with following text to include in your syllabus:

Research Participation
This course includes mandatory participation in research through the department’s Research Participation Pool (RPP). The RPP serves two purposes. First, it provides a source of participants for students and faculty in the psychology department who are conducting research. Second, it provides students with first-hand experience participating in the psychological studies being conducted in the department.

During the second week of classes, there will be an orientation session during which the RPP coordinator will explain the various ways that you can satisfy this research participation requirement. Attendance is mandatory for this session and there is a penalty for not being present. While most of the opportunities to satisfy the research requirement will involve being in a research study, there are also writing assignments available for students who either (1) object to taking part in psychological research or (2) are under 18 years of age. Please note that students who fail to complete the research participation requirement on time will have their final grade in this course penalized.

If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact the RPP coordinator (Jason Reiss, reiss_jason@wheatoncollege.edu | (508) 286-3636) or visit the following web page for a more thorough explanation on how the RPP works:

http://wheatoncollege.edu/psychology/experiential-opportunities/research-participation-pool/

The RPP coordinator let you know when these orientation sessions will be held early in the semester so that you may inform your students.

If you teach a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, the RPP coordinator will contact you near the beginning of the semester to ask if you want your students included in the RPP system. At that time, you will work with the RPP coordinator to set up the type of involvement you desire (e.g., extra credit, etc.). Note: Your students are not required to attend an orientation session unless you would like them to. The RPP coordinator can provide you with the session schedule upon request.

In either case, please e-mail the RPP coordinator (see link to the left of this page) if you are not contacted you by the first week of classes.

Will using the RPP system require much of my time?

No. Practically none. At the beginning of the semester, the RPP coordinator will create accounts for each of the students in your class and send them instructions on how to begin using the system. During finals week, the coordinator will send you a report on each student’s amount of participation so you can incorporate this information into his/her final grade. If you want to incorporate student RPP participation into course grades at multiple time points during the semester (e.g., in time for mid-semester warnings), just tell the RPP coordinator.

What if there are not enough studies?

The department will make every effort to make it possible for students to satisfy their course’s research participation requirement via studies, but in case we are not able to do so, students will need to complete writing assignments.

For instance, let’s say that someone is a student in PSY 202 and s/he (a) attended an orientation session - worth one unit, (b) activated your account by the deadline - worth one unit, (c) participated in one hour-long study - worth one unit, and (d) have zero no-show penalties. If there are no more studies for this person to do, s/he will need to complete one of the written assignments (also worth one unit). That will satisfy the four units of participation s/he needs for PSY 202.

Keep in mind that students may complete a writing assignment at any time during the semester to count for participation units.

How is each student participant's privacy protected?

The RPP system automatically assigns each participant a unique numeric ID code. The purpose of the ID code is to identify participants to researchers in a way that does not reveal their identity or compromise their privacy. Researchers using the RPP system only know participants by their ID code, and not their name.

Additionally, the only people who know who is a participant in a study are the participant, the study researcher, and the RPP coordinator. No other users, including other participants, researchers, or you as their instructor, may see this information. For instance, for students enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, you will simply know whether or not they fulfilled the mandatory research participation requirement. You will have no idea what they did to satisfy that requirement though.

Furthermore, know that all data you provide, whether they are answers to a questionnaire or responses in a laboratory experiment, are maintained in a way that prevents public or general access. Unless the participant has given explicit and written permission, none of the data s/he provides will be published or otherwise disseminated in a manner that allows him or her to be personally identified.

Who is responsible for addressing student issues?

For students enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, the RPP coordinator will answer all questions about the mandatory research requirement itself and the operation of the RPP system. You should direct any students with a question, problem, or complaint to the RPP coordinator. Only the RPP coordinator can make determinations regarding whether the research participation requirement has been met. This approach is designed to ensure that the mandatory research participation requirement is handled in a way that is fair and consistent across courses and instructors.

For students enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, the RPP coordinator will answer all questions about the operation of the system (including complaints). However, you as the instructor of their course are responsible for answering question regarding research participation issues that are specific to that course (e.g., “how much extra credit will I earn?”, etc.).


If you still have questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact the RPP coordinator (Jason Reiss, reiss_jason@wheatoncollege.edu | (508) 286-3636).

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