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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 20-Jan-23

Spring 2023 | PSY-2280-VO01 - Positive Psychology

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 01-24-2023 to 05-08-2023
Last day to drop without a grade: 02-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-26-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Patricia Cook
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Philip Crossman

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following VSC General Education Requirement(s) for Catalog Year 21-22 and later:
Social Sciences
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This course examines factors under which humans are best able to thrive, providing tools and practices for healthy living. Positive psychology focuses on helping people understand and enhance their strengths and virtues so that they may lead fulfilling lives. Rather than emphasizing mental disorders and problems, positive psychology focuses on how individuals cultivate grounded optimism. Students will research, explore, and demonstrate how positive psychology correlates with increased academic achievement, goal setting, creativity, leadership, resilience, and overall wellness of individuals and communities.

Essential Objectives

1. Understand the aim and scope of positive psychology, including the distinction between principles of positive psychology and other theoretical principles of psychology.
2. Illustrate an understanding of positive psychology research, including findings from psychiatry, neuroscience, and behavioral research.
3. Demonstrate understanding of the physiology of positive emotion including neural circuitry, neurotransmitters, and chemical substances (natural and foreign).
4. Examine the value of work, family and community relationships and their impact on resilience, motivation and wellbeing.
5. Utilize teachings of positive psychology to better understand the importance of optimism, gratitude, and altruism.
6. Explore how positive psychology can contribute to the art and science of leadership and bring lasting change to individuals and organizations.
7. Apply interventions and/or techniques proven to enhance wellbeing, including recognizing and utilizing personal strengths.
8. Integrate and apply new learning to create a project aiming to improve mental health awareness.
9. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding the scientific method and evaluating quantitative data as applied to human behavior.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

This course only uses free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials. For details, see the Canvas Site for this class.



Positive Psychology is not a spectator sport. It requires an active online community of supportive classmates. Students have called this class life-changing. I hope it is for you. I hope at the end of the semester, you’ll be able to say what you learned helped develop and increase your sense of well-being, optimism, and flourishing.

Evaluation Criteria


70% Discussion Forums

30% Rotating Assignments

Course Requirements:

Throughout the class, there are a variety of assignments to help assess students’ knowledge and skill levels in relation to learning. The goal is to prompt students to reflect on and apply course concepts in meaningful ways. Positive Psychology is definitely not a spectator sport.

Discussion Forums-Posts and Responses: 70%

· The Discussion Forum every week is based on an assignment that uses what we’re learning about that week through the readings, videos, and podcasts.

· The Discussion Forum is a big % of your grade…it is where a lot of the learning happens.

· I break the 70% down as follows: 70% your post and 30% your responses to others’ posts.

· You’re required to reply to at least 3-5 others’ posts. If you’re aiming for an A, you should strive most weeks to respond to 4/5+ posts from classmates.

· Connecting with your classmates is essential to supporting a strong online learning community.

· Your contributions to these discussion forums should be specific and constructive. That is, comments will: 1) show that you have read the class materials and your classmates’ posts, and 2) support your classmate’s work in a substantive way. Ultimately, the discussion forum experiences become real conversations in which questions and ideas are connected to one another.

· You are expected toread and reply to all commentsand questions directed toward your posts. It's the polite thing to do.

· A note about Discussion Forums: PLEASE know that I encourage you to use audio, video or write your discussion forums.

· You must post before you're able to read and respond to other posts in the discussion forum.

· I close Discussion Forums for comments the start of the following week. Class runs Tuesday-Monday, so on first day of the new week (Tuesday), I close Discussion Forums for week we just finished. My reasoning is that I want you to be looking ahead at the start of every week and keep up. If you have issues with deadlines, reach out to me; if you contact me ahead, I’m almost always willing to work something out with you.

Rotating Assignments: 30%

Most weeks there is what I call the rotating assignment. The rotating assignments include learning activities such as journals, choice assignments, mini-experiments, or other learning activities.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


COURSE SCHEDULE: adjustments may be made as needed

Please see Canvas for full instructions for each week’s activities and assignments.

WEEK 1: Introduction to our Class, Positive Psychology and Character Strengths

WEEK 2: What Positive Psychology Is & Isn’t

WEEK 3: Character Strengths and Positive Psychology Interventions

WEEK 4: Traveling to the Blue Zones

WEEK 5: Positive Psychology Research and Mindfulness

WEEK 6: Growth Mindset

WEEK 7: Optimism & Hope

WEEK 8: PERMA Theory of Well-Being, Part 1: Positive Emotions

WEEK 9: PERMA Theory of Well-Being, Part 2: Engagement & Flow

Week 10: PERMA Theory of Well-Being, Part 3: Relationships

Week 11: PERMA Theory of Well-Being, Part 4: Meaning & Purpose

WEEK 12: PERMA Theory of Well-Being, Part 5: Achievement/Accomplishment & Grit

WEEK 13: Resilience, Post Traumatic Growth & Living a Resilient Life

WEEK 14: Happiness

WEEK 15: The Future of Positive Psychology and Our Futures Too


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Points are taken off for late work unless prior arrangements have been made. Reach out when you need assist.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.