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Reflection on William Dement’s contributions to sleep research: An online discussion

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It’s valuable for students to learn a little bit about the researchers whose names plaster the insides of their textbooks. Each researcher comes from a background that matches that of at least some of our students. We want our students to think like this: “If they can become a respected psychological scientist, so can I.”

This month (June 2020) we said goodbye to William Dement. Intro Psych instructors know his name because of his important sleep research. Obituaries are mini biographies that give us an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life. This discussion invites students to read Dement’s obituary and reflect on his contributions to psychological science.

In the instructions below, I provide a link to the obituary on the New York Time website. Because the NYTimes limits the number of free articles available each month, however, it would be better if you provide a link to the obituary through your library’s database. If you’re not sure how to do that, contact your institution’s friendly librarian or your equally-friendly public librarian.

While this is presented as an asynchronous online discussion, it may be easily adapted as a synchronous discussion or as a stand-alone assignment.

The compliment/comment/connection/question framework is courtesy of Jenn Stewart-Mitchell.

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Initial post

Dr. William Dement, sleep researcher, passed away on June 17, 2020. Read his obituary in the New York Times.

Part A. Quote

Find a quote from the obituary that you found interesting and in 100+ words of reflection, explain why. Be sure to use quotation marks for your quote; the quotation is not part of the 100+ word count.

Part B. Research

After reviewing Dement’s research as provided in both the obituary and your textbook, what do you think was his most important study? In 100+ words, describe the study, then explain why you chose it as his most important.

Part C. Teaching

In 50+ words, would you have wanted to take his class on sleep and dreams? Why or why not?

Responses

Please respond to the initial discussion posts written by at least two of your classmates.

Part A. In 50+ words, respond to the quote chosen with at least two of the following:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

Part B. In 50+ words, respond to the research selected with at least two of the following:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

Part C. In 50+ words, provide your reaction to what was written in the initial post about taking his class. Use at least two of the following:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.