Psychology 120 Online

Catalog Description

This is an overview of the psychological, sociological, and psychobiological aspects of human sexuality. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach dealing with the entire area of human sexual behavior viewed in the context of the total integrated personality.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate increased understanding of personal responsibility for sex and sexual health including contraception and sexually transmitted infections.
  2. Students will show improved knowledge of lifelong sexuality learning including physiological, psychological and sociological sexual development and sex education.
  3. Students will exhibit an increased understanding of intimate relationship skills such as communication, sexual victimization and sex therapy.
  4. Students will be able to demonstrate improved knowledge of typical and atypical behavioral and psychological sexual variations including gender identity issues and sexual orientation.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Apply the scientific method to psychological and sociological research in the field of human sexuality, describing and analyzing basic research techniques used in psychology and sociology.
  2. Examine and evaluate current theoretical and empirical information in the field.
  3. Evaluate, critically, the various schools of thought describing human sexual behavior and the major theories and principles associated with each.  These include psychobiological, social learning, hormonal, cultural, psychological and sociological.
  4. Compare and/or evaluate differences between personal values, attributes, and feelings regarding sexual behaviors, decision-making, sexual responsibility and interpersonal communication within a cross-cultural, historic, interpersonal and contemporary context.

Course Requirements

Meeting Times, Class Location and Online Class location: this class will meet entirely on line.

Prerequisites: there are no prerequisites.


Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity by Rathus, Nevid, and Fichner-Rathus. (Custom Edition for Cypress College)  Pearson Publishing. 2008.

There are no other required materials.

Computer Requirements

Computer skills: To be successful in this class, you will need to be comfortable using the Internet, familiar with word processing, know how to access email as well as send emails with attachments, and finally know how to save coursework to your own computer.

Computer Equipment Requirements

  • PC running Windows 98, 2000 or XP (JavaScript & Cookies enabled.)
  • MAC running Macintosh OS 9.x or OS X  (JavaScript & Cookies enabled.)
  • At least 32 MB RAM and 200 MB free disk space
  • Internet connection via modem of 56k bps or faster
  • Supported web browsers: Windows– Internet Explorer 6; Macintosh–Firefox 1.0.x
  • Word processing program

Note: Do not use the AOL Browser with the Blackboard. It does not work well and can be very unstable.

Computers are available for student use free of charge with a valid students ID in the Learning Resource Center.

Tips for Online Success

  • Self discipline is the key to success; online classes are not for everyone.
  • Plan your time wisely.
  • Stay current with due dates of your assignments.
  • First, reread your assignments multiple times before emailing your instructor; please don’t give up after 1 or 2 tries.
  • Email your instructor with questions.

Exams & Assignments


  1. There are five exams, including the final. Total points for exams are the sum of your four highest exams. At the end of the semester, your lowest exam score is dropped.
  2. There are 75 questions per exam with one point per questions.
  3. Exam questions cover text, films, speakers and lectures. Approximately 40% of the exam is based upon readings, and 60% on in-class presentations.

Personal Writing Assignment

Each student is required to complete an informal paper, using your own words, on a personal occurrence in your life involving your sexuality.

There are two purposes for this assignment.  First, we want you to think about the topics discussed in the class, and apply them to your life. Also, we like to keep up with the attitudes and experiences of our students. We anticipate that you will be candid and choose to write a meaningful paper. It is our hope that you will feel free to share true life experiences, since these are the most helpful to you and to us.

If you are not willing to share personal information, you may write a report on one of the quest speaker presentations or on another special topic.

Here are topic examples from previous papers:

  1. How I learned about sex (from parents, friends, etc.).
  2. How my first sexual experience has affected me.
  3. Impact of early sexual experiences on my life (masturbation, sex play with peers).
  4. How pregnancy, birth, termination of pregnancy or infertility affected me.
  5. How I experienced coming out as gay or bisexual to myself, family or friends.
  6. How my attitudes about sexuality have changed over time.
  7. Why I choose to be a virgin.

Total Possible Points on Personal Paper = 75.

Following Guidelines Required for Full Credit (75 points)

Points Off

  1. No handwritten papers will be accepted (typewritten or computer printed only): 75 pts.
  2. No capitals only printing (use upper and lower case type): 5 pts.
  3. If no title page: 5 pts.
    • Title missing: 2 pts.
    • Name missing: 4 pts.
    • Class Day/Time missing: 2 pts
  4. Paper to be a MINIMUM of three (3) FULL pages.
    • No partial pages. 1/2 page missing: 5 pts. 1 page missing: 10 pts.
    • No more than double spaced printing: 5 pts.
    • No skipped extra lines between paragraphs or or topics: 1 pt. per line skipped
    • No printing larger than 12 pt. font: 5 pts
    • No margins more than 1.25 inches ON ALL SIDES: 1 pt. per margin per page

Check your paper before you send it in!!!

Assignment Location

You will turn in your assignments online to your instructor following the prompts in the lesson.

Assignment Announcements

There will be reminder notices posted in the “Announcements” section of your course in Blackboard.

Course Policies


Your grade will be determined by your total points for the semester.  Your total points will be the sum of your:

  • Four highest exam scores
  • Personal Writing Assignment score
  • Optional extra credit points

Letter Grades

Grade of A 337 – 375 points: 90%
Grade of B 300 – 336 points: 80%
Grade of C 243 – 299 points: 65%
Grade of D 187 – 242 points: 50%

Attendance and Absence Policy

Any student who fails to email the instructor prior the end of the day on the first day of the semester will be dropped as a No Show.

Online courses require participation to actively complete the assignments. A student who has not completed an assignment or participated in discussion on line for more that 2 weeks will be dropped.

Academic Honesty Policy

By enrolling in a distance education course you agree that you are the one accessing and completing the work for this course and will not share your CMS username and password with others. Please also refer to the Cypress College Catalog for complete information.

The bottom line is that the work that you produce and the assignments you complete should be you own.

Student Grievances

Students who have complaints about an instructor, assignments or grading should first discuss this matter with the instructor. If this cannot be resolved between those two parties, students should consult “Student Grievances” in the Cypress College Catalog.

Copyright Notice

Any copyrighted materials used in this class are used for distance education purposed only and in compliance with the United States copyright law. Use these materials is limited to students enrolled in the course, for the duration of the course. Students must refrain from saving, changing, or distributing any such copyrighted materials.

Disability Support Services

Students who anticipate a need a formal, disability related accommodations to be successful in this distance education course should contact the instructor to discuss ways to ensure full participation in the course and to plan how best to coordinate any necessary accommodations. Students should also request that a DSS counselor contact the instructor with verification of their eligibility for reasonable accommodations. The DSS Office is located in the Cypress College Complex, 1st floor, (714) 484-7104 (voice) or (714) 761-0961 (TDD).

Student Services Links