College professor recognized for Netflix and Skill assignments

May 2—GREENVILLE — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Thiel College — together with each different faculty and faculty district — was pressured to embrace distant studying.

Like her college students, Dr. Kristel M. Gallagher, an affiliate professor of psychology at Thiel College, discovered herself watching fairly a little bit of Netflix at dwelling throughout this era.

But the place some seen Netflix as a strategy to cross the time, Gallagher — an affiliate professor of psychology — mentioned she discovered a strategy to educate psychology utilizing a service most of her college students had been already aware of.

That concept would ultimately result in a optimistic expertise for her college students, and the possibility to current her work on the nationwide degree.

“I spent that summer binge-watching hours and hours of Netflix shows, and I realized this would be great to use in class, and the students would love it,” Gallagher mentioned.

Gallagher piloted the assignments, which she dubbed “Netflix and Skill,” within the fall of 2020 as a part of her social psychology class.

Gallagher mentioned the category would watch one thing originally of per week, then spend that week in school discussing totally different psychological ideas.

In the start, Gallagher’s course included lots of the actuality reveals she beforehand watched, comparable to “Tiger King,” a sequence concerning the former zookeeper Joe Exotic.

Later, the category expanded to different packages, comparable to a documentary concerning the failed Fyre Festival within the Caribbean to “Black Mirror,” a science fiction sequence {that a} pupil beneficial to Gallagher.

“I think it’s neat for the students to see that, whether it’s a documentary, drama or sci-fi, psychology is everywhere,” Gallagher mentioned.

At the tip of every week, these college students would labored on assignments that integrated these classes and no matter they watched.

However, every project was totally different, Gallagher mentioned.

For “Tiger King,” which touched on ideas comparable to groupthink and how teams could make unhealthy selections, the scholars made a PowerPoint presentation for the employees at Joe Exotic’s zoo, Gallagher mentioned.

Between the totally different reveals and assignments, Gallagher mentioned her college students drastically loved the category’ selection and alternative for pupil enter.

“Psychology is a field where student engagement is very important,” Gallagher mentioned.

One of her college students was freshman Madalyn Triskett, who took the social psychology course final semester.

Triskett mentioned she was excited when Gallagher first mentioned utilizing Netflix for assignments, and thought the concept could be a enjoyable distinction to the extra strict assignments in different lessons.

“There’s so many different characters and types of shows you can watch, that you never really think about analyzing the characters,” Triskett mentioned.

“Now after taking the class, any time I’m watching a show I think, ‘oh, I know what that is,’ so it really helps you apply the skills you learned.”

Senior Paige Long took the social psychology class as a freshman within the spring of 2021, when she was deciding between social psychology or developmental psychology as a profession.

Netflix and Skill proved to be very totally different however thrilling for the scholars, with the truth present “Hoarders” changing into one of many extra memorable assignments because of the classes the scholars gleaned from it, Long mentioned.

“We learned a lot about fundamental attribution error, where you’re basically attributing someone’s behavior to their personality instead of the situation,” Long mentioned.

“So with ‘Hoarders,’ a lot of people think hoarders are greedy and selfish or compulsive, but a lot of people’s hoarding habits come from an illness, or their mental or cognitive ability.”

For the ultimate Netflix and Skill project, the scholars may select their initiatives — which for Long concerned the sequence “When They See Us” concerning the Central Park Five case in New York City.

Seeing ideas comparable to automated considering, stereotypes and accountability performed out by way of the present served as preparation for when Long should apply psychology in a hands-on setting, comparable to an internship or in a clinic.

“It’s definitely helped me when dealing with implicit bias and challenging myself a lot more, or if I’m with a group of friends in public I might start challenging what we’re doing,” Long mentioned.

“It’s kind of nerdy, but it’s been very helpful.”

At the tip of the course, Gallagher requested college students what they considered Netflix and Skill.

Gallagher mentioned she was shocked to see that college students loved the course and by how a lot they college students realized, in comparison with different assignments within the psychology division.

In specific, the scholars overwhelmingly mentioned “don’t get rid of this,” Gallagher mentioned.

Gallagher had an opportunity to current her findings, “If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em — From Netflix and Chill to Netflix and Skill,” on the forty sixth Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology, the place she acquired the Doug Bernstein Award.

The institute’s college decided Gallagher’s presentation to be probably the most humorous, artistic or authentic, or as making the strongest contribution to the instructing of introductory psychology.

Gallagher mentioned it was a “big surprise” to win the award, though she prides herself on discovering enjoyable and thrilling alternatives to succeed in her college students.

“I let the students create their final assignment, and I let the students sometimes recommend things to me, so it shows the students that they’re interested in it and gives them some ownership in the class,” Gallagher mentioned.

Both Long and Triskett beneficial future psychology college students give “Netflix and Skill” an opportunity, each because of the continued recognition of Netflix and different streaming companies and the course’s academic worth.

“My friends and my roommate were always very interested in these assignments, but the class in general really is a foundational psychology class,” Triskett mentioned.

“Dr. Gallagher does a great job finding ways to make people want to learn while covering so many different things.”

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or electronic mail him at [email protected].

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