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Information for Instructors

Instructor accounts are for anyone teaching 100, 200, or 300-level PSYC or HD classes who would like their students to be able to earn extra credit for their class by participating in research studies in SONA.

Getting an instructor account

Send an email with the following information to sona-admin@csusb.edu

  1. First and last name
  2. Coyote email address
  3. Classes you are teaching to which you would like students to be able to assign credit (Course number, name, and time/date)
  4. Send your syllabus that includes your SONA extra credit policy to the psychology department chair. The chair will review the policy to ensure that it is compliant with IRB requirements. This is only necessary the first time you list a class in SONA. Going forward the department chair will spot-check previously approved policies to ensure they are still compliant.

After you have done this once you do not need to do it again each semester. The SONA Admin should automatically list your classes each term after this. Pay attention to the beginning of semester email that is sent out when the course list is built in SONA. You should log in then and check each term to make sure your courses are listed correctly. Contact the SONA Admin if any changes need to be made.

Guidelines for SONA extra credit in your class

We recommend that students are able to earn extra credit via SONA equivalent to no more than 3% of their total grade in a class. Students earn 0.5 SONA credits for participating in a 15-minute online study and 2.5 SONA credits for participating in a 15-minute in-person study. They earn an additional 0.5 credits for each additional 15 minutes any given study takes. Your course report will show you the total number of credits that a student has assigned to your class. You should communicate to students in your syllabus exactly how those credits will translate to points or extra credit in your class.

In order to not coerce students into completing research, extra credit for research cannot be offered unless an alternative extra credit option is also included. For example, for students who wish to earn extra credit but not complete research, they could be offered the chance to select one empirical article related to a topic discussed in class and write a summary of that research to receive 3 units of credit. Again, if you offer SONA as an extra credit option, you are required by law to offer an alternative method of earning extra credit as well.

Suggested syllabus statements

Basic statement:

“You have the opportunity to earn _____ extra credit points in this course by participating in approved psychology research. Your participation in these studies is voluntary. Studies are posted on the psychology participant SONA website which you can access from the department website (go to the Psychology Department website, chose “Research” then “Research Management and Scheduling System (SONA)” from the left-side navigation menu. Select “Information for Participants”). Because research participation is voluntary, you can chose to do the alternative option to earn extra credit. This option entails…”

Scientific honesty statement (to encourage students to participate in research studies in good faith, should they choose to participate):

“It is unethical to participate in research without being truthful in your responses or truly engaged. The results from students’ involvement in psychological research are published in scientific journals, reported in the media, and printed in textbooks. Misrepresentation of your beliefs, thoughts, or behaviors, whether purposeful or due to indifference is dishonest and contributes to bad science and public misconceptions of human experience.”

Generating course reports

Once your course is properly listed in SONA at the beginning of the term, there is nothing you need to do until finals week. You will receive an email from the SONA Admin when your Course Reports are available for download (usually after 5pm the Friday of finals week). The course report will show the students in each of your class who earned extra credit for each class, and how much credit they earned.

Follow these steps to obtain your course reports:

  1. Sign on to your SONA Instructor’s account
  2. Select either the “Course Reports” heading or “Generate course credit reports.” Both take you to the same page listing your classes.
  3. You will see each of your courses listed. Select “All participants (Students)” for a particular class to see the students who have assigned credit to that class.
  4. You will be brought to a page that shows the student’s credit information. Scroll to the bottom of that page to either “Display this report in a printer-friendly layout,” or to “Download this Report in CSV format.” The CSV format is useful for transferring information into an existing grade spreadsheet. 

Do not download credit reports before you get the go-ahead via email from the SONA Admin. Students are allowed to move credits from class to class until Friday of finals week. If you download early, a student could “double-dip” and have their credit count for multiple classes, or they might not have had the chance to assign credit to a class and their credit won’t get counted.

Credit reports are available until grades are due. The SONA Admin then deletes that semester's information from the system. If you need a credit report after grades are due contact the SONA Admin.