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Course Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this course is to increase students’ knowledge and comprehension of early child development. In this course we will examine some of the basic theoretical and empirical issues and concepts associated with development. Topics covered will include: prenatal development, sensory, motor, and cognitive development, as well as social-emotional development, and the effects of parenting and day care on early development. This course will emphasize the period of prenatal development up to about eight years of age.

BS in Psychology Program Objectives

Graduates will be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate more extensive knowledge and deeper understanding of the major core content areas of psychology at a depth that clearly exceeds the undergraduate level.
  2. Demonstrate technical sophistication related to their self-selected area of scholarly specialty by using laboratory apparatus, software applications, survey instruments, etc.
  3. Design, produce, analyze, and report original research that contributes to their self-selected area of scholarly specialty.
  4. Weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as an academic and professional discipline. In particular, they should be able to critically reflect on these values in light of their knowledge of and commitment to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and to sustain personal values that are true to the gospel while maintaining their scholarly study of psychology.

University Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will describe current theories and research in human development from pre-natal development through late childhood, demonstrating an understanding of developmental processes that lead to normative development, including perceptual, cognitive, biological, genetic, and social domains, as well as factors that lead to psychopathology and mental illness.
  2. Students will assess and critique a key issue in a group format presented to the class.
  3. Students will assess critical issues in early childhood development, integrating current research studies on topics in developmental psychology.

Course Materials

Siegler, R., DeLoache, J., & Eisenberg, N. (2011). How Children Develop. 3rd ed. Worth, New York, NY.

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General Course Design

There are four basic instructional activities:

The lectures and readings are designed to convey the conceptual and logical foundations associated with developing an understanding of developmental psychology.

Lessons divide chapters roughly in half. Thus there are two audio lectures per chapter (each audio lecture is about 20–30 minutes) and the readings represent roughly the first and second half of each chapter.


Don’t you just love papers! OK. The goal of the papers is to give me a chance to read what you, individually, think of the assigned reading and associated questions. The purpose of the papers is to assess your proficiency with college-level writing.


Each of the four paper assignments has three or four associated chapters, and three questions for you to choose from. For each assignment, you are to pick and answer any two questions from the list. You are to complete three of the four paper assignments.

Written Assignment Prompts for Chapters 1–3

Written Assignment Prompts for Chapters 4–6

Written Assignment Prompts for Chapters 7–9

Written Assignment Prompts for Chapters 10–13


Each paper is to be about four typed pages, about two pages per question (length is not so much an issue as is what you say and how you say it). In essence, quality of content counts more than volume. In each paper, I want you to answer each question to the best of your ability in a concise manner—using the text and outside sources when possible. Again, quality counts more than quantity—and I do not have a preference for double or single spacing.

Grading Criteria

Each written assignment is worth 100 points. There are three unequal content elements that I assess in reading each written assignment.

Here’s how the point totals break down for each written assignment:

Content This includes your understanding of the question Question 1 = 25 points
Question 2 = 25 points
Discussion and Application This includes your ability to think about the paper in terms of what it adds, and its implications. It also includes how you use examples from the paper in making your point(s) Question 1 = 15 points
Question 2 = 15 points
Logic and Flow In essence, I ask myself, “How well written is your assignment?” Question 1 = 10 points
Question 2 = 10 points
Total: 100 points

Formatting Your Written Work

To make sure I can open and read your papers, please save them as Word .DOC or .DOCX files.

Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, PSYCH320_JaneSmith_Assignment1.docx.

Submitting Written Assignments

Remember that you must complete only three (3) of the four possible written assignments. You’ll see three Written Assignment Submission links right after this syllabus. When you’re ready to turn in your first assignment, submit it through the appropriate link.

For example, if you decide to skip the prompts for chapters 1–3 and write your first paper on two of the prompts for chapters 4–6, you turn that paper in as your First Written Assignment. That’s because it’s the first written assignment you’ve done, not because it is from chapters 1–3.

To submit your assignments,

  1. Click the First, Second, or Third Written Assignment Submission link for the paper, then click Open.
  2. Attach the assignment file by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file you wish to submit.
  3. When you have attached your assignment file, click Submit.
  4. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  5. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

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There will be four major course examinations. The exams are not comprehensive; however, they do build upon those concepts previously covered. Each exam includes 20 multiple-choice items per chapter covered.

Each exam will be scored as a percent correct—the three exams with the highest percent correct will be averaged and that will become your overall exam grade. (That means I’ll drop your lowest exam score.)

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Here is the percentage breakdown for all papers and exams:

3 Exams 70%
3 Written Assignments 30%

Grade Scale

Your course grade will be based on the following percentages:

A 100%-90%
A- 89%-88%
B+ 87%-84%
B 83%-80%
B- 79%-78%
C+ 77%-74%
C 73%-70%
C- 69%-68%
D+ 67%-64%
D 63%-60%
D- 59%-58%
E 57%-0%

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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