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Course Materials

BYU Course Outcomes

  • Critically evaluate the development of language and communication in children.
  • Analyze basic theoretical and empirical issues and concepts associated with language acquisition.
  • Understand and discuss communicative development in infancy, semantic and syntactic development, language and literacy in the school years.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the difference between speech, language, and communication, and how human communication differs from that of animals.
  2. Compare the various theories that explain the development of language.
  3. Explain what takes place in the stages of language development from infancy throughout adulthood.
  4. Understand the anatomy and physiology of speech and why infant sign language can assist in the process of learning to speak.
  5. Discover the world of cultural and linguistic diversity and bilingualism.
  6. Gain a greater appreciation for speech and language as we discuss speech and language disorders.


Taking SFL 290 is not the only prerequisite for this course. You must be excited and ready to take on one of the most exhilarating educational experiences you will ever have. Be ready to take learning to a whole new level, be a co-creator in your education and love learning! The more you put into this course, the more you are going to get out of it (which happens to be pretty good advice for life in general☺).

Required Textbook

Hulit, L. M., & Howard, M. R. (2010). Born to Talk: An Introduction to Speech and Language Development (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

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Course Requirements

As you complete this course, you will complete quizzes, projects, language activities, a midcourse exam, and a final exam.

Chapter Quizzes

In order to assess your knowledge gained from the reading of each chapter, you complete a short (five- to ten-question) quiz. One helpful feature of my quizzes is that if you answer incorrectly, you will receive feedback as to what the correct answer is and why, so that it will help you better understand the material to help you prepare for the final exam. (Because of this, the course does not allow resubmissions for quizzes.)

Chapter Projects

This is the heart of the course. Nothing can compare to actual hands-on, experiential learning. After reading each chapter and taking the quiz, you will then be prepared to apply what you’ve learned by completing a “field project.” Each lesson gives you about five projects to choose from. You are to select one project to complete, or you may get clearance to complete an alternate project that you have come up with on your own by emailing me your idea (click the Tools menu, then click Course Email). When you select a project, you will complete its requirements, and then submit a one-page journal summary of your experience and what you learned from having completed it.

Formatting Your Written Assignments

To make sure that I can open and read your assignments and that all the formatting and images come through correctly, please save each chapter project as a Word .RTF file.

Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, SFL355_JaneSmith_Chapter1Assignment.rtf.

Submitting Your Chapter-project Assignments

Here’s how to submit your completed chapter-project assignments:

  1. Click the corresponding Chapter Project link in your course.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Attach the assignment's .RTF file by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file you wish to submit.
  4. When you have attached your file, click Submit.
  5. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  6. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

Language Activities

There are three language activities:

  • Infant Sign Language Activity: You will take an online tutorial on infant sign language and then complete the online quiz at the end to test your knowledge of basic ASL (American Sign Language) signs for infants. You will do this after lesson 4.
  • Mad Gab/Taboo Activity Report: You will play a game of Mad Gab or Taboo, then report about your experience, specifically drawing upon the analogy of you as a two-year-old trying to get your point across when holding the cards or how you felt as the “parent” when others were trying to get their point across and you had a difficult time trying to understand
  • MLU Activity: After listening to the dialogue between a child and his mother, you will transcribe the child’s dialogue then determine his  MLU (Mean Length of Utterance). You will do this after lesson 5.

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There will be two exams, a midcourse and a final. The midcourse exam covers the first half, and the final exam covers the second half—it is not comprehensive. The exams consist of approximately fifty multiple-choice, matching, and true/false questions. There is no time limit for the exams, but they are closed book and notes. The “Exam Preparation” sections give you a study guide to help you prepare for the exams; they cover all the pertinent information that is basic to the overall mastery of this course.

Please don’t stress about the exams. I want you to succeed in this course as much as you want to succeed. We’re all in this together—and I intend to help you every step of the way.

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Course Flow

Here is an outline of the lessons, readings, and assignments:

Lesson Title/Topic Reading Assignments
1 A Connection of Brains Chapter 1

Lesson 1 Quiz

Chapter 1 Project

2 Language Acquisition—A Theoretical Journey Chapter 2

Lesson 2 Quiz

Chapter 2 Project

3 Cognitive Development—Building a Foundation for Language Chapter 3

Lesson 3 Quiz

Chapter 3 Project

4 In the Beginning—Communication Development from Birth to Two Years/ Infant Sign Language Chapter 4

Lesson 4 Quiz

Infant Sign Language Activity

5 The Saga Continues—Language Development through the Preschool Years Chapter 5

Lesson 5 Morpheme Quiz

Mad Gab/Taboo Report

Chapter 5 Project

Midcourse Exam Chapters 1–5  
6 Taking Language to School and into Adulthood Chapter 6

Lesson 6 Quiz

Chapter 6 Project

7 The Anatomical and Physiological Basis of Speech, Language, and Hearing Appendix

Lesson 7 Basic Anatomy Quiz

Chapter 7 Project

8 The Building Blocks of Speech Chapter 7

Lesson 8 Quiz

MLU Activity

9 Language Diversity: Regional and Social/Cultural Differences Chapter 8

Lesson 9 Quiz

Chapter 8 Project

10 Speech and Language Disorders in the Home, School, and Community Chapter 9

Lesson 10 Quiz

Chapter 9 Project

Final Exam Chapters 6–10  

Assessment and Grading

Here is how to calculate your course grade:

10 Chapter Quizzes 10%
9 Chapter Projects 60%
3 Language Activities 16%
Midcourse Exam 7%
Final Exam 7%

Grade Scale

Your course grade will be calculated using these percentages:

A 95%–100% C 74%–76%
A- 90%–94% C- 70%–73%
B+ 87%–89% D+ 67%–69%
B 84%–86% D 64%–66%
B- 80%–83% D- 60%–63%
C+ 77%–79% E Below 60%

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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 or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at 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 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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