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BYU Course Outcomes

  1. Interact with older adults (parents, grandparents, neighbors, ward members, research participants, clients, etc.) in an informed (accurate knowledge of relevant issues) and sensitive (aware of “life course” perspective) manner.
  2. Apply complex interactions of gerontology concepts to real-life situations, including current issues in local, national, and world communities.
  3. Understand and articulate basic age-related biological, psychological, and sociological processes and learn how to access and evaluate information about those age-related experiences.
  4. Synthesize course concepts through observing, serving, and interacting with older adults in the community.

Course Learning Outcomes

When you successfully complete this course, you will be able to

  1. Explain recent demographic trends that have dramatically increased the proportion of older adults in our society.
  2. Describe the physical changes that occur during the course of adulthood.
  3. Describe changes in memory, intelligence, personality, and mental health during the course of adulthood.
  4. Discuss changes in family relationships during the course of adulthood, including marriage, parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, and grandparenting.

Course Materials

The textbook for this course is Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2015), Adult Development and Aging. 7th edition. Belmont CA: Wadsworth.

Course Structure

This course includes 15 lessons divided into three sections.

The first section serves as an introduction and background to the course. It provides information about why we should study gerontology. It also gives an overview of physical changes that occur to us in adulthood, as well as common health issues in mid- and later life.

The second section of the course addresses psychological changes in adulthood. We discuss environmental issues, memory, intelligence, personality, mental health, work and retirement, and death and dying. Yikes! Are we really going to talk about death and dying in this course? Yes we will, and I think you’ll find it to be an interesting and insightful discussion that will reduce some of the anxiety that you may feel towards the dying process.

The final section of the course focuses on family relationships in adulthood. In this section, we examine marital relationships, adult child-parent relationships, caregiving, sibling relationships, and grandparenting.

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An important part of my philosophy of teaching is that I really want my students to learn the material included in the course. So, while I hope that you get a good grade in the course, my focus is on you learning important concepts and principles regarding adult development and aging.

Self-Check Exercises

As you study each lesson you’ll encounter self check exercises. These are open-note and open-book exercises to help you review the material and make sure you understand it. They do not count toward your course grade. After you submit the self check, my responses will appear under the answer choices as feedback. You may take each self check as many times as you wish.

Lesson Quizzes

At the end of each lesson are quizzes. These are quizzes that assess your mastery of the material in that lesson. One helpful feature of the quizzes is that if you give a wrong answer, you will receive feedback that will help you better learn the material so that you will correctly answer the questions on the midcourse and final exams.

Instructor-Graded Assignments

You will also complete two written, instructor-graded assignments. I hope that both of them are enjoyable and interesting experiences for you and that they will help you integrate the concepts and principles about adult development and aging.

Note: You will turn in both of these assignments at the end of the course, before the final exam.

Movie Write-Up

For the first assignment, I would like you to watch a movie with a plot that includes issues of aging. You can choose any movie you would like, as long as it includes an aging theme. Classic examples would include On Golden Pond, Cocoon, The Notebook, and Grumpy Old Men. There are probably more recent movies that would be appropriate, so you’re welcome to choose any movie that you would like.

After you watch the movie, write a two-page paper that applies gerontological concepts and principles to the movie. The first two paragraphs of the paper should include a brief summary of the movie, and then the rest of the paper, probably four or five paragraphs, should include the application and integration of two gerontology concepts or principles to the movie. Go into some detail as you describe the two concepts and show how they are illustrated in the movie.

The paper should be double spaced in 12-point font, with 1-inch margins. Be sure to include the title of the movie! To be consistent with the purpose of this assignment, I will primarily evaluate your paper based on your ability to accurately and thoughtfully apply the two gerontology concepts to the story in the movie. I will also grade your paper for style, including good paragraphs and writing mechanics.

Volunteering Experience

The purpose of the volunteer experience is to provide a valuable service while interacting with older adults in the community. The assignment is to volunteer at least ten hours at a facility for older adults, such as a nursing home, assisted-living facility, local senior center, or hospice agency.

First, you will need to contact a facility or agency where older adults live or frequently meet. You will need to explain that you would like to volunteer for approximately 10 hours over the next few months, and that you need to be working directly with older adults. (Simply doing clerical and office work doesn’t count, because you wouldn’t be interacting with and learning from older adults.) Every agency or facility that I have ever interacted with is pleased to have good people serve as volunteers, so it is easy to find a place to volunteer.

The second part of the assignment is to write journal entries for each visit that you make. You should have one full page for every three hours of service-learning time (single spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins). So, at the end of the experience, you should have a little over 3 pages of journal entries. Journal entries should include a description of what you did that day and an application of concepts and principles from this course.

Because these are journal entries, I will not grade you on your writing style. I will primarily grade you on whether or not you actually volunteered 10 hours and thought about your experiences. (You are on the honor system!) I want the volunteer experience to be the focus of this assignment, but I will also evaluate your journals concerning your ability to apply gerontological concepts and principles to your experiences.

Submitting Written Assignments

You will submit each completed assignment electronically. To make sure that I can open and read your assignments, please save each one as a Word document (.DOC or .DOCX) file. I’m looking forward to seeing your work.

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This course includes a midcourse exam and a final exam. My philosophy of teaching has a big influence on how I give exams. I believe that if you are exposed to the material more than once, you will be able to transfer information from short-term memory to long-term memory, which means that you will actually remember it for an indefinite period of time. To me, that is what learning is all about. So I create my exams using the redundancy principle. The midcourse exam and final exam include questions that come verbatim from the quizzes. Consequently, it will be the second time that you see these questions, which I hope will help you remember the content of the questions. The final exam is comprehensive, covering material from the entire course. However, using the redundancy principle, the comprehensive parts of the final exam, meaning questions that are covered in the midcourse exam, come verbatim from the midcourse exam. So it will be the third time that you see questions from the early part of the course.

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Your grade is based on your performance on the lesson quizzes at the end of each lesson, the two instructor-graded assignments, the midcourse exam, and the final exam. Here are the point values for the course requirements:

Lesson Quizzes (15) 42%
Midcourse Exam 16%
Movie Write-Up 8%
Volunteer Experience 10%
Final Exam 24%
Total 100%

Grade Scale

Your letter grade comes from this scale:

A 100–94%
A− 93–90%
B+ 89–87%
B 86–84%
B− 83–80%
C+ 79–77%
C 76–74%
C− 73–70%
D+ 69–67%
D 66–64%
D− 63–60%
E (fail) 59% or below

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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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