Course: Child Health and Development

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Assignments

Assigments

» 1. Discussion Group Leadership and participation (24%):

Nearly a quarter of each student's grade will be given to the completion of the readings and participation in the discussion groups. There are 3 discussion sessions throughout the term. The on-campus group will be subdivided into groups for discussion; for those taking the course online, there will be one group. Either way, for each discussion session there will be a group leader (students . . . that's you). To prepare for the discussion sessions, ALL students will be required to complete all the readings leading up to the discussion session. Students will be asked to develop three cross-cutting discussion questions that draw on the readings and that, if called upon, would be used to lead off the conversation. Students will be asked to submit those discussion questions on the evening before the day that the discussion will be held. Each of the three discussion questions generated will be worth two points and will be graded assessing the depth of the student's understanding of the readings and the quality of the questions generated. This part of the assignment is worth 18% of the student's grade.

At the start of each discussion session, a name will be drawn at random for each of the discussion groups, and that student will be asked to be the group leader for the day. In each of the on-campus discussion groups, there will be either the faculty or the course TA; and we will serve as resource people as well as evaluators assessing the preparation of the small group leaders and the quality of participation of each student in the discussion. Each session will be worth 2% of each student's grade; thus, missing one session will result in a 2% reduction in a grade if the absence is unapproved. Thus, this part of the course is worth 6% of each student's grade.

» 2. Letter to the Editor (26%)

Every day there are articles in the news about early child development (see, for example, the recent front page articles on the fetal origins of adult disease). Often the press reports are based on peer reviewed journal articles; and often they are written in such a way as to grab the reader's attention but misrepresent the true findings. This assignment asks that each student identify a popular press report in the print media, go to the original peer-reviewed journal, and write a letter to the editor critiquing the article. The letter to the editor should be no more than 200 words.

» 3. Research Brief (40%): 

Students must write a research brief on a key child health or development issue of public health significance.  (e.g. executive functioning, toxic environment, maternal depression, etc.)  and

    1. Research the topic, reading and citing a minimum of 12-15 peer reviewed articles on the topic (not web-sites).
    2. Write a research brief (guidelines provided) that should be between 1500-2000 words aimed at policy makers that contain the following:
      1. Scope of the Problem: Define the topic or issue area. Give current prevalence figures, other epidemiological data that helps convey the importance of the issue.
      2. Who does this problem affect? Describe what is known about which children/families are at greatest risk.
      3. What is the state of the science? Select several high quality studies to highlight. Summarize their key findings, basic methods, and limitations.
      4. Public Health Significance: What are the implications of this research for policy makers, practitioners, or the public?
      5. Unanswered Questions: What do we still need to know to effectively address this issue?
      6. References (not counted in word count

» 4. Presentation of Research Briefs (10%)

Each student will have the opportunity to give a 3-5 minute verbal presentation of their Research Brief using powerpoint and/or any other visual aids they choose.  The presentation should convey the key elements of the Research Brief described above.  Students will have 2 minutes to make their main points, 1 minute to summarize their recommendations, and 1-2 minutes for questions.