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ASTL 5703/6703/7703 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ASTL 5703/6703/7703 - Knowledge of the Learner

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course emphasizes an understanding of the important methods, terms, theories, and findings in the field of developmental psychology. The primary focus of this course is the cognitive, socio-emotional and physical changes associated with child and adolescent development. This course will focus on an understanding of the growth and development of learners and an understanding of how student diversity interacts with the learning process. Special emphasis is placed on the science of individual human development. Infant development is covered briefly to provide an understanding of the sequential and hierarchical nature of development. Majority of assignments will deal with children in the kindergarten to eighth grade. Early childhood and teen assignments will be included to understand the precursors and after effects of childhood and middle childhood. This course is organized in a modular format, exploring basic theories and tracing development across the pre-adult years.

Course Outcomes:

Students should engage in active student centered learning which should lead to the mastery over:

  • the basic facts and research findings, terminology, principles, and theories important in the various areas of developmental psychology.
  • a basic understanding skills, and techniques for analyzing human behavior.
  • a basic understanding of the interaction between genetic and environmental influences on human development.
  • a basic understanding of cognitive and social development across the childhood and adolescence.
  • a basic understanding of family, school and work achievement, and death and dying as they apply to child and adolescent development
  • a basic knowledge of learning and child development theories and their impact on students as intellectual, social, emotional, cultural, and literate beings. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Teacher certification and admission to the TN eCampus M.Ed. program or departmental permission.

Course Topics:


  • Introduction to child development
  • Theoretical perspectives and research
  • Genetics and pre-natal development
  • Birth and the newborn infant


  • Physical development
  • Cognitive development
  • Social and personality development

Pre-school years:

  • Physical development
  • Cognitive development
  • Social and personality development

Middle Childhood:

  • Physical development 
  • Cognitive development
  • Social and personality development


  • Physical development
  • Cognitive development
  • Social and personality development 
Specific Course Requirements:

The student must have a basic knowledge of computers, the Internet, and email. The student's computer must have Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat reader. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

The course is divided into five two-week modules. Students will have to take a timed online quiz for each module, and answer several essay questions and assignments which will not be timed. The students can take the quiz and submit the essay answers anytime during the two weeks, but must have completed both by midnight of the Saturday of the second week of the module. 

Grading Procedures:

The grade for the course will be based on quiz scores, evaluation of assignments and essay answers, and discussion participation.

There will be five module discussion topics to which students will have to make weekly posts, each of these lasting two weeks. Grading of the discussion participation will be based on the quality and quantity of posts, and the frequency of reading the posts of others.

No one part of the course will constitute a large portion of the final grade, but work must consistently be done in a conscientious and accomplished manner in order for the student to receive an A or a B.

The chat room is to be used for students to receive help and clarification from the instructor, and to discuss assignments and projects with other students. It is not a part of the course that is required or graded. 

Grading Scale:

Grading: Quizzes 40%, Essay Questions and Assignments 45%, Discussion Participation 15% 



Assignments and Projects:
  1. There will be reading assignments from the text book, attached or online articles, and instructor remarks for each module. These readings will be covered in the quizzes and questions described below.
  2. Students will have to take an online timed short answer quiz for each module.
  3. Students will have to answer several essay questions in a couple of paragraphs for each module.
  4. There will be several exercises or projects for each module. These will be fairly short. The students will make written reports of the results of these projects.
  5. After the completion of each module the student will be required to complete a short evaluation. 
Class Participation:

Students will have to actively participate in 5 module discussions, each lasting 2 weeks. Students are expected to check their email regularly for announcements. 

Late Policy:

I do not have long term assignments or exams that cover a long period of time. This is because I want continual, regular, and active participation in the course, just as one would have if one was going to class on a regular basis. Thus, students must submit essay answers and project reports and take online quizzes by the end of each module. These are all due by midnight of the last Friday of each module. Students will be allowed extra time for assignments if they have a legitimate reason for needing extra time. Legitimate excuses are things such as illness or a death in the family. Job responsibilities, vacations, weddings, other courses, and so forth are not legitimate excuses. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 16, 2017