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PSYC 223 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PSYC 223 - Psychology of Aging

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course focuses on current research associated with aging by exploring recent changes in demography and subsequent individual behavior. Emphasis is on positive aging which explores the psychological factors, individual traits, and social and community resources integral to living and functioning optimally in old age. 

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe recent changes in population demographics as they relate to older people.
  2. Recognize how to improve the process of aging well.
  3. Identify how societal attitudes toward old age have changed.
  4. Explore current problems of aging.
  5. Identify changes that have occurred in retirement and the impact on individual behavior.
  6. Identify the different living options open to older people.
  7. Understand the concept of positive psychology and positive aging.
  8. Identify the role coping plays in successful aging.
  9. Understand the application of trait theory to successful aging
  10. Explore age related declines across the developmental spectrum and determine strategies to mitigate the declines.
  11. Review assessment tools for determining physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning.
  12. Explore strategies for resisting maladaptive mechanisms.
  13. Discuss the fundamental changes that are occurring in the how we die. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:
  1. The Phenomenon of Aging
  2. The Quality of Later Life
  3. Societal Attitudes Toward Old Age
  4. Problems and Potentials of Aging
  5. Retirement
  6. Living Environment in Later Life
  7. Positive Aging
  8. Positive Coping
  9. Barriers to Successful Aging
  10. Age Related Decline
  11. Assessment Strategies and Instruments 
  12. Strategies for Resisting Maladaptive Mechanisms
  13. The Experience of Dying
Specific Course Requirements:

You must be knowledgeable in the use of the Internet and related browsers, Microsoft Word for word processing, Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing reading assignments, the online course dropbox for any extra credit opportunities, the quiz function for taking tests, the discussion tool for participating in required discussions, and Real Player, QuickTime or Media Player for viewing/listening to assigned videos/audios. It is your responsibility to ensure your service provider is capable of allowing adequate connections and connection time in order to complete and submit tests and assignments and to participate in discussion boards. 

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:

The instructor may assign or you may research supplementary reference and learning 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:

Testing, Research, and Discussion Requirements:
GETTING STARTED: In order to get started in the course, you will be required to complete several introductory tasks within the first week of the course. First, you will need to read the syllabus thoroughly. 

When reading the syllabus, you should take notes about any questions, issues, or concerns you might have and email them via the online course to the instructor for clarification.

Afterwards, you must send the instructor an email via the online course stating you have read and understand all of the course requirements. Next, you will want to familiarize yourself with the course tools and to inform the instructor about any difficulties you might experience in using these tools. Finally, you will post a message to the Introduction section of the discussion board. In the message, you will tell a little about yourself, your education, your previous experiences with online learning, and the reasons you are taking the course. Your completion of these tasks will not be assigned points but will be required to participate in the course.

TESTS: You will be required to complete five tests through the assessment/quiz tool. You will be allowed three hours for each test. Tests will be available for a one week period—if you fail to take the test during this period, you will receive a score of 0. In order to take tests, you will go to Assessments and click on the name of the test. Information and instructions for the test will be displayed to the right.

Tests will include a combination of objective questions such as multiple choice or true/false and subjective essay-type questions. Test questions will require you to critically evaluate information from your textbook readings and any other assigned materials for each module. Essay questions must be answered thoroughly and written in paragraph form with full sentences. Tests will be worth a possible 100 points each.

NOTE: You should not postpone completing textbook readings and other assignments until the time of the test. The tests will require an understanding beyond trying to look up answers. It is recommended you use the learning objectives and key terms for each module as a guide as you complete reading, viewing, and listening assignments and prepare for tests.

DISCUSSIONS: Following the Introduction discussion, you will be required to participate in five graded discussion board sessions. The first four discussion topics will reflect required assignments. The discussion topics will reflect the current assignments. In the fifth discussion session, you will share an overview/synopsis of your research paper with your classmates. Participation in each discussion session will be worth a possible 20 points. In order to be eligible for full credit on discussions, you will be required to participate by posting, reading, and responding during the time period designated by the instructor. Your failure to participate in the discussion board during the designated time period will result in 0 points for that discussion session.

Evaluation of your discussion participation will be based on: posting an answer that demonstrates your understanding of assignments and ability to think critically; reading all other postings (as indicated by the system tracking mechanism); and replying to at least two other postings (replies should go well beyond "I agree" or "I disagree" --in short, you should explain all responses). It should go without saying that you are expected to be considerate and respectful at all times--inconsiderate and disrespectful participation will not be tolerated by the instructor.

In order to post in assigned discussions, you will go to discussions, click on the name of the discussion, add message, and then submit when you have completed your message/post. In order to respond to a posting, use Reply.

RESEARCH PAPER: You will be required to complete a five page research paper pertaining to an approved topic on aging. In the process of writing the paper, you will be required to submit three assignments before submitting the final paper.

First, you will choose and submit a topic to the instructor for approval via the online course dropbox during the first module. Your instructor will work with you to refine your topic.

Second, you will begin research for your paper and submit a tentative list of references to the instructor via the online course dropbox during the second module. Your paper requires at least three resources and at least one must be an article from a professional refereed journal (professional refereed journals contain articles that have been reviewed and critiqued by professional peers before they are published).

The textbook and other assigned materials may be used but will not count toward the three required resources. The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed to complete the research paper are available through the library. Your instructor will provide feedback and guidance about the appropriateness of references and resources.

Third, you will construct and submit a working outline to the instructor via the online course dropbox during the third module. Your instructor will provide feedback on the structure and organization of the outline.

The completed final paper will be typed (5 full pages of text not including cover and works cited pages, double-spaced, 12-pt font) using Microsoft Word and MLA or APA style references and submitted to the instructor via the online course dropbox. The final paper will be due on a published date prior to the fourth and final test. Late submission of your research paper will result in a 10 point penalty for each calendar day it is late. The research paper will be worth a possible 100 points.

In order to submit assignments, you will go to Dropbox and use the following instructions:
To submit the assignment, click on the Browse... button and select the file that you want to upload. Enter a brief Description of the file. There is a limit of 650 characters, including spaces.
To complete your submission, click on the Upload button.
To see a listing of the files that you have submitted, click on the History button. 

Grading Procedures:

Your progress in this course will evaluated as follows:

  • Five (5) tests worth 100 possible points each or 500 possible points total
  • Five (5) discussion sessions worth 20 possible points each or 100 possible points total
  • One (1) research paper worth 100 possible points 
Grading Scale:
GradePointsPercentage Scale
FLess than 451Below 65%


Assignments and Projects:

Getting Started Assignments Email Instructor any questions about syllabus or requirements Email Instructor that you read and understood the syllabus and course requirements Participate in the Introduction Discussion 

2The Phenomenon of Aging

Module I Reading, Web, and Video Assignments Discussion #1 

3The Quality of Later Life

Module I Reading, Web, and Video Assignments (continued)

Test #1 

4Societal Attitudes Toward Old Age

Module II Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments Discussion #2

Research Paper Topic 

5Problems of Aging

Module II Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) 

Test #2 


Module III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments 

7Living Environment in Later Life

Module III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued)

Discussion #3

Research Paper References 

8Positive Aging and Coping

Module III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued)

Test #3 

9Barriers to Successful Aging

Module IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments 

10Age Related Decline

Module IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued)

Research Paper Outline 

11Assessment Strategies and Instruments

Module IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued)

Discussion #4 

12Strategies for Resisting Maladaptive Mechanisms

Module IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued)

Test #4 

13The Experience of Dying

Module V Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments

Research Paper

Discussion #5 

14The Experience of Dying

Test #5 


Class Participation:

Instruction in this course will be conducted in an independent manner. You are responsible for any readings, audios/videos, tests, discussions, written assignments, papers, or other materials as assigned by the instructor. Timely submission of required work is essential for success in this course. You, not the instructor, are responsible for ensuring that work is submitted on the assigned dates and that regular communication with the instructor is accomplished. Due to the independent nature of this course, you must be responsible for checking course announcements frequently and for requesting help when you need it. Thus, you are encouraged to contact the instructor as often as needed via email, telephone, or any other manner deemed appropriate by the instructor. Furthermore, you are encouraged to interact with other students, taking into careful consideration the parameters of academic dishonesty, as this is considered a valuable component of the learning process. A "General" discussion board will be provided for you to interact casually or to discuss course issues, i.e., readings, assignments, study tips, questions to the instructor that might benefit others in the class. 

Late Policy:

TESTS: You must complete and submit tests by the due dates as established by the instructor. Submission of tests past the due date will not be accepted under any circumstances and a grade of 0 will assessed for the test.

DISCUSSIONS: You must participate in discussions within the time period established by the instructor. Participation includes posting, reading other posts, and responding to peers. Your failure to participate in the discussion board during the designated time period will result in 0 points for that discussion session.

RESEARCH PAPER: You must submit your research paper on the due date as established by the instructor. Late submission of your research paper will result in a ten (10) point penalty for each calendar day it is late. 

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