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PSY 215 Adulthood & Aging Spring Online 2013  



Tracy Dranchak                                Phone: (570) 241-2031


Phone: 504-7957           



Room 135 Seeley Hall       


Office Hours

Monday - Friday                  

9:00-3:00 or by appointment        





I consider this syllabus to be a contract between the instructor and the student.  I strongly

advise all students to read their “Student Handbook” to become familiar with the

policies of this college.

Anyone who breaches any of these policies will be dismissed from this class and not be allowed to return.



The aging population faces different challenges. These include issues in health, income, social relationships, crime and neglect.  These issues will be covered in this course and I will expect all students to have some opinion on each topic.  Be prepared for discussions as well as learning from the text.


Cavanaugh, John C. and Fredda Blanchard-Fields. Adult Development and Aging, 6th Edition.  Wadsworth*Thomson Learning, 2011.

All students are required to have a text for this course.  If you do not have a text, do not take the course.



This course provides an inter-disciplinary approach to its topics and considers the stigma of old age, the psychological problems of aging, the significance of individual differences in facing these problems, financial and legal strategies for surviving in old age, and the care and institutionalization of the elderly.

The health care debate that has been constant brings many issues to the forefront, including Medicare, end-of-life issues, and longevity. The United States will experience an explosive growth in the older adult population due to the aging of the baby-boom population.  We will need to understand older adults in order to master the art of living.



The objectives of this course are for students to have:

The ability to critically think and apply their knowledge of aging to today’s society

The ability to understand the meaning of aging

The ability to study aging from many perspectives: emotional, physiological, economic, social, cognitive, financial and philosophical

The ability to understand the positive and negative stereotypes of the elderly

The ability to understand the nature of how younger adults view older adults because those attitudes will impact intergenerational relationships



 Some broad skills you should have after taking this course are to be able to:

~ Define the study of gerontology and to understand many aspects of the aging   process

~ Explain the person-environment approach to aging

~ Understand mental health and mental disorders of the adult

~ Understand the life-span perspective

~ Address the impact on society of the increasing adult populations that are living longer

~ Understand the ways in which social systems impact an individual’s long life, now and in the future



All students are required to have knowledge on use of the portal. Be sure to have your user ID and password.

Studies on learning clearly demonstrate that passive learning (sitting in your seat and listening to a lecture) is the least productive way to learn. The more active you are in the learning, the more you will learn and remember. The process will include:

Complete chapter homework (readings etc.)

Overview of key chapter questions.

A final paper is required. Details for this assignment will be discussed.




There will be one GROUP assignment worth 100 points. Students will work in groups of three or four (no more than four) and each group will cover any area in this course that they find interesting.  All members of the group must participate, but I will leave the sharing of the assignments up to each individual group.  You will be graded on content


This assignment is also worth 100points.  For this assignment you will interview a senior citizen and discuss some of the areas that are found in your text.  Some of the areas you can discuss with them can be health issues, money issues, living arrangements, or perhaps how things have changed for them over the years.  If you do not know a senior citizen, I will make arrangements for you to visit an area nursing home to talk to a resident regarding some of these issues.  This paper and interview will help you to realize some of the issues that senior citizens face with the aging process.

Your paper will be 3-4-pages in length.  You will not identify the person you are interviewing by name to protect their privacy.  You can address this person(s) as Mr. X or Mrs. Y or Miss J.  Everyone has the right to privacy so we will respect this issue.

If you have any questions regarding this assignment feel free to discuss them with me.

You can see under assignments when this paper is due

The paper grade will be based on the following criteria:






Start with questions that you would ask as it pertains to the text.




Writing: paraphrasing, active voice, clear & specific writing, spelling, grammar.




Referencing in text and reference page: attribute the source of your information properly in your paper if you refer to any material other than the person you are interviewing.  Be sure you make it very clear where your information is coming from.




Format: font, margins, title page, reference pages, etc. all conform to directions.











I expect students to participate. You need to keep up with the reading and be prepared for each discussion.



Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online classes as well. This pertains to online classes as well. Attendance is tracked by instructors, so be sure to log on and adhere to the following:

The online classroom is just like your traditional classroom in many ways. Moreover, this includes engaging in discussions!

Discussion greatly enhances your learning experience because it enables you to examine multiple, diverse perspectives by which to compare your own; it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and clarify your understanding of a topic; and it supplements your weekly learning and assignments to strengthen your new knowledge. Additionally, your confidence builds when classmates react positively to your great ideas!

In order to benefit from discussions, there must be consistent interaction. Therefore, you are required to post. Please refer to the portal, under discussions and instructor guidance weekly.


Since our week starts on Monday’s and ends on Sunday’s, initial posts are due by Wednesday each week. Your responses are due by Saturday.



Deadlines for initial and peer replies: Initial posts are expected by the end of the day on Wednesday each week (Two of these). Partial credit with late deductions will not be given for late posts. So, ensure your posts are submitted in a timely manner. This is also the case for peer replies; replies to your classmates need to be submitted by the end of the learning week for the given discussion (Saturday’s) You will need three responses to classmates for each question (Six total Weekly). Each week you should have a total of eight posts. I definitely understand that everyone has his or her own time restrictions and other priorities. At the same time, keep in mind that everyone's presence is a potentially notably meaningful part of this experience. This includes you. Where at all possible, I encourage you to take part in our discussions throughout the week. This will enrich your experience and the learning experience of others. Early and frequent participation is especially important. At times, and I encourage, your peers will ask a question in response to your post, PLEASE don’t leave a question hanging, answer your classmates the best you can.

You must have a substantive post in response to each of my discussion questions weekly. You MUST respond to three different classmates for each discussion question weekly. Post on four separate days for a total of 8 posts per week minimum. I encourage you to critically think about the course material and ensure your posts reflect an integration of course material with your personal perspective. Though the focus here is far more on the quality of content rather than actual length of posts, initial posts should be between 200 and 300 words (unless otherwise stated in the discussion assignment) and follow-up posts should be between 100 and 200 words.



A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Counseling Office, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student should stop attending or never attend an enrolled class or classes without officially withdrawing prior to the last day to withdraw without academic penalty, the student will receive a grade of F* (Failure) in these courses. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.

Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy.



Grades are non-negotiable.  Do not phone or e-mail me at the end of the semester and ask for a grade change.  You grade will reflect exactly what you have earned. Don’t ask! I DO NOT give make-up exam or quizzes. All assignments must be completed and turned in on time. ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE POSTED, PLAN ACCORDINGLY.


Group paper                     100points

Interview Paper                100points

MIDTERM                            100points

Final Exam                          100points

Written Assignment #1     100points

Written Assignment #2     100points

Written Assignment #3     100points

DISCUSSIONS                      280points

Syllabus Quiz                        15points

Scavenger Hunt Quiz            5points

TOTAL                            1000points


I DO NOT give you your grades, you earn them.  Please do not come to me before final grades are due and ask for extra credit assignments.  This would not be fair to those who attended classes and did well on their exams.  If you are having difficulty, see me before the end of the semester.  .


Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Quality Points


96 – 100



90 – 95



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66



0 – 59







Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well. Please see the Student Handbook for a complete explanation.

The following are among the forms of dishonesty for which sanctions may be applied:

Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted;

Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers;

Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination;

Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently;

Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment;

Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else;

Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved;

Stealing examinations or assignments;

Supplying or selling examinations or assignments;

Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted;

Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results;

Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.



Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution.  Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs.  Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab.  If you feel that

             you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Ms.

 Deborah Hartzell in the academic development office to discuss your options.



Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities or employment practices based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership or any other legally protected classification.  Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State law, including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and with Federal law, including Titles VI and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination  Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Inquiries should be directed to Anita Cola, Affirmative Action Officer, at (570) 961-7815 or OR Dan LaMagna, Affirmative Action Officer, at (570) 504-1579 or 





Throughout the course, each student should keep a record of his/her grades so you should have a very good idea of how you are doing.  I DO NOT change any grades unless I have made a mathematical error; you get exactly what you earn so do not ask for a higher grade because you need it to pass or to increase your GPA. 

All lectures are given with the use of your text and PowerPoint, which are on the portal.  You need to read each chapter in your text in conjunction with the Power Points.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to talk to me; don’t wait until the end of the Semester to voice them.  Do not come to me before the final exam and ask what you need to pass the course. Do not come to me before final grades are due and ask for extra credit assignments to bring up your grade.  This is not fair to those who have attended class and did well on their exams and in-class assignments. If you are having any problems I will make every reasonable effort to help you.  If you want to learn about Adulthood and Aging, I am willing to help you learn. Make sure you have a text and keep up with the reading and the Power Points.