The transformation of the human infant from birth to three years of age is a remarkable process. There are noticeable developments that occur, ranging from motor skills and behaviour, to sophisticated cognitive abilities, to acquiring language and social interaction. PSYC 302: Infancy teaches students the trajectory and mechanisms of infant development. The understanding of this development allows us to better care for our children and provides us with an insight into human nature.
This course is designed to combine theory, methodology, and practical inquiry to understand such infant topics as physical development, early perception and cognition, social and emotional needs, early language acquisition, and other forms of communication. By taking this course, students will learn how these components interact throughout the infant stage of human development. Although the course is intended for undergraduate Psychology students interested in human development, it is complimentary to students in other humanities and social science disciplines, such as Family Studies and Social Work. Likewise, those who would like to pursue careers in education, health, law, and public policy would find PSYC 302 to be very interesting.
While traditional assignments are included in this course, students of PSYC 302 will have the opportunity to contribute to blogs and wikis. The blogs and wikis are places where students can engage in debates or other online interactive activities, much like how on-campus classrooms engage in discussions during a lesson. These online tools will help students illustrate their understanding of the different milestones in infant development. Similarly, students will use online technology to ‘raise a virtual baby’ through an interactive feature simulating parent decision making. In addition, through WebCT Vista, students can view short video clips illustrating key concepts in the study of infancy. As a learning tool, they provide an opportunity for students to witness first-hand milestones and achievements in development.
To ensure that students have options when communicating with their instructor, Susan Birch, PSYC 302 offers some innovative ways in which the students can pose questions and engage the instructor in further discussion. The PSYC 302 WebCT Vista site will have a discussion section called “Ask the Professor”, specifically for contacting the instructor with questions geared towards infant development. Similar to other discussion groups and topics, it is formatted like an online message board where questions and answers are viewed and available to all students participating in the course. In addition to contacting the instructor through the discussion board or email, students will be able to access their instructor through an in-person or virtual office hours session each week. Those who live in Greater Vancouver can make their way to the UBC Point Grey campus to meet face to face with the instructor for advice and further guidance. For those who live outside of Greater Vancouver and cannot make it to campus, there will also be a weekly virtual office hours hosted on both instant messaging and Skype.
By the end of the four month term, students will gain the knowledge to understand the development of infants from birth to three years. This includes the themes of infant development as well as the different levels of development. In PSYC 302, the online resources facilitate this learning and further the student’s understanding of developmental psychology.