Syllabus for GER-510



Adult Development and Aging offers an in-depth exploration of the developmental processes acting within individuals from adulthood through old age. A biopsychosocial perspective provides the framework for understanding the various influences on adult development. Major developmental theories are examined to differentiate between normative and non-normative aging processes. Students evaluate both contemporary research and theoretical concepts as they study aging from demographic, historical, biological, psychological, and sociocultural perspectives. Throughout the course, students examine and integrate the dynamic internal and external variables associated with successful aging to optimize developmental outcomes for the aging population.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Examine gerontology, the life-span perspective, and the demography of the older adult population.

CO2        Appraise research methodologies and ethical dilemmas involved in investigating adult development, aging, and end-of-life issues.

CO3        Evaluate typical and atypical courses of adult development using key historical, biological, cognitive, emotional, and sociocultural concepts.

CO4        Examine biological theories of aging at the cellular and systemic levels.

CO5        Monitor the evolution of health, illness, and psychopathology (such as depression and dementia) through the expanse of adulthood.

CO6        Evaluate the impact of individual, familial, occupational, and environmental factors on aging.

CO7        Analyze cognitive performance and decision-making issues in aging populations.

CO8        Assess issues involving loss, including the grieving process and the acceptance of one’s own impending death.

CO9        Recommend strategies that optimize developmental outcomes for adults.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN: 978-1-285-44491-8

Film Viewing

In Module 6 you are required to view the file Tuesdays with Morrie. Currently the course has a link to a posting of the film, but this link may not remain open. If the link does not work, you may rent this film through a service to which you already belong or by clicking the link below and following the instructions.


Adult Development and Aging is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum, you are required to participate in six (6) graded online class discussions.

Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

All of these responses must be substantial. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate or your mentor, state and support your position.

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view, and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions: responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, mature, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six (6) written assignments. Most written assignments include five questions on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Written assignment questions afford you an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the information that you have studied within the module. Your response to each question below should be between 300 and 400 words and should adequately address each part of the prompt.

Be sure to apply the material to real-world situations and use scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook to support your arguments. You should use at least two (2) scholarly sources within any module’s written assignment, but you may use more. All sources should be properly documented in APA format.

Final Project

You will be required to submit a final project, a paper of  between 3,000 to 3,750 words. This paper will allow you to apply and synthesize the material you learned over the duration of this course by developing a comprehensive personal plan to optimize your development throughout adulthood.  

See the Final Project area of the course site for a full description of this assignment.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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