CTL Featured Assignment Overview

Name of faculty member: Ruth Grahn, regra@conncoll.edu

Name & number of course: Psychopharmacology, PSY/BIO 322

Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

Name of assignment: Comparison of Established and Alternative Treatments

Class size: approx. 20

Last time class was taught & when it will be taught again: Spring 2014, Spring 2015

Learning goals of the assignment and briefly how they relate to the goals of the course:

The primary goal of the assignment is to provide the opportunity for students to consider critically the effectiveness of alternative treatments. In doing this, a number of secondary goals are also addressed: practice using pharmacology terminology, gaining information literacy, and solidifying an understanding of drug mechanisms of action. The course objectives are reflected in each of these goals.

Description of the assignment (e.g., when you give the assignment, if you scaffold the assignment):

The assignment is given about midway through the semester, once students have ample background information about drug mechanisms and are beginning to explore implications of drug therapy for mental illness. Each student can choose a particular mental illness as their focus. The assignment has an earlier informal presentation requirement, which provides an opportunity for each student to get feedback about their topic.

What you like about the assignment and why you think it is effective:

It has an important element of individual choice and it requires the student to consider critically a range of information sources. It also provides an opportunity for students to describe drug mechanisms without a more traditional exam format. I find the resulting papers very interesting; they are easy to comment on and grade.

Download and view these PDFs. 

The Assignment as Described in the Syllabus

The Discussion Guide

The Grading Rubric