Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: One of the following: ENGL 1A or 1AH or ESLL 26 or equivalent; PSYC 1 or 1H or introductory psychology course.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of major theories of human development
  • Apply theories in explaining examples of human development


The psychology of human development includes cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development throughout the life span. Comprehensive presentation of the issues, forces, and outcomes that make us who we are. Topics in childhood and adolescence, emphasize child development including all stages from conception, through childhood, adolescence, adult issues, later life and gerontology, cover all life span stages and important topics. Development is presented in a chronological and sequential order from conception through death, while also presenting important themes and theories essential to this field of psychology. Provides an extensive amount of information on developmental stages covering theoretical and empirical foundations that enable students to become educated, critical interpreters of developmental information. A blend of basic and applied research, as well as coverage of controversial topics and emergent trends, demonstrating connections between the laboratory and life is presented.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Appraise some of the major theories and concepts concerning human development.
B. Describe and discuss life span development.
C. Distinguish and demonstrate the results of selected research studies, especially those which seem to have practical applications.
D. Demonstrate a heightened awareness of developmental tasks and some of the ways in which they are met.
E. Describe the specific developmental research designs and their advantages and disadvantages.
F. Differentiate between experimental, correlational, and quasi-experimental research.
G. Identify and differentiate some adult behaviors and characteristics in terms of what is learned as a child.
H. Distinguish the interrelationship between heredity and environment; "environment" is used in a broad sense to include socio-economic, cultural, physical, family, emotional and intellectual environments.
I. Assess one's own behavior in terms of her/his childhood experiences.
J. Recognize that appropriate and inappropriate ways of behaving are largely culturally defined.
K. Recognize and relate to the contribution that one may make to another person's behavior.
L. Observe and describe behaviors of subjects and apply appropriate developmental theories and descriptors appropriate to the stage and conduct of these subjects.
M. Demonstrate and awareness of life course and life span issues.
N. Identify key stages and themes of human development.

Course Content

A. Life span human development, including the major theories and stages
1. Psychodynamic theory (e.g., Freud, Erikson)
2. Biological theories
3. Learning theories (e.g., Skinner, Watson, Bandura)
4. Humanistic theories (e.g., Maslow, Rogers)
5. Cognitive theories (e.g., Piaget, Vygotsky)
B. Heredity, prenatal development, and birth, including biological foundations of behavior are presented
1. Primary topics related to nature vs. nurture and continuity vs. discontinuity in human development will be considered
C. Physical, perceptual, and motor development in the young child as they develop tools for exploring the world are examined
1. Critical windows of development and effects on later life stages will be emphasized
2. Major theorists, including Piaget, Erikson and others will be studied
D. Cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, including the emergence of thought and language will be discussed
1. Theorists such as Noam Chomsky and language development, Piaget and cognitive development, Vygotsky and others important to this developmental area will be explored
E. Socioemotional development in infancy and early childhood is covered
1. Concepts such as prosocial behavior, emotions and play will be discussed and explored
F. Cognitive and physical development in middle childhood in the home, school and environment is examined
1. Social influences, gender issues, intelligence are critical concepts explored in this area will be discussed and explored
G. Socioemotional development in middle childhood considers major themes in human development
1. Normal versus abnormal development in behavior will be covered in this area, including special needs and peer relationships
H. Physical and cognitive development in adolescence will be examined
1. Adolescent development, puberty, personality development, moral reasoning, and other of physical and cognitive development will be explored
I. Socioemotional development in adolescence parallels cognitive and physiological development
1. Topics such as search for identity, forming relationships, social and sexual orientation are presented
J. Physical, cognitive, emotional, and personality development associated with maturation and early adulthood are part of emerging independence and adult development
1. Many areas affecting behavior are examined in this section including role transitions, behavioral changes, independence, concept of maturity and adult responsibilities, cross cultural aspects of development, growth, strength lifestyle factors, eating and health, as well as development of primary and secondary mental abilities
K. Forming relationships in young and middle adulthood parallels the physical and cognitive changes at these stages of development
1. Development of primary and secondary intelligence, thought, moral issues, love and relationships, romantic attachments, marriage, decision to become a parent and divorce are all part of the study of relationships and development
L. Occupational and lifestyle issues in young and middle adulthood, including work and leisure are explored
1. Work and leisure is an area of exploration in middle adulthood. Other topics include occupational issues, transitions, ethnic identity and discrimination, coping with unemployment and dependent care
M. The unique challenges of middle adulthood that characterize this stage of human development are explored
1. Some of the topics include conflicts, burnout, occupational development, stress, coping, problem solving and aspects unique to middle adulthood
N. The personal context of later life includes physical, cognitive, and mental health issues which influence later life and maturity
1. The role of elder adults, including becoming a grandparent and other roles in the family, mortality statistics, and theories of aging, changes in the brain, cancer and health, creativity and wisdom, normal and abnormal aging are all topics in the area of later adult development
O. As aging continues important topics are psychosocial behavior, retirement, relationships, and societal issues characteristic of this period
1. Issues of later life include competence, personality and spirituality, retirement and relationships
P. End of life issues may include the later stages of aging, dying and bereavement.
1. Definitions of death, including legal medical and ethical issues, approaches and meaning of dying, including hospice, final scenarios, and grief and loss will be explored
Q. In presenting human development issues, emphasis is given to actively involve students in a discussion of course content
R. No less than 10 hours will be spent each quarter in outside assignments given for students to observe and report behavior of human subjects and work on homework related to the topics covered in the lecture and class discussion
1. Observations of human subjects at representative life span stages will be assigned as part of homework
2. Students will make written records and submit these observations of human subjects and use relevant theories to postulate explanations of subject behavior

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Selected readings of human development theories will be assigned
Short answer, objective and essay items
Observation and fieldwork
Outside assignments and written analysis, including self reflections and analysis of case studies
Quizzes, midterm examinations, final examination

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

During periods of instruction the student will be engaged in the subject materials through a variety of instructional modalities including lecture, application of theories and observations to explain observed behavior, discussions, written work and additional assignments:
1. Lecture will include visual and auditory examples of subjects and may include audiovisual and Internet materials
2. Emphasis on class discussion and problem solving will support hands-on, minds-on learning and promote student engagement
Written and oral presentation assignments will relate to reading and observational tasks:
1. Drawing on involved discussion of the relevant topics in the class, further written synthesis will be assigned on relevant topics
2. Viewing of representative film clips of human stages and behavior by the instructor and students followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis
3. Presenting group projects of major topics will be followed by in-class discussion and evaluation
1. Multiple choice, short answer and essay tests may be given to assess student learning

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Santrock. Essentials of Life-Span Development, 6th ed.. 2020.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Required reading includes:
1. Texts: assigned readings in textbooks and online journals or references will be required to expand students' exposure to knowledge and theories pertinent to human development.
a. Texts must cover all aspects of human development from conception through death.
2. Psychological journals: research or other peer review reference materials would be of acceptable level and rigor.
3. Case studies from valid and peer review sources may be used to further illustrate concepts under topics of human development.
B. Outside of class assignments include:
1. Research in topics relevant to the class.
2. Creation of observational journals or essays.
3. Group work on selected topics.