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Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Dept. Home Page

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Advanced Psychobiology of Women

GWSS 487 / PSYCH 487

This course builds on the basic knowledge that the students acquire in GWSS/Psychology 357. It's goal are to expand knowledge of psychobiology of women while providing an opportunity for each student to develop specific expertise in a self-selected area of study. I strongly believe that the ultimate way to learn a topic is to teach it to others. In order to effectively communicate information to another person, you must understand it in a way that no test can possibly assess. While it may be possible to memorize a fact for future testing, a much more solid understanding of the concept is required to teach that fact to others. After all, the person(s) being taught might ask the question you were afraid to ask - "What does that mean?" This course is limited to no more than 14 students at a time in order to allow each student to teach a topic of their choice. Skills related to library research, oral presentation and written communication are used to learn and teach about your topic. Each student begins by conducting in-depth library research on the topic of her/his choosing. After reading the research uncovered in the library search, the student selects that information she/he feels is critical to understanding the topic and organizes it into a detailed written outline and an extended oral presentation. A single article on the topic is selected for the remaining students to read prior to the presentation. Then, in an exercise designed to point out the differences in effective oral vs. written communication, the student prepares a formal 10 page review paper on their topic. Finally, since all students read at least one article and take part in extended lecture-discussions on each topic, all students are exposed to all topics (except their own) in the same way they would be in a traditional class setting.

Learning Goals:

  1. to develop a deep understanding, at the level necessary to teach the topic, of an issue relevant to female anatomy, physiology, endocrinology and/or psychology. (assessed through your presentation and outline)
  2. to hone your library research skills (assessed through your bibliography entries, presentation, outline and paper)
  3. to develop/improve your oral presentation skills. (assessed through your extended class presentation)
  4. to develop/improve your written presentation skills and your awareness of the similarities and differences of the skills required for communication of information in a classroom presentation vs. a formal review paper (assessed by a review paper)
  5. to gain knowledge of other aspects of women's lives through readings on various topics covered by other students in the seminar and through classroom and electronic discussion (assessed by discussion participation)

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