1. Class website project (30%)

  • The major weekly project for this class will be the creation of a wiki/website highlighting the latest research into the effect of early experience on perceptual, motor, memory, cognitive, language, social and emotional development. Each week class time will be dedicated to presenting and collaboratively editing wiki websites that you will create in groups. You will each be randomly assigned to be part of two x 4 person groups; you will be responsible for researching and creating a website about two different areas of development.

  • As a group, you will work collaboratively to create a website that gives an introduction to the domain of development, highlights the latest research looking at the effect of early experience on a specific aspect of development in that area, and makes suggestions for future research. People who look at your site should come away with an idea of what we already know about this area, what cutting edge research in the field is finding, and what we need to find out next.

  • You will want to use graphics, links, media, and interactive components to make your website as interesting and engaging as possible, but you should be careful to acknowledge the source of your information. You should use citations and references in the same way that you would if you were writing any other kind of paper.

  • You should identify a target article to have your colleagues read before class. This article should be a piece of empirical work (no more than 5 years old) that represents the latest research into the effect of early experience. You should post a link to your article along with 3 thought questions for your colleagues to consider to the Target Articles page no later than the Monday before class.

  • During class, your group should aim to teach us about the effect of early experience on your domain of development using the website that you have created. Your tutorial should take about 60-90 min and culminate in a group discussion of the target article. After each presentation, the rest of the class will give you feedback about your website and we will work together to improve it.

This project is worth 30% of your final grade and I aim to give you all full marks. This exercise is all about the collaborative process and you just need to engage with the process. As a project group, you need to plan your website and work collaboratively to create the content. It is important that all members of each group contribute to the site and to the class presentation equally. As a class group, we are all responsible for making each domain site an accurate and compelling representation of current developmental science. In order to get full marks on this component of the course, you must contribute in some way to ALL of the domain sites. After a project group has presented, you may leave helpful comments for them, help them summarise discussion points, insert references or links that they have missed, send them pictures that might add to the visual appeal of their site. If you contribute in a significant way to your own project group and in a minor way to all the other project groups, you will get full marks i.e. 30%.

2. Research Proposal (50% total)

- You will each write a short research proposal (2500 words). You may choose an area of research that interests you, however, it must relate to the role of early experience in development. You may choose to write a research proposal about one of your presentation areas, or a different research area. The format of the proposal will be similar to an Australian Research Council grant proposal.

Background and Aims (40%)
  • - Provide a brief literature review that sets up the rationale of your experiment
  • - Describe the specific aims of the project and the predicted outcomes/hypotheses
Approach and Methodology (40%)
  • - Include a description of the design of your experiment, participants, apparatus/stimuli, procedure, data analysis strategy.
  • - Write this like a methods section in the future tense
Significance and Innovation (20%)
  • - Significance- why is this research question important? What are the real world implications of this research? What will we learn about the role of early experience in development? How will this research project benefit society?
  • - Innovation- how is the proposed approach novel? How is this project different to previous research? Why is this project unique?

In class on August 30, I will run a workshop about how to write a proposal review. You will submit your proposal to me via email on August 31 (end of Week 7). I will randomly and anonymously assign each of you two proposals. You will be asked to write a 500 word (1 page) critique for each, submitting them to me via email by September 7 (end of mid session break). You will each receive two anonymous reviews of your work that you can use to improve your proposal before the final submission via Turnitin on September 14 (end of Week 8). You will present your proposal research in a 5 minute presentation in Week 13.

Final Proposal= 35%
Peer reviews= 10%
Presentation= 5%
TOTAL= 50%

3. Take home exam (20%)

After class in Week 13, I will give you a take home exam. You will have 24 hours to complete it and submit via Turnitin. The questions will give you the opportunity to demonstrate how you have critically thought about the material that you have learned over the session. It is not the kind of exam that you can study for.

A note about plagiarism

Many lecturers make students sit a final exam under exam conditions because they are concerned about academic dishonesty (i.e. plagiarism) that can occur in other forms of written assessment. I don’t think that having to memorise and regurgitate material under these conditions is a valid assessment of the skills that I hope you accumulate during your honours year. For this reason, the assessment in this course comes in the form of written work that you have time some time to complete. This said, written assignments (including the take home) in which I find evidence of plagiarism will be given a mark of 0.