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Critical Issues Home Page    Learning Objectives      Term Assignment     
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Term Assignment......
Jeremy Jackson
|    Jan 6, 2019
|     Blackboard
Jeremy Jackson: "Life is a group project"



GROUP MEMBERSHIP: 4 students per group.


Online upload of video due in week 14, see the syllabus for exact dates.

LATE PENALTIES: A late penalty of 5% per day late (including weekends and holidays) will apply to written assignments. Late oral/video presentations will not be accepted.

TOPIC: Choose one critical issue from the list below. Each group is required to develop a video of themselves doing an oral presentation of their work on one of the questions in the list below. The "Description" section below covers the general topic areas that should be addressed.

GETTING STARTED: Introduce yourself to the class on the "Introductions" discussion board in Blackboard. Look through the introductions and find students you might like to work with. Get in contact with those students (you can use their Introductions" thread to do this), and ask them to join a group with you. Once you have formed a group, pick a question from the list below that you would like to work on as a group, name your group, and open a thread on the "Group Projects" discussion board in Blackboard with your group name, the number of your question and the names and student numbers of the group members listed in the opening post of the thread. We will then use this thread to communicate about your project.


If highlighted in orange, the question is already taken.

    1. Describe the DSM V approach to classifying mental disorder? What is the controversy about the DSM system?
    2. What is the known relative effect of psychotherapy, and medication on depression and how is this related to the severity of depression?
    3. What is Americinitis Elixir (AE)? Discuss the relationship between AE and cocaine use on Wall Street in the 1980's. Show how these relate to the use of meta amphetamines in young children with ADHD?
    4. Discuss the history of neurosyphilis. What does this tell us about the nature of schizophrenia, for instance?
    5. Describe the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorder. What is the evidence in support of it? Why is there a debate about this issue?
    6. Is Residential School Syndrome a disorder? What would the authors of "The Circle Game" say?
    7. Characterize the position of Thomas Szasz on mental disorder. What is his concern?
    8. What does it mean to medicalize ordinary problems of living?



In your presentation, describe the issue and the currently accepted/practiced view on the position. Discuss other major competing views. Describe the significant points upon which the views differ. Suggest a possible way forward or solution to the problem.

In the oral presentation, one member of each group may wish to address one of the four topics outlined below.

    1. What is the critical issue?
    2. What is the standard or accepted view on the issue? What are the data that support the view? 
    3. What are the other, competing views on the issue? How do the competing views differ from the standard view?
    4. What is a possible way forward? Is there a solution to the debate?


ASSIGNMENT OF MARKS: The assignment is worth 25% of your course grade and will consist of 2 parts: video presentation (worth 15%) , and the individual contribution to the development of the project on your Blackboard group project discussion thread (worth 10%).


The majority of each individual’s oral presentation mark will be assigned based upon the quality of his/her individual performance on the oral component of the assignment. Part of the oral grade will be assigned to the integration of the work of each member of the group. That is, how well the presentation flows as a single unit and how well the group worked together to support each other in the presentation.

The presentation should be as follows:

1. LENGTH:   Maximum of 20 minutes.

2. STYLE: No format restrictions.

3. SOURCES: Each group is required to use a minimum of 10 primary-source, peer-reviewed academic articles, videos or audio recordings. The use of additional sources (other articles, books, websites, etc.) is strongly recommended.

At the end of your video, include a slide/image that contains references.

4. SUBMISSION: Hand in a video on Blackboard using Kaltura. The instructions for doing this are given HERE.



The majority of each individual’s mark will be assigned based upon the quality of his/her individual performance during the oral presentation of their work. Please ensure that each member is named and their oral contribution is clearly identified during the presentation. The group as a whole is required to present an integrated and comprehensive presentation that incorporates the presentations of all of its members. Consequently, a portion of each student’s oral grade will reflect the overall integration/quality/organization of the oral presentation. This portion will affect all members of each group equally.

Blackboard Group Discussion Thread

Each group will create their own discussion thread on Blackboard. Name the thread with your group name and list the members of your group as well as the topic you will be presenting. You will use the thread to develop your group project. I will follow your thread and provide you with help as you need it. This is a critical part of your project. You will need my help to find good resources and to clarify your thinking on the question you have selected. You should use ONLY this thread to communicate. That way, I can evaluate the input of each member of the group. Please check the thread regularly and post the work you are doing. Your participation on the thread is worth 10% of your course grade.

Further instructions will be given in the weekly announcements.


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