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SPCL 7900 Theories of Human Development: HOME

Open Educational Resource (OER) created for Professor Elizalde-Utnick's SPCL 7900 course.


This course builds on the students’ knowledge of human development acquired during their undergraduate education. In this graduate course, we will focus on understanding the nature of interactions between children and their environments that give rise to unfolding cognitive, emotional, and behavioral propensities. Case studies rich complexity, including cultural/ethnic/social class/gender/sexual diversity will provide substance for conversation and assignments. Knowledge acquired in this course will aid in meaningful understanding of learning and developmental processes in all areas of schooling, including academic learning, peer relationships, socioemotional relations, responses to counseling, psychoeducational evaluations, and home-school relationships. The content of this course directly relates to the school psychologist’s work in schools including developing and implementing interventions for children and adolescents, and consulting and collaborating with school personnel and families.


Welcome to SPCL 7900 - Fall 2020!

All the readings and materials that you will need for the course are located on this website. Enjoy exploring the site before our first class on Tuesday, September 1.

Many of the session activities are available to you to preview before and review after each session. We will go over course requirements and this website during our first session.

Class will meet weekly at our originally scheduled time, as indicated below:

Class Time:  Section 21617: Tuesdays, 3:40 - 6:10 p.m.

                     Section 21618: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Review the syllabus and this course site before our first class. Note that there are assigned tasks to be completed prior to our first Zoom session.

Please complete the following PRIOR to our Zoom session on September 1:

1. Getting to Know You Questionnaire

Go to Blackboard Announcements for the questionnaire link

2. Readings/Video

Read the assigned readings (DT 1&2) and view the Best Practices for Video Conferencing video 

3. Discussion Board

Go to Blackboard to the Discussion Board link and post to the "Please Introduce Yourself" forum.

4. Prepare for Blackboard Quiz (RAT)

The 5-question multiple-choice quiz will be on the assigned readings. This RAT will be made available to you after we start our Zoom session.




1. Think before you post

  • Consider others’ thoughts and feelings
  • Would you say what you wrote in person?

2. Post messages that are relevant, scholarly, and civil, and not just, "I agree"

3. Stay on topic

4. Do not dominate any discussion.

5. Keep an “open-mind” and be willing to express even your minority opinion.

6. Don’t double-post – edit your post rather than adding another post by yourself

7. Use correct spelling, grammar, and plain English

8. Use italics to emphasize important points; don’t use all caps

9. Don’t use texting abbreviations

10. Do not plagiarize



Due to COVID-19, instruction at CUNY transitioned to a distance learning modality for most of the courses. Using this OER website along with Blackboard, Zoom, and other online platforms, Prof. Elizalde-Utnick will use both synchronous and asynchronous strategies to facilitate the class sessions. Cohn and Seltzer (2020) describe these two strategies as follows:

Synchronous: instructors and students gather at the same time and interact in “real time” with a very short or “near-real time” exchange between instructors and students.

Asynchronous: instructors prepare course materials for students in advance of students’ access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each other over a longer period of time.

The class will meet at the scheduled course time via Zoom. Assignments will be submitted electronically by posting on Blackboard.

Students are expected to participate actively in all aspects of the course, both the asynchronous and synchronous components. During the synchronous component, active participation entails working on skills important to counseling - active listening and active participation in small- and large-group discussions. To foster active engagement during the synchronous sessions, all members of the class are expected to turn on their audio and video technology.

We are all learning to navigate this new learning environment, and we are supporting each other during this very difficult, disruptive, scary, and anxiety-provoking time. 

VIDEO: Brooklyn College Online Orientation to Remote Learning


table of students, click for guidelines

These are SPCL students in a TBL course with Prof. Elizalde-Utnick. They are discussing and deciding on the best seating arrangement when conducting a counseling session with a parent and interpreter.

This course will be using aspects of Team-Based Learning (TBL) pedagogy ( that can be incorporated into online teaching formats. TBL increases students’ understanding of course concepts by using them to solve authentic, real-world problems and help them develop their workplace learning skills.

The Rhythm of TBL

TBL courses have a recurring pattern of instruction that is typical of many flipped classrooms. Students prepare before class and then students spend the bulk of class time solving problems together. In SPCL 7900 this term, each session has a similar rhythm, opening with the Readiness Assurance Process that prepares the students for the activities that follow, and then moving to Application Activities that explore real-life case scenarios and apply concepts described in the readings.

Phase 1 - Pre-Class Preparation: Students are assigned preparatory materials to review before start of each module. The preparatory materials can be textbook chapters, articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, or PowerPoint slides. The preparatory materials highlight foundational concepts the students need to begin problem solving, but not everything they need to know by module end.

Phase 2 - Readiness Assurance Test (RAT): Each session will begin with a five-multiple-choice question quiz posted on Blackboard. The quiz will begin at the class section's designated start time (3:40 pm or 6:30 pm) and students have 30 minutes to complete it. The RAT holds students accountable for acquiring important foundational knowledge from the assigned readings that will prepare them to begin problem-solving.

Phase 3 - In-Class Activities: Students and their teams use the foundational knowledge, acquired in the first two phases, to make decisions that will be reported publically and subject to cross-team discussion and critique. The class will use a variety of methods to have students report their team’s decision at the end of each activity. Sometimes students will hold up cards indicating a specific choice, sometimes they will write their answer on Zoom chat, sometimes they will display their work gallery style for the other teams to comment, and other times they will complete short worksheets or surveys, which will be randomly reported to the rest of the class. Students will have the opportunity to work in teams using Zoom’s breakout rooms. The Zoom sessions will begin right after the quiz at the class sections designated time (4:10 or 7:00 p.m.)


Credits: Header image from Pixabay, released free for use. TBL in-class activity image is a TBL cartoon from Sibley and Spiridonoff at the Centre for Instructional Support, University of British Columbia. Online team image from Pixabay, released free for use. 


Unless otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This course website contains copyrighted materials available only for your personal, noncommercial educational and scholarly use. This site is used in accordance with the fair use provision, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act where allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Every effort has been made to provide attribution of copyrighted content. If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain expressed permission from the copyright owner. If you are the owner of any copyrighted material that appears on this site and believe the use of any such material does not constitute "fair use", please contact Professor Graciela Elizalde-Utnick to have the content removed, if proven necessary.

This open educational resource was created as part of the CUNY and SUNY 2017-19 Open Educational Resources Initiatives. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature awarded CUNY and SUNY $16 million to implement open educational resources to develop, enhance and institutionalize new and ongoing open educational resources across both universities.

Special thanks to the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the CUNY Office of Library Services, Brooklyn College Administration and Professor Miriam Deutch, Coordinator, Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Initiative. Site design and formatting by Colin McDonald, OER Developer.