PHARM 7515EX - Biological Basis of Addiction
External - Trimester 3 - 2022
General Course Information
Course Code PHARM 7515EX Course Biological Basis of Addiction Coordinating Unit Medical Sciences Term Trimester 3 Level Postgraduate Coursework Location/s External Units 4 Contact Online Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Restrictions Available for non-Award study after consultation with Program Director (students need to enrol at VCU and meet GradCert in International Addiction Studies entry criteria) Course Description This course/module is designed to provide an overview of the neuropharmacology of drugs of abuse and dependence, including basic principles of drug action as well as comprehensive coverage of the major classes of drugs (opioids, stimulants, nicotine, alcohol, sedatives, cannabis, hallucinogens). You will study mechanisms of action, effects, pharmacokinetics as well as tolerance and dependence for each of these drugs/drug classes. The reasons for addiction including biological, genetic, cultural and other determinants will be discussed. You will learn about laboratory based methods used in addiction research.
Course Coordinator: Dr Andrea Gordon
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
This course is being taught in semester 2
Schedule Week 1 Topic 1 Week 2 Topic 2 Week 3 Topic 3 Week 4 Topic 4 Week 5 Topic 5 Week 6 Optional topic / Revision week /Â Assignment 1 Week 7 Topic 6 Week 8 Topic 7 Week 9 Topic 8 Week 10 Topic 9 /Â Assignment 2 Week 11 Exam
Course Learning OutcomesCourse Learning Outcomes
1 Understand the neurobiological mechanisms of drug action
2 Understand pharmacological aspects of drug effects and adaptation
3 Understand the biological basis of addiction
4 Collect and synthesise information in relation to problems related to drug use
5 Critically evaluate and interpret existing literature
6 Understand the central place of evidence based information and that of other information sources
7 Write an essay using discipline specific jargon and style displaying critical thinking
8 Collaborate effectively online in an interdisciplinary international environment
9 Manage the allocated time effectively in performing tasks
10 Display awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues and their importance in the exercise of your professional and student responsibilities.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
Required ResourcesAll required resources will be available online, usually through the libraries of the three universities involved in the program.
Recommended ResourcesInformation on recommended resources will be provided online, usually as links to online material.
Online LearningThis course is provided totally online. The International Program in Addiction Studies is currently hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University. Course materials are provided on the VCU equivalent of MyUni.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
The online delivery offers flexibility, but students are encouraged to go through the work at the same pace so as to make best use of the online discussion.
The course is provided as a series of topics. Each study topic comprises:
• a topic outline describing the components and learning objectives;
• a concept lecture (or lectures);
• essential and additional readings;
• a quiz to test your understanding (not graded); and
• a discussion forum.
The discussion forum is used to clarify any issues, practise writing and professional discussions (e.g. using references) and to share experiences. It is not a chat room, but more resembles an open panel discussion. In some courses, depending on interest of the students, wikis or other interactive tools may be used to increase collaboration further.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.The expected work load for the course is 20 hours a week. This will be spent on reviewing the video and reading material, doing the revision quizzes, engaging in discussion and preparing for the assessments.
Learning Activities SummaryThe following topics will be taught:
- Principles of Pharmacology 1 – Pharmacodynamics
- Principles of Pharmacology 2 – Pharmacokinetics
- Biology of Addiction
- Stimulants and Nicotine
- CNS Depressants: Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, GHB and Inhalants
- Cannabis and Hallucinogens
- Genetic, Cultural and Other Determinants of Substance Use and Addiction
- Animal and Human Laboratory Based Research Methods (Optional)
Specific Course RequirementsNot applicable.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Due
Weighting Learning Outcome Online Tests Formative Discussion Board participation Summative 2-3 weeks after release of each topic 20% Written Assignment 1 Summative Week 6 10% Written Assignment 2 Summative Week 13 30% Written Examination Summative End of course 40%
Assessment Related RequirementsNot applicable
Assessment DetailWritten Assignment 1: Long Answer Questions
The aim of this assignment is to review some key terms in pharmacology and practice formulating comprehensive answers. This is an open book assignment based on the first four topics that aims to test knowledge and understanding of core concepts.
Written Assignment 2: Essay
The aim of this essay is to demonstrate understanding of the course material, an academic writing style and critical appraisal of information sources. Word length: 2,000 (excluding reference list; including title and in-text references). The essay shows your skills in searching, appraising and analysing information, and writing a clear argument.
This exam is designed to test broad understanding of the topics covered in the course. The exam will be made available on the VCU equivalent of MyUni (known as MyVCU) for a limited period of time.
Participation in the discussion board forums for each of the topics will be assessed. Grades reflect your ability to effectively communicate your intellectual curiosity and ideas to others in an online discussion. Each individual forum is graded, with an overall grade calculated as a weighted average.
SubmissionSpecific instructions on the preparation and submission of written assignments will be provided on the VCU equivalent of MyUni (known as MyVCU).
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
- Academic Support with Maths
- Academic Support with writing and speaking skills
- Student Life Counselling Support - Personal counselling for issues affecting study
- International Student Support
- AUU Student Care - Advocacy, confidential counselling, welfare support and advice
- Students with a Disability - Alternative academic arrangements
- Reasonable Adjustments to Teaching & Assessment for Students with a Disability Policy
- LinkedIn Learning
Policies & Guidelines
This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.
As this course is part of a joint degree, the IPAS program handbook holds the most important information. Normal University regulations may not apply as another university will be your host university.
- Academic Credit Arrangement Policy
- Academic Honesty Policy
- Academic Progress by Coursework Students Policy
- Assessment for Coursework Programs
- Copyright Compliance Policy
- Coursework Academic Programs Policy
- Elder Conservatorium of Music Noise Management Plan
- Intellectual Property Policy
- IT Acceptable Use and Security Policy
- Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment
- Student Experience of Learning and Teaching Policy
- Student Grievance Resolution Process
Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.
The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.