PHARM 7515EX - Biological Basis of Addiction
External - Trimester 3 - 2019
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: Associate Professor Linda Gowing
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
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) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1-3 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
4-6 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
7,8 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
4-7 9,,10 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
10 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesSTUDY MATERIAL
Each week new material is released that you will work through. Your first focus should be on the Topic outline as this describes what you need to master on a certain topic and what information is available to you. Each study topic is comprised of the following components:
- learning objectives
- revision questions
- concept lecture
- quiz to test your understanding (not graded)
- discussion forum
The topic outline, lecture and other documents will be available on Blackboard in a separate folder for each topic. Study material for each consecutive topic will usually be made available online on Monday of each study week since you will have one new topic each week.
Each topic has a Topic Outline which describes the components and the learning objectives. Learning objectives describe what will be tested in the exam. Topics can have subtopics (A and B etc). Please look at the timetable in the back to verify which topics have to be done in which week. It is best if you avoid the temptation to skim through the topics. Systematically working through them at a reasonable pace will bring better results. However, let us know if you need to complete some topics ahead of time due to work or family commitments. We will provide individual access to the essential study material and will help you adjust your timetable to your circumstances.
There are strict rules that apply to the use of online study material. Students are expected to become familiar with copyright information prior to accessing online study material: http://www.library.vcu.edu/copyright.html
Lectures are used to provide a framework for your learning. They have been prepared by experts in the field: IPAS lecturers and external guest lecturers. Lectures are provided online as a PowerPoint presentation with voice-over. While viewing/listening to a lecture you can stop, pause, scroll forward or back as necessary. You can use the menu to find a specific topic. The presentations often include a biography and picture of the lecturer. Lectures are usually approximately one hour in duration, but may vary between 45 and 90 minutes. Some topics have more than one subtopic and can have separate lectures and readings for these subtopics.
PowerPoint slides for each lecture are also available online as pdf files.
One or more essential readings have been set for each topic and this material can be assessed in the exam. Readings are selected to complement and expand on issues discussed in the concept lecture. Readings often have more information than what is describe in the learning objectives; only the items described in the learning objectives will be examined.
A number of additional readings have also been included. You are not expected to know information from these readings by heart for the exam, but they may help your understanding of the issues learned and could be used in your assignment and/or examination answers to exemplify important concepts. Readings are available online for each topic. You can use your access to the library to find publications, if a direct link is not provided. Lecturers may also suggest additional readings. These will not be assessed unless these are specifically listed as essential readings in the topic outline.
REVISION AND QUIZZES
The learning objectives are provided for each study topic and are listed in the Topic Outlines. Use them to guide your revision of the topic. The revision questions are an example of questions that can be used in the exam. You can test your understanding of the material by doing the online tests we provide in Blackboard for each topic. These do not provide comprehensive cover of the topic. You will get direct feedback to your response. These tests are not graded or monitored and you can repeat them if you want.
The Discussion Board is a great forum to discuss your understanding with others and to share your insights. It is a formal professional forum where you practice your professional skills. Posts should focus on content, not be opinion-based but rely on evidence from the literature.
Detailed information and instructions for Discussion Board participation are provided in the Program Guidelines and Policies booklet. You are required to contribute to the discussion and your contributions will also strongly contribute to your grade. You will be graded on participation and professional communication skills.
In this course/module, study topic discussions will usually be initiated on the Monday of each study week. For some topics the teaching staff will start a discussion by posting one or more questions or suggesting threads for discussion. For other topics students will be expected to identify issues and initiate discussion themselves. Students are expected to check the Discussion Board repeatedly for each topic.
The topic discussion will usually continue for two weeks at which time the forum will close for that week. This is also your opportunity to share your professional or research experience and learn from your fellow students. Since most students have experience in the field, this will also be a valuable learning environment. You can embed your experiences with research that has been published.
A number of general forums (e.g., Administrative Issues; Academic Issues) will remain open throughout the course/module and their content, while monitored regularly, will not be assessed.
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:
Topic 1: Principles Principles of Pharmacology 1 – Pharmacodynamics
Topic 2: Principles of Pharmacology 2 – Pharmacokinetics
Topic 3: Biology of Addiction
Topic 4: Opioids
Topic 5: Part A – Stimulants; Part B – Nicotine
Revision week + optional topic: Animal and Human Laboratory Based Research Methods
Topic 6: Alcohol
Topic 7: Part A – Benzodiazepines; Part B – Barbiturates, GHB and Inhalants
Topic 8: Part A – Cannabis; Part B – Hallucinogens
Topic 9: Genetic, Cultural and Other Determinants of Substance Use and Addiction
You will study one topic each week with a week for revision in Week 6.
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 Weeks 1-10 20% Written Assignment 1 Summative Week 6 10% Written Assignment 2 Summative Week 10 30% Written Examination Summative Week 11 40%
Formative assessment (or non graded) in this course/module includes online tests that are designed to help you study and increase your level of understanding of the course/module material. The tests will be undertaken online. Feedback will be provided in the form of model answers or comments and question/test scores (you will see your own results for each question in the test). You can attempt the tests multiple times (and achieve the highest score possible, if you wish). However, only the last attempt is saved. Since this assessment is formative, the scores for these tests will not contribute to your final grade for the course/module; however the completion of the quizzes will be strongly advised.
Your ability to effectively communicate your intellectual curiosity and ideas to others in an online discussion and doing so in a timely fashion will be assessed. Each week that a student serves as a “lead” discussant will count 30% toward their discussion board mark. The remaining weeks, when students are only required to comment on the posts of others will make up the additional 10% of the mark.
Your performance in the topic discussion board forums will be graded. There are seven graded forums in this course. Although you will be responsible for reading and responding to discussion topics each week, the level of participation expected will vary for each student by week.
Week 1: all students will be post a response to the question posed by the instructor and one reply to a student post.
After this, all students are divided in three groups that have alternating roles.
Group A students post a response to instructors question and two replies to other posts.
Group B students add one substantial post to the discussion
Group C students add one substantial post to the discussion
And so on. A table with groups and dates will be made available in MyVCU in the first week.
Having all students participate in the first week’s discussion will allow students to become engaged with the course material immediately, and also will allow instructors to provide feedback to all students early in the course to shape their ongoing work. Students may provide more additional responses, but this is the minimum expected.
Thus, each student is responsible for formally and fully responding to the week’s discussion question(s) during three weeks: Week 1 (all students) and two additional weeks. There will be at least two weeks without an assigned discussion.
*The manner in which Discussion Board is managed may be subject to revision depending upon enrolment.
Written Assignment 1: Long Answer Questions
The aim of this assignment is to review some key terms in pharmacology and practice formulating comprehensive answers. It is vital to use your own wording and provide a reference to the information you give. Although this is an open book assignment, the answers should be your own work; copying from lectures or other material is considered plagiarism. We will test knowledge and understanding.
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. The topic will be announced on Blackboard. Style requirements are described in the Program Guidelines and Policies handbook, available on Blackboard.
Word length: 2,000 (excluding reference list; including title and in-text references). We expect at least 15 references (primarily peer-reviewed). Please use as many additional sources as possible to complement any information provided in the program. The essay shows your skills in searching, appraising information, analyzing the information and writing a clear argument.
The work will be graded using a rubric that will be provided to you. The essays will be uploaded in a tool like TurnItIn, to assess originality of work.
- The examination will be one hour in duration and will be done on a computer (no internet access).
- You will be allowed to select a number of questions to answer.
- You will be asked to provide extensive, in-depth and comprehensive answers on a number of questions.
- It will be your responsibility to organise a supervisor and suitable venue with computer. Please read the detailed information and instructions on Examinations in the Program Guidelines and Policies booklet (available on Blackboard at Course Information/Handbooks).
- You will have to provide us with information on your proposed examiner and venue by the date specified on Blackboard.
The Examination Supervisor Details Form is available on Blackboard (Course Information/Forms).
A Statutory Declaration Form will need to be filled out and signed during your exam. This form is required by the University of Adelaide to be completed to guarantee that you will not discuss or divulge the contents of the examination paper(s) to anyone and that you have acted according to the VCU Honour code. Your Examination Supervisor (or another person authorised to do so) may witness this and it should be returned with the examination paper(s). Examination papers will not be marked until a completed Statutory Declaration form is received.
You will receive and submit your written assignments electronically via the Assignment section in Blackboard or via email if you are instructed to do so. In each course where written assignments are required, you will receive specific instructions as to the manner in which you will be expected to make assignment submissions. Please refer to your course handbook for instructions.
Please be advised that this is an intensive programme with few breaks. Family holidays and similar events are not considered reasons for an inability to complete assignments. If you need to travel, it is essential that you be aware that it is your responsibility to assure reliable internet access. If you have any doubt of your ability to maintain contact with the programme, you must let us know ahead of time, and you can chose not to enroll in a course.
Several courses use exams that can be either supervised written exams or computer-based open book exam. These exams will have a specific time at which they need to be completed. The duration and mode of the examination may vary by course/module at the discretion of the course/module director.
Supervisor and Venue
Where there is an unseen written examination, the student will be responsible for organising both venue (with computer) and examination supervisor. Your course/module handbook will indicate the date by which you will have to provide the course/module coordinator with the details of your nominated examiner. This mode of examiniation offers many advantages to the student, such as flexibility in time and location of the exam. If you feel disadvantaged by sitting the exam on a computer (e.g. due to disability), you may request alternative arrangements based on the normal VCU exam regulations in a timely fashion.
The nominated person should be university level academic personnel. If you have difficulty finding an independent academic, please contact your course/module co-ordinator.
The supervisor should not be a member of your immediate family or a work colleague.
The Exam Supervisor Details form is available on Blackboard. The completed form should be returned to the course co-ordinator by the due date indicated on Blackboard. A statutory declaration form will be signed by the supervisor and the student at the time of the exam. The examination parcel will be emailed to the nominated supervisor along with the Exam Supervisor Instruction Sheet. Note that we cannot accept responsibility for your supervisor not receiving the examination paper if the form is not received by the due date. The examination supervisor will be responsible for conducting the examination according to the instructions and sending the documents back to us. Exam work from closed-book exams submitted by students will not be marked.
A venue must provide the student with privacy and quiet for the duration of the examination. A suitable venue, for example, might be a classroom at the local high school, or side room in a library. Most examinations may require a computer (without internet access).
Supplementary examinations may be granted on medical, compassionate or academic grounds. This will need to be ratified by the Program Co-ordinator or School of Medical Sciences depending on the length of the extension.
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.
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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.