Course Syllabus

Course Information
Course Expectations

Course Information

Course Description

Advanced Elective: Pills, Potions, Possibilities. To take or not to take.

That seems to be the question. This course examines some of the chief pharmacological agents used to treat common human diseases and pathologies, as well drugs that are used to facilitate the greater public health such as vaccines. Overview of the human biological systems as well as discussion of the role prevention might play in attempting to minimize drug utilization will be considered. In this Advanced Elective, students will analyze and discuss contrasting types of evidence, differentiating information sources, examining related content, and communicating learning experiences.

Course Learning Goals

After completing this course, you will be able to:

Course Competencies

In this course, you will develop the following competencies:


Competence Statement and Criteria


Can describe and explain the role that pharmacological agents play in health and disease.

  • Articulates a model for healthy human homeostasis.
  • Identifies various diseases/pathologies within specified body systems.
  • Explain how specified  pharmaceutical agents impact health/disease.


Can apply the knowledge of the relationship between pharmacological agents and health/disease to develop an evidence based personal philosophy pertaining to a particular pharmaceutical regimen.

  • Identifies a health/disease situation and prescribed drug regime
  • Evaluates the cost vs benefit of drug intervention
  • Articulates a personal philosophy on the role pharmaceutical agents play in health and disease

Course Resources

All course resources are found within the course content and in E-reserves.

Required Reading:

All required reading is found within the course content and in E-reserves.

Course Grading Scale

A = 95 to 100

A- = 91 to 94

B+ = 88 to 90

B = 85 to 87

B- = 81 to 84

C+ = 77 to 80

C = 73 to 76

C- = 69 to 72

D+ = 65 to 68

D = 61 to 64

F = 60 or below


Grades lower than a C- do not earn credit at the School for New Learning.

Please Note: Request for Pass/Fail grading option must be done no later than the due date as published in the DePaul University calendar.

Course Structure

This course consists of 10 modules. The estimated time to complete each module is 1 week.

The following table outlines the course topics, assignments, readings, videos and other assets. Please refer to the content for each Module for details.

Week,  Module # and Title



Week 1, Module 1: Introduction/FDA

Ten Great Public Health Achievements -- United States, 1900-1999, CDC

Adults Commonly Share Prescription Drugs with Friends and Family

8 Statistics on Prescription Drug Use

Prescription Medication Sharing: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Significant Dates in U.S. Food and Drug Law History, US Department of Health and Human Services

The Story of the Laws Behind the Labels, US Department of Health and Human Services

What FDA Regulates, US Department of Health and Human Services

The Ten Worst Drug Recalls in the History of the US, 24/7 Wall St. Wire

E-Portfolio/Digication Intructions

Resources for Case Study:

"Top 100 Most Prescribed, Top selling drugs"

Colorado State University’s Website on Case Studies

The Case Study as a Research Method

Monash University Case Study

1.1 Introductions Discussion

1.2 Personal Philosophy Discussion

1.3 Evaluate FDA

1.4 Complete Patient Profile Form

Week 2, Module 2: Pharmaceutical Industry

Big Picture on Drug Development

Top Companies: Most Profitable

Drug Development Today and Tomorrow

Prescription Drug Trends

Prescription Drug Use Continues to Increase: U.S. Prescription Drug Data for 2007-2008

Physician Payments Sunshine

Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987

Click through some of the links here: Prescription Drug Advertising

Analyzing the side effects of drug ads

Additional Resources:

“History of Pharmaceuticals”

“The Public on Prescription Drugs and Pharmaceutical Companies,” USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health

2.1 Perspectives on the Pharmaceutical Industry Discussion

2.2 Digication Post: Patient Profile

Week 3, Module 3: Vaccines

Ten Great Public Health Achievements --- United States, 2001—2010

Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999 Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children -- United States, 1990-1998

Making Vaccines

Stanford Medicine Special Report: Shots Get the Once-Over

Conduct the survey and read about your results: “What Are Your Attitudes on Vaccinations for Infants and Children?”

Please view the full size image of: Vaccines and Autism Timeline: The Truth Unfolds

Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?

Frontline: The Vaccine War DVD (60 minutes long)

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Vaccine Safety FAQ’s

The Anti-Vaccination Generation

Additional Resources:

Read “Immunize for Good” and view the attached animation on how vaccines work

3.1 Vaccine Role Play

3.2 Vaccine Reflection

3.3 Digication Post: Mechanism of Action

Week 4, Module 4: Antibiotics

Watch how penicillin kills bacteria

Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Control of Infectious Diseases

Meet the Microbes

Watch Flu Attack! How a Virus Invades your Body

Antibiotics-Seven Wonders of the Microbe World

Good Germs, Bad Germs

Vital Signs: A Lethal Scratch

Antibiotics Overview

Antibiotics Quiz

Antibiotic Use and Population Ecology: How You Can Reduce Your Resistance Footprint

Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work

MRSA Surveillance

Watch Bacterial Growth Animation

Additional Resources:

Humans as the World’s Greatest Revolutionary Force

4.1 Antibiotics Discussion

Week 5, Module 5: Diabetes

The Covert Plague

CDC webpage Overweight and Obesity for Professionals

Prevalence of Obesity in the US

Intricacies of Fat

Killer Fat

Harvard School of Public Health Diabetes Health Assessment

Diabetes Treatment, Medications for Type 2 Diabetes


Effects of Diabetes

Physical Activity and Diabetes

Diet Differences for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Additional Resources:

National Diabetes Fact Sheet

Physical Activity Resources for Health Professionals

Healthy Data

The Story of Type 2 Diabetes

5.1 Diabetes Risk Factors and Prevention Discussion

5.2 Digication Post

5.3 Diabetes Quiz

Week 6, Module 6: Cardiovascular Disease

Watch Atherosclerosis: An Animation

Atherosclerosis: The New View

Hunter-gatherer to sedentary lifestyle

Harvard School of Public Health, Heart Disease Risk Index

Cardiac Medication

Print and take the Cigna Healthy Eating Survey

Nutritional management of coronary heart disease

Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease

Fatness vs. Fitness-a Weighty Debate

Exercise and Cardiovascular Health

Exercise vs. Diet

24 Foods That Can Save Your Heart

Additional Resources:

The Hidden Epidemic: Heart Disease in America

From Vulnerable Plaque to Atherothrombosis

Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease Mechanism

Adipose Tissue, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Disease

6.1 Heart Risk Discussion

6.2 Heart Disease Quiz

Week 7, Module 7: Pain Medications

Watch Pain Pathway video

Pain Animations

How Drugs Affect Neurotransmitters

Pain and Why It Hurts

Prescription Drug Deaths Increase Dramatically

Addiction and the Brain: The Role of Neurotransmitters in the Care and Treatment of Drug Dependence

The Addicted Brain

7.1 Pain Management Discussion

7.2 Pain Medication History

Week 8, Module 8: Evaluation of a Drug's Effectiveness

Read Module Content



U.S. Food and Drug Administration

8.1 Drug Evaluation Discussion

Week 9, Module 9: Case Study

Read Module Content

Case Study Instructions 

9.1 Case Study Submission

9.2 Case Study Discussion

Week 10, Module 10: Conclusions

Read Module Content

10.1 Reflection

To see course due dates, click on the Checklist link on the top navigation bar. This page contains module-specific checklists and due dates for the work due in the course.

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Assessment of Learning

Percentage distribution of Assessments

Grading Category:

% of Final Grade:



Written Assignments




Digication Posts


Case Study




Late work will only be accepted with advance discussion and approval of the instructor. The highest grade late materials can achieve is a C.

Grading Policies and Practices

To complete the course, you must complete each of the assignments as described in the course and submit them to your instructor by the assigned deadline. In addition, you must participate in the course discussion forum by responding to all instructor requests and by interacting with fellow classmates as necessary.

Difficulties with submitting all written assignments by the due date should be brought to the instructor's attention immediately. Late work will only be accepted with advance discussion and notification of the instructor. Late work will be assessed on a pass/fail basis only, with the highest possible grade a late score can achieve is a C.

General Assessment Criteria for All Writing Assignments

All writing assignments are expected to conform to basic college-level standards of mechanics and presentation.

Consider visiting the Writing Center to discuss your assignments for this course or any others. You may schedule appointments (30 or 50 minutes) on an as–needed or weekly basis, scheduling up to 3 hours worth of appointments per week. Online services include Feedback–by–Email and IM conferencing (with or without a webcam). All writing center services are free.

Writing Center tutors are specially selected and trained graduate and undergraduate students who can help you at almost any stage of your writing. They will not do your work for you, but they can help you focus and develop your ideas, review your drafts, and polish your writing. They can answer questions about grammar, mechanics, different kinds of writing styles, and documentation formats. They also can answer questions and provide feedback online, through IM/webcam chats and email. Obviously, the tutors won’t necessarily be familiar with every class or subject, but they are able to provide valuable help from the perspective of an interested and careful reader as well as a serious and experienced student-writer.

Schedule your appointments with enough time to think about and use the feedback you’ll receive. To schedule a Face-to-Face, Written Feedback by Email, or Online Appointment, visit

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Online Discussion

Discussion Forums

Discussion Forums are real time. Postings are to be completed within the designated weekly time frame. Postings after the end of the module discussion period are not included in the grade assessment.

A Course Q & A discussion forum has also been established to manage necessary, ongoing social and administrative activities. This is where the management and administrative tasks of the course are conducted, and where you can ask ‘process’ questions and receive answers throughout the course. Please feel free to answer any question if you feel you know the answer; this sharing of information is valuable to other students.

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Course Expectations

Time Management and Attendance

SNL's online courses are not self-paced and require a regular time commitment EACH week throughout the quarter.

You are required to log in to your course at least four times a week so that you can participate in the ongoing course discussions.

Online courses are no less time consuming than "face to face" courses. You will have to dedicate some time every day or at least every second day to your studies. A typical four credit hour "face to face" course at SNL involves three hours of classroom meeting per week, plus at least three to six hours of study and homework per week.

This course will require at least the same time commitment, but your learning activities will be spread out through the week. If you have any problems with your technology, or if you need to improve your reading or writing skills, it may take even longer.

The instructor should be notified if your life events do not allow you to participate in the course and the online discussions for more than one week. This is particularly important when there are group discussions or you are working as part of a team.

If you find yourself getting behind, please contact the instructor immediately.

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Your Instructor's Role

Your instructor's role in this course is that of a discussion facilitator and learning advisor. It is not their responsibility to make sure you log in regularly and submit your assignments. As instructor, s/he will read all postings to the general discussion forums on a daily basis but may not choose to respond to each posting. You will receive feedback to assignments.

The instructor may choose to designate "office hours" when s/he will be online and available and will immediately respond to questions. Depending on the instructor, this response may be by e-mail, instant messenger or telephone. Otherwise, you will generally receive a response to emailed or posted queries within 48 hours.

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Your Role as a Student

As an online student, you will be taking a proactive approach to your learning. As the course instructor's role is that of a learning guide, your role is that of the leader in your own learning.

You will be managing your own time so that you can complete the readings, activities and assignments for the course, and you will also be expected to take a more active role in peer learning.

Please also note that this is a course offered by DePaul University's School for New Learning (SNL), a college for undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking students 24 years and older. SNL welcomes the perspectives and encourages the participation of all DePaul students, and students who take this course should respect and be mindful of SNL's mission in supporting a diverse and inclusive environment. More information about SNL can be found here.

View this brief demo Taking SNL Online courses in D2L to learn how to navigate through your course.

If you’re new to SNL Online see additional resources on the course home page under Student Resources/Getting Started.

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Course Netiquette

Online discussions are an important part of your course experience. To ensure a positive learning environment, please follow the following minimum expectations. Use your common sense, as not all situations can be covered:

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Academic Integrity

DePaul University is a learning community that fosters the pursuit of knowledge and the transmission of ideas within a context that emphasizes a sense of responsibility for oneself, for others and for society at large. Violations of academic integrity, in any of their forms, are, therefore, detrimental to the values of DePaul, to the students' own development as responsible members of society, and to the pursuit of knowledge and the transmission of ideas.

Violations include but are not limited to the following categories: cheating; plagiarism; fabrication; falsification or sabotage of research data; destruction or misuse of the university's academic resources; alteration or falsification of academic records; and academic misconduct. Conduct that is punishable under the Academic Integrity Policy could result in additional disciplinary actions by other university officials and possible civil or criminal prosecution. Please refer to your Student Handbook for further details.

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Plagiarism is a major form of academic dishonesty involving the presentation of the work of another as one's own. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following:

Plagiarism, like other forms of academic dishonesty, is always a serious matter. If an instructor finds that a student has plagiarized, the appropriate penalty is at the instructor's discretion.

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DePaul University Incomplete Policy

The intent of the Incomplete grade is to allow students extra time to complete their final assignments. This need arises because, in the closing weeks of the course, they have an event of significant magnitude that adversely affects their ability to complete the course, e.g. serious illness, death in the family, overseas deployment, or natural disaster.

You must request an incomplete grade in writing two weeks before the end of the quarter. Incomplete grades will be considered only after you have satisfactorily completed at least 75 percent of the coursework, and you have such an unexpected, uncontrollable event that prevents you from completing your course. Do not assume that you will qualify for an incomplete. Students who are failing the course at the point where they request an incomplete will not receive one, nor will they be granted after the end of the quarter. Incomplete grades are given at the discretion of the instructor.

If you do receive permission from the instructor to take an incomplete in the course, you will be required to complete a contract with the instructor, specifying how you will finish the missing work within the next two quarters (excluding summer). See the Incomplete Grade Contract Form.

Undergraduate and graduate students will have up to two quarters to complete an incomplete. At the end of the second quarter (excluding summer) following the term in which the incomplete grade was assigned, remaining incompletes will automatically convert to "F" grades. Ordinarily no incomplete grade may be completed after the grace period has expired. Instructors may not change incomplete grades after the end of the grace period without the permission of a college-based Exceptions Committee. This policy applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. NOTE: In the case of a student who has applied for graduation and who has been approved for an Incomplete in his or her final term, the incomplete must be resolved within the four-week grace period before final degree certification.

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Description of Pass/Fail Grading Options

Students have the option of taking all SNL undergraduate courses as Pass/Fail even if a class is initially structured for a letter grade assessment. In these cases a Pass is awarded when competence is demonstrated at a level that would otherwise earn a grade of C- or higher.

In deciding to select Pass/Fail grading students should be aware that competencies assessed in a course as Pass will earn credit hours toward degree completion but will not be included in computing grade point averages. Attempted competence demonstration assessed within a class as Fail will not only be recorded as credit hours attempted but will also be included in computing a student's grade point average.

For SNL students, competencies awarded for Independent Learning Pursuits and in the Lifelong Learning Domain do not count toward the university's specification that only twenty credit hours may be earned through the Pass/Fail assessment option.

Please note:There are three SNL courses within the BA curriculum that are always assessed on a Pass/Fail basis: Foundations of Adult Learning (course number LL 250; competences L-2 and F-1), Advanced Project (course number FA 303; competences F-11 and F-12) and Summit Seminar (course number LL 390; competence L-12). These classes may not be taken for a letter grade assessment. Therefore, work that might otherwise be assessed at grades A through C- will earn a Pass in these classes.

There are an additional five SNL courses within the Lifelong Learning Area of the BA curriculum for which instructors regularly use a Pass/Fail grading system that may instead be taken for a letter grade assessment if this is a student's preference. These classes are: Independent Learning Seminar (course number LL 103; competence L1); Writing for Competence (course number LL 260; competence L-4), Critical Thinking (course number LL 270; competence L-5), Research Seminar (course number LL 300; competences L-8 and L-9), and Externship (course number LL 302; competences L-10 and L-11). In addition, SNL's undergraduate Writing Workshop (course number LL 140; competence H-3-J) regularly uses Pass/Fail, although students may request a letter grade assessment. In these instances SNL offers undergraduate students the opportunity to request a letter grade assessment from their instructor. Students who need a letter grade for tuition reimbursement may wish to consider this option, as well as those who wish to raise their GPA. Students planning to attend graduate school may also prefer letter grades to Pass/Fail assessments.

If a student wants to switch the method of assessment, either to or from the Pass/Fail option, this must be requested from the instructor in writing by the beginning of the third week of the quarter. For courses that meet fewer than ten weeks of the quarter, this request must be made by the beginning of the third week of the course. The grading basis may not be changed after these deadlines, with no exceptions.

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For Students Who Need Accommodations Based on the Impact of a Disability

Students seeking disability-related accommodations are required to register with DePaul's Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) enabling you to access accommodations and support services to assist your success. There are two office locations:

Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD)
Loop Campus: Lewis Center 1420. (312) 362-8002
Lincoln Park Campus: Student Center 370. (773) 325-1677

Students are also invited to contact their instructor privately to discuss your challenges and how the instructor may assist in facilitating the accommodations you will use in this course. This is best done early in the term and the conversation will remain confidential.

Dean of Students Office

The Dean of Students Office (DOS) helps students in navigating the university, particularly during difficult situations, such as personal, financial, medical, and/or family crises. Absence Notifications to faculty, Late Withdrawals, and Community Resource Referrals, support students both in and outside of the classroom. Additionally we have resources and programs to support health and wellness, violence prevention, substance abuse and drug prevention, and LGBTQ student services. We are committed to your success as a DePaul student. Please feel free to contact us.

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Protection of Human Subjects

For more information see:

Demonstrating the acquisition of competencies in this course can involve "interactions"—interviewing and or observing other people—discussing those interviews or observations with other class members and writing them up in one or more final report(s). As such, these activities qualify as "research" with "human subjects" and are subject to University and Federal guidelines. Because it takes place in the context of this course, your research is exempt from approval by the School for New Learning's Local Review Board only under the following conditions:

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Copyright and Student Privacy

In accordance with DePaul’s Acceptable Use Policy, commentary and materials within SNL Online classes shall not be copied, reproduced or published elsewhere without the express written consent of individuals involved.

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This course was designed and produced by Patricia Stifter and staff at SNL Online of the School for New Learning of DePaul University.

© 2012 School for New Learning, DePaul University. All Rights Reserved by SNL during contractual interval with the author. Printed in the USA.

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