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Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 10-Dec-22

Spring 2023 | PSY-2130-VO01 - Death & Dying

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 01-24-2023 to 05-08-2023
Last day to drop without a grade: 02-12-2023 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 03-26-2023 - Refund Policy
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration


Mary Ann Boyd
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Kate Hughes

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following VSC General Education Requirement(s) for Catalog Year 21-22 and later:
Social Sciences
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

Examines the nature of our society's attitudes toward death. Special attention will be given to the ways in which society, families, medical, economic and religious institutions respond to death. Psychological aspects of impending death and the grieving process will be emphasized through the study of the work of K├╝bler-Ross.

Essential Objectives

1. Identify changes in society's present perspectives on death, dying, and life after death as represented by our language and sense of humor, movies, books, news, media and the arts.
2. Compare and contrast the beliefs, rituals, and practices surrounding death expressed by a variety of cultures, religions, and periods in history.
3. Describe how we learn about death as children and how a child's development and experiences can affect their concept of death.
4. Distinguish between how death and loss affects us as adults at different ages: the death of a parent, a child, partner, or significant other, including pets.
5. Explain and demonstrate the coping patterns used in facing death, including the psychological stages of dealing with life-threatening illness as identified by Dr. Kubler-Ross.
6. Identify ways to recognize and intervene with a person who may be suicidal and to help family and friends cope with loss after suicide.
7. Describe the effects upon survivors and witnesses of environmental encounters with death such as accidents, violence, natural disasters, and war.
8. Analyze the ways in which the health care system helps and hinders patients and their families to be able to deal with death and the process of dying.
9. Describe medical and legal ethical conflicts surrounding death created by modern technology. Topics may include definitions of death, Dr. Kevorkian and assisted suicide, living wills and the rights of families, decisions to use 'extreme measures,' and the 'right to die.'
10. Discuss reports of 'near death experiences' and how they have influenced ideas about life after death.
11. Explore and express their own personal thoughts and beliefs on dying a 'good death' and the impact on life and living.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Teaching Methods:

A weekly discussion forum assignment related to textbook content and/or other course resources which will require the submission of an original post, as well as three responses to classmates posts.

*Weekly lectures, reading assignments as well various videos and other postings related to the weekly topic.

*Short Essays

*5 Study Guide assignments related to course content.

*A final Oral Presentation on a topic of interest.

*Final Exam derived from Study Guide material.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Week 1: Hello and Welcome!

- Introduction to the course and one-another

- Overview of Course


Discussion Forum



Mental Health Aspects of Grief through various losses.


Discussion Forum
Short Introductory Presentation
Study Guide 1



Cross Cultural Aspects of Grieving and Death





Cross Cultural Aspects of Death (continued) and the History of Death Practices.


Study Guide 2
Cultural Competency Essay



How we learn about Death as Children.


Study Guide 3








Terminal Illness and the experience of approaching death...for the dying and survivors.


Study Guide 4



Terminal Illness and Aproaching Death


The Bucket List Essay



Health Care Systems, Medical Ethics, Dying in a Technological Age.





Health Care Systems, Medical Ethics, Dying in a Technological Age (continued)


Study Guide 5



Traditional Funerals, Burials and Cremation





Alternatives to the Traditional Practices.





Final Exams!


Final Exam



Final Oral Presentations





Our last week...Humor, Art and Goodbyes!




Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.