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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Arminta Jacobson
College of Education
University of North Texas

Course Description

Analyzing family, school, and community resources and needs as related to the family life cycle, examining child welfare and education and ecological approach, and exploration of careers related to children and families. Strategies to improve communication and collaboration are emphasized with a focus on family types, cultures, economic conditions, school systems, community services, political forces, advocacy groups, and other factors that impact young children and their families. Fifteen hours per semester in field work arranged. 3 semester credit hours.

Course Delivery

WebCT Vista Course –100% online
Go to
All students should activate and regularly check their Eagle Mail (email) account. Eagle Mail is used for official communication from the University to students. Many important announcements for the university and college are sent to students via Eagle Mail. For information about Eagle Mail, including how to activate an account and how to have Eagle Mail forwarded to another email address, visit

Text and References

Barbour, C., Barbour, N. H., & Scully, P. A. (2005). Families, schools & communities: Building partnerships for educating children (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Boethel, M. (2003). Diversity: School, family, & community connections. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. [Available at]

Parent Teacher Education Connection student modules available online at

The University of North Texas College of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the recruitment and missions of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operations of any of its programs and activities, as specified by the federal laws and regulations. The designated liaison for the Program in Development, Family Studies, and Early Childhood Education is Dr. Linda Schertz, Room 119H, Matthews Hall. Copies of the College of Education ADA Compliance Document are available in the Dean's Office, Matthews Hall. The student has the responsibility of informing the course instructor of any disabling condition that will require modifications to avoid discrimination.

Course Objectives

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) teacher certification guidelines:

The student will be able to

  1. Describe the major theories guiding research and practice in the area.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 1.2, 1.3, 3.3, 5.3
  2. Describe the effects of community support on child and family development.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 1.2, 2.4.2, 2.4.4, 3.3, 4.1.3, 4.2, 5.4, 5.5
  3. Describe the range of parenting styles and skills and provide education opportunities for parents to gain parenting skills.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, 4.1.3, 5.5
  4. Describe the impact of culture and language on children and apply such knowledge to interactions with diverse populations of children and families.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 1.2, 1.3, 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 2.1.4, 3.2
  5. Identify community resources available for children and families, including those with special needs.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 1.2.2, 2.1.8, 2.3, 2.4.4, 3.4, 4.1.3, 4.1.5, 5.5
  6. Identify and analyze societal trends affecting children and families.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 1.3, 2.4.2, 5.2, 5.5, 5.6
  7. Identify sources of information and strategies for child and family advocacy and practice advocacy.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 2.4.4, 3.1, 3.4, 5.2, 5.6
  8. Identify careers related to child development and family relations.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 5.2
  9. Identify family-centered practices in agencies and organizations.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 2.4.4, 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.3, 4.2, 5.5
  10. Discuss and evaluate factors that facilitate (and those that inhibit) partnerships and cross-agency collaboration
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 2.4.2, 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.3, 4.2, 5.5
  11. Participate in a professional manner as a volunteer with a community agency
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 5.5, 5.6, 5.8, 6.1, 6.2
  12. Reflect on their own skills at collaborating and networking with parents and professionals in the field.
    NAEYC Guideline(s): 3.1, 3.1.1, 3.5, 4.1.3, 5.1

Academic Honesty Policy

It is expected that students will conform to the University of North Texas Code of Student Conduct and Discipline as outlined in the undergraduate catalog and in the student handbook, retrievable online at This policy states, in part, that all instances of cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism are prohibited and will be reported. Any student who assists in any form of dishonesty is equally as guilty as the student who accepts such assistance. Any work submitted with your name alone on it should represent only your work. Credit by name and cite references, as appropriate, any ideas or work contributed by others. Disciplinary action will be taken against any student found in violation of the code, which may include failure in the course and possible expulsion from the university.

Portfolio and Journal Requirement

If you are working toward a teacher certificate or Early Childhood Intervention Certification (ECI), you are required to put together a professional portfolio which represents your professional development. Keep copies of syllabi, graded assignments, class handouts that may be useful as a resource or provide evidence of course learning, self-reflection journals, proof of attendance at professional meetings, etc. If you are a potential ECI certification student, write a few sentences in a self-reflection journal each lesson to include new understanding and ideas for application to work in Early Childhood Intervention. [Not a course requirement]

Collection of Student Work Samples Policy

In order to monitor students' achievement and improve its instructional programs, the Program of Development, Family Studies, and Early Childhood Education collects random, anonymous student work samples to be analyzed by internal and external reviewers. Your instructor will keep copies of randomly selected assignments turned in by students. The work will be anonymous with students' names removed.

Course Requirements and Assignments & Percentage of Grade

The reading assignments and online lessons should be read thoroughly. The final exam will include multiple choice questions based on assignments. Lessons are participatory and require students to learn by analyzing and applying knowledge and discussion of ideas, primarily through an assigned Cooperative Learning Group. Students are expected to follow the schedule of lessons in order to participate fully in the assigned Cooperative Learning Group and collaborate in learning with the other students. Communications and assignments should only be sent through WebCT for this course. Work posted after the due date without approval from the instructor will receive a 10% reduction in the grade for each week late. Approval for late work is given for documented medical or other emergency reasons. Employment and time management , and computer problems are examples of excuses that are not valid. Free access computer labs are available to complete work. All forms, links, and information required for the assignments are posted on WebCT Vista. Student goals for each lesson suggest a timeline for beginning work on assignments due later in the semester. Follow the suggestions, get started early, work ahead, and ask questions at least a week before the due date.

Field Work/Service Learning [10%]
Fifteen hours of service learning is required. Students have an opportunity to learn in depth through field work about a community organization and how it partners with families and schools. Students are required to work as a volunteer in an approved community agency/program providing services or resources to children and families. Service learning may not be completed in a child care center or student's place of employment. Students are expected to keep the hours as agreed on with the program and conduct themselves in a professional manner. For verification of hours, the student keeps an attendance log and has the appropriate program representative sign off. The verified time log should be delivered to Dr. Jacobson in Matthews Hall 119, mailed to UNT, P.O. Box 310829, Denton, TX 76203-0829, or scanned and sent through WebCT when due. A weekly journal, final report, and a paragraph posted to the Cooperative Learning Group are also required.

Article Summary [10%]
Students are required to read an article from a professional journal and write a 2–3-page summary paper and post for Cooperative Learning Group. A list of suggested articles will be provided. Other acceptable professional articles can be found online through a search of the UNT Library website for electronic resources (

Electronic Community Resource Directory [10%]
Collect information about at least 20 public and private agencies, programs, organizations, or community collaborations that offer services to children and families in the community or urban area where you currently live or plan to begin your professional career. Research can be conducted through Internet searches, telephone directories, United Way, and referral services. You are expected to make visits and phone calls in order to have complete information and a resource directory you can use. Include at least one of each of the following kinds of services: educational (e.g., literacy), nutritional, medical (e.g., low-income clinics), social, recreation, mental health, parent/family life education, abuse prevention, work (e.g., child care resources for low-income women), substance abuse, economic assistance, counseling, senior citizens, foster care/adoption, special needs, and immigrant services. Your directory will include (a) list of services, (b) location, (c) contact information, and (d) eligibility information and referral information (if applicable). Include website addresses if available. As part of the final exam you will be asked to decide on appropriate referrals for a family in a case study using your knowledge of community resources.

Cooperative Learning Group Projects [16%]
Students are required to participate in group projects and guided dialogue within assigned Cooperative Learning Groups and post completed group projects and performance assessments (rubrics) for the Parent Teacher Education (PTE) Connection Student Assignments (Parenting, Communications, Learning at Home, Decision Making, Community Involvement, and Volunteering), and discussion responses. All students are required to complete Collaboration Self-Assessment and Collaboration Group Assessment and post as scheduled.

Philosophy of Working With Diverse Families [10%]
Each student is required to write a 2–3-page philosophy paper on working with diverse families based on reading in the course. The philosophy should reflect knowledge and effective strategies for partnerships with diverse families. In addition to posting the paper for grading, each student will write a paragraph summarizing their philosophy and post to their Cooperative Learning Group.

Participation in CL Group Discussions [10%]
Each student's participation in group discussions will be monitored for quantity and quality of participation and a grade assigned. Participation in group discussion should reflect the student's understanding and reflection about what they have read. Each contribution to group discussion should be unique, thoughtful, and add to the learning of other group members as well as oneself.

Surveys and Quizzes

Completion of the following surveys and forms, posted on WebCT, are required.

  • Getting to Know You Survey
  • Pre-Assessment – Attitudes Toward Parent Involvement
  • Knowledge Quizzes (on [14%]
  • Center for Parent Education Modules Over Theory Base (require 70% correct for credit)
  • Parent Teacher Education Connection (PTE Connect) Online Modules
    • Parenting
    • Communications
    • Learning at Home
    • Decision Making
    • Community Involvement
    • Volunteering
  • Collaboration Self Assessment
  • Collaboration Group Assessment
  • Post-Assessment – Attitudes Toward Parent Involvement
  • Faculty Evaluation
  • Online Course Evaluation
  • Final Examination (at approved campus-based testing center) [20%]

Summary of Assignments and Grading

Field Work/Service Learning 10% (10 pts.)
Article Summary 10% (10 pts.)
Electronic Community Resource Directory 10% (10 pts.)
Cooperative Learning Group Projects 16% (16 pts.)
Philosophy of Working With Diverse Families 10% (10 pts.)
Participation in CL Group Discussions 10% (10 pts.)
Knowledge Quizzes: Modules 14% (14 pts.)
Final Examination 20% (20 pts.)

Course Calendar

Week Topic/Reading Assignment Due
1–15   Guided dialogue in groups
8/30 Home, School, Community
(Barbour, Ch. 1)
9/6 History, Philosophy, Theory
(website resources)
Getting to Know You Survey
Attitudes Toward Parent Involvement
Theory module exam
9/13 Collaboration & Partnerships
(Barbour, Ch. 2; website)
Field Work Placement Form
9/20 Responsibility for Children
(Barbour, Ch. 6)
9/27 Parenting
(Barbour, Ch. 4)
Article Summary Paper
Parenting Quiz/Assessment Questions
10/4 Communicating With Families
(website resources)
Communicating Quiz/Assessment Questions
Parenting CLG Project & Assessment
10/11 Learning at Home
(Barbour, Ch. 7)
Learning Quiz/Assessment Questions
Communication CLG Project & Assessment
10/18 Parent Leadership
(website resources)
Parent Leadership Quiz/Assessment Questions
Learning at Home CLG Project & Assessment
10/25 Community & Family
(Barbour Ch. 9)
Parent Leadership CLG Project & Assessment
11/1 Community Resources
(website resource)
Community Resources Quiz/Assessment
11/8 Volunteering
(Barbour, Ch. 11)
Volunteering Quiz/Assessment Questions
Community Resources CLG Project/Assessment
11/15 Models for Partnerships
(Barbour, Ch. 12; website)
Volunteering CLG Project/Assessment
Collaboration Self Assessment
Collaboration Group Assessment
11/22 Family Diversity
(SEDL, Ex. Summary, Ch. 1–2)
Electronic Community Resource Directory
Field work journal, time log, report, paragraph
11/29 Family Diversity
(SEDL, Ch. 3)
Philosophy paper/post paragraph
12/6 Family Diversity
(Barbour, Ch. 4)
Attitudes Toward Parent Involvement
Faculty evaluation
Online course evaluation
12/13 Review objectives, reading, guided dialogue questions Final exam (approved campus site)

Free. Available online only.

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project