COMHLTH 570
Health Communication and Behavior Change

Course Instructor:

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Course Overview

Overview: Health Communication encompasses studies on how to communicate health-related information to targeted audiences. Research in this area focuses on the uses of media to influence individuals' decision-making and social development. This course provides an overview of basic behavior change theories that are often used in health contexts.

Credits: 3 credits

Prerequisites: Admitted to the online master?s program in Health Communication and Promotion or approval from the instructor


Course Goals

COMHLTH 570 Health Communication and Behavior Change provides an overview of basic behavior change theories that are often applied in health contexts. Students will learn how to effectively evaluate existing health communication campaigns that use behavior change theories, and understand how to use behavior change theories in the construction and evaluation of health communication campaigns. Students will develop and enhance research skills and critical thinking. This course is integral to the online master?s in health communication and promotion, and will appeal to students earning the degree as well as those interested in communicating and evaluating health messages.

Student Learning Outcomes for this course:
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
Course Topics/Dates
The following topics and dates will address this outcome:
Evaluation of Outcomes:
This outcome will be evaluated primarily by:
Demonstrate an understanding of behavior change theories that are often used in health contexts.

Unit 1

  • Behavior change theories
  • Upstream/downstream behavior change and social determinants of health
  • Students collect and read information to understand various behavior change theory strategies.
  • Students search and read academic and professional publications.
  • Students use behavior change theories and models to design a public campaign on certain patient/population relations issues through both traditional and new media platforms.
  • Assessed in discussion posts and assignments.
Effectively evaluate existing health communication campaigns that use behavior change theories, and understand how to use behavior change theories in the construction and evaluation of health communication campaigns.

Unit 2-4

  • Unit Social marketing
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Social norms
  • Integrated model of behavioral prediction
  • Stages of change
  • Health Belief Model
  • eHealth
  • mHealth
  • Social media and health communication
  • Students do research to collect information on a selected campaign topic and to achieve a clearly defined campaign goal.
  • Students apply concepts and theories from readings to a specific campaign topic.
  • Students identify pro-social campaign objectives and outline communication protocols.
  • Assessed in problem analysis and campaign design.
  • Assessed in discussion posts and assignments.
Develop and enhance research skills and critical thinking.

Unit 5

  • Health, cause marketing, and corporate social responsibility
  • Unintended effects of health messages
  • Assessed in discussion posts and assignments.
  • Assessed in Article review.



Course Work

Expectations for Student Effort

For each hour of lecture equivalent, students should expect to have a minimum of six hours of work outside of class. Therefore, students should expect to devote 6-10 hours/week on course readings, lecture reviews, discussion posts and assignments.

Weekly Course Outline

Each unit will consist of several readings. Students will respond at least ten times to the readings via posts to the course's message board. Students will complete two reviews of manuscripts that apply or test behavior change theories in a health context.  Students will complete a review of a behavior change theory that includes a thorough discussion of how the theory has been applied in a health context.

Discussion Board Posts

Students will be expected to post their response related to the readings six times during the semester. The posts should be well thought out, well-written, and academic in nature. Each of the posts will be worth 5 points each. You choose one of the readings that is of interest to you before the date the post is due. So for example, for post 2, you can choose any paper before Week 4. These posts are your reactions to the readings. It can be about what you liked or did not like in the reading. What you learnt from the paper etc.

Article Reviews

Each student will complete an in-depth review of two articles, chosen from the course syllabus by the student. For the in-depth reviews, you should identify and explain the following: the purpose of the paper; the theory used; the methodology used; the findings; and the weaknesses/limitations of the article. These reviews should be 3 pages long, 12 Times Roman, double space to be submitted in a word document. These assignments should be written in your own words.

Behavior Change Theory Review and Application

Each student will choose a behavior change theory that has been discussed in class.  The student will provide a written review of the theory and critically evaluate how well the theory has been applied in at least three health communication campaigns.  For example, a student could focus on social norms theory and review how well the theory has been applied on college campuses to reduce binge drinking.


Instructor Interaction

Best way to contact me is via my WSU email (listed under "Course Instructor" above). You can also post questions in the Blackboard space.


Late Work Policy

Late work is not accepted in this class.  Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there are extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. This course requires students to maintain strong organizational skills.  It is the student?s responsibility to complete all assignments by the due date.


Grading

I have high expectations for your performance and success in this class. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation count on all assignments. Any of these errors are problematic and cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the facts in your project. Multiple errors of this type will lower your grade. I expect students to read and engage with all course materials, and participate actively in class discussions via the online discussion board.

Assignment Points Percent of Overall Grade
Discussion Board Posts 30 30
Article Review #1 15 15
Article Review #2 15 15
Behavior Change Theory Review and Application 40 40
Total 100 100


Grade Percent Grade Percent
A 93?100% C 73?76%
A? 90?92% C? 70?72%
B+ 87?89% D+ 67?69%
B 83?86% D 60?66%
B? 80?82% F   0?59%
C+ 77?79%    


If a grade falls into a non-specified range (e.g. 89.5% or 89.2%), the grade will be rounded to the closest whole number. Therefore, if a grade was 89.5%, the student would receive an A-; if the grade as 89.2% the student would receive a B+.


Copyright

This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the intellectual property of the instructors who designed and contributed to the course (or the intellectual property of their references) and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note-taking services, without written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU?s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU?s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

Any course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are the instructor's intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. The use of University electronic resources (e.g., BlackBoard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU's computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218).


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