Health Administration (HADM) 315

Health and Community Development (Revision 4)

HADM 315 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: HADM 315 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for HSRV 315 or NTST 315.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

HADM 315 has a challenge for credit option.

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In HADM 315: Health and Community Development, you are invited to engage in the content and discussions with online peers and community partners so that you will experience theory and practice combined as praxis. You will learn about concepts of community, social determinants of health, and the use of participatory action research methods in the application and integration of community development (CD) principles to build community capacity.

We will provide you with tools to facilitate community organizing and participatory action (PA) as a means of bringing people together to address problematic social conditions. As a purposeful collective effort, PA requires sound analytical, political, and interactional skills. An important aspect of those skills for community facilitators involves a continuous pattern of systematic planning, doing, reflecting again (theorizing), and acting strategically to build a group or community that can achieve its aims.

Although these concepts are addressed in the course, we assume learners come with some familiarity of such relevant skills and knowledge as: the nature of organizations, service delivery networks, community structures and dynamics, power structure and dynamics, empowerment, and advocacy. Through learning from case studies presented by community partners and the values they express, you will have opportunities to develop the skills and competencies required of effective community development practitioners, and increase your capacity to create sustainable transformative change. Therefore, this course is relevant to direct practice for and with any community or group, but it is particularly relevant for advocacy and capacity building for disempowered groups in society.


Health Administration 315: Health and Community Development comprises eight units, which are further divided into segments, as outlined below.

Unit One: Introduction to Health and Community Development

Segment 1: Guiding Your Learning Journey – As the Eagle Flies
Segment 2: Case Study: You just blink and it can happen: A study of women’s homelessness north of 60
Segment 3: Professionalization, Service Delivery, and Community Development
Segment 4: Where Theory Meets Practice

Unit Two: What is Community Development?

Segment 1: What is Community?
Segment 2: Systems Thinking Applied to Community Development
Segment 3: What is the "Development" in Community Development?

Unit Three: Mapping Community Development

Segment 1: Concepts and Tools Used In Community Development
Segment 2: The Medicine Wheel as a Situation Mapping Tool
Segment 3: The Determinants Model and Problem Tree Analysis

Unit Four: How Change Happens

Segment 1: Three Kinds of Change Problems
Segment 2: Why Community Development is Always about Change
Segment 3: Routine Change versus Transformation

Unit Five: Doing Things Right – Best Practices and Principles to Guide Development Action (Part I, Principles 1 – 8)
Segment 1: Introduction to the Principles of Community Development

  • Human beings can transform their world
  • Development comes from within
  • Healing is a necessary part of development
  • Justice
  • No vision, no development
  • Development processes must be rooted in the culture of the people
  • Interconnectedness: A holistic approach
  • The hurt of one is the hurt of all; the honour of one is the honour of all

Unit Six: Doing Things Right – More Best Practices and Principles to Guide Development Action (Part II, Principles 9 – 17)
Segment 1: Introduction to More Principles of Community Development

  • Unity
  • Participation
  • Spirit
  • Morals and ethics
  • Learning
  • Sustainability
  • Move to the positive
  • Be the change you want to see
  • Power and power dynamics in the community must be acknowledged and analysed

Unit Seven: Are you an Effective Community Development Facilitator?

Segment 1: Roles and Personal Characteristics of Effective Community Development Workers
Segment 2: Strategies for Community Development Work
Segment 3: Capacity Building as the Foundation of Community Development Work
Segment 4: Assessing Community Capacity
Segment 5: Capacity Building Strategies and Tools

Unit Eight: Community Development Practice

Segment 1: Participation
Segment 2: Barriers to Participation Produce Inauthentic Participation
Segment 3: Participatory Action Research
Segment 4: Components and Core Competencies to Facilitate Sustained Participatory Action


To receive credit for HADM 315, you must achieve a D (50 percent) or higher on each evaluation activity. The weighting of the course grade is as follows:

Credit Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Defining and Describing Community 20%
Assignment 2: Community Assessment 30%
Assignment 3: Developing and Implementing an Action Plan 35%
Participation 15%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Bopp, M., & Bopp, J. (2011). Recreating the world: A practical guide to building sustainable communities (3rd ed.). Calgary, AB: Four Worlds Press. (Online)

Alternate Delivery Option (OERu*)

HADM315: Health and Community Development (Revision 4), is now offering a version of this course in Open Courseware format. This means that anyone interested in learning more about health and community development, but not desiring university credits for their learning, has free access to audit the course as a “guest” without tutor support or assignment submissions.”

*The OERu is an independent, not-for-profit network that offers free online university courses for students worldwide using Open Educational Resources (OER)

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, February 16, 2016.

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