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Catalog Description:

This course introduces the student to the nature of society, social groups, processes of interaction, social change, and the relationship of behavior to culture.


Course Justification/Rationale:

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This course is part of the mandated course of study for general education requirements.  This course will prepare the student for further study in the major of his/her choice while assisting them in developing critical thinking skills.  Throughout the course the student will learn to apply the “sociological imagination” and develop an understanding of how society works.  This course will be valuable in providing a well-rounded education to students preparing to leave the university and apply their knowledge to the work place and life in general.


General Education Objectives:

This class is designed to meet the general education requirements by allowing the student to develop analytical and critical thinking skills as well as to improve their basic knowledge of their culture and society in general.


Course Objectives:


  • To THINK CRITICALLY about the world around you.  Critical thinking is an important skill that must be cultivated and honed.  This class will allow the student to learn to think critically about the culture and society that you belong to.
  • To gain an introductory understanding of sociological theories and perspectives about society and the people within it.  Sociology is the scientific study of society and the people within it.  It offers a unique lens through which to view the world.  This class will teach you how to look through that lens.


  • To become familiar with sociological concept and ideas through the study of its unique applications and research methodologies.  One of the seminal emphases of sociology is research.  Without applying concepts and ideas to actual societies and cultures, sociology is little more than an interesting philosophy.  This class will focus on actual research and actual applications in order to better illustrate sociological concepts.
  • To apply sociological concepts to various social phenomena that affects the world today.  In this class students will be asked to apply the various theories and concepts of sociology to the society around them.  In this way, the students will gain an understanding of the applied nature that sociology can have.

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Class Structure and Policies:


  • Class Discussion: Orderly discussion and exchange of ideas are encouraged. Your ideas and thoughts are important and should and will be considered.  That said, it is also important to realize that many ideas presented both by the instructor and by your fellow students may challenge some of your existing beliefs.  All perspectives are welcome as long as they are offered in a respectful and appropriate manner.  Intolerance and disrespect of any kind will not be permitted under any circumstances. (This includes discussion boards and emails)
  • Student Conduct: Students who engage in disruptive, inappropriate, or malicious behaviors (such as using inappropriate language in posts or insulting other students) are a disruption to the learning process and to the course.  If such behaviors persist, student offenders will be referred to the Behavioral Science department head for disciplinary action.
  • Attendance and Make-up: Attendance is required. You may wonder how you can attend an online class… logging in and doing your work is attendance.Blackboard keeps track of log-on times and dates…so if you email me saying you need more time for an assignment, but I look and see that you have not logged-on or ‘attended’ for 2 weeks, there will be no assistance because that is the same as you not attending class for two weeks.Due to this being an online class and there being a set structure, there will be no make-ups. I will offer extra credit at different periods during the course – that will be the only form of a “make-up.”
  • Cheating: Academic honesty is required of all students.  Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated.  This includes plagiarism (since this is an online class this seems to be the widest spread form of academic dishonesty) or anything else deemed academically dishonest.  Cheaters will receive a grade of “F” on the assignment.  No extra credit assignment will be allowed to replace the “F”. The instructor reserves the right to remove any and all who cheat from the class.DO NOT CHEAT, EVER!
  • ADA Statement:If any member of the class has a documented disability and needs special accommodations, the instructor will work with the student to provide reasonable accommodation to ensure the student a fair opportunity to perform in this class.  In order to plan for optimum success, please advise the instructor of the disability and the desired accommodations as soon as possible. Students are strongly encouraged to notify the instructor during the first week of classes. Without ample planning / preparation time, we cannot assure the availability of needed accommodations in a timely manner.


Class Assignments:


  • Readings:  All students will be asked to read the designated chapters from the text and any additional placed in Blackboard.  Reading the assigned chapters and texts will facilitate learning as well as prepare you for any discussion that may take place during class and discussion boards.
  • Media: Throughout the course of the semester there will be assigned media assignments, such as watching a video. The links or files for the media will be in the content folder along with the assigned readings for the week.



***Late Assignments:  No late assignments will be accepted***


  • Exams:  There will be no exams in this course.
  • Quizzes: There will be no quizzes in this course.
  • Discussion Boards:Discussion boards will be posted every week. The topics may vary from something directly in the chapter to something that is going on in the nation or world (that is relevant to this course). Discussion boards are exactly what it sounds like, YOU DISCUSS THINGS. There is no right or wrong answer or perspective. Everybody is entitled to their opinions. However, you must discuss things within the context of the material being learned in this course. If your discussion is based off of something other than a sociological perspective, you will not receive credit for the assignment. When I teach this course in-class I encourage free and open discussion among my students – it is the same here. I expect the discussion boards to be a place where all of you, and myself at times, can discuss issues pertinent to this class. You must be respectful in the discussion boards (please refer to the student conduct section above for more information). As you will see in the structure of the class, discussion boards are worth 10 points per discussion board. You must post at least one initial post and respond at least 4 times to the posts of classmates before the discussion board will be marked for grading. This means, you must have 5 posts (in total – one original post and four responses to classmates) before you can receive a grade for a discussion board forum. AGAIN – If you do not post at least 5 times in the discussion board you will receive 0 points for that discussion board forum.
    • Note: The above criteria must be met for EACH discussion board forum to receive full points. If there are multiple discussion board forums per week, that means these criteria must be met for each of them.


Lesson Responses: There will be one lesson response per week. Lesson responses are meant to be an outlet for how you received the lesson. It is entirely your opinion and your response to the lesson. There is a 400-word minimum, which is required to receive the full 10 points. AGAIN – Your lesson responses MUST total at least 400 words in order to get the full 10 points. If you do not reach a total of 400 words, you will receive a percentage of the ten points that is equal to the percentage of the 400 words that you completed. For example, if the total word count of your response is only 250 words, you will only receive 6 points because 250 is 62.5% of 400. Note – I will always round down. The purpose of these responses is twofold: 1) to encourage the use and improvement of writing skills, which is essential in not only academia, but also the work place, and 2) to encourage you to think critically about the material and ideas that you are being exposed to.


The word length is equal to 1 page single spaced with Times New Roman font, which is how I chose the number of words. Writing one page about an entire chapter is a very easy task if you actually read the material, looked at the power points, and checked out the other media/reading assigned for the chapter, and put in the effort.


Additional Assignments: From time to time I will add another writing assignment. These assignments will be worth the same amount of points as a lesson response, will require the same 400-word minimum word count (unless otherwise specified in the assignment), and will be graded along the same parameters as the lesson responses.


Bonus Assignments: From time to time I will offer bonus assignments. They will all be writing assignments and will vary in required length, which will be stated in the assignment itself. The grading of bonus assignments will follow the same parameters as the lesson responses are graded.



  • End of Course Response: This will be a 1600-word experiential essay assignment. Before you have a heart attack about the word length, 1600 words is approximately 4 pages single spaced with 12-point Times New Roman Font. This is an experiential paper, meaning it is based off of experience and observation. This is not a research or scientific paper, this is a paper about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences that you have had over the course of this class. It can be about anything so long as it is related to you and your experience in this course (obviously referring to the material and ideas covered in the course, not the blackboard course itself). I will post this assignment near the end of the semester. I will post more information about the specifics of the paper when it is assigned.  This paper will be worth 100 points, which will work the same way the lesson responses work for grading purposes.


  • GRAMMAR – It is shameful that I must include this in the syllabus, however, I have learned that if I do not say this at the beginning of the course it causes problems. Grammar and basic English and writing skillsare important. This is a course at an institution of higher education. This is not a text message or a casual email to your friend. Every single assignment and submission in this course should use proper English and grammar. Your responses should have punctuation. Your responses should use capitalization as it is supposed to be used. Your responses should be presented in a clean and neat fashion (for example – if you are writing responses in an assignment and there are 10 questions or prompts, you should number your responses to coincide with the assignment). If I see a “u” instead of “you” (or anything similar to that situation) it is an automatic fail. No points will be earned. This is not grade school, this is college – and you need to write like it. If you have any questions about this feel free to email me.


  • “Write Submission” – You will see that when an assignment is made available you will be able to click a button that says “write submission” to write your response and complete the assignment. This a very simple process. You click the “write submission” button in the “assignment submission” section that is directly under the instructions for the assignment. YOU DO NOT write your response in the “add comments” section. If you write your response in the comments section it is an automatic zero. If you have any questions, just email me.


The Five Primary Things I Hope You Take Away from This Course

  1. The development of your sociological imagination
  2. An understanding of social constructionism
  3. An understanding of the culture of poverty and how it impacts our society
  4. An understanding of social control and how it impacts us as individuals


Some words about taking an online course…


If you have never taken an online course before than this may be some useful information for you, and if you have taken an online course before I still encourage you to think on the following for a bit.


You will only get out of this course what you put into it. Unlike a traditional course, online courses do not have an instructor physically in front of you motivating you to be active in the course, which is one of the trade offs of taking an online course; you gain convenience but you lose the traditional classroom structure, which is a powerful motivator for investment in the material being covered in the class. So just know before beginning this course, what you get from this course will be a direct result/reflection of what you invest in this course.


Some words about taking this course…


If you put a lot of thought and effort into this course, it has the possibility of being a positive influence that encourages personal growth, assists in developing critical thinking skills, and helping you to gain perspective on the world around you. If you put the least amount of effort into this course it will be boring, you will feel like you are wasting money and time, and it will be a terribly negative experience for you.


I have structured my course very differently from the way typical intro courses are structured; there are no tests and you must write a fair amount. The reason there are no tests is multifaceted, but one of the reasons for this was to remove test anxiety (which is a significant issue for quite a few students nowadays and has been increasing over the past several years). There are also debates in academia about how effective multiple-choice testing really is in testing understanding of material versus testing how adept a student is at memorization and/or looking up answers on their phone quickly.


There is also a fair bit of writing in this course, which can be unusual for an intro course. The reasons for this also are more complex than I will explain here, but a couple of reasonsare to help develop your ability to communicate your own experiences (thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.) to others in a medium other than verbal communication; writing about something is also very beneficial to your ability to process information, think critically about information, and integrate your new experiences (such as learning something new) with old experiences (such as previously held preconceptions). Something you will notice is that I ask you frequently to write/respond not only with your thoughts, but with your feelings as well; the reason for this is that we are not just a being that thinks, but we are also beings that feel, and in order to experience something in totality (such as learning a new perspective on poverty for example) you must pay attention to how it influences you entirely, which includes not only thoughts but also feelings that are invoked by what you are learning.


With all of that being said, some students love the layout of this course and some students hate it. We are all different and differences in experience are to be expected; however, if you want to pass this course you will need to do your best to acclimate to the structure of the course and JUST DO IT! (I borrowed that one from Nike)


As stated earlier, what you get out of this course really just depends on what you put into it. So, your experience in this course is entirely in your hands; you are in total control of your grades (as I have laid out the objective criteria for grading that is not subjective in any manner), you are in control of how much time and energy you invest in learning the material (reading, media participation, thinking, etc.), and you are in control of developing, maintaining, and cultivating a willingness to learn (which may be the most essential requirement for getting anything from this course).



There will beAPPROXIMATELY700 points available to obtain in this course through the scheduled course work. Bonus points earned will be added to your earned points, but not to the total (which makes it bonus).

  • Lesson Responses: 10 points each for a total of 150 points.
  • Discussion Boards:10 points each for a total of 300 points.
  • Alternative Assignments: various points each for a total of 150 points.
  • End of the course response: 100 points for a total of 100 points.




The amount of points is almost guaranteed to change! As the instructor of this course I retain the right to alter this syllabus and course in any way that I choose, including the assignments, tests, bonus points, papers, etc. (which includes the amount of overall points in the course).


Grading Scale (by percentage of total points earned):



  • 90-100 = A
  • 80-89 = B
  • 70-79 = C
  • 60-69 = D
  • 63-66 = D
  • 59 and below = F




Tentative Lesson Schedule:


  • Section 1 – The Sociological Perspective
  • Readings: Chapter 1, 2, & 3 (Weeks 1-2)



  • Section 2 – Social Structure and Social Groups
  • Readings: Chapter 4 & 5 (Weeks 3)



  • Section 3 – Deviance and Social Control
  • Reading: Chapter 6 (Week 4)


  • Section 4 – Social Inequality: Part 1
  • Reading: Chapter 7 & 8 (Weeks 5)


  • Section 5 – Social Inequality: Part 2
  • Reading: Chapter 9 & 10 (Weeks 6)


  • Section 6 – Social Institutions: Part 1
  • Readings: Chapter 11 & 12 (Weeks 7)



  • Section 7 – Social Institutions: Part 2
  • Reading: Chapter 13 (Week 8)


  • Section 8 – Social Change
  • Reading: Chapter 14 & 15 (Weeks 9)



This is a tentative course schedule and almost certainly will change. Very rarely have we made it through every chapter during the duration of the course, but we will do our best to try.

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