Course Design

Because some of the most important things to be learned in this class can come from listening and talking to other students, the class is designed to promote discussion and exchange. Most class meetings will intersperse short lectures with small- and large-group discussions. Other classes will feature games or simulations or presentations or videos-a variety of activities designed to encourage active participation and engagement. I expect everyone to contribute to discussion, so you will need to read and think carefully about the assignments before every class. I also expect people to listen to each other, so you will need to practice patience, a sense of humor, and mutual respect.

Working in small groups is a particularly useful experience in sociology class, since sociologists often give close attention to group behavior. I will be setting up task groups of four or five students each, and these groups will receive a variety of assignments as the class progresses. The main responsibility of the groups will be to help each other prepare for class and assimilate the course materials by exchanging ideas about our readings and class activities. Task groups may choose among several formats for this interchange-an out-of-class discussion group, an email exchange, a discussion forum on the web, a group journal in the library, or an exchange of reaction papers. Groups will also be given specific assignments, such as doing informal fieldwork by observing unfamiliar social settings. Additionally, each group will be expected to plan and give a class presentation and then lead the class discussion a couple of times during the semester.

One of my objectives in this course is to help students improve their writing. If you are concerned about the adequacy of your writing, please come see me to discuss your papers. I also encourage you to use the Writing Lab for advice on writing.

You must abide by the college's rules on honesty in academic work, outlined in the Student Handbook (pp. 53-56), which require each student to "acknowledge explicitly any expressions, ideas, or observations that are not his or her own." In addition, I require that every paper contain a footnote acknowledging any assistance of any kind that you received in producing the paper, including any advice you got from the professor or a Writing Lab staff member, or any help from another student in typing and proofreading. In the case of cooperatively produced work, you must indicate who produced which part of the product. If you are unsure of your obligations about acknowledging sources, please see me. For citations of sources in papers, I will accept any commonly used footnote or reference style, but I strongly recommend that you use the American Sociological Association reference style, described in detail on a page in the course web site. I will grade down any late work, unless you request permission for the lateness and I grant it before the due date.

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Page last modified February 2, 2000 by Kent McClelland