Soc 100-02 Introduction to Sociology

Fall 2008

Dakota State University

Kennedy Center 116   

11:00-11:50 M, W, F

3 credits; No Prerequisites


Professor:  Dr. Viki Johnson

Office:  148-B Science Center


Phone:  605-256-5823

Office Hours:  M,W,F 8:00 to 10:00; M,W 1:00 to 2:00

                         Or, by appointment


Course Description:  Comprehensive study of society, with analysis of group life, and other forces shaping human behavior.


Required Texts:


Harris, Muriel.  2007.   Prentice Hall Reference Guide (customized for DSU).  Sociology 100 is a major area writing intensive course.  All composition and writing intensive courses at DSU utilize this common writing handbook.


McIntyre, Lisa J. 2008.  The Practical Skeptic:  Core Concepts in Sociology, Fourth Ed.  Boston:  McGraw Hill.


McIntyre, Lisa J.  2009.  The Practical Skeptic:  Readings in Sociology, Fourth Ed.  Boston:  McGraw Hill. 



Course Goals and Outcomes:


SOC 100 meets System General Education Goal #3:  Students will understand the organization, potential, and diversity of the human community through study of the social sciences.


Student Learning Outcomes:

As a result of taking this course, students will:

1.      Identify and explain basic concepts, terminology and theories of sociology from different spatial, temporal, cultural and/or institutional contexts.

2.      Apply selected sociological concepts and theories to contemporary issues.

3.      Identify and explain the social or esthetic values of different cultures.


In addition, as a result of taking this course, students will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of:

4.      The allocation of human or natural resources within societies.

5.      The impact of diverse philosophical, ethical or religious views.


SOC 100 meets Institutional Graduation Requirement Goal #2:  Students will refine their understanding and practice of reading and writing as integral parts of researching, learning, discussing, and presenting academic materials. 


Student Learning Outcomes:

As a result of taking this course, students will:

1.      Read extensively and respond critically in written discourse.

2.      Use writing to learn course content by practicing writing as an integral, on-going part of the course and applying writing conventions of appropriate style manuals (ASA).  


SOC 100 meets the Major Area Writing Intensive Requirement:  Students will refine their understanding and practice of reading and writing as integral parts of researching, learning, discussing, and presenting academic materials. 


Student Learning Outcomes:

As a result of taking this course, students will:

  1. Read extensively and respond critically in written discourse.
  2. Use writing to learn course content by practicing writing as an integral, on-going part of the course and applying writing conventions of appropriate style manuals (ASA).


Basis for Course Grade

Assessment of the goals and objectives will be determined through three major course components; writing assignments, participation, and a service learning project OR a group research project.  There are 260 total points in the course.  The final course letter grade will be determined as follows:


90% and above (233 to 260 points)    A

80% to 89% (207 to 232 points)         B

70% to 79% (181 to 206 points)         C

60% to 69% (155 to 180 points)         D

59% and below (154 or less points)    F



Writing Assignments (105 Points)

Throughout the semester, you will have a total of seven writing assignments, worth 15 points each.  These assignments will give you an opportunity to respond to reading assignments and other course content, synthesize various course concepts and ideas, and express your own opinion and thoughts on course readings and other content. 


The assignments will be graded for both content and writing mechanics.  Ten points will be given for content, and five points will be given for writing mechanics.  If you miss any of the writing points, you have the option to re-write your paper to reclaim some or all of those five points (You cannot re-write your paper for points missed in the content section).  Indications will be made on your paper highlighting the mechanical problems.  If the problem is repetitive, specific page numbers in your Prentice Hall Reference Guide will be given for your review.   In addition, you may stop by my office to visit about the writing issues that were highlighted in your assignment, and we can work through them so that you don’t have similar issues in future assignments.  More specific guidelines for re-writes, their due dates, and how and what should be submitted, can be found under “DSU Getting Started” on the class D2L site. 


All writing assignments and their due dates are posted on the syllabus and D2L calendar.  Specific guidelines for each assignment, including content and length expectations, are given in the assignment guidelines posted under the “Dropbox” link in the class D2L site.        


Participation (105 Points)

Every two weeks, you will be given up to a maximum of 15 participation points, to total 105 points at the end of the semester.  Participation includes two major components: 1) In-class activities, and reading and writing assignments; and 2) Online discussions.   


In-class Activities, and Reading and Writing Assignments

Class attendance is expected; however, you will not be awarded participation points or have points taken away solely on the basis of whether or not you attend class.  Class activities will include small and large group face to face and electronic discussions; mini-lectures to highlight, emphasize, or clarify reading assignments, or to give additional information not contained within the reading assignments; watching film, videos, and video clips, and listening to music and other audio clips, in order to demonstrate and highlight course concepts, social and cultural theories, and multiple viewpoints; practicing social research techniques, such as observation, interviewing, and surveys; and researching, visiting, and interacting with websites related to course content.


Classroom Discussion Group

During the first week of class, you will be assigned to a permanent group.  Throughout the semester, you will be having small group discussions and doing other activities with your group members.  Being in the same group with the same students throughout the semester gives you the advantage of getting to know the members of your group quite well and feeling comfortable discussing issues with them and participating in other classroom activities.  You are also able to see many of the sociological concepts that we will be discussing “in action” in your group setting. 



You will be asked to respond in writing to mini-lectures, videos, and other activities that we do in class.  For example, after viewing a video, I may ask you to respond to a particular question about it or to tell me how it related to a particular concept or idea that we have been discussing or reading about.  Likewise, at the beginning of the class, I might ask you to give your opinion on a statement or idea about something that we will be exploring further that day in class. In both examples, you will only get a limited amount of time to respond (generally five or 10 minutes), and while I want you to be cognizant of writing mechanics so that I can understand what you are trying to say, the main focus of your response should be on the content.  Thus, if you were in class to view the video, and you were there the day that we started out with a writing assignment, you will get participation credit for doing those activities.     


Reading and Writing Assignments

Sometimes I will ask you to respond in writing to a reading assignment.  Therefore it is very important that you keep up with the reading and complete it by the due date.  All reading assignments and their due dates are posted on the syllabus calendar.  Assignments should be read by class time on the day that they are due.  Once again, content will be the key with these writing assignments and you will also be given a limited amount of time to respond to them.  If you have your textbooks with you, you can reference them, but you will not have time to read the entire chapter or reading selection.  Sometimes I may just ask you to summarize what the reading was about, and other times I might ask you a more specific question.  In either instance, while some might consider these in-class writing assignments to be akin to a quiz, I will not ask or expect you to remember little details.  I will be looking for the big picture or overall purpose or idea of the reading, and I want to know that you are indeed doing the reading assignments.


Therefore, if you come to class regularly, participate in whatever it is that we are doing, and read your assignments by the due dates, then you should do well in the participation portion of the class.  However, if you never come to class, or if you come to class but do not participate in discussions or activities, and/or if you do not read your assignments, you will not do so well with the participation portion of the class.  So, it is both quantity (coming to class) and quality (actually participating in whatever it is that we are doing) that is considered when assigning in-class participation points.   


Online Discussions

The other part of your participation grade involves online discussions.  As in the classroom, you will be assigned to an online discussion group.  Your online discussion group will be composed of different class members than your classroom discussion group.  Throughout the semester, I will be posting various topics related to the reading assignments and classroom activities, wherein you will have the opportunity to give your thoughts and opinions and share your ideas with other members of your group.  You are expected to participate in the online discussions, and your participation (again both quantity and quality) in online discussions will be considered when assigning participation points. 


There will also be a general discussion board where you have the opportunity to weigh in on issues going on locally, nationally, and internationally related to topics and ideas that we have been exploring in class.  I will occasionally add topics to the general discussion board, but it is mainly for you to add topics that you want to dialog with your classmates about, as you encounter them in the media, newspapers, magazines, and other places.    

You are expected to use Standard English on the discussion boards. While you can be much more informal and conversational with your writing style on the discussion boards, please do not use text or instant message abbreviations.  An occasional LOL is okay, but your message should not be peppered with abbreviations.  While you will not lose points for occasional grammatical errors, if your message is so poorly written that it is barely decipherable or if it is filled with multiple writing errors, you will lose participation points, and I will address the issue individually with you.  For additional and more specific guidelines, including online etiquette expectations, please click on the “Discussion Guidelines” link under “DSU Getting Started” on the class D2L site.  In addition, the “Discussion Guidelines” document also includes a grading rubric giving more details about the quantity and quality expectations, so that if you lose participation points for either online discussions or in-class writing assignments and other activities, you understand why.     



Service Learning OR an In-class Research Project (50 Points)

You will have the opportunity to choose between doing service learning or an in-class research project. 


Service Learning

If you choose this option, you must complete 10 hours of service learning at one of the service learning sites (Habitat for Humanity or Bethel Lutheran Home) or attend a weekend service learning retreat with students from the University of South Dakota (The cost for this trip is completely covered by DSU and USD).  A representative from both Habitat for Humanity and Bethel Lutheran Home will come to class to talk about service learning opportunities at each of their sites, and we will also discuss the weekend retreat opportunity. 


After completing your service learning hours, you must write a paper describing your experiences with service learning, what you personally learned, and how it relates to the course concepts and ideas that we have been discussing throughout the semester.  Then on the final exam day, you must share with the class some of your experiences, either face to face or via the online discussion board.  If you choose the face to face option, you will share your experiences with the class during the final exam time, and then answer any questions that your classmates may have.  If you use the online discussion board, you must clearly describe your experiences on the discussion board at least five days before the final exam, so that everyone has a chance to read it. Then, your classmates will have the opportunity to ask you questions about your service learning during the final exam time.    


In your service learning paper, you will be graded for both content and writing mechanics.  More specific guidelines and point break downs can be found in the assignment guidelines located under “Dropbox” on the class D2L site.    



In-class Research Project

If you choose this option, you can work in pairs or in small groups on a research project, which employs all of the criteria of doing social research (We will read about and discuss these criteria in class.). Most of the work for your research project will be done in class  (Depending upon the type of research that you choose to do and your topic, you may have to do some of the work for this project outside of class.).  Designated class periods will be assigned for doing the research project.  Therefore those individuals who opt to do service learning will not have to come to class on those days, but can use the time to do their service learning hours or work on their service learning reflection paper. 


As with the service learning project, you must turn in a final research paper (One per pair or per group), as well as an individual paper highlighting the portions of the research and research paper that you focused on.  As a group, you must also share your results with the class (Your group’s entire research paper will be posted on the class D2L site at least five days before the end of the semester, and you will answer your classmates’ questions about your research during the final exam time.).


In your group research paper and in your individual paper, you will be graded for both content and writing mechanics, and the group paper must follow American Sociological Association (ASA) citation and reference guidelines.  A link to ASA guidelines, and more specific guidelines for the paper and point break downs for this project, can be found in the assignment guidelines located under “Dropbox” on the class D2L site.


A Final Note About Your Grade

Please keep in mind that there are only 260 total points in the class, so every point counts.  For example, losing four or five points in the writing mechanics category each time (and not re-writing) on writing assignments will greatly impact your grade.  Writing mechanics are also a significant portion of your grade on your service learning or research paper.  Finally,  if you don’t take the participation part of the course seriously and lose 15 points “here and there” throughout the semester, or only get half of the points most of the time, it will also greatly impact your grade.


Also please note that late assignments will NOT be accepted.  This includes writing assignments and discussion board assignments (You must post by the due date and time).  In addition, you can NOT make up missed in-class assignments.  And, there is NO extra credit in this class. 


You can turn in ONE late writing assignment during the semester, as long as you submit it within TWO days of the due date.  You will not be able to submit it through the “Dropbox” link if it is late, so simply email me the assignment, and no explanation will be needed nor will any questions be asked.  However, this is a ONE time deal only.


Late discussion board postings will not be given any credit because you have a two-week window of time to post and respond to the postings of your classmates.  In addition, it is expected that you will not wait until the last minute to post (See the participation grading rubric for more information on this), as the idea of posting on the discussion board is to have a “discussion,” wherein you are posting periodically throughout the two week time period.  It is difficult to have a back and forth dialog if every one posts on the very last day.


Finally, in-class assignments can not be made up.  Remember, however, that participation includes in-class writing assignments, participating in discussions and other class activities, and the online discussion board.  Therefore, missing one in-class assignment does not necessarily mean that you will lose significant participation (or any) points.  Remember, you are graded on both quantity and quality.  If you have done everything else within that two-week time period, and done it very well, you will likely not lose any or very few points for missing only one in-class assignment (Again please refer to the grading rubric located in the “Discussion Guidelines” link under “DSU Getting Started” for more specific guidelines).          



Classroom Policies


Conduct:  You are expected to respect my rights, as well as the rights of the other students in this class.  To this end, you should refrain from talking, whispering, and other disruptive behaviors while I or other students are talking.  In small group and whole class discussions, respect and tolerance for other viewpoints will be expected.      


Freedom in Learning Statement:  Students are responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled. Under Board of Regents and University policy, student academic performance shall be evaluated solely on an academic basis and students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study.  It has always been the policy of Dakota State University to allow students to appeal the decisions of faculty, administrative, and staff members and the decisions of institutional committees.  Students who believe that an academic evaluation is unrelated to academic standards but is related instead to judgment of their personal opinion or conduct should contact the dean of the college which offers the class to initiate a review of the evaluation.


Academic Honesty:  Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty run contrary to the purpose of higher education and will not be tolerated in this course. If you engage in any form of academic dishonesty, you will receive an “F” in this course. All work for this class must be original, meaning that you cannot turn in a paper or any other assignment that you have written or done for another class.  Please be advised that, when I suspect plagiarism, the Internet and other standard means of plagiarism detection will be used to resolve my concerns.  DSU’s policy on academic integrity (DSU Policy 04-05-00) is available online at


University Policy Regarding the Use of Tablets in the Classroom:  The Tablet PC platform has been adopted across the DSU campus for all students and faculty, and tablet usage has been integrated into all DSU classes to enhance the learning environment.   Tablet usage for course-related activities, note taking, and research is allowed and encouraged by DSU instructors.  However, inappropriate and distracting use will not be tolerated in the classroom.  Instructors set policy for individual classes and are responsible for informing students of class-specific expectations relative to Tablet PC usage. Failure to follow the instructor’s guidelines will hinder academic performance and may lead to disciplinary actions. Continued abuse may lead to increased tablet restrictions for the entire class.


In this class, you must have your tablet closed during face to face discussions, when watching film and video, listening to music, or during other class activities which do not utilize the tablet.  If you wish to take notes during a film or activity, you can do so, but you must have your screen flat, in the tablet mode.  In addition, the note taker for your group can have their screens up for typing notes, during group discussions or activities. 


Simply having your screen up during a video, for example, is distracting to other students.  Instant messaging and other continuous typing is even more distracting.  Thus, if you are unable to refrain from using your tablet during class activities in which its use is not required, you will be asked to leave the classroom.      


Because tablet technology is an integral part of this course, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her Tablet PC is operational prior to the beginning of each class period.


Accommodations/ADA Statement:  If you have a documented disability and/or anticipate needing accommodations (e.g., nonstandard note taking, test modifications) in this course, please arrange to meet with the instructor.  Also, please contact Dakota State University’s ADA coordinator, Keith Bundy, in the Student Development Office located in the Trojan Center Underground or at 256-5121, as soon as possible.  The DSU website containing additional information, along with the form to request accommodations is: .  You will need to provide documentation of your disability.  The ADA coordinator must confirm the need for accommodations before officially authorizing them. 





Tentative Calendar*

All writing and discussion board assignments and their due dates are also posted on the D2L calendar.  Specific guidelines for discussion board assignments can be found under the “Discuss” link, and the specific guidelines for writing assignments can be found under the “Dropbox” link. 



Week One (September 3rd and 5th)

Course Introduction and Group Assignments   

Read by September 8th:

Core Concepts

Introduction and Chapter 1 (“Responding to Chaos:  A Brief History of Sociology”), pp. 1-28


Week Two (September 8th, 10th, and 12th)

History of Sociology and Social Theorists, and Service Learning Representatives’ Presentations

Read by September 17th:

Core Concepts

Chapter 2 (”The Sociological Eye”), pp. 29-39


“Hernando Washington,” pp. 18-27


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post September 3rd through September 12th)

Writing Assignment #1 due by September 15th



Week Three (September 15th, 17th, and 19th)

Service Learning Representatives’ Presentations, Discuss Group Research Project, Theoretical Perspectives, and Ethnocentrism

Read by September 22nd:

Core Concepts

Chapter 3 (“Science and Fuzzy Objects:  Specialization in Sociology”), pp. 40-48  

Chapter 4 (“Who’s Afraid of Sociology?”), pp. 49-57


Week Four (September 22nd, 24th, and 26th)

Social Research

Read by September 29th:

Core Concepts

Chapter 5 (“The Vocabulary of Science”), pp.58-76

Chapter 6 (“Doing Social Research”), pp. 77-96


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post September 15th through September 26th)

Writing Assignment #2 due by September 30th




Week Five (September 29th, October 1st, and 3rd)

Social Research

Read by October 6th:


“Men as Success Objects and Women as Sex Objects:  A Study of Personal Advertisements,” pp. 28-34

“Skipping Class:  An analysis of Absenteeism Among First-Year College Students,” pp. 35-42 


Week Six (October 6th, 8th, and 10th)

Social Research and Group Research Project or Service Learning

Read by October 17th:


“Doing the Right Thing:  Ethics in Research,” pp. 43-52

“If Hitler Asked You to Electrocute A Stranger, Would You?  Probably,” pp. 53-63


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post September 29th through October 10th)

Writing Assignment #3 due by October 16th




Week Seven (October 13th, 15th, and 17th)

Culture [No class 10/13 (Native Americans’ Day) and 10/15 (Convocation)]

Read by October 20th:


“Queer Customs,” pp. 64-69

“Body Ritual Among the Nacirema,” pp. 70-74


Week Eight (October 20th, 22nd, and 24th)

Culture and Group Research Project or Service Learning

Read by October 27th:

Core Concepts

Chapter 7 (“Culture”), pp. 97-117


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post October 13th through October 24th)

Writing Assignment #4 due by October 30th




Week Nine (October 27th, 29th, and 31st)

Group Research Project or Service Learning and Social Structure

Read by November 3rd:

Core Concepts

Chapter 8 (“Social Structure”), pp. 118-133


“The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,” pp. 118-126


Week Ten (November 3rd, 5th, and 7th)

Social Structure

Read by November 12th:


“The Pathology of Imprisonment,” pp. 132-136

“’Getting’ and ‘Making’ A Tip,” pp. 137-144

“The Rest Room and Equal Opportunity,” pp. 158-161


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post October 27th through November 7th)

Writing Assignment #5 due by November 13th




Week Eleven (November 10th, 12th, and 14th)

Social Institutions [No class 11/10 (Assessment Day)]

Read by November 17th:

Core Concepts:

Chapter 9 (“Society and Social Institutions”), pp. 134-149


“Socialization Messages in Primary Schools:  An Organizational Analysis,” pp. 162-181


Week Twelve (November 17th, 19th, and 21st)

Socialization, and Deviance and Social Control  

Read by November 24th:

Core Concepts

Chapter 10 (“Socialization”), pp. 150-167


“Anybody’s Son Will Do,” pp. 205-216

“Suspended Identity:  Identity Transformation in a Maximum Security Prison,” pp. 217-228


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post November 10th through November 21st)

Writing Assignment #6 due by November 24th





Week Thirteen (November 24th, 26th, and 28th)

Deviance and Social Control and Group Research Project or Service Learning [No class (Thanksgiving Break) 11/28]

Read by December 1st:

Core Concepts:

Chapter 11 (“Deviance and Social Control”), pp. 168-189


“The Normality of Crime,” pp. 258-259

“The Saints and the Roughnecks,” pp. 260-271

“On Being Sane In Insane Places,” pp. 272-279

“Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture:  Why Are Some Fraternities More Dangerous Places for Women?,” pp. 280-292 OR “Situation Ethics and College Student Cheating,” pp. 293-298


Week Fourteen (December 1st, 3rd, and 5th)

Stratification and Inequality 

Read by December 8th:

Core Concepts

Chapter 12 (“Stratification and Inequality”), pp. 190-230


“The Land of Opportunity,” pp. 308-317


Read by December 10th:


“Confessions of a Nice Negro, or Why I Shaved My Head,” pp. 371-378

“Tales Out of Medical School,” pp. 384-387


Discussion Board Topic(s) (Post November 24th through December 10th)

Reading Assignment #7 due by December 11th



Week Fifteen (December 8th, 10th, 12th)

Race, Ethnicity, and Gender


Week Sixteen

Final Exam Time is Wednesday, December 17th, from 10:10 to 12:10


*Student interests, time constraints, and other factors may make it necessary to modify this calendar.  Thus, changes in the course calendar may be made as deemed necessary.


Last Updated: 8/29/13