SOCI 0101 E. Shapiro Principles of Sociology

SOCI 0101 E. Shapiro Principles of Sociology
Sociology 0101 Section 001
Instructor: Eve Shapiro, Ph.D.
Phone: 413-572-5385
E-mail: through PLATO
Office: Mod Hall 101-C
Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 12:30 - 2:00
and by appointment.
To study sociology is to analyze the relationship between society and the individual. This
includes moving beyond commonsense beliefs we hold in our everyday lives. Sociology
deepens our awareness of the social world in which we live, and challenges taken-for-granted
assumptions about society.
The chance to take this course online is both exciting (class in your bathrobe! at 2 am!) and
challenging (self-motivation! technology challenges!). And there are some significant
challenges to overcome. First, you need to become adept at PLATO, JING, and the other
technologies we will be using. Attending one of the PLATO Course Orientations is a good
idea. Second, you must be your own boss. You'll need to make sure you put 8-10 hours a week
into this class (the same expectation as in-person classes). An online class is not a regular
class without lecture. I promise it will take you as much time as an in-person class; if you
expect to do well by only reading the book and taking the exams you will be disappointed.
However, if you put time and energy into watching class videos, participating in discussions,
reading and responding to your peers, and exploring sociology, I promise that you will learn
far more than you expect.
This course will introduce you to the perspectives, theories, and methods of sociology in order
to improve your understanding of groups and societies, the way individuals’ lives and identities
are shaped by present and past social, cultural, political, technological, and economic
developments, and the processes that influence social change. Because social organization
depends upon relationships among diverse groups of people, a central focus of the course will
be the varieties of experience and identities that exist in U.S. society, conflicts that shape
institutions within the U.S. from family to the government, and the ceaseless pattern of social
change that is going on all around us.
Course Goals
Understand the basic concepts, theories, and methods of sociology.
Analyze the social processes that influence people’s lives, identities, beliefs, and
Understand the social institutions in which people and groups operate.
Course Texts: There is one book required for this course. The textbook is available for
purchase at the bookstore, and is on reserve at the library. You will not be able to do well
in this course unless you do the reading. Supplementary readings will be posted on
Giddens, Anthony, Mitchell Duneier, and Richard P. Appelbaum. 2009. Introduction
to Sociology, Seventh Edition. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
Course website available at:
Final Exam
Weekly Modules
(Optional Films/Lectures)
25 points
35 points
40 points
(6 points Extra Credit)
100 points
On-time work must be completed by 11:59pm, on the due date. Work submitted
after that time will be considered late. Late work will be reduced one full letter
grade per day, starting the day it is due.
Writing: Writing matters. Indeed, it is one of the most important skills one gains at
college. Grammar, spelling, structure, and clarity will all affect your grade. When
turning in assignments, please make sure to edit and proofread your work.
***Any time that you use somebody’s ideas or words you MUST give credit. Failure
to do so is plagiarism. You must provide a citation whenever you paraphrase, quote,
or borrow an idea. *** If I find that you have plagiarized or cheated you will receive a
failing grade and will be reported to the Office of Academic Affairs. I encourage you to
visit Westfield’s webpage on academic honesty:
Midterm and Final Exam: There will be two on-line exams comprised of multiple
choice and short answer questions. You will receive more detailed guidelines before
each exam.
Weekly Modules: You are responsible for completing all parts of the weekly module.
This includes doing the assigned reading, reviewing the lecture, completing any
exercises or films, and participating in discussion. I will monitor the time you spend
on each activity and assign points accordingly. Each module will be worth 4% of
your overall grade.
Extra Credit: Throughout the course you can attend any school or town events that
relate to our course. Each event will be worth one point and you may earn up to 6
extra credit points. To earn the points, you need to attend an approved event and
turn in a one-page reaction within one week.
A Note About the Course: There will be times during this course that sensitive issues
will be raised about race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. Passion is welcome,
disrespect is not. With this in mind, it is absolutely essential that we each show
respect to all others, regardless of their views. There is no doubt that the
material and discussion in this course can and will arouse strong feelings. If you
find these issues too difficult or objectionable to engage with in an academic context,
you may want to come talk to me about it OR see how it feels during the first week,
OR reconsider taking this course.
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