Welcome to the Sociology 101

This is an innovative interactive course that will introduce you to the study of social behavior, including factors involved in the functioning and development of human society such as culture, identity, social organization, institutions, stratification, social processes and social change.

DO THIS >> Before we go any further, go to Blackboard and introduce yourself under theDiscussion Board tab. Find the “Ice Breaker” discussion thread. Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are taking this class. Then, return to this page to look over the Syllabus below.


DOWNLOAD >> Syllabus Soc 101 Winter 2010-2011 Sills

COURSE NUMBER; TITLE; AND CREDITS: SOC 101; Introduction to Sociology; 3/3


FOR WHOM PLANNED: Undergraduates seeking to fulfill GEC requirements; Sociology majors seeking to fulfill SOC 101 credit.

INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION: Stephen Sills, Ph.D. (Arizona State University) is Assistant Professor in UNCG’s Sociology Department, teaching in the Global Social Problems concentration. His scholarship includes research on the feminization of labor migration, transnational identity, and social networks. Specifically he has been investigating transnationalism, transnational ties, and female migration among Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan. Dr. Sills’ research agenda includes current projects focusing on immigrant access to safe and affordable housing, access to social and health services, and the protection of labor rights for migrants in the United States and elsewhere.

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Sociology is the scientific study of social behavior including factors involved in functioning and development of human society such as culture, identity, social organization, institutions, stratification, social process, and social change.

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: Specifically, at the conclusion of this course you should be able to

  1. Demonstrate literacy in and communicate effectively the discipline specific language and discourse of sociology.
  2. Apply the sociological perspective and its major theoretical approaches to think critically about and analyze features of modern society such as culture, inequality, organization, and institutions (including family, education, and the economy).
  3. Interpret your personal experiences within our historically specific social and cultural contexts.
  4. Apply the sociological perspective and its major theoretical approaches in analyzing other cultures, societies, and the processes of globalization.

TEACHING METHODS AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR ACHIEVING LEARNING OUTCOMES: This course uses a number of different teaching approaches to achieve learning outcomes.  In this course you will be reading from textbooks and web based material, viewing and responding to videos, participating in discussion groups, taking quizzes and tests, and writing analytical essays.  This is an on-line course and that means you are more responsible for your own learning than in other classes.  There’s a good deal of reading and no lectures.  So, be sure you intentionally think through everything presented in the materials.

Specifically, you will be graded on the following – there are a total of 1000 course/semester points possible:

  1. Quizzes (8 total):  There will be an overall quiz at the end of each module that will contain multiple choice and true/false questions that cover all the material you have encountered.  The intent of the quizzes is to acquaint you with the language we use to study society.  Each quiz is worth 50 points for a total of 400 points for the course grade. Do not close the quiz and try to take it at a later time because the timer does not stop once you begin, you must finish the exam at that time. Your grade will be penalized if you go over the time limit.
  2. Discussion Groups (8 total):  You will be assigned a discussion group of 4-5 students.  Minimum participation is defined as one primary response to the posed questions and three interactive posts. In providing answers, you will want to use the terms and ideas from the pertinent readings.  Here’s an important point:  Don’t approach the discussion questions that you’re given by rote; they are intended to spark conversations not to be mechanically answered.  These informal writing assignments are intended to further your sociological literacy skills as well as opportunities for you to use them in critical thinking and discussion with other students.  The discussions are worth 25 points and each for a total of 200 course points.
  3. Essays (8 total): There are a total of eight essay papers required for this course; each paper is worth 50 points, 400 course points.  Each paper topic is drawn from the course readings.  Your papers are to be a minimum of 800 words and up to university standards (typed, double spaced, proper spelling, grammar, etc.).  You are required to rewrite each paper based on professor comments.  Your papers will be given an initial grade – improved revisions will fully replace the initial grade.  Revised papers must be turned in within a week of receiving feedback.

More on Essays: No matter what topic or critical thinking skill the papers require, they must all have an argument that explains a specific claim.  This is importantYour papers should not simply be a collection of responses to the questions.  The various questions are there to help you think about the issue at hand.  In the end you must write a paper that makes an argument and has a specific claim. Arguments in this scholastic sense have a conclusion and provide reasons for or against that conclusion.  There are two major issues to keep in mind when writing arguments (essays).  First, there must be a guiding topic – this is the conclusion of the essay; this is what you’re arguing for or against.  Second, every idea, sentence, and paragraph must  related to your conclusion.  So, essays don’t contain extra or spurious information-papers with spurious information look like data dumps: everything the writer/student knows is thrown in “just to be sure.”  Avoid data dumps at all costs!  To test yourself, ask “What one thing do I want my reader to take from my paper?”  Then write out the answer in one or at the most two sentences.

Web help for writing essays and arguments:

Grading Criteria

Based on the above, here are the specific grading criteria:

  • Central theme and argument:  Does the paper have a clearly identified claim that is substantiated?  Are the ideas/paragraphs connected logically so that the reader is led easily to the conclusion?
  • Use of concepts and ideas:  Are the central concepts identified, defined, and properly used in analysis?
  • Insight: Does the paper move past obvious issues and demonstrate an ability to see the world using a sociological imagination?
  • General readability: Is the essay clear enough for a reader to understand it with one reading?

Warning: There is an unspoken or assumed criterion that isn’t listed above:  the work must be yours.  This criterion is trump:  if you plagiarize any portion of your paper, you will receive a zero.  Plagiarism is to steal and pass off as one’s own the ideas, words, or argument (expressive structure) of another without citation.  Please see http://www.plagiarism.org/index.html and http://academicintegrity.uncg.edu/.  Even if you paraphrase without giving credit, you will receive a zero for the paper.

FINAL GRADES are distributed according to the following points:

  • (A+)       980 – 1000
  • (A)          920 – 979
  • (A-)        890 – 919
  • (B+)        870 – 889
  • (B)          820 – 869
  • (B-)        790 – 819
  • (C+)        770 – 789
  • (C)          720 – 769
  • (C-)        690 – 719
  • (D+)       670 – 689
  • (D)          620 – 669
  • (D-)        590 – 619
  • (F)          589 and below


Barkan, S. 2010. Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World (Brief), v1.0.1 available online at http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/node/321415

There will also additional readings available on line.


Technical Difficulties:

If you experience a technical problem, contact the UNCG Help Desk immediately.  Do not contact your instructor with technical problems.  The contact information for UNCG Help Desk can be found by Tech Notes Announcement.

Content Questions:

If you have a question about course content, the preferred method of asking the question is to post my question or comment in the Questions for the Professor forum.  By posting your questions in this forum, you could be helping out your peers who have the same question.

Late work policy: Due to the large amount of graded assignments and the speed with which this course moves, I will not accept late work.  I know that emergencies happen, but you must contact me if you are going to miss a deadline.

Academic Integrity: Please refer to http://academicintegrity.uncg.edu


About globalservants

Dr. Stephen Sills is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department of the University of North Carolina Greensboro teaching in the Global Social Problems concentration. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Arizona State University with concentrations in Methods and Globalization. His scholarship includes research on the feminization of labor migration, transnational identity, and social networks. Specifically he has been investigating transnationalism, transnational ties, and female migration from peripheral nations. His recent projects have included studies of transnational Mexican communities, Filipino factory workers in Taiwan, Fair Housing for immigrants in North Carolina, and International Students. He has also been developing a research program which includes projects focusing on immigrant access to social and health services in the United States and the depiction of immigrants in the media. Formerly, Dr. Sills was a Research Associate and then Director of Evaluation Research at the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University. As Director of Evaluation Research, Dr. Sills oversaw a team of investigators working on evaluations of social and health service agencies, school reform initiatives, and educational program evaluations. Dr. Sills is a former Middle and High School Spanish/ESL teacher who has lived in Spain, Costa Rica, and Taiwan. He is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the International Visual Sociologists Association, and the Southern Sociological Society.
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