an eiland/walz learning community course

Professor Samoff's Course Description, Goals, Requirements

photo of two idol statues at place of refuge, big island, hawaii
photos courtesy of
t.t. eiland

Course Description
Sociology is the scientific study of human behavior that is shaped by society. This class will emphasize that larger social forces shape our attitudes and behavior. Though everyone is unique, our situations fit into common patterns. With this new outlook, we can open our minds and understand how and why we behave the way we do. This course will introduce you to the discipline of sociology by examining the history of sociology, the early and contemporary sociological thinkers, important concepts and theories, and research methods. We will discuss various issues, such as culture, deviance and crime, social class, race and ethnicity, gender, and family, to name a few. We will apply sociological concepts and theories to further understand these topics on a broader level. By the end of this course, my hope is that you will apply these new ideas to social phenomena, as well as your own lives, in order to better understand yourselves and the world around you.

This course covers the text, lecture notes, videos/movies, class discussions, in-class exercises, observation assignment, exams, and other assignments as they arise. Students are expected to read the text and other material in accordance with the course timeline. A MAJOR portion of the text and other reading material are for self-study and may not be covered in class lecture; however, you may be called upon to discuss a particular topic. Not all exam questions will be covered or discussed in class. Lecture material is designed for augmentation, knowledge enhancement, class or group discussion, and may or may not be covered on the exam.

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Course Policies

ASSIGNED READINGS: You are responsible for reading the text and supplementary material as assigned. Class discussion is strongly encouraged. You will be called upon to participate in class discussion, and are expected to have read the assigned material. Furthermore, not all exam questions from the text will be covered or discussed in class.

NOTE TAKING: You are responsible to take notes on the material presented in class. Examinations will include questions from the text, as well as handouts, lecture notes, and videos/movies.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: Class participation is strongly encouraged. I do keep track of those who participate, which will aid in determining borderline grades.

ATTENDANCE: Class attendance is critical to successful completion of the course. Roll will be taken daily, and attendance will affect borderline grades. You may be dropped for excessive absences. If you have more than 4 unexcused absences you may be dropped from the class. You will need to be present every day to take notes on lectures, films, and reading, as well as participate in class discussions. You are also responsible for any information given in your absence, including changes in assignments/exam dates. If a student must miss a class, he or she is responsible for obtaining material (lecture/film notes and/or handouts) from another student.

TARDINESS: I will be keeping track of tardiness, and if you are more than 10 minutes late, it counts as one-half of an absence. If legitimate circumstances prevent you from arriving on time, communicate with me in advance.

DROP POLICY: Students who do not attend the first two class meetings will be dropped to allow room for others who wish to take the course. Excessive absences will also result in a drop. If you have more than 4 unexcused absences you may be dropped from the class. Students are responsible for ensuring that they are officially dropped from the class. Discontinuing your attendance at class does not constitute an official drop. (See Citrus College catalog for details regarding program changes.)

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: The act of plagiarism, defined as “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of then as one’s own original work,” will result in serious consequences in this class (“F” grade for the assignment and possibly the course). Cheating during examinations will result in a failing grade or expulsion from the course. (See Citrus College catalog for further information about cheating.)

BEHAVIOR: Due to the nature of this course, we may discuss controversial and sensitive issues. At times you may disagree with an opinion stated in class, however, it is extremely important that you always remember to be respectful of others in the class (this includes the instructor). Everyone has something valid to add to our discussions.
  • Be respectful of every person in the class.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Turn off cell phones.
  • Refrain from talking while the instructor or another student is talking to the class.

Makeup Work: Make up work will not be accepted unless a valid excuse is presented (for example, illness, death in the family, or an issue that we have previously discussed). I require that you provide proof of absence (for example, a doctor’s note). If you must miss a class be sure to check with me or a classmate to find out what you missed (we may stray a bit from the tentative course outline). Also, be sure to get notes from a classmate.

Dismissal: Once a student has been verbally warned for disruptive behavior (excessive tardiness, frequently leaving early, constant personal conversations during lecture, etc.), the instructor reserves the right to dismiss him/her from the class. Students may be dismissed for cheating or plagiarizing as well.

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Required Texts

  • Ferris and Stein. The Real World: an introduction to sociology, 3rd ed., . ISBN #978-0-393-93352-9

Required Materials

  • Computer (16 RAM minimum) with a 28.8 (or better) modem
  • Internet access utilizing a major browser such as Netscape Navigator 7+ or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4+.
  • Microsoft Word 5.1 or higher, Windows 97 or XP, or Word for Mac
  • Student e-mail address

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© S. Samoff and t.t. eiland, August 2010
Last modified: August 31, 2012