Dr. Michelle Emerson-Lewis, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Cell: (720) 226-5075, Email: memerson@kennesaw.edu, Dept: http://www.kennesaw.edu/scj/


Course Syllabus

SOCI 1101, Introduction to Sociology: Online Course

Kennesaw State University

Fall 2016

Required Text

The required text for this course is, John Macionis Sociology 15th Ed. Pearson, 2014. Find it here:  http://www.mypearsonstore.com/bookstore/sociology-9780205985609 which is available at the campus bookstore. Everyone in the course is required to purchase a copy of this text. The textbook will refer you to its supporting website, which has a host of additional helpful learning services, some of which are mentioned below, so you may want to check it out.

Course Content Description:

This course is intended as a general introduction to Sociology. The academic discipline of Sociology encompasses analysis of a wide array of social issues, from a diversity of perspectives. Both of which are as potentially complex as society itself. This course will trace the history of sociological thought over the past two hundred years, the main perspectives and debates that have occurred, and the major areas of sociological concern today. We will discuss research methods, micro macro and mid-level social structures, the culture concept, processes of socialization, inequality and social movements, deviance, crime and social control, the state and nationalism, labor, health, education and the family. As an introduction, the course seeks to initiate students into the contours of major contemporary social issues and debates, without necessarily resolving them. The goal is to critically engage the issues and it is recommended that students attempt to think about how each theory and issue relates, or does not relate, to their own lives and experiences. This way, everyone can determine for themselves the relevance and effectiveness of sociology as a framework for understanding our social world.


There are no prerequisites for this introductory course.

Learning Objectives

This is a broad and introductory course with several broad and general objectives:

  1. Students will analyze the broad themes of the discipline of Sociology. This will be measured by assessments [quizzes and exams] that test comprehension of major themes and terms in each chapter.
  2. Students will study the key concepts of Sociological thinking, and the key terms of the discipline, also tested in the exams.
  3. Students will engage and interpret the course chapters and themes by participating in discussion forums for each chapter, and by preparing for each quarterly examination.
  4. Students will translate the primary Sociological theories, methods and themes into their real life by expressing how these relate to themselves in the discussion threads.
  5. Students will develop their communication skills by actively participating in discussion forums for each chapter and practicing responsible and civil engagement of complex, varied and sometimes controversial issues. Communication skills will also be developed by careful consideration of key terms, comparisons and contrasts framed in the multiple choice questions on exams.
  6. Students will reflect on each chapter and determine what they need to understand better, what they do or do not agree with, and what questions they wish to ask. These will all be reflected in the discussion forums, and will give students a chance to clarify information and concepts before each exam.

What You Need to Succeed in this Class:

 Minimum Technology Requirements, Course Strategies and Methods

This is an entirely online course and will be conducted entirely through Desire 2 Learn (D2L). Students are expected to have the necessary computer background to work in this format, and are advised to seek additional technical assistance from computer services if needed [See resource links in Welcome Module]. Students will be expected to read each assigned chapter carefully, and then to use the linked Lecture Notes, PowerPoint presentations and weekly Internet Activities as review material. Then, for each chapter, students will be expected to make at least 2 substantive dialogue contributions to ongoing discussions that will occur online. The assigned chapters will be grouped together into quarterly modules of several chapters each, and after each module there will be a short online exam. These will be two short quizzes, and a somewhat longer mid-term and final exam.

Email within D2L will be our main form of communication. I will email everyone with important updates and general comments, and students can always contact me in this way. Expect responses within 48 hours (2 business days) of your email or phone call. I do not check messages or email on weekends so please be aware that I will only answer queries Monday through Friday. Discussion will be graded within 2 weeks of the due date.


Exam Schedule and Format

Please make a note of the exam schedule and plan accordingly. After each exam is completed, the next Module [or quarter section] of the course will be opened in D2L. Exams are essentially open book; students can take them wherever they can log on to a high-speed computer. But study and preparation are necessary because the exams are timed and the clock starts as soon as you begin, so there will not be time to look up answers. You must be prepared in advance to do well on the tests. Quizzes will contain 25 questions, while the Midterm and Final will have 50 questions. Quizzes will be allotted 20 minutes, and the Midterm and Final will be allotted 45 minutes. The questions asked in exams will primarily cover the major issues and concepts covered in the text, as opposed to obscure dates, individual places and names, or the most briefly discussed concepts. The first quiz and the Midterm will provide feedback for students as the course gets underway. Students are not allowed to communicate with fellow classmates about the quizzes or exams. If you are not doing well, please email to discuss the situation. If I think you are doing poorly, I will email you to discuss. See course calendar for Quiz and Exam Dates.

Exam Study Assistance

To help you prepare for exams, the textbook has a useful website with a host of exercises to help you study: http://www.mhhe.com/neubeck.  The website includes sample multiple choice quizzes, internet exercises, flashcards and even crossword puzzles with key terms from each chapter.  Check it out!

On-line Discussion/Participation Requirement

1. The first participation will be Student Introductions, the Discussion Thread for which will be found in Start Here/Welcome Module. Instructions will be found at the top of the Discussion Thread, and this will take the place of the typical in-class go-around introductions.

2. Students are required to participate in the discussion threads for each chapter as we proceed through the syllabus, with a minimum of TWO very strong posts for each chapter, and more encouraged. This is the best way for you to ask questions, make comments, clarify things, and especially to demonstrate that you have read and understood the chapters. The instructor will post a discussion question(s) each chapter/week. The discussions will be multi-directional: student-student, student-content, student-instructor, and instructor-student from past experience, more than 1000 postings will likely be made by students during our term, and the instructor will reply to about 10% of the total postings, often engaging a whole thread at one time.  The first required post for the week MUST be posted by Wednesday of each week to ensure that discussion is in full swing for the week, and we have time to allow the discussion to expand. The last required post is due Sunday, 12 midnight (EST) of each week.

3. Students are asked to read available newspapers, local or national/international, and connect with sociological themes being covered at that time in our textbook. Students must cite a news story in their discussion posts, explaining the story they saw, how it relates to our readings for the week, and also providing the citation for the news story: name of publication, date, page number [or website address].

4.Because participation is crucial in an online environment, if 3 or more Discussions and/or Internet Activites (IA’s) are not completed by the end of the semester, this will result in a deduction of one letter grade (of your final grade).  *Please remember that late assignments are not accepted.

The instructor is more interested in the content and substance of comments, than their length. In fact, exceptionally-long, non-analytical postings should generally be avoided, as it is expected that everyone in the class will read all the postings as they develop into a large group conversation. Instructor will get statistics of how many postings each student reads, how many posts are made, and how many hours are spent on the site. Basic grammar should be taken into account; spell checking and proof reading are always a good idea. Consult the Writing Center [see: Links Page in Welcome Module] for assistance with writing. But content will remain foremost for assessment purposes. Opinions expressed are open to you and your personal creativity and perspective. These discussions are, by definition, subjective, so rather than grading based on right-or-wrong, the instructor will evaluate your discussion postings for consistency of engagement, depth of analysis, engagement with chapter concepts, and engagement with other students in the discussions.

So what exactly is a substantive posting?  Substantive posting is demonstrated through the following:

• Encourage additional discussion by asking follow-up questions so that your fellow classmates think more deeply.

• Share your own experiences in relationship to the topics being discussed.

• Suggest other solutions; constructively disagree at times.

• Refer to course readings; apply these course readings; ask your fellow classmates how they are applying the course readings or their understanding of the course readings.

• Demonstrate your content knowledge in relationship to our discussions.

Discussion Board Grading Criteria


All entries before deadline and were spaced out evenly enough during the discussion to allow two-way interaction between the student and others in the class.

All entries before deadline and the entries were not all made on the same date.

All entries before deadline

Entries not before deadline

Two entries for the topic responding not only to the professor's question (or the assigned learning goal) but also to other students

Two entries for the topic responding not only to the professor's question (or the assigned learning goal) but also to other students

At least one entry for the topic responding to the professor's question (or the assigned learning goal)

No Entry

The question was answered completely and all aspects of the topic were addressed thoroughly.

The question was answered completely and all aspects of the topic were addressed satisfactorily.

The student addressed most of the question satisfactorily

The answer addressed less than half of the question or simply stating, “I agree or disagree”.

Posts demonstrate mutual respect when agreeing or disagreeing and asking open-ended questions to broaden discussion.

Posts demonstrate mutual respect when agreeing or disagreeing and asking open-ended questions to broaden discussion.

Posts demonstrate mutual respect when agreeing or disagreeing.

Lack of respectful consideration of classmates’ opinions.

At least one post includes links to additional resources on the topic and replies expand upon classmates contributions.

At least one post includes links to additional resources on the topic and replies expand upon classmates contributions.

At least one post includes links to additional resources on the topic and replies expand upon classmates contributions

No links or additional resources included.

No errors

One error

Very few errors

Excessive errors made it difficult to understand or to evaluate.

The writing demonstrated that the student had completed almost all or all of the assigned reading.

The writing demonstrated that the student had completed much the assigned reading.

The writing demonstrated that the student had completed some (more than half) of the assigned reading.

No post was made or no evidence of learning was demonstrated in the post.

Questions are encouraged, and polite disagreements are fine. However, respect is a basic necessity in all online interactions. According to KSU Computer Usage Policy and Guidelines [www.kennesaw.edu/infosec]: You may not employ lewd or threatening language in any electronic communication. This would violate the bounds of good taste as well as laws and regulations. Please see the Etiquette Statement in the Welcome Module for a more detailed discussion.

Weekly Internet Activities

You will be required to do an internet activity provided at the end of each chapter.  The weekly internet activity will include an exercise on the web that will demonstrate what you learned from the chapter for that week. All weekly internet assignments must be completed in its entirety to receive credit. Incomplete work will not be accepted.  

Internet activities are to be submitted via the appropriate D2L course drop box.  Weekly Internet activities are due every Sunday by 12 midnight (EST). Late assignments will not be accepted.   They will be graded and your grade will be posted on the online grade book within 2 weeks.


DisAbled Student Services Statement

Kennesaw State University welcomes all students, recognizing that variations of abilities contribute to a richly diverse campus life. A number of services are available to help students with disabilities with their academic work. In order to make arrangements for special services, students should visit the disAbled Student Support Services office and/or make an appointment to arrange an individual assistance plan. For more information, visit the office website at: http://www.kennesaw.edu/stu_dev/dsss/dsss.html, or navigate to the Links Page in my Welcome Documents on the course homepage. Please contact the instructor directly with any questions or concerns you may have, using either the D2L email platform within the course, or the instructors direct email address listed at the top of this syllabus.

Website Links

Item 6 in the Welcome Documents Folder on the courses Homepage is a list of useful links you may refer to throughout the semester. These include links to: disAbled Student Services, the Department of Sociology, KSU Financial Aid, the Counseling Center [CAPS], computer Tech Support, the Writing Center, KSUs Student Code of Conduct, and the Student Development Center.


Grading Formula:

Online Discussion                 20%             

Weekly Internet Activities  20%

2 Short Quizzes                     10%                  

Mid-Term                              25%                            

Final                                       25%  

     Total                           100%

Student Responsibility

I am here to teach, to motivate, and to assist you in learning the basics of sociology and social problems.  As students, you also have a crucial role in your learning and success. An online course covers a fair amount of material.  If you have questions or difficulty regarding the material, you should see me as soon as possible- early in the semester.  Please do not wait until a few days before the final exam to discuss your progress- it will then be too late!

I suggest you use resources on campus for improving your reading and note-taking skills.  The KSU Writing Center in Humanities/Room 242 will assist you with written assignments.

ACADEMIC HONESTY (CHEATING)/PLAGIARISM POLICY- Cheating/Plagiarism Policy:  Cheating and plagiarism are both against Kennesaw State University policy.  Cheating includes any attempt to defraud, deceive, or mislead a professor in arriving at an honest grade assessment.  Plagiarism is a form of cheating that occurs when you present the work of others as your own ideas.  When materials from sources outside your own brain are used to create documents, you must cite your sources of information using appropriate in-text and end-of-the-text references in the American Sociological Association (ASA) format.

Incidents of cheating and/or plagiarism will result in a grade of “F” for the assignment, and may result in your being assigned a grade of “F” for the entire course.  A failing grade assigned to you because of an alleged cheating policy violation may be appealed through the appeals process of the college.  See the Student Conduct Code for details.  I recommend that you become familiar with this code.

***Students are not allowed to contact eachother about the course without copying the instructor.

Flexibility Statement: All assignments and calendars may change in response to institutional, instructional, or weather needs.  Changes in assignments may affect the number of total points available in the course.


If you are a student who is disabled as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act and requires assistance or support services, please seek assistance through the Center for Disability Services.  A CDS Counselor will coordinate those services. 



No person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age, or disability, be excluded from employment or participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity conducted by KSU.


Kennesaw State University supports the Civil Rights Act o 1964, Executive Order #11246, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  No person shall, on the basis of age, race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or disability, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the college.  Any individual with a grievance related to the enforcement of any of the above provisions should contact the Assistant Director of Human Resources, Ombudsperson. 


Kennesaw State University adheres to affirmative action policies to promote diversity and equal opportunity for all faculty and students.