Professor Brian Starks, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Tel.: (470) 578-6710, Email:,



Course Syllabus

SOCI 4200, Drugs, Alcohol & Society: Online Course

Online Course Number: SOCI 4200/W02

Kennesaw State University

Fall 2016


Required Text:

The course uses one major textbook: Drugs in American Society, Eric Goode 9th Edition New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014, which is available at the campus bookstore. Everyone in the course is required to purchase a copy of this text before the start of the course; missed assignments due to not having the text will not be excused.

Course Content Description:

This course is designed to explore relevant issues of alcohol and drug use and abuse in American society. It will serve as a synthesis of the use and abuse of alcohol, prescription and street drugs, and their personal and societal consequences on the young adult, the family, and society. Historical perspectives, legal issues, and decision-making skills regarding drug use will also be addressed.


Undergraduate Semester level SOCI 2201- Minimum Grade of D

What You Need to Succeed in this Class:

-Microsoft Word (For all papers and contracts.)

-Log into class on a daily basis to check email updates and respond accordingly, if required.

-Strong time-management skills to submit assignments and contracts in on time.

-Experience writing college-level papers and online discussion that use your own analysis and applies APA formatting.

-Understanding that online courses require self-motivation and time to complete course challenges.     

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Examine, describe, and identify the history of drug use in the United States.

2. Analyze and debate the extent of use of licit and illicit drugs within various populations in the United States.

3. Inspect and differentiate an array of cultural influences, including family, peers, and media, on the use of selected drugs.

4. Identify and explain the nature and characteristics of dependence and addiction.

5. Recognize and illustrate the major drug classifications and their physiological effects.

6. Describe and analyze the social, economic, political, psychological, and pharmacological consequences of drug misuse on the American society.

7. Evaluate and identify the current efforts to control drug use and suggest alternative approaches.

8. Describe and analyze the physiological, social, and treatment aspects of alcohol and tobacco use in the U.S.

9. Compare and contrast the major illicit drugs, their prevalence, physiological effects, and treatment strategies.

10. Differentiate between the major types of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and analyze their use and misuse and their effects on medical advertising and regulation.

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 online resource links in Welcome Module].  Students will also need the MS PowerPoint viewer and Microsoft Word to submit all contracts and papers.

Because this is solely an online course, students will be expected to log in daily to check for updates.   Students are expected to read each assigned chapter carefully, and then to use the linked Lecture Outlines and PowerPoint presentations as review material. Then, for each chapter, students will be expected to make at least 3 substantive and analytical dialogue contributions to ongoing discussions that will occur online.  (Please see rubric for stringent requirements for discussion posts)    Discussion will be graded within 2 weeks of the due date and your quantitative grade will be posted to the online grade book.

The assigned chapters will be grouped together into quarterly modules of several chapters each, and after each module there will be an online quiz.

There are a total of four quizzes for the course. Each quiz consists of multiple choice questions and each quiz counts for 25 points towards the final grade. Quizzes will cover the reading materials assigned and will not be cumulative. All quizzes and class discussions will come from material in the Goode text.  However, discussions are designed to expand to outside the text.

In addition to the quizzes, there are two papers for the course with mandatory contracts to be submitted to, and approved by, the instructor.  Please see below for descriptions of the Peer Reviewed Journal Analysis paper due in the middle of the semester and Behavior Change Paper/PowerPoint presentation which will be due near the end of the semester.

Email will be our additional form of communication. I will email everyone with important updates and general comments-- 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 always check messages or email on the weekends so please be aware that I will answer queries Monday through Friday.  Discussion will be graded within 2 weeks of the due date.

Quiz Schedule and Format                                              

Please make a note of the exam schedule and plan accordingly. After each quiz is completed, the next Module [or quarter section] of the course will be opened in D2L. Quizzes 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 quizzes 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 quizzes. Quizzes will contain 25 questions and will be allotted 30 minutes each. The questions asked in the quizzes will primarily cover the major issues and concepts covered in the text.  The first and the second quiz will provide feedback for students as the course gets underway. (Please do not ask to open quizzes early.) If you are not doing well, please email to discuss the situation. 

Quiz 1: September 10

Quiz 2: September 30

Quiz 3: October 21

Quiz 4: December 5


 On-line Discussion/Participation Requirement- (50 points)

1. The first participation will be Student Introductions, the Discussion Thread for which will be found in the “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 for week 1.

2. Students are required to participate in the discussion threads for each chapter as we proceed through the syllabus, with a minimum of THREE substantive posts for each chapter, and more are encouraged.  Posts must be made on different days of the week. This is the best way for you to elaborate and analyze sociologically on your understanding of the reading for the week when answering the discussion question.  In addition, ask questions, make comments, clarify things, and especially to demonstrate that you have read and understood the chapter and how it relates to your social world. It is important to note that you must create an original post and reply to at least two additional threads, while meeting the requirements in the grading rubric, in order to get credit for your three substantial posts.  If posts are “thin” or lacking in analysis, you will not receive credit for your three substantial post requirement.   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 5% of the total postings, often engaging a whole thread at one time. The 3rd and final discussion post is due by every Sunday PRIOR to 12 Midnight (EST) 

3. Students are asked to read credible web sites as well as newspapers, etc. to connect with sociological themes being covered at that time in our textbook. A minimum of one time per week, students need to cite a news story or credible website in their discussion posts, explaining the story they saw, how it relates, and also providing web site address or the citation for the news story (name of publication, date, page number).  Please read discussion rubric for specific details.

4.A total of 50 points of your grade will be determined by this online course participation as a partial measure of individual work on the readings. The instructor is more interested in the content and substance of comments. The 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; use of white space, spell checking and proof reading are always expected in university courses. Additionally, be prepared to spend time on discussion, this is where we make up for the time we are not in class.

Because participation is crucial in an online environment, if 3 or more Discussions  are not completed by the end of the semester, this will result in an additional deduction of one letter grade (of your final grade). *Please remember that late assignments are not accepted, however, if, at the discretion of the instructor, discussion is open and unlocked after the due date, posts will be accepted.

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. (Please see grading rubric for specific details.)

So what exactly is a substantive posting?

Please see the Discussion Rubric for specifics on points for weekly participation. (In the “Start Here” module)  However, just a few quick reminders for discussion:  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 []: 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.


Analytical Peer Reviewed Journal Article (20 points)

A three-page analysis of a peer reviewed, sociology journal article (Specifically, from the Journal of Drug Issues) that supports or refutes what you have learned in the text. These articles should be current (since 2001). The instructor must approve the peer reviewed journal article.  The email you send for approval  should include the name of the journal, title of the article, author, and summary of the research.  It must also include the entire article as an attachment for the instructor to review.   After your article is approved, there is then a mandatory contract to be electronically signed.  The instructor will keep everyone informed, and we will go over more specifics during the course.  Please see rubric for details to review how papers are graded. (In the Grading Rubrics Section) 

Behavior Change Paper & Power Point Presentation  (30 points)

Select a measurable activity that you find very difficult to control or that you would like to change that can be related to the course. (This activity must be pre-approved by the instructor and a mandatory contract must be signed.)  You must agree to stop or start this activity for at least two weeks, but preferably for a month. Some examples of activities you might select to stop are excessive use of sugar in your diet; eating fast food; drinking alcohol; smoking or using tobacco; drinking caffeinated beverages/foods such as coke, coffee, or chocolate; or any other behavior that you know is harmful to your health. Some examples of activities you might start are exercising, cooking healthy meals, drinking water regularly, increasing the number of fresh vegetables/fruit you eat each day, eating a low-fat diet, etc. Keep a log of your behavior and write a five-page analytical paper about your success or failure to change your behavior and how it relates to our course. Please see grading rubric for grading details.

In addition to the paper, create a professional 5-7 slide PowerPoint presentation highlighting the key points of your paper. Additional details will be covered in class and the contract, see rubric for further details.

* All papers and contracts must be submitted in Microsoft Word formatting and it is important to check your submission folder to ensure your work was submitted.  


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:, or navigate to the Links Page in my Welcome Documents on the course homepage. Please also feel free to 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:

4  Quizzes    (25 Each)                  100

Online Discussion                           50

Mini Paper                                     20

Final Paper & PowerPoint Presentation    30

 Total                                           200 points

Final Grading Scale:

A=180-200; B=160-179; C=140-159; D= 120-139; F=119 and below.

Student Responsibility

I am here to teach, to motivate, and to assist you in learning the basics of sociology and this course; Drugs, Alcohol & Society.  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 quiz 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 APA 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 one another to discuss the course without the instructor copied on the email.

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, Ombuds person.


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



On August 15th: Welcome Announcement from Course Professor within D2L on homepage of the course.

Week 1:   Read all materials in the “Start Here” module and complete your student introduction and “Getting Started” quiz and course responsibility contract to dropbox.  Chapter 1 must be read by August 23rd and everyone ready to post strong analytical posts in discussion.



 Chapter 1:   A History of Drug Use

                        August 22, Pgs. 3-30

 Chapter 2A History of Drug Control

                        August 29, Pgs. 31-68

Labor Day Break- NO CLASSES—Sept 3-5 (Saturday-Monday) 

Chapter 3:  The Pharmacological Perspective

                        Sept 6, Pgs. 71-98

QUIZ 1:    September 10



Chapter 4The Sociologist Looks at Drug Use

                     September 12, Pgs. 99-122


Chapter 5:  Drugs in the Media

                      September 19, Pgs. 123-150


Chapter 6: Studying Drug Use

                       September 26, Pgs.  153-183


QUIZ 2: September 30




Chapter 7: Explaining Drug Use

                     October 3, Pgs. 184-214


Last Day to Withdraw without penalty--October 5

Mini Paper---Due October 7  


Chapter 8: Legal Drugs: Alcohol and Tobacco

                    October 10, Pgs. 217-249


Chapter 9:  Prescription Drugs

                      October 17, Pgs. 250-267


QUIZ 3:  October 21

Mini Paper---Due October 23



Chapter 10:  Marijuana, LSD, and Club Drugs

                       October 24, Pgs. 268-303

Chapter 11:  Stimulants:  Amphetamines, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Crack

                       October 31, Pgs. 304-329


Chapter 15:  Law Enforcement, Drug Courts,  and Drug Treatment

                        November 7, Pgs. 419-445

Chapter 16: Legalization, Decriminalization, and Harm Reduction

                        November 14, Pgs. 446-472

Fall Break- NO CLASSES—November 21- November 27 (Monday-Sunday)

November 28   (Log into the course on a regular basis to check for updates this week.)

Final Paper and Power Point Presentation—Due December 2nd

QUIZ 4: December 5