Course Syllabus (Spring 2016)

Introduction to Sociology (Sociology 101), Spring 2016, University of Maine at Augusta

Course Syllabus

Faculty Contact and Office Hours

Assistant Professor James Cook
Phone: 207-621-3190
Social Media: Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Office Hours:

  • Wednesdays from 12-2 PM, Jewett Hall, University of Maine at Augusta main campus
  • Thursdays from 8 to 9 AM and 12-2 PM at the University College at Rockland
  • Other times in person, over phone, or over video are available by appointment

Alternative Contact in case of Emergency: Arts and Sciences Administrative Assistant LeeAnn Trask, 621-3272.

Course Description

Sociology is the scientific study of society, social interaction and the constraints these place on our lives. In American society, we’re not used to thinking about constraint — we’re used to thinking about freedom and choices. That’s not surprising, considering that we encounter our lives as a series of choices, but our vision is limited to what our own eyes can see in a very small sphere. What if we could take a broader view? What would we see?

Sociology looks above the level of any one particular individual to paint a wide-lens portrait of human experience. Taking the broader view, sociologists often notice patterns in the limitation of our choices. Sociologists rigorously develop and test of theories about the influence of social context (also called social structure) on the lives of individuals, the paths of groups and the fates of nations. Structural constraints on the behavior of persons, groups, networks, institutions and societies are social facts; an introduction to the study of these social facts is the focus of this course.

General Course Outcomes

With successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

Articulate a Sociological Way of Thinking

·        Accurately express the major perspectives, theories and concepts of sociology

·        Apply sociological ideas to understand the context of current events

·        Identify patterns in social structure and their impact on individuals, groups and societies

·        Discuss the role of culture in developing and sustaining social differences

Identify Diversity in Social Systems

·        Demonstrate an understanding of diversity across time, distance, culture and socioeconomic group.

·        Identify the impact of systems of social stratification for dominant and subordinate people and groups.

Develop Skills of Social Research

·        Identify, operationalize and evaluate theories, hypotheses, and variables

·        Enter and organize quantitative data using a spreadsheet program

·        Enter qualitative data in a notebook

·        Describe quantitative data using univariate statistics

·        Describe themes in qualitative data

·        Interpret tables presenting sociological data

·        Develop skill in reading research articles

Exhibit Strengthened General Academic Skills

·        Critically analyze logical arguments

·        Identify, cite and evaluate available evidence

·        Gain comfort with the vocabulary of academic inquiry

Course Expectations

Prerequisite Skills

There are no prerequisite courses required before you take Sociology 101.  However, I will assume that you already possess the following academic and technical capabilities:

  • Reading and note-taking to master content
  • Basic mathematics (arithmetic and 9th-grade algebra)
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Persuasive and descriptive writing in paragraph and essay form
  • Basic computer use, including e-mail and the world wide web
  • An active University of Maine account, through which you are able to regularly access e-mail, Blackboard and the UMA library website.

If you feel you don’t possess one or more of these capabilities, you may have trouble succeeding in the course without help.  Fortunately, help is available through the Office of Learning Support Services, which provides tutoring, learning resources and consultation in Augusta, in Bangor and online.  See for more information.  Help is also available here through Student Services coordinator, Chip Curry, who has an office at URock, and who you may also contact by phone at 596-6906 or by e-mail at

Internet Access
Internet access is essential for this course in order to access the syllabus and grading materials for the course, to use library resources, to access online lectures, and to communicate with me.

I expect you to regularly check the course Blackboard page and your official University of Maine e-mail account for messages, announcements and other useful course materials.  If you need help obtaining your Blackboard and e-mail privileges, ask the folks at the URock main desk or call the UMA Help Desk at 1-800-696-4357.

Week by week throughout the semester, I will add links to online lectures that you may optionally review at your leisure through by visiting the “Online Lectures” link on Blackboard.  I will announce the posting of these lectures on Blackboard also send you a message to your official e-mail account.

To be used fully, this syllabus must be accessed online through the course Blackboard page (at or at our SOC 101 web page (at because the syllabus contains links to online readings and resources.


Your continued presence in class is an agreement to the terms of the course laid out in this syllabus. This is why it is so important for you to read the entire syllabus at the beginning of the semester, when you have a chance to change courses should you find the terms of the syllabus objectionable or worrisome. I would be happy to discuss the syllabus with you if you’d like. To continue with the course past the second week, I require all students to affirm that they have read the entire syllabus and to ask questions about it for clarification as one of our in-class activities.

Reading Assignments and Non-Reading Materials
You will need to acquire one book for this course: You May Ask Yourself (4th Edition, 2015) by Dalton Conley.  Other readings will be accessible as syllabus hyperlinks to web pages and as citations to journals you can find through the UMA Library web page. All reading assignments for this class are required and should be completed by the date of the class under which they are listed.  If you do not understand the material in the readings, I encourage you to ask questions by getting in touch with me (see contact information at the top of the syllabus).  Lectures, activities and discussions cover material that is related to but different from readings, and you will be tested on this material as well. For that reason, it is vital that study these these as actively as possible, not simply completing the lectures but taking notes as needed.

Workload Standard
Following the accreditation standards of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Maine at Augusta has defined the appropriate workload for a three credit-hour course as a minimum of nine hours per week in order to succeed. If you find yourself consistently working more than nine hours per week and are still not succeeding in your classwork, please let me know so that we can identify the source of your trouble and develop some strategies for efficient studying.

Office Hours and Staying In Touch
It’s really important for you to stay in touch with me during the semester, especially if you’re feeling unsure about how to succeed in class. At the top of this syllabus, I’ve indicated when my “office hours” are. These are times when you don’t have to make an appointment to come in to see me. Just walk by my office in Jewett Hall 122 at the University of Maine at Augusta main campus on Wednesdays from 12-2 PM, or at the University College at Rockland from 8-9 AM Noon-2 PM on Thursdays. I’d be glad to make appointments for other times, too.  I can be reached by phone at other times at 621-3190; if I don’t pick up the phone right away, leave a message and I’ll return your call. You can also e-mail me ( at any time, and I usually respond within a day.

Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities If you have a disability which may affect your ability to participate fully in this course, I encourage you to make contact with the Learning Support Services Office, your resource on campus to ensure accessibility to this course.  It is your responsibility to request accommodations promptly and well in advance of any quiz or exam. Here’s how the process works:

  1. If you have documented disabilities which require special accommodations, please promptly contact the UMA Learning Support Services Office (phone 207-621-3066, email on the UMA campus to discuss possible learning accommodations. It is the responsibility of these professionals to determine whether you are eligible for accommodations.
  2. If the professionals in Learning Support Services determine you are eligible for accommodations, I will be provided with a letter notifying me confidentially that you are eligible for accommodations.
  3. After you receive approval for accommodations, it is your responsibility to contact me to make specific arrangements to fit your accommodations to the work in class. I will be happy to provide the accommodations mentioned in your letter.
  4. Accommodations are not provided retroactively, and the process can take some time. This means that you should start this process well before accommodations are needed.


  • Exams. There will be three exams in this class, during the five-day periods of February 29-March 4, November 12 and December 17 (see also the class schedule below). Each exam covers separate material. Exams incorporate multiple-choice, definition, skill-based and short answer questions. Each of the three exams will count for 25% of your final grade.The exams in this class are not open-book and are not take-home.  They are closed-book (you can’t get help from any materials or other people while taking the exam) and proctored.  Your exams must be completed with a certified proctor during the weeks listed below in the Course Schedule section of this syllabus. It is your responsibility to make time available to take the exams and to complete your exam within the necessary time frame. The only reason I will accept to reschedule an examination is an absolutely unavoidable emergency such as a major health crisis, an arrest or a death in the family.

    Very, Super, Extra Important Reiteration of the Message on Exams: Although this is an online course, these exams are completed using pen and paper and will be proctored, requiring you to travel to an ITV site, University Center or another location near you to take the exams. There are dozens of these sites peppered across the state of Maine, so if you live in Maine there should be a location convenient to you.

    Because I’m asking you to travel a short distance to take the exams, you will be able to schedule a block of 3 hours for each exam at a time that works best for you within a specified 5-day period for each exam — but you need to take action at the start of the semester to make the exam system work. Here’s what to do:

    • Please go to the website during the first two weeks of the semester and choose a location at which to take your exams. You MUST sign up for an exam site during the first two weeks of the semester to ensure that appropriate exam materials will be delivered to your proctor site in a timely fashion.
    • It is also your responsibility to contact the location you’ve chosen, before each exam, to arrange a specific day and time which is practical for both you and the site staff. If you need help contacting the site to arrange a specific day for your exam, please let me know by e-mail ( and I’ll be glad to help — but arranging for an exam is your primary responsibility.
    • If you are a student who does not live in Maine, please find a local education professional who is willing to proctor your exams. Don’t worry; there are thousands of them, and I can help you find one!  E-mail me ( with the name, title, work address and e-mail address of your proposed proctor. After verification of the proctor’s qualifications, I will arrange for your exam to be sent to your proctor.
  • Activities.  The remainder of your grade will participate in thirteen participatory in-class activities during the semester that will help to illustrate the principles of sociology.  Full participation in an activity in which you complete all steps of the activity will lead to full credit for that activity (100%), even if your work is not wholly correct.  Partial participation in the activity, in which you complete some but not all steps of the activity, will lead to partial credit.  Activities that are late by less than a week will lose an additional 10 percentage points.  Activities that are late by more than a week will lose an additional 25 percentage points. Your average for in-class activities will be worth 25% of your final grade.


How to Calculate your Grade:

Exam #1 (0-100 points) _____ * .25 = _____
Exam #2 (0-100 points) _____ * .25 = _____
Exam #3 (0-100 points) _____ * .25 = _____
In-Lecture Activity Average (0-100 points) _____ * .25 = _____
Total: = _____
Final Grade Range
A: 93 – 100
A-: 90 – 92.99
B+: 87 – 89.99
B: 83 – 86.99
B-: 80 – 82.99
C+: 77 – 79.99
C: 73 – 76.99
C-: 70 – 72.99
D+: 67 – 69.99
D: 63 – 66.99
D-: 60 – 62.99
F: 0 – 59.99


Course Schedule with Readings

Week 1 (January 19-24): Social Facts and why we need Sociology

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, January 24:

  • Read Gladwell, Malcolm. 2008.  “The Roseto Mystery,” Chapter 1 of Outliers.
  • Complete Online Lecture 1 (to be released by January 19).
  • Complete Activity #1: Map It. (due January 24)

Week 2 (January 25-31): Sociological Theory

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, January 31:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 1
  • Complete Online Lecture 2 (to be released by January 25)
  • Read the entire course syllabus and the Student Academic Integrity Policy
  • Complete Activity #2: Agreements (due January 31)

Week 3 (February 1-7): Sociological Research

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, February 7:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 2
  • Complete Online Lecture 3 (to be released by February 1)
  • Complete Activity #3: Parking Lot Sociology (due February 7)

Week 4 (February 8-14): Culture

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, February 14:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 3
  • Optional: Review Online Lecture 4 (to be released by February 8)
  • Complete Activity #4: Pew News Quiz (due February 14)


Week 5 (February 22-28): Socialization and the Construction of Reality

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, February 28:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 4
  • Complete Online Lecture 5 (to be released by February 22)
  • Visit  Find and read the following article:
    • Caplow, Theodore. 1984. “Rule enforcement without visible means: Christmas gift giving in Middletown.” American Journal of Sociology 89(6): 1306-1323.
    • No Activity this week: study!

Week 6 (February 29-March 4): Exam 1

This is a closed-book, proctored exam.  See instructions on exams in the syllabus above.  The exam must be completed during this five day period.

Week 7 (March 7-13): Conformity

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 6:

Week 8 (March 14-20):  Crime and Deviance

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 20:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 6
  • Optional: Review Online Lecture 7 (to be released by March 14)
  • Activity #5: Crime Near You (due March 20)

Week 9 (March 21-27): Groups and Networks

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 27:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 5
  • Read Healy, Kieran. 2013. “Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere.”, June 9.
  • Complete Online Lecture 8 (to be released by March 21)
  • Activity #6: Groups and Networks Problem Set (due March 27)


Week 10 (April 4-10): Structures of Population 

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 10:

  • Read JP Sevilla, “Population Dynamics
  • Complete Online Lecture 9 (to be released by April 4)
  • Activity #7: Population and Dependency Where You Live and in the United States (due April 10)

Week 11 (April 11-15): Exam II

This is a closed-book, proctored exam.  See instructions on exams in the syllabus above.  The exam must be completed during this five day period.

Week 12 (April 18-24): Economic Stratification

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 24:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 7
  • Complete Online Lecture 10 (to be released by April 18)
  • Activity #8: Income Inequality Where You Live and in the United States (due April 24)

Week 13 (April 25 – May 1): Gender and Gender Stratification

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 1:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 8
  • Read Neumark, David et al. 1996. “Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 111(3): 915-941.  Find and read using UMA Libraries Available Journals search.
  • Complete Online Lecture 11 (to be released by April 25)
  • Activity #9: The Sex Gap in Pay and Labor Force Participation Where You Live and in the United States (due May 1)

Week 14 (May 2-8): Race and Racial Stratification

Complete the following by 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 8:

  • Read You May Ask Yourself Chapter 9
  • Read Pager, Devah. 2003. “The Mark of a Criminal Record.” American Journal of Sociology 108(5): 937-975.  Find and read using UMA Libraries Available Journals search.
  • Complete Online Lecture 12 (to be released by

Week 15 (May 9 – May 13): EXAM III

This is a closed-book, proctored exam.  See instructions on exams in the syllabus above.  The exam must be completed during this five day period.
Academic Integrity

The following is a verbatim quote of the Student Academic Integrity Code for all students at the University of Maine at Augusta. The words below not only describe the general expectation for all students at UMA (that your work must be your own) but also my particular expectations for your conduct in this class. You are responsible for learning the standards of academic integrity and ensuring that your work meets these standards. Failure to do so may result in appropriate sanctions — and nobody wants you to end up in that circumstance. If you have any questions about whether you might be violating standards of academic integrity, do two things: First, stop. Second, if you’re in doubt, consult with me to find out what the right course of action would be.

“Plagiarism: the representation of others’ words or ideas as one’s own. For example,

      • Submitting as one’s own work an examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project (laboratory report, artistic work, computer program, etc.) that was created entirely or partially by someone else.
      • Failure to use quotation marks to signal that one is using another person’s precise words. Even brief phrases must be enclosed in quotation marks.
      • Failure to identify the source of quotations and paraphrases. Of course one must cite the source of quotations; one must also cite the source of ideas and information that is not common knowledge even when paraphrased (presented in one’s own words). Sources include unpublished as well as published items — for example, books, articles, material on the Internet, television programs, instructors’ lectures, and people, including other students, friends, and relatives.
      • Creating an academically dishonest paraphrase. When paraphrasing the author must find their own way of expressing the original meaning. Simply inserting synonyms into the source’s sentence structures is plagiarism.
      • Failure to identify the source of the elements of a nonverbal work (for example, a painting, dance, musical composition, or mathematical proof) that are derived from the work of others.

“Cheating: the use or attempted use of unauthorized assistance in an examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project. For example,

      • Copying answers from another student’s examination.
      • Communicating in any way with another student or a third party during an examination without the permission of the instructor.
      • Using unauthorized materials or devices (e.g. notes, textbooks, calculators, electronic devices) during an examination without the permission of the instructor.
      • Obtaining and/or reading a copy of an examination before its administration without the permission of the instructor.
      • Collaborating with other students or third parties on a take-home examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project without the permission of the instructor.

“Additional violations of academic integrity include:

“Duplicate Work: Submitting a paper or other project in more than one course without the permission of the instructors. Students are expected to produce original work for each course. A student should not submit identical or substantially similar papers or projects in two different courses (in the same or different semesters) unless both instructors have given their permission.

“Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: assisting another student’s academic dishonesty. For example,

      • Writing a paper or other project for another student.
      • Permitting another student to copy from one’s examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project.
      • Assisting another student on a take-home examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project if one knows or suspects such assistance is not authorized by the instructor.

“Fabrication: For example,

      • Fabrication of data: Inventing or falsifying the data of a laboratory experiment, field project, or other project.
      • Fabrication of a citation: Inventing a citation for a research paper or other project.
      • Alteration of an assignment: Altering a graded examination, paper, homework assignment, or other project and resubmitting it to the instructor in order to claim an error in grading.”

In this class, I encourage you to share notes with other students and to study together for exams. However, you may not collaborate with other students or receive aid in any way when actually taking exams.  You may not plagiarize or fabricate in your completion of activities.  If I uncover evidence that you have violated academic integrity in these ways, I will notify the University’s Student Conduct Officer for review and possible university-level sanctions.  At the course level, possible sanctions include a zero grade for your graded assignment and a zero grade for the course.