Introductory Sociology

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2012
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Online course---Students are required to be online prior to 11 pm each Friday.  They must also have completed addtional work prior to each Sunday night at 11 pm. 

Dr. Beverly L. Stiles (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives


  1. Introduce you to sociological concepts and theories
  2. Help you to use these concepts and theories to better understand your own social experiences and events in the larger social world
  3. Provide you with an understanding of how sociologists conduct research
  4. This course will allow you to begin to “think” like a sociologist:


The student should acquire an understanding of the “sociological perspective.”  This is an important term because it points to the fact that the discipline of sociology is more than just the facts that have been accumulated.  Rather, it is a way of thinking about and viewing human behavior.  The “common sense” knowledge of human behavior that we all acquire through living in society often contains a great deal of accurate information—it must if we are to survive in society.  However, it also contains much that is erroneous—under rigorous investigation it simply turns out to be false.  The sociological perspective goes beyond the level of common sense knowledge by using scientifically sound procedures to understand human social behavior and human group life.  This perspective involves an understanding of both how a sociologist does his or her work—the scientific method as it is utilized in sociology—as well as the knowledge that sociologists have acquired concerning the organization of groups and society.

Course Expectations

Discussion/Participation Assignments


You will also receive a grade for your Participation at the end of the semester (worth 66 points).  This participation will be based on responses to the discussions that I post and the responses to your classmates post as well as what you read from the other students postings (they webCT system does keep track of everything you do so I can keep track of this---It’s really an amazing system). I will post one to three questions for each chapter.  I want actual dialogue here rather than simply responding by saying “I agree” or “I disagree.”  I want to see some thought put into your responses and some evidence of support for what you say. I’m especially looking for answers that are informed “after” having read the chapters. I need to be able to tell that you’ve read the chapter.  Please remember to be civil…..(define this…no cursing, don’t put someone down, provide each other with an open environment for discussing and disagreement, but be careful of the manner in which you do so).  I will post discussion questions for each chapter (sometimes I do this a couple weeks in advance for those who read ahead or so that students know what questions will have to be answered as they’re reading the chapter).  You are to post YOUR response to the questions BY FRIDAY EVENING AT 11:00 PM.  This gives everyone the weekend (through Sunday night at 11:00) to respond to the postings of at least 3 (THREE) other students.  This is required!!  Also, once the week is over, you will not get any credit for going back and posting late since this doesn’t do your fellow classmates any good at all.  Please know that it is unfair for you to not post your initial posting by Friday at 11:00 pm because if you post your initial posting on Sunday, that doesn’t give your classmates the opportunity to respond to your posting.  Remember that part of your participation grade is based on your READING the postings of the other students too.


GRADING for Participation:

The weekly discussions are graded according to the following:

Plus 2 for posting your initial posting by Friday at 11 pm *and* for responding to the postings of your classmates by Sunday at 11PM

Plus 2 for reading at least 4/5 (four-fifths) of the postings of your classmates by Sunday at 11 pm

Plus 2 for posting such that it is evident that you are drawing from material that you have read for the current week (quality).  If you fail to post the required postings, you can’t expect to get points for quality either.





                I will drop students who miss 2 weeks worth of postings throughout the semester.  You will be dropped with an F.  Therefore, if you see that you will be missing two weeks worth of postings, I think it best if you drop yourself so that you may do so with a “W.”




You will have two assignments to turn in (dates will be listed on the link for turning them in).  Each will be worth 17 points.  You will choose a current event and analyze it sociologically, using as many concepts from your text as are relevant to explaining the phenomenon sociologically (expect to at least write 2 pages, but possibly more depending on how in-depth an article you choose as well as how thorough you are).  You will also choose a song and analyze it using as many of the concepts as are relevant to explaining your song.  When on-campus students did the music paper, they loved it.  This means that you’re applying what you’re learning and this helps to make certain that you’re understanding the sociological perspective.  One example that I remember is No Doubts song “Just a Girl” analyzed according the gender issues (from what the text has to say about gender).  Another popular topic were songs related to deviance/crime (and there are plenty of those!) analyzed according to the theories of deviance.  I hope this gives you some ideas for what I expect here.


Grading Standards

See additional information on this topic from the "expectations" section.



Exam 1                                                  100 points

Exam 2                                                  100 points

Exam 3                                                  100 points

Exam 4                                                  100 points

Participation grade                              66 points (see requirements above for what I expect)

Current event AND Music analysis  34 points (17 points each---This added to the participation points equals a test grade

                                                                500 points possible.  To average your grade, add up all points and divide by 5 (unless you drop a grade and then you’ll divide by 4).




                                                Grades will be determined by the following scale:


                                                A = 90-100

                                                B = 80-89

                                                C = 70-79

                                                D = 60-69

                                                F = below 60

Final Exam

12/08/2012 Dec. 8th (see syllabus)

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

No late papers accepted.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


                I will drop students who miss 2 weeks worth of postings throughout the semester.  You will be dropped with an F.  Therefore, if you see that you will be missing two weeks worth of postings, I think it best if you drop yourself so that you may do so with a “W.”

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at