SO302 The Study of the Family

for F2T 2006

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SO 302 The Study of the Family


F2T 2006 DLC


Kim D. Cummins


Senior Instructor Sociology/Adjunct Faculty


MA Sociology (1980) Central Missouri State University
BS Criminal Justice (1978)  Central Missouri State University

Office Location

Virtual Office

Office Hours


Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

23 October to 17 December 2006

Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours


Skolnink, A. S. & Skolnick, J. H. (2007). Family in Transition, 14th ed. NY: Allyn & Bacon. (paper)
ISBN: 0-205-48265-1

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Internet Detective: Wise up to the web:

OWL at Purdue APA Formatting & Style Guide: Research Resources: What is citation?:


Landmark's Citation Machine:


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Course Description:
A study of the family as a social institution and a social group in terms of cross-cultural, historical, and contemporary perspectives. Current controversies concerning male-female roles, sexual morality, reproduction and other issues are considered. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

How I Became An Instructor

I was in the fifth grade when my teacher took me aside and said, “You should become a teacher.” The thought was a terrifying one. At the ripe old age of 10 I couldn't imagine getting in front of a group of people, much less speaking in front of them. Whenever I was forced to do so, my face would turn bright red, my whole body and voice would shake, and I felt as if I was going to faint. The idea that I could ever teach anyone anything seemed extremely doubtful. I was a painfully self-conscious child who tried to stay in the shadows as much as possible. I had little confidence in my own abilities and did not make friends easily. I spent most of my time in a world of fictional characters, both reading and writing about them.  I dismissed the idea of teaching as a fate worse than death. My dream was to go to college and become a writer. I did enter college to become a writer, much to the displeasure of my parents, especially my mother who believed that education for women was a waste of money and time. According to her, my place was “in the home,” and I would “probably just drop out and get married.” I should become a secretary so that I could support myself if need be. Only wealthy people went to college, and if anyone should go to college, it should be my brother because “he was a boy.”

The first major challenge of my life was finding a way to attend college against the wishes of my parents. Fortunately I had high school teachers who recognized a potential my family did not, and they were instrumental in my receiving the opportunity to pursue my dreams. Had it not been for their intervention and persistence, I might not be writing this today. They applied for the scholarships, they wrote the recommendations, and most importantly, they encouraged me to believe I could succeed.

But that is not the end of the story. Life has a way of changing our plans, and few of us end up doing what we thought we would do when we were only 10 years old. Though I entered college as an English major, I did finally acquiesce to my mother's warning of “writers starve,” and decided to switch my major to criminal justice. Here was a field in which there were few women, and I was definitely looking for something unconventional, if for no other reason than to prove to my mother that women could do something besides type and take dictation.

In the course of earning my criminal justice degree, I had to take a number of sociology courses. I was dreading them because I remembered sociology in high school as rather boring. I had no idea that the course of my life would change because of an instructor.

The professor I had for introductory sociology was unlike any instructor I'd had in my entire college career. A graduate of Minnesota State University at Mankato, he used somewhat “unconventional” teaching methods, and he made sociology intriguing, fun, and challenging. I found myself wanting to work harder and excel in his courses. He challenged me to do more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. After 12 weeks in that course, I was hooked on sociology and took every sociology course I could for the remaining two years of my undergraduate program.

The professors in the sociology department came to know me, and upon graduation, they tried to convince me to stay in school and enter graduate school the following fall. Once again, my family was against my continued schooling. They felt I would never get a job and earn any money, so I returned home and started working to earn a living. I'd been working about 8 months when I received a call from my former sociology professor who said, “We would like you to return to school. There is a teaching assistantship available. If you apply, it's yours.” Who could refuse an offer like that?

Throughout graduate school there were many challenges and many doubts crept in. Learning to speak in front of a group of students was probably the second major challenge in my life. At first I viewed it as a means to an end. I had to teach in order to get through graduate school, so it was something I had to “endure.” However, if I was going to teach, I was certainly going to be as good at it as I possibly could be because that's just the way I am. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the role of instructor more than I ever thought I would. There were certainly many challenges to teaching students only a few years younger than myself. I'd never been trained in education, so what I learned about it was from my own professors and from my own experience. At the end of that year, I was certain of what I wanted to do, and the rest, as they say, is history.

My Personal Teaching Philosophy

As a sociologist, I believe that our personal philosophies are as much shaped by our past experiences and relationships with others as they are our inner convictions and our individual personality. The experiences I've had, and the things I've learned throughout my life and my educational career form the basis of my own philosophy of learning and my ideas about my role as an instructor.

Knowledge is cumulative. Each new learning experience we encounter has been shaped by those before it and will influence those that come after. It forever changes us as individuals and as members of our society. Education has the power to transform us and to lead us into places we never expected we would, or thought we could, go. We not only learn about things or ideas, we learn about ourselves and our place in society. With this knowledge we have choices. One of those choices is to use our knowledge for the welfare and benefit of others.

I believe my role is to guide or facilitate your learning and help you see the connections between what you already know and new learning experiences. I am here to help you discover those things about yourself you did not know or never thought you could accomplish. The greatest impact that my instructors had on me was not in the specific knowledge they presented. The course of my life was not altered because of material memorized in their classrooms. The course of my life was altered because of the interest that my instructors took in me as an individual student. They saw potential and acted on it. They pushed me to do my best and provided the support and encouragement that I needed to persevere and overcome the challenges I faced. There is no way I can ever repay these individuals for what they did, and they would not expect me to do that. What they would expect is that I do the same for my own students, and that is what I believe I am called to do. My instructors taught me that the answers I was looking for were there inside me all along. Their role was to help bring them out, and it is my fervent wish to pass this legacy on to you.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze and evaluate forms of family as an institution and a social group, as well as marriage and child rearing, as they vary among times, places, and cultures.
  2. Explain and critique major social and cultural differences in love and expectations for marriage and family life
  3. Understand and assess the roles and structure of the traditional family and contrast those with alternative types of family, such as singlehood, child free couples, single parents, same sex domestic partners, blended families, and so forth; and analyze the causes and consequences of this variety for individuals and for societies.
  4. Know the biological, mental, and social aspects of mate selection, reproduction, contraception, and other family planning issues, and explain the consequences of these decisions.
  5. Describe and evaluate patterns of acquaintance, intimacy, communication, and the division of labor within domestic units.
  6. Describe and evaluate the causes and consequences for family dissolution through divorce or death.
  7. Describe and evaluate the causes and consequences of stress, crisis, violence, abuse, infidelity, money, illness, and other challenges for domestic partners and their children.
  8. Explain how the family fits into the contexts of individual lives and societies, and assess how productive balance might be achieved.
  9. Examine current controversies and trends concerning gender roles, sexual morality, reproduction, child rearing, divorce, and aging in the changing family context; and extrapolate those trends into the near future.

Core Assessment:


Core Assessment (New for July, 2006)



The Core Assessment assignment for this class will be a major essay that integrates, analyzes, applies, and critiques several sociological concepts and research findings from this course individually, together, and with additional sources from your own literature review and archival study.

You must incorporate the findings from at least five outside sources of original academic research in this essay.  You may also include additional sources for examples or background information, but only reputable, peer-reviewed academic sources will count toward the reference requirements of your essays.  This means that magazines, newspapers, professional periodicals, or internet sources are only appropriate for examples and illustrations in this project — if you have any questions as to whether a specific source is acceptable for your essay, you should ask your instructor rather than guess.  Also, focus on articles or books presenting original research or theories, not on those reviewing others' works or editorializing about opposing approaches.  Reference works, textbooks, and literature reviews are all excellent places to begin your search, but you must find and read the original in order to develop your own reaction.  Ask your instructor for source approval if in doubt.

You should also consider incorporating relevant and reputable statistical and other social scientific data collected by researchers, governments, and other agencies and organizations.  A wealth of such archived data is publicly accessible through the Internet, and their use can help you better understand your issue and develop a stronger analysis and critique. Again, if in doubt, ask your instructor for approval of your data source.

If you do not properly cite those external sources that contributed to your work, then you are guilty of plagiarism.  This will not be tolerated and may result in immediate and serious academic penalties.  If you have any questions as to when and how to use citations and references in you essays, please contact your instructor.  Your final essay will also be formatted according to the relevant portions of the American Psychological Association Style Guide.  The main text of your essay will consist of no more than 3,500 words (or about fifteen pages).  While it possible to construct a successful essay in fewer words, this assignment is comprehensive and detailed enough that most students will find it a challenge to successfully address all of its points in the allotted space.  Begin work on your essay early and leave plenty of time for revision to assure the best possible grade.



Pick one aspect of the modern family, its structure, function, or place in the larger society and culture.  Some possible topics include: the importance of marriage, gender roles, the place of children in the family, sexuality and the bearing of children, single parent families, the employment of parents with children, differences between families of an ethnic minority and white families, the acceptance of gay and lesbian families or other alternative forms, or media representations of the family.  You should feel free to choose another relevant focus for your essay, but no matter what your choice, you should have it approved by your instructor before you begin in earnest.

Find scholarly or official domestic data that identify the prevalence, variation, and trends in your focus issue over the past few decades.  Is there a “cultural inconsistency” between what is actually happening and what we perceive?  You should also find at least one contemporary international point of comparison.  Again, is the actual similarity or difference accurately represented in our common perceptions?  One good place to start is the US Federal statistics gateway site:; the UN,, and the World Bank,, are two additional good sources for international data; the largest clearinghouse for publicly available academic and organizational data is the ICPSR at the University of Michigan,; and the University of Chicago's NORC is one of the largest academic opinion research centers in the country,  Consider multiple sources of data, when possible, and compare and contrast the actual data with public perception of the issue.  Pay particular attention to the trends in the data and use sociological concepts and findings from the course and your additional literature review to analyze your issue.  Over time, what about these families has changed or remained the same?  Why?

Evaluate the individual and social dynamics and consequences of your topic at the family and the social levels.  Explain and analyze how larger social trends affect individual family lives.  Try to understand and explain why some families, who share many characteristics with those of your focus, do not exhibit the same properties.  Is this phenomenon having positive or negative (or both) effects on families and the society?  Why?  How?  According to what standard?  Analyze and critique examples of partisan positions on either side of the public debate over this issue, and identify and evaluate your own biases in the matter.  How can the relevant facts, theories, and research help you determine who is more likely to be right?

Finally, what trend do you think we are likely to see in this issue over the next two decades, both domestically and in your international comparison location?  Defend and justify your conclusions.  What public policies and individual decisions would help guide this future trend in the most generally useful and beneficial direction?  Defend and justify your conclusions.


Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Class will be assessed on completion and response to the reading assignments and summaries; weekly writing assignments, including viewpoints, discussion papers, internet assignments, the major essay; and the proctored final exam.  Students will also be assessed on class participation through the threaded discussions, which will include field trips (Internet Assignment # 2) to various internet sites chosen by the instructor.

Writing Assignments:

1. Viewpoints:

During the first and last week of the class (Weeks 1 and 8), you are to compose a definition of the family that best reflects your understanding of the family in today's society.  Composing the definitions at the beginning and the end of the class is a method of assessing learning and will enable you to determine if your understanding of family changes as a result of participation in the course.

2. Discussion Papers:

There will be 4 discussion papers due (Weeks 1-4).  These papers are to be a 3/4 to 1 pg (250 word minimum, 500 word maximum double spaced) discussion response to a topic introduced by the instructor that directly relates to the week's readings. In preparation for these papers, you may choose to comment on what you believe is an important point made in the reading or by the instructor, agree or disagree with a statement or conclusion of the author, or offer a related personal observation based on your own experience.  All opinions need to reference the text readings at least once.  

Students are asked to post the Discussion Papers in the discussion threads for interaction with their classmates.

4. Internet Assignments:

1.  Internet (Evaluations) Assignment # 1:  For Week 5 there will be an Internet Assignment.  For this Internet Assignment, student will choose a web site for a topic introduced by the instructor, then write an analysis of the topic and chosen web site and it's application to the family. This paper is to be 1/2 to 1 pg (200 word minimum 400 word maximum double spaced) in length. Furthermore, student is to list the web site in proper American Psychological Association (APA) Style, as if citing the web site as a reference in the Major Essay paper.   Information about using APA Style to cite references may be found on the following web pages:

2.  Internet (Field Trips) Assignment # 2:  This assignment is composed of 5 field trips, that will be spread out over five weeks.  For Weeks 2-6, student will take a field trip excursion to web sites chosen by the instructor.  Student will then choose a web site, and write a brief evaluation of that web site according to the following criteria: 

         Beck, S. (1997). "Evaluation Criteria." The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly or Why It's a Good Idea to
              Evaluate Web Sources. Retrieved July 31, 2006, from New Mexico State University's website:

In addition, student will identify whether or not this source would be a good source for the Major Essay.  A sample evaluation will be provided.

Student will then post web site evaluation to the designated threaded discussion.    (Each weekly field trip evaluation will be worth one point for a total of five points, to be awarded in Week 6 at the completion of the final field trip.)

5.  Major Essay:  

The Major Essay is to be fifteen pages in length (3,500 words) and cover the subject matter announced in the Core Assessment Assignment.  At least five sources of academic research are to be used to write the paper.  The sources are to be properly cited using APA style and included in a list of References at the end of the paper.

6. Class participation threads: 

Class participation is a separate category and is not associated with the submission of the discussion papers, but is associated with the posting of the discussion papers and field trip assignments to the proper thread, and responses to these assignments.  

Class participation will include three threaded discussions, one for the Field Trips (Weeks 2-6 only); one for the posting and responses to the Discussion Papers (Weeks 1-4 only) and the one Internet assignment (Week 5 only); and one for the readings of text and summaries, and responses to those readings (All weeks).

Points are awarded for the posting of papers/field trip analyses to the threaded discussions on topics introduced by the instructor, and for a minimum of two responses to each thread.

Class Participation Rubrics:

Threaded Discussion # 1:  Posting of Field Trip and responses, 2 pts
Threaded Discussion # 2:  Posting of Discussion Papers and responses, 2pts
Threaded Disucssion # 3:  Readings of text and summaries, and response, 1 pt

7.  Proctored Final Exam:

Park University requires the completion of a “significant exam” in the presence of an approved proctor by each student who is enrolled in an Internet course. “Approved proctors shall include testing center administrators; K-12 teachers, counselors or administrators; certified librarians; U.S. Embassy officials; military test control officers or unit education officers; and accredited college or university faculty members or administrators. Excluded from approval as proctors shall be family members, friends, neighbors, employers, supervisors, coworkers, clergy or other students and adjunct faculty members at colleges or universities.” Preferred proctors are staff at Park's campus centers. Students within one hour driving distance of a Park University campus should request a proctor from that campus.  Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Website.       

“It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor who will be accepted and approved by the instructor. For these proctored examinations, photo identification is required.” The completed proctor form must be received by the instructor and the proctor approved before the exam may be taken. Instructions for completing the proctor form will be sent to all students by the Online Administration and the form may be found at:

The exam will be sent to the proctor with instructions for administration. The exam must be completed in the presence of the proctor during the eighth week of the term and returned by the proctor to the instructor.  The student may not return the paper to the instructor.

You will have two hours to complete the exam. You may use a computer to take the exam and the proctor may email me the finished product. The exam will be a closed book, closed note exam consisting of multiple choice and short essay questions. Per university policy, failure to take the exam will result in a grade of F for the course.

Proctor request information will be made available to you during the second week of the class, so that you may send your request to your instructor for review and approval.  The proctor must be approved by no later that the sixth week of the term.  If the requested proctor does not meet the eligibility requirements mentioned earlier, the request will be disapproved and returned for resubmission with an eligible proctor.

This exam will include:

20 Multiple Choice questions, 1 pt for each question
10 Match Words to Definitions, 1 pt for each word/match
2 Long Essays* (minimum length 200 words), 10 pts for each essay

*Three essays will be offered.  Student must choose two and complete to receive full points.

Total Points possible for exam:  50 pts.


Grades for the assignments will be determined as follows:

Assignment:              Points     % of Course Credit

Viewpoint #1                     5             2.5%
Viewpoint #2                     5             2.5%

Discussion Paper #1        10             5.0%
Discussion Paper #2        10             5.0%
Discussion Paper #3        10             5.0%
Discussion Paper #4        10             5.0%

Internet Assignment #1     5             2.5%
Internet Assignment #2     5             2.5%

Class Participation-Wk1     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk2     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk3     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk4     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk5     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk6     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk7     5             2.5%
Class Participation-Wk8     5             2.5%

Research Paper               50             25.0%

Proctored Final Exam       50             25.0%

Total                              200             100%

Grading Rubrics:

1.   Viewpoint of the Family # 1 and 2
            - Due Weeks 1 and 8
            - Points assigned based on whether or not the assignment is completed and submitted by the due date.
            - 5 points possible for each assignment.
2.   Discussion Papers # 1, 2, 3 and 4
            - Due Weeks 1-4
            - Points assigned based on the following criteria:
                * Paper is thoughtful, logical, easily understood, and covers topic - 5 points
                * Paper refers at least once to text and reading - 2 points
                * Paper properly utilizes APA style when instructed - 2
                * Paper promotes class discussion - 1 point
            - 10 points possible for each assignment.
3.   Internet Assignment # 1
            - Due Week 5
            - Points assigned based on the following criteria:
                * Paper utilizes two web sites regarding topic - 2 pts.
                * Paper is thoughtful, logical, easy to understand, and covers topic - 5 pts.
                * Sources cited using APA Style (in body of paper & at end) - 2 pts.
                * Paper promotes class discussion - 1 pt.
           - 10 points possible for the assignment.
4.   Internet Assignment # 2 (5 Field Trips)
           - Due Weeks 2-6
           - Points assigned based on the following criteria:
                 * 5 sites reviewed (1 per week) with correct URLs given, and proper assessment of use for the Major Essay - 1 point for each site.
           - 5 points possible for this assignment.
5.   Major Essay
           - Due Saturday midnight, Week 7
           - Points assigned based on the learning rubric.
           - 50 points possible for the assignment.
6.   Proctored Final Exam
           - To be taken Week 8
           - Points assigned based on the following criteria:
                 * 20 multiple-choice questions - 1 point for each question. 
                 * 10 Match Definition questions - 1 point for each question.
                 *   2 long essay questions - 10 points for each essay.
           - 50 points possible for the exam.

Course Grading Scale:
A =     90-100%     180 to 200 points
B =     80-89%       160 to 179 points
C =     70-79%       140 to 159 points
D =     60-69%       120 to 139 points
F =     < 60%         119 points or lower

Late Submission of Course Materials:


Late submission of assignments and class participation may be considered for late credit for the following reasons: death in the family, medical emergency in immediate family, or unexpected deployment. You must notify me prior to the due date of a problem with completing the assignment and provide documentation as to the reason. I will not accept the late assignment if you have not notified me prior to the due date.  Upon notification, I reserve the right to decide whether or not I feel your reason falls within these stated guidelines.  Any late assignment or participation response will receive an automatic 50% reduction in points, regardless of the reason.  This is in addition to any point deductions you might receive for inaccuracy of the assignment.  My goal in establishing this rule is to create an online environment that is fair to me and to those who have made the effort to submit assignments on time. If you think that your present work schedule, family responsibilities, or health will prevent you from regular participation in the classroom and/or from timely completion of the assignments, you may want to consider whether or not this is the best time to take this course. Balancing work, family, school, and other responsibilities sometimes requires us to set priorities and make sacrifices.


Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Internet classes are writing intensive. Of course, most of the assignments must be written, but our “discussion” also takes place in written form. This enables us to reflect on and revise what we want to “say,” as we use the keyboard to express ourselves. However, many of the non-verbal aspects of communication are lost in the process. It may be difficult to tell if a person is joking or being serious without the facial expressions and body language that we are so accustomed to in face-to-face communication. What I have noticed is that people get around the issue of lack of clarity in the emotional tone of online communication by introducing parenthetical expressions (ha, ha, ha), abbreviations (LOL) or emoticons (e.g., smiley faces) into their written remarks. Feel free to use these in your communications, if you wish.

I would also like to comment on the necessity for respecting the opinions of others. A tiny minority of people seem to feel that the anonymity of online communication, such as chat rooms, blogs or email, enables them to write whatever they want to write in any manner they want to write it. I do not anticipate any problems with rudeness in our class and I want everyone to know that the conventions of online etiquette will be carefully observed.

The course deals with topics that may be sensitive and perhaps even controversial to some members.  This is a university class; it is appropriate to deal with important issues and to do so in a responsible, fair and open-minded manner.  Remember, everyone deserves our respect when they share their opinions and comments, even if the opinions differ significantly from ours.

Additionally, postings to the class discussions are a public and permanent record and things written in the “heat of the moment” cannot be easily forgotten or retracted, as may be the case in strictly verbal communication.  Failure to conform to university standards of conduct will result in removal from the course and other possible disciplinary action.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday. The first week begins the first day of the semester and ends at midnight the following Sunday. The eCollege classroom is set to MST. Weekly discussion threads are timed to end at midnight MST each week. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed by Sunday Midnight MST of the week assigned. They should be posted in the classroom or placed in the appropriate Dropbox basket as directed. Please note that this means if you are in a different time zone you must figure out by what time you need to post in your own time zone in order to make the midnight MST deadline. Class assignments should not be emailed to the instructor. The eCollege platform eliminates the necessity of sending papers, exams, and other assignments via email. You simply place your assignment in the appropriate area of the classroom or in the designated dropbox basket for that assignment. The time you submit your assignment is noted in the classroom. It is graded there, and the grade is posted to the gradebook. You will be able to track your progress throughout the course by going to the Gradebook.

Word Processor Documents

Students are asked to complete their assignments in MS Word if possible. Even though the eCollege classroom can accept MS Works, Word Perfect, or other types of files, be advised that your instructor may not be able to accept them. You should also keep this in mind in terms of being able to share documents with other students in the classroom. If you do not have MS Word and your documents are not compatible, you will have to save and submit your documents as RTF files. These still need to be submitted as attachments that can be placed in the Dropbox basket or uploaded to the document sharing or discussion areas of the classroom. Students should keep electronic file copies of all assignments submitted until after the end of the term and grades have been received. Note: There is a time out feature for the eCollege classroom. If you are composing a response and are not moving around in the classroom, your session may time out after a period of time has gone by. When you go to submit your assignment, it may not submit and will "disappear" into cyberspace. For this reason, you should always compose and save your postings in a word processing program and then copy/paste them into the editor when you want to post them.

Course Schedule/Overview

Week 1: The Changing Family

Readings: Intro to Part 1, # 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Viewpoint # 1
Discussion Paper # 1
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 2: Gender Roles and Sexuality

Readings: Intro to Part 2, # 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Discussion Paper # 2
Field Trip # 1
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 3: Dating and Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Readings: # 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Discussion Paper # 3
Field Trip # 2
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 4: Parents and Childhood

Readings: Intro to Part 3, # 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Discussion Paper # 4
Field Trip # 3
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 5: Family Values and Working Parents

Readings: Intro to Part IV, # 26, 27, 29, 31
Internet Assignment # 1; Parts 1 & 2
Field Trip # 4
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 6: Diverse Families of Minorities

Readings: # 32, 33, 34, 35
Field Trip # 5 (Completion of Internet Assignment # 2)
3 Threaded Discussions

Week 7: Children of Teens and Prisoners

Readings: # 36, 37
Major Essay Paper
2 Threaded Discussions

Week 8: Issues of Control and Domestic Violence in the Family

Readings: # 38
Viewpoint # 2
2 Threaded Discussions
Proctored Final Exam

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
This course requires a considerable amount of writing, which is appropriate for a 300-level Liberal Learning course. Your assignments must be written in your own words and all sources used must be properly cited. You can avoid problems of plagiarism by using quotations sparingly, if at all. No written assignment or paper will be composed of more than 15% directly quoted material.  Information from reference sources should be summarized in your own words and properly cited with an in-text citation in APA style. All assignments will be checked for plagiarism through a plagiarism detection program. Those who choose to copy and paste material from references sources as a substitute for writing out their assignments in their own words will be given one warning and a zero on that assignment. If it happens a second time, the student will be referred to the proper Park administrator for disciplinary action.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Additional Information:

Computer Literacy

Students are expected to have frequent access to a PC with a modem and web browser and reliable Internet access. Computer literacy (ability to set up files, familiarity with search engines and browsing the Internet, and experience with downloading files) is expected. You are also expected to familiarize yourself with the features of the eCollege classroom by reviewing the Student Orientation Tutorial made available to you on the Academics PSH Page (this is the page that lists the links to courses in which you are currently enrolled). This tutorial should appear under the heading "Special Courses" at the top of that page.

Pirate Mail

All students are given a Pirate Mail email account when they register for online courses. Your Pirate Mail address is the one your instructor is given and is the email address the instructor uses to contact you. You should make a habit of checking your Pirate Mail account frequently for messages from your instructor. You must have and utilize a Pirate Mail address for this course. You may have your email forwarded from Pirate Mail to another email account if you choose, but all official Park University correspondence will come to you via your Pirate Mail account. If you have your mail forwarded from Pirate Mail to another account, it is a good idea to check the option to have a copy of each email saved in Pirate Mail. This ensures that you have a copy of all email sent to you. Forwarding mail is not always reliable. When emailing the instructor, please email from your Pirate Mail account and make sure that you put SO315, your last name, and your student ID number in the subject line of your email.

Course Announcements

Weekly reminders and other important announcements will be made in the Announcements section on the Home Page of the course (very top). Weekly announcments are posted at the beginning of each week. Other announcements may be added as necessary. Students are expected to look for new announcements each time they enter the online classroom. It is your responsibility to know the information contained in these announcements. Copies may be sent to your Pirate Mail address, but the main point of communication for these messages will be the Announcements section of the Home Page.


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2, 3, 9                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
•  Critically, creatively and thoroughly evaluates at least 7 well-selected course materials, and develops more than 1 application or conclusion for each, as used in the assignment.  Identifies and successfully defends at least 2 strengths and weaknesses for each.  All critical evaluation is justified and supported through well-crafted reason and evidence.  Goes beyond assignment expectations in the quantity and quality of critical evaluation.
•  Justifies all arguments through the integrated application of comprehensive and detailed critical reasoning and scientific evidence.  Displays significant creativity and initiative.
•  Reflexively and creatively evaluates at least 3 strengths and 3 weakness of their own and at least 3 others' assumptions, arguments, analyses, conclusions, and applications.
•  Critically evaluates appropriate selected course materials, and at least 5 outside academic sources appropriate to the assignment and an upper division course.  Identifies both the strengths and weaknesses of each major concept or position, and justifies their evaluation through reason and evidence.
•  Justifies most arguments (all but 1 or 2) through the integrated application of appropriate and sufficiently detailed critical reasoning and scientific evidence.
•  Reflexively identifies at least 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses of their own and at least 2 others' assumptions, arguments, analyses, conclusions, and applications.
•  Demonstrates little critical evaluation (no more than 3 or 4 attempts), or such evaluation presented is inappropriate to the assignment or topic.  Fails to offer a balanced evaluation of some concepts or positions.  Fails to consistently explain and justify their reasons or evidence for all points.
•  Justifies no more than 3 or 4 of their arguments in an appropriate manner.  Fails to integrate appropriate and sufficiently detailed critical reasoning or scientific evidence for each major point.
•  Fails to demonstrate critical reflexivity, or presents biased arguments against those positions with which they disagree or for those arguments or evidence that supports their pre-existing biases.
•  May even demonstrate critical thinking skills, but they are used in the “weak sense” and work only to support their foregone (biased) conclusions.
•  Demonstrates no critical evaluation — or makes 3 or more major, or many minor, critical errors.  Modes of evaluation are inappropriate to the assignment and level of an upper division course.  Arguments are unbalanced and demonstrably biased.
•  Fails to offer any appropriate justification for arguments.  Uses little critical reasoning or scientific evidence, none at all, or such reasons and evidence is wholly inappropriate.
•  Is not appreciably critical or reflexive, and may evidence merely seeking to confirm their pre-existing opinions without subjecting them to critical testing.
4, 9                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  Displays particular judgment in selecting and integrating more than 5 outside academic sources (in excess of assignment requirements).
•  Integrates, compares and contrasts differing sources and perspectives without error and in creative and especially effective ways.
•  Incorporates sources from popular or mainstream media or personal experience (in addition to those above) as particularly apt illustrations of course content and other outside academic resources.
•  Draws several accurate, justified, and creative connections among multiple concepts and sources consistently at or above the level of an upper division course.
•  Correctly integrates a at least 5 outside academic sources appropriate to the assignment and to an upper division course.
•  Integrates, compares and contrasts differing sources and perspectives with no major errors and more than a few minor errors.
•  May also incorporate sources from popular or mainstream media (in addition to those above), but correctly distinguishes between scientific and non-scientific outside sources, as appropriate, and uses the latter only for illustration and not justification.
•  Draws at least 5 accurate and justified connections among multiple concepts and sources.
•  Attempts to integrate at least 4 outside academic sources, but does so with 1 major error or with several minor errors.  Or incorporates outside sources with little or no attempt at their integration or synthesis.  Or with attempts at synthesis not consistently meeting the level of an upper division course.
•  Insufficient integration, comparison or contrast of differing sources and perspectives with 1 major, or several minor, errors.  Or includes only sources on one side of an issue where there is legitimate and obvious disciplinary disagreement.
•  Evidences little, if any, discernment between academic and popular sources.
•  Draws fewer that 5 connections among concepts and sources.  May contain 1 serious error or several minor errors.
•  Little, if any, attempt to integrate outside academic sources (no more than 4 sources).  Contains more than 1 major error or many minor errors.  No significant attempt at synthesis appropriate to an upper division course.
•  No significant comparison or contrast among sources and perspectives.  May demonstrate 2 or more major errors or many minor ones.
•  Evidences no discernment between academic and popular sources.
•  Draws fewer than 5 connections among concepts and sources, and those attempts contain 2 or more major errors, or many minor ones.
1, 2, 8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
•  Demonstrates exceptional command of a full range of concepts and theoretical perspectives presented in the course, with more than 5 well-developed examples.  Introduces at least 2 additional relevant findings or theoretical and conceptual distinctions.
•  Exceptional analysis of a wide range of appropriate course materials (more than 5) and outside sources (more than 2) beyond the assignment guidelines and without error.
• Presents creative and sophisticated reason, logical justification, and exceptionally high evidentiary standards consistently at or beyond the level of an upper division course.
•  Demonstrates sufficient command of appropriate concepts and theoretical perspectives presented in the course, and successfully uses at least 5 course concepts.
•  Successfully analyzes at least 5 appropriately selected course materials, and least 2 outside sources, without major error.
•  Identifies and exemplifies forms of reason, justification and evidentiary standards appropriate to the level of an upper division course.
•  Demonstrates insufficient command of appropriate concepts and theoretical perspectives at the level of an upper division course, insufficiently or unsuccessfully use the chosen analytic tools, or chooses inappropriate analytic tools.
•  Analysis of appropriate selected course materials contains 1 major error or several minor ones.  May not attempt significant (or any) analysis of outside materials or examples.
•  Uses some inappropriate reason, evidence or justification.
•  Fails to demonstrate any sufficient command of appropriate concepts and theoretical perspectives.  Fails to sufficiently or successfully use their chosen analytic tools.  Chooses some inappropriate analytic tools.
•  Analysis of inappropriate course materials or contains at least 2 major errors or many minor ones.  No attempt at analysis of outside materials or examples.
•  Uses inappropriate, insufficient, or unjustified reason or evidence.
2, 8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  Demonstrates and justifies exceptional command of factual course materials (more than 4 instances).  Creatively and effectively employs more than 2 salient outside examples.
•  Creatively and consistently applies course materials to 3 or more relevant personal, social, and historical examples without error.
•  Creatively, effectively, and illustrates and supports all points through well-chosen and integrated relevant examples, details, and supporting information consistently at or above the level of an upper division course.
•  Demonstrates and justifies sufficient command of factual materials presented in the course (at least 4 instances), and at least 2 outside sources.
•  Applied course materials to at least 3 appropriate personal, social, or historical examples without major error.
•  Provides adequate illustration and support of all points through salient and relevant examples, details, and supporting information at the level of an upper division course.
•  Demonstrates insufficient command of factual course materials (fewer than 4 instances).  Fails to meaningfully incorporate outside examples.  Does not consistently or adequately justify their inclusion.
•  Inappropriate or insufficient (fewer than 3) personal, social, or historical examples.  Any applications, such as there are, may contain 1 major error or several minor errors.
•  Provides inadequate illustration and support of a few key points (no more than 4) or several minor ones.  Examples, details, and supporting information is often tangential or its connection is incompletely explained and justified.
•  Fails to demonstrate meaningful command of factual course materials.  Rarely justifies their inclusion or makes serious and consistent omissions (more than 2).
•  Lacks meaningful, relevant, or significant personal, social, or historical examples, or those provided are completely inappropriate to the assignment.  May contain more than 2 major errors or many minor errors in application.
•  Provides little, if any, support for even key points.  Examples, details, and supporting information is lacking, irrelevant, or unexplained.
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
4, 5, 6, 7                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
•  Goes beyond the strictures of the assignment through the use of exceptionally precise, accurate and expressive language chosen for a well-defined audience.  May even successfully integrate the needs of multiple audiences.
•  Is exceptionally well organized, unified, focused, flowing, or has a particularly well-suited opening and closing.  Nuanced and precise control of language.
•  Presents a balanced and thoughtful treatment of controversial research or policy issues, even as it clearly communicates an advocated position.
•  Utilizes technical terminology from the course and outside reseaarch in an advanced, nuanced, and precise manner consistently at or exceeding the level of an upper division course.
•  Responds fully and completely to the assignment using appropriate, direct language and expresses its purpose clearly and persuasively for the needs of a defined audience.
•  Well-organized, unified, focused, flowing, and opens and closes effectively.
•  Presents one side of controversial research or policy issues well and completely, and makes a serious (though perhaps not completely successful) effort to communicate alternatives.
•  Correctly utilizes technical language from the course and outside research in a manner appropriate to the assignment and level of the course.
•  Fails to respond fully or completely to the assignment.  Language is sometimes inappropriate, flaccid, or confusing and does not express its purpose clearly and persuasively.  Audience is undefined or inconsistent.
•  Lacks some organization or unified argument.  May be slightly unfocused.  Has significant problem with flow or effective opening and closing passages.
•  Evidences bias or makes little effort to communicate serious alternatives.
•  Has 1 or more major, or, more than a few minor, terminological errors.
•  Falls significantly short of the assignment strictures.  Language is often inappropriate, flaccid, and confusing, and does not express a clear or persuasive purpose.  No clear sense of audience.
•  Is disorganized, disjointed, unfocused, or stilted.  Unsuccessful or lacking in its opening and closing.
•  Evidences significant bias.  Makes no effort to communicate serious alternatives or digresses into mere opinion or ideology.
• Has 2 or more major, or many minor, terminological errors.
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
1, 9                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  Has no errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, structure and format.
• Evidences literacy, numeracy, rhetorical, and information processing skills at or beyond the level of an upper division course.
•  Completely and correctly acknowledges and documents (through in text citations and an accompanying references section) all directly and indirectly used sources.
•  No errors in the application of relevant portions of APA format.
•  Has no more than 1 major error, and no more than a few minor errors, in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, structure and format.
•  Evidences basic literacy, numeracy, rhetorical, and information processing skills appropriate to the level of an upper division course.
•  Consistently, but not completely acknowledges and documents (through in text citations and an accompanying references section) all directly used sources.  May evidence no more than 3 minor problems with indirect attribution or a few small errors in reference format.
•  1 or a few minor errors in the application of relevant portions of APA format.
• Has 2 or more major, or more than a few minor, errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, structure and format.
•  Incompletely or inconsistently displays literacy, numeracy, rhetorical, and information processing skills at the level of an upper division course.  May include up to 2 major errors or a few minor ones.
•  Incompletely or inconsistently acknowledges and documents (through in text citations and an accompanying references section) all directly used sources.  May evidence 1 major problem, or a few minor problems, with indirect attribution or several errors in reference format.
•  1 major error, or a few minor errors, in the application of relevant portions of APA format.
• Has 3 or more major, or many minor, errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, structure and format.
• Has 2 or more major errors, or many minor errors, in literacy, numeracy, rhetorical, or information processing skills, or fails to demonstrate most of these at the level of an upper division course.
• Has 2 or more major errors, or many minor errors, in acknowledging and documenting citations and references.  May evidence 2 or more major problems with indirect attribution or may misattribute sources.  Reference and citation format is inconsistent or incorrect.
•  More than 2 major error, or several minor errors, in the application of relevant portions of APA format.
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate family forms and practices varying among times, places, and cultures with no significant or noticeable errors. Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate family forms and practices varying among times, places, and cultures with no major errors and only a few minor ones. Does not demonstrate a successful or consistent ability to analyze and evaluate family forms and practices varying among times, places, and cultures.  Contains 1 or 2 major errors or several minor ones. Fails to demonstrate an appreciable ability to analyze and evaluate family forms and practices varying among times, places, and cultures.  Contains more than 2 major errors and omissions, or many minor errors and omissions. 
Clearly and accurately assesses the roles and structure of the traditional family and contrasts those with alternative types of family with no significant or noticeable errors. Assesses the roles and structure of the traditional family and contrasts those with alternative types of family with only a few minor and no major errors. Does not clearly or persuasively assess the roles and structure of the traditional family and contrasts those with alternative types of family. Contains 1 or 2 major errors or several minor ones. Fails to clearly or persuasively assess the roles and structure of the traditional family and contrasts those with alternative types of family. Contains more than 2 major errors and omissions, or many minor errors and omissions. 


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Last Updated:10/8/2006 4:33:43 PM