SO315 Minority Group Relations

for U1T 2008

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


SO 315 Minority Group Relations


U1T 2008 DL


Cummins, Kim D.


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

Virtual Office and email is checked at least every 24 hours

Daytime Phone


Other Phone




Semester Dates

2 June - 27 July, 2008

Class Days


Class Time



SO141,  EN105 and/or  EN106 are strongly recommended

Credit Hours



Parrillo, V.N. (2006). Strangers to these shores: Race and ethnic relations in the United States. (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. ISBN:  0-205-54323-5

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Allyn & Bacon Book Specific Resources for Parrillo, Stranger to These Shores, 8th ed:,8189,2214298-,00.html

Internet Detective: Wise up to the web: Research Resources: What is citation?:
OWL at Purdue APA Formatting & Style Guide:
Landmark's Citation Machine:

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Course Description:
An examination of the patterns and causes of prejudice and discrimination. Surveys the history and current status of groups in American society which have been subjected to discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex or religion. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy is one that reflects the facilitation of learning through learner interaction with course content, the facilitator, and other online learners. As a learner in my online classroom, you will be encouraged to explore new ideas and viewpoints, reason critically and objectively, apply, analyze, and synthesize what you have learned, and reflect on your learning throughout the course.

Class assignments are structured to provide a learning experience that is relevant and interesting. Topics are thought-provoking, and I encourage you to share you own experiences and points of view while at the same time respecting and valuing the experiences and viewpoints of others. I ask you to think beyond simple memorization of material to an application of what you are learning to you own experiences and to new or different contexts. You will be asked to apply theory and to compare/contrast similarities and differences individuals and group dimensions. The Core Assessment Essay is a measure of how well you are able to apply, analyze, sythesize, and evaluate the concepts and theories presented in this course with research information drawn from peer-reviewed academic sources.

The lessons and experiences from my own life form the basis of everything I do in the online classroom. I try to create a learning environment that is both challenging and encouraging. I believe my role is to guide or facilitate learning rather than to impart information. To that end, I also believe the corresponding role of the student is to actively participate in this course, share information and ideas with other learners, and to accept responsibility for his/her own learning. If you accept this challenge, you will find this course invaluable.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain how majority (dominant) and minority (subordinate) groups are defined and how those definitions are commonly justified, internalized by members of both, and manipulated for relative advantage.
  2. Know the historical development, current importance, and likely future developments in socially significant minorities, such as those based on “race” and ethnicity, history and geography, culture and religion, gender or sex, privilege, birth, and so forth; and critically assess how those definitions are created and applied.
  3. Know the social history of American migration patterns and how they were shaped by power, status, and access to other resources; and compare and contrast this history with those of other areas and times.
  4. Examine the patterns and causes of prejudice and discrimination, and interpret the consequences for individuals and societies.
  5. Explain how social institutions, such as economic, political, educational, and cultural systems, are created or adapted to perpetuate disadvantage among minority group members.
  6. Evaluate the history and current status of groups in American society that have been subjected to systematic discrimination, including African Americans, Native Americans, and other specific ethnic and religious groups.
  7. Explore, apply, and evaluate common responses by minority groups to discrimination, including assimilation, accommodation, separatism, and radicalism.
  8. Analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations; and apply your theoretical and social historical knowledge to specific minority group struggles in the present day, and to extrapolate their likely trajectories.

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.



            Select one identity group that is now or has historically been a minority or subordinated group in the United States.  Your group may be a “minority” based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, culture, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual identity or preference, or some other characteristic or combination of characteristics (but you must receive your instructor's permission before beginning your project).

Briefly summarize the history of that group in this country, and the dominant group's response to their presence.  Compare and contrast that group's characteristics and sense of identity with those ascribed to them by the mainstream.  Describe the group's primary strategy or strategies for carving their niche in American society (i.e., assimilation, accommodation, separatism, or radicalism), and the dominant group's responses to those strategies.  Discuss the degree to which the minority group has (and had) a cohesive identity.  Analyze how and why the subordinated and dominant groups adopted these particular strategies.  What inaccurate stereotypes does the dominant group tend to have about the minority, and vice versa?  Use the conceptual and theoretical tools of the course and your outside sources to clarify and enrich your analysis.

Discuss and evaluate the personal and group consequences of this minority status for both the subordinated and dominant groups.  Discuss specific types of prejudice and discrimination directed toward the minority group.  Examine and evaluate the minority group's strategy for advancing within the larger society's opportunity structure.  Evaluate the relative success of these strategies, compare and contrast them with other appropriate groups, and argue whether another approach might be more successful, especially given the possible differences in culture, ethics, and goals between the minority and majority groups.  Justify and support your conclusions.  Explain how specific social scientific theories and research helps you to draw these conclusions.  Why?

Now that you have a clearer and more defensible understanding of the evidence and the mechanisms at work, discuss the prospects for this group over the next two decades.  Defend and justify your conclusions.  What shared strategies and individual decisions would help guide this group in the most generally useful and beneficial direction?  Defend and justify your conclusions.


Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Reading Assignments

Students are expected to read the assigned chapters in the textbook, any lectures and articles displayed for each week, and other assigned material on the Internet. The Online Discussions and Activities, Journal Assignments, Core Assessment, and Final Exam assume you have read the assigned readings. NOTE: There is a great deal of reading material in this course, especially within the first three weeks. Supplementary online material is used in addition to the text, and the text chapters tend to be very long. Make a plan to budget your time to do the readings as well as your other assignments. You might spend one day over the weekend or during the first part of each week just reading the required materials.

Class Participation
Your class participation includes Weekly Class Discussion and completion of Online Activities/Group Projects W/Journal Entries. These weekly assignments make up 40% of your grade. Rubrics for these assignments may be found in the online classroom in doc sharing, under the content menu item Course Guidelines, and attached to this syllabus.

Class Discussion

Your class discussion includes making weekly responses to posted discussion questions and also replying to what your classmates have posted.

Initial DiscussionResponses: There are two discussion topic threads (A and B) located in the menu for each week of the course under the link labeled “Discussion.” You will need to make one (1) initial discussion response to one (1) of the questions posted in either of the discussion topic threads each week. Post a response of at least 200 words in one of the weekly discussion threads (A or B).  The post should refer to concepts/ideas found in your weekly readings (text, online lecture, or assigned online reading). Use APA citation format to cite the information you incorporate into your response that comes from your sources. If you are not familiar with APA format or need a refresher, use the link under Course Home called APA Tutorials. This will give you basic guidance for citing in this format. NOTE: Weekly Discussion Responses should be completed by Thursday Midnight MST in order to receive full credit and give your classmates the opportunity to respond to your posting.

Peer Responses: Post two (2) Peer Responses to classmate's postings. You must post one in each discussion thread (A and B) to receive full credit. Each peer response should be approximately 100 words but quality is desired over quantity. Your peer responses need to go beyond agreement with your classmate. Each peer response should contain either a personal application/example that relates to the topic or an application/example taken from current events in the news or your community. Your peer response should attempt to add to and advance the discussion and should not be just a restatement of what someone else has said. Specific examples and applications receive more credit than generalized/vague statements.  You are not required to reference the text or other readings or to use APA format in your peer responses, but you are encouraged to do so. NOTE: Weekly Peer Responses must be completed by Sunday Midnight MST. Discussion threads close each week at that time. Late discussion is not accepted.
Peer Responses can be done at any time during the week before the Sunday midnight deadline. Detailed information on the requirements for your Discussion Response and your two Peer Responses are located in Class Participation Guidelines. Your Discussion Response and Peer Responses will be graded according to the Weekly Discussion Rubric attached to this syllabus.
Online Activity W/Journal Entry: You will complete an Online Activity in weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8. Online Activities involve researching the Internet to locate answers to the questions provided in the Content Menu item called "Online Activity" and then writing up your response in the Online Journal. Your Journal Entry must be a minimum of 200 words in length and contain proper reference citations (both in-text citations and list of References in APA format) for the information presented. You must use and cite at least one reputable/academic online reference source for your Online Activity W/Journal Entry. Review the Content Item McAfee Library Online which contains information on evaluating online sources and locating peer reviewed research in the online library databases. There are no regular Online Activities in weeks 3 and 5. In Weeks 3 and 5 you will participate in Group Projects instead of doing an Online Activity. Your Online Activities will be graded according to the Online Activity Rubric. This can be found in the Content Menu to the left of your screen when you enter the online classroom under the menu item labeled "Course Guidelines." A copy is also attached to this syllabus.

Online Group Projects W/Journal Entry: You will participate in a Group Project exercise in weeks 3 and 5 instead of doing an Online Activity. There is also a journal entry associated with each of these projects. Questions to answer for your Journal Entry for these weeks are located in the weekly Content Menu Item called "Group Project Instructions" and also in your individual group discussion threads. You and your group members will grade your own and each other's participation in the Group Projects according to the Group Project Rubric. This can be found in the Content Menu to the left of your screen when you enter the online classroom under the menu item labeled "Course Guidelines." A copy is also attached to this syllabus.

Core Assessment Essay
For this course, you are required to write a formal paper that will be due at the end of Week 6 and will make up 20% of your grade. General guidelines and a general grading rubric are located elsewhere in this syllabus. For more detailed instructions on the CA Essay, see the Content Menu item "Course Guidelines" located to the left of your screen when you enter the online classroom. If you have any questions or need clarification regarding the requirements for the assignment, please ask prior to turning in your paper. Do not begin asking questions after you have received your grade. All students are responsible for reviewing the CA Essay Rubric, which provides a detailed explanation of how your essay will be evaluated. You must locate and use at least five original peer-reviewed research studies connected with your topic as sources for your paper. You must locate these in Park's McAfee Online Library or proivide me with copies of these articles if taken from another library. Do not use sources from the Internet for your reference requirements as they do not count toward that requirement, and this could adversely affect your grade on the essay. Reference sources should be no older than ten years. Any demographic information used/cited should be current. Consult the CA Essay Instructions for more detailed information on paper and reference requirements. If you have questions about whether or not a reference meets the requirement, please ask. No late paper will be accepted after the due date unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.

Topic Submission: Your topic should be submitted to the Dropbox labeled "Week 2 CA Essay Topic" no later than the second week of the course. Please check the Dropbox the following day to make sure I have approved your topic. You may be asked to select another topic. When you submit your topic, include a short paragraph that explains why you want to write on this particular topic and how you intend to approach writing about it. What are your thoughts on this identity group, and how do you think writing about the group will fit into the requirements for the paper as they are detailed below? Once the instructor has approved your topic, you may begin your research and should do so at the earliest possible opportunity. You must receive approval for your topic. If you have difficulty locating information on your approved topic, consult the instructor for further guidance or to get approval for a different topic. No paper will be accepted if it does not cover the topic approved by the instructor.

Paper Submission:
You paper should be submitted to the Dropbox labeled "Week 6 CA Essay" no later than Sunday midnight MST at the end of Week 6.

Proctored Final Exam

A proctored examination will be taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th (or 16th) week at one of the Park University sites around the country or at an alternative location. For proctored examinations, photo identification is required at the time of the test. Guidelines for selecting an acceptable proctor can be found on the Park University Web Site. Approved proctors may include pastors, librarians, guidance counselors, chaplains, US Embassy officials, military education officers, any college or university faculty member or administrator. Excluded from the list of approved proctors shall be family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers and/or supervisors. Your instructor makes the final determination as to whether or not your choice of proctor is acceptable. The final exam for this course will be a closed book, comprehensive exam worth 100 points or 20% of your grade. No one will be allowed to pass this course without taking the final exam. The final exam is to be scheduled during the 8th week of the course. Make certain that you schedule your exam during the designated dates.
Other Information on proctored exams:
It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange for a proctor, by the 6th week of the term, who is accepted and approved by the course instructor. Approval of proctors is at the discretion of the online instructor. If you live within 2 hours of a Park University site, you will be expected to arrange for a proctor there and should make every effort to take your exam there. If you are not close enough to a Park University site, you will need to arrange for an approved proctor outside of Park University. A proctor request form will be made available to you during the first or second week of class so that you can send your requested proctor to your instructor for approval. Failure to take a final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade. Some Graduate Online courses may not require a proctored Final Examination.

Midterm Exam

You will take an online open book midterm exam during the fourth week of class. The exam will be set up so that you can work on it any time during that week. If the time period for the exam presents a problem for you, please contact me to make other arrangements. You should do that as soon as you know there is a problem. The exam will cover chapters 1-6 in your text and any material/readings we have had for weeks 1-3 in our class discussions/activities. It will consist of 50 objective questions that will be automatically scored in the gradebook. The exam is worth 100 points or 20% of your total grade.


Grading Criteria for Course Requirements:

Requirement Due Date % of Grade
Weekly Discussion, Online Activities/Journal Entries, and Group Projects Weekly Sunday Midnight MST 40%
Midterm Exam Sunday Midnight MST End of Week 4 20%
Core Assessment Essay Sunday Midnight MST End of Week 6 20%
Final Exam Week Eight 20%

Course Grading Scale:

Grade of A Assigned 90- 100 % 450 -500 Total Points
Grade of B Assigned 80 - 89% 400 - 449 Total Points
Grade of C Assigned 70 - 79% 350 - 399 Total Points
Grade of D Assigned 60 - 69% 300 - 349 Total Points
Grade of F Assigned Below 60% Below 300 Total Points



Late Submission of Course Materials:

Discussion for the week must be completed by Sunday Midnight MST each week. If you do not complete the required discussion assignments by the midnight deadline in the week they are due, you miss your chance for class discussion in that week. No Discussion Response or Peer Response will be accepted for credit after Sunday midnight MST of the week in which the discussion is due. There are no exceptions, regardless of the reason you could not complete the assignment. You cannot make these up. They must be completed and submitted within the week they are due. This also applies to work on group projects. You must complete your portion of the group project within the week the project is due. Please do not ask to be an exception as there are none. You need a "Plan B" as explained below.

Late online activities/journal entries may be considered for late credit for the following reasons: death in the family, sickness or 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 may be asked to provide documentation, depending on the circumstances. I will not accept the late online acitivity/journal 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 journal entry will receive an automatic 25% deduction (3 points), regardless of the reason. Late journal entries must be completed by the end of the week following the one in which they are due. 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, vacation plans, 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. If an emergency situation or an unexpected hardship occurs during the term, contact me immediately.

Taking classes online is convenient, but it requires good time management skills and the foresight to plan ahead. Things can happen during a term that might prevent you from getting online and completing your work. In a traditional classroom setting, you need to depend on some type of transportation to get you to class, usually a car. If your car breaks down for some reason, you need a "Plan B" for getting to class. One of the nice things about taking classes online is that you do not need to get in your car and drive to class, but you still need to get to class. Just as in the traditional setting, problems may occur with your means of getting to class. This might be trouble with your computer, your ISP, cable modem or phone line. It might be a power outage that lasts for some length of time. I have experienced power outages of up to five days at a time while teaching an online course. I could not just say, "Oh, well, there is nothing I can do, and the students will have to fend for themselves." I have to have a "Plan B" and so do you. What is your "Plan B" if any of these things happen to you? Think carefully and begin now to make arrangements for an alternate means of completing your assignments and meeting your obligations in the online classroom. Make sure you have a secondary method of getting online (a friend or relative's house, a local library, or an Internet cafe, etc.). In addition to having a "Plan B" for getting online, you should also keep a backup copy of ALL of your work on disk so that your assignments can be accessed on another computer if you cannot use your own for some reason.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Learners are to treat each other and the instructor with consideration and respect. No offensive or inflammatory remarks or personal attacks will be tolerated. If you have a complaint/difference of opinion with the instructor on an issue, you are encouraged to contact the instructor via email or phone. Please do not use the discussion threads for posting messages other than that related to the content of the course and especially not to "air your differences." Inappropriate, offensive, or plagiarized postings in the class discussion threads will be copied for documentation purposes and then removed from the classroom.  A student who posts anything offensive or who posts plagiarized material will receive one warning. If the inappropriate behavior persists, a report will be sent to Onlinestudents and an Academic Director will be contacted. A student may be removed from the online classroom for failure to follow these rules of conduct. If you have personal comments or topics to discuss with classmates, please do this in the Multicultural Cafe provided for this purpose.

Think Before You Post

There are both pros and cons to debating issues in the online classroom. One of the “cons” is the absence of visual and aural cues. It is helpful to be able to see and hear the other person because tone of voice and expression often communicate more than the text of our message. This can create misunderstandings when others read what we've written. They can take what is said in a way we did not intend. Our words may appear overly harsh or critical, or we may not take into account what effect our choice of words might have on some who read them. The advantage of this type of forum for debating issues is that we have time to both research the facts prior to responding, and we have the time to think about what we say before responding. This is a great advantage in terms of learning and also in terms of building trust in an online learning community.

This course encourages debate on issues that are controversial and sensitive to people. So often people avoid such debate and confrontation and perspectives are not shared, especially unpopular ones or those we might feel are not "politically correct." My style of teaching is more of a "Devil's Advocate" approach. I may challenge something you have written or suggest an alternative view. Sometimes students misinterpret this as my being "critical" rather than my attempt to get them to "think critically." This type of discussion can also create an "adversarial" climate if we do not take care to prevent it.

I do not want to stifle debate on the issues, but I want to remind everyone to be cognizant of how what you post concerning various issues and groups can affect others in our classroom. Below is a list of things I would like us to share to ensure that our discussion is productive and stays at an amicable level. The goal of class discussion is learning--everyone's learning. A certain environment has to exist in order for learning to take place. People need to feel safe in expressing their views without fear they will be attacked personally. Reasoned argument is encouraged, but it should not turn into personal attacks. For example, the following statements represent personal attacks:

"I can't believe you wrote something so ignorant. You obviously haven't learned anything."

"Stupid people like you are the reason there is war everywhere."

"It's obvious you don't know what you're talking about. Let me educate you."

"What is your problem?"

"Why do all you people think alike?" (This goes beyond a personal attack to attack the person as representative of an entire group)

Such statements, rather than promoting understanding and encouraging open dialogue, only antagonize the object of the remarks. It is hard to reach someone who has been antagonized. They are not open to listening to any reasonable line of argument. If the goal is to help each other learn, then another approach is necessary.

What are some things we can do to create and maintain trust in our learning community?

1. Wait before responding to something, especially if it creates an emotional reaction. Reread the posting several times before you assume you understand what is being stated. Give yourself time to reflect carefully before responding.

2. If something you read appears to be confusing, contradictory, or disturbing to you, ask for clarification: "When I read ____________, I was confused. Could you clarify what you meant by that?"

3. Focus your response or critique on the point being made by the other person and not the individual making the point:

"I see your point, and I would agree that some people are happy with the status quo. They see no reason to accept personal responsibility for social problems and may not be able to envision their role in bringing about social change. However, is this the failure of only one group? How do you think we can best educate all people to see we are "all in this together?"

4. Resist the temptation to make assumptions based on limited information. Some people are better at expressing their thoughts and ideas in writing than others. What they write is not always a true reflection of what they meant to say. That's why it is good to ask for clarification.

5. Avoid asking an individual to speak for his or her race, ethnicity, gender, etc. This assumes everyone who identifies with the race, ethnicity, gender, etc., thinks the same way. We "know" this is not the case, but we fall into this trap time and again.

6. Examine your postings for possible stereotypes or assumptions about people and their motivations for behavior. Though everyone is entitled to their opinion, one of our learning objectives should be to recognize and confront stereotypes. It is usually easier to see this in others as opposed to ourselves.

7. Before you craft a response, ask yourself, "What is it I want someone to understand and what is the most effective way to state my points to create that understanding? What is my motivation? Do I want to retaliate, prove I am right, or create understanding?

8. Keep an open mind. This is such a simple thing to say and such a difficult thing to do. We are passionate about our points and want people to understand where we are coming from. That is good as long as we don't allow it to close our minds to other points of view :-)

Thanks for making our learning environment a challenging and rewarding one!

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 term 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. Your Discussion Response should be posted by Thursday midnight MST in any given week in order to give classmates an opportunity to respond to your thoughts and ideas. 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. If you are using MS Word 2007, please save your document in an earlier version of Word. 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.

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 (CDL 300) 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 after you login at This tutorial should appear under the heading "Special Courses" at the top of that page. If you have difficulty accessing certain features of the classroom, this may be due to the existence of a firewall or other security features on your computer. A document with instructions for troubleshooting such problems is located in the document sharing area of the classroom. Go to "Doc Sharing" tab at the top of the page when you login to the classroom. If you need help using the course tools (Gradebook, Drop Box, Discussion Threads) in the eCollege classroom, you can access that help by clicking on HELP icon at the upper right corner of the Course Home 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. Example: SO315 Smith 493221.
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.


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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85
You can avoid problems of plagiarism by writing your papers in your own words and using quotations sparingly, if at all. In this course, you are required to write the majority of your assignments in your own words. No written assignment or paper may be composed of more than 15% directly quoted or closely paraphrased material. Information from your references sources should be summarized and/or paraphrased in your own words and properly cited by using in-text citations in APA style. Those who choose to copy and paste material from their reference 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.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. 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 "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

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: .

SO315DL Core Assessment Instructions

SO315DL Class Participation Guidelines

SO315DL What is Plagiarism?

SO315DL APA Guidelines

Final Study Guide.doc

SO315DL Weekly Discussion Rubric

SO315DL Online Activities Journal Entry Rubric

SO315DL Group Project Participation Rubric

SO315DL Online Course Schedule U1T08


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
2, 6, 7, 8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
•  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, 7                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  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, 4, 5, 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, 3, 6, 7                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
•  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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  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, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
•  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.
2, 3, 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate the social history of American inter-group relations with no significant or noticeable errors. Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate the social history of American inter-group relations with only a few minor and no major errors. Does not demonstrate a successful or consistent ability to analyze and evaluate the social history of American inter-group relations. Contains 1 or 2 major errors or several minor ones. Fails to demonstrate an appreciable ability to analyze and evaluate the social history of American inter-group relations. Contains more than 2 major errors and omissions, or many minor errors and omissions. 
Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations with no significant or noticeable errors. Demonstrates ability to analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations with only a few minor and no major errors. Does not demonstrate a successful or consistent ability to analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations. Contains 1 or 2 major errors or several minor ones. Fails to demonstrate an appreciable ability to analyze and evaluate current issues in minority group relations. Contains more than 2 major errors and omissions, or many minor errors and omissions. 


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Last Updated:5/15/2008 10:16:28 PM