SO 315 Minority Group Relations
S1T 2013 DL
Cummins, Kim D.
Senior Instructor/Adjunct Faculty
M.A. Sociology University of Central Missouri 1980B.S. Criminal Justice University of Central Missouri 1978
Email is checked at least once every 24 hours; Virtual Office is checked at least once every 48 hours. I am available for phone calls on Monday and Sunday from 2 - 8 pm and Wednesday 4-8 pm. See Virtual Office for more information.
14 January - 10 March
Textbook: Parillo, V. N. (2011). Strangers to These Shores: Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States, 10th. ed. NY: Allyn & Bacon.
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
of APA Style – Tutorial located on the web site of the American
Psychological Association covers the basics of using APA format.
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. ISBN 1-4338-0559-6
Dolgon., C. (2005). The end of the Hamptons. New York, NY: New York University Press. ISBN 13: 0-8147-1958-9
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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.
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, synthesize, and evaluate the concepts and theories
presented in this course with research information drawn from peer-reviewed
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
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
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.
SO315 CORE ASSESSMENT
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 RubricClass Assessment:
Students are expected to read the
assigned chapters in the textbook, posted lectures and any online articles
displayed that week. The online discussions and activities, weekly quizzes,
journal Assignments, group project, core assessment essay, and Final Exam
assume you have read the assigned readings.
Weekly Discussion and Peer Responses
Responses: There is a Discussion link in each of the Weekly Menus.
You will need to make one (1) initial discussion response to one (1) of the
questions posted in either of the discussion topic forums each week. Post a
response of at least 200 words in one of the weekly discussion threads (A or
B). The post should incorporate and refer to concepts/ideas found in your
weekly readings (text, online lecture, or assigned online reading). You must
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, consult the APA web site Basics
of APA tutorial http://www.apastyle.org/learn/tutorials/basics-tutorial.aspx.
This will give you basic guidance for citing in this format. NOTE: Initial Discussion Responses should be completed by
Thursday Midnight CT 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 forum
(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 CT. Discussion threads close each week at that time. Late discussion
is not accepted. The one exception to this is if student enrolls after the term
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 Course Guidelines. Your Discussion Response and Peer Responses
will be graded according to the Weekly Discussion Rubric. Successful completion
of Weekly Discussion and Peer Responses is worth 25 points or 25 x 8 Weeks =
200 total points possible for the term.
Weekly 1 Activity
Week 1 Activity is a combination
introduction/icebreaker in which you introduce yourself to your instructor and
fellow classmates. The activity is a non-graded activity.
Group Project (Weeks 2-6)
A Problem Based Learning group
project will be completed during weeks 2-6. You will be divided into small
groups ( 5-7) for this project unless otherwise instructed. Each group will simulate a task force charged
with solving a problem of racial/ethnic conflict in the Hamptons on New York’s
Long Island. This is an actual conflict, and you will use actual information
about the conflict as well as the concepts and theories you learn in the course
to come up with a plan for dealing with this conflict. The project with associated
activities is worth 140 points. Weekly participation is worth 60 points. The submitted task force report is worth 60 points. A peer review and reflection on the project are worth another 20 points. If you have an aversion to group projects, then this may not be the course for you. If you choose to take this course, then I expect your cooperation in participating in this project. Your group members will need to depend on you. Because of that, I reserve the right to prorate any individual's group grade based on their weekly participation input into the final report. That means if you are not an active participant in the weekly group work each week of the project, your group grade will also be reduced accordingly.
Weekly Journal Assignments (Weeks
The purpose of the weekly journal
assignment is personal reflection and application of the weekly material. These
weekly entries give you the opportunity to integrate your ideas with some of
the content needed for your Core Assessment Essay. In your essay, you will be
asked to write about how your group identity has affected your individual identity
and life chances (probabilities of benefiting from the opportunities our
society offers). You will want to consider and write about ways in which weekly
concepts and issues are relevant to you personally and also think about how you
might integrate this information into your paper. Journal entries for weeks 1-6
will focus on these objectives. Each journal entry
must include application of at least two course concepts and one theory or
theoretical perspective in explaining how group identity has affected your
individual identity. Your entry for week 7 will reflect on
your experiences in writing your essay, and your entry for week 8 will reflect
your overall experience in the course. The successful completion of each Weekly
Journal Assignment is worth 15 points or 15 x 8 Weeks = 120 total points
possible for the term.
Weekly Quizzes (Weeks 1-7)
Each week includes a quiz over the
material presented that week. Quizzes consist of 20 objective questions worth 1
point each. There are 7 quizzes worth 20 points or 20 x 7 weeks = 140 total
points possible for the term. Quizzes may be taken more than once. There is no quiz in
week 8 due to the final exam.
Core Assessment Essay (Due Week 7)
This is the major paper you will
write in this course. A core assessment means that the paper is designed to
measure your mastery of at least 3/4 of the core learning outcomes. It is so
important that it has its own content menu item in Course Home. Detailed
instructions for writing this paper are located below and in the Course Home navigation
menu under Core Assessment. Please review the instructions for writing this
paper carefully. Your weekly journal assignments have been structured around
what you will be writing in this essay. If you do a good job on those and keep
up with your journal entries, you should have a solid basis for writing your
core assessment essay. The essay is worth 200 points and is due at the end of
General Guidelines for Core
Topic Focus: Sociology makes us
aware of the larger social and historical forces that can impact our individual
lives. What we experience in different social settings with others may be
traced back to larger events, established patterns of interaction, and changes
in the social structure. We can exercise our “sociological imagination” in
order to understand what type of impact these larger social processes have on
our individual lives. The core assessment for this course is a major essay in
which you will write about how you believe your individual identity and
opportunities or life chances have been shaped by your group identity (racial,
ethnic, gender, religious, or sexual preference) and the established patterns
of majority-minority relations in this society. You will incorporate course
materials, concepts, theories, and models from this course, sources of original
peer reviewed research, and demographic data to describe, explain, and analyze
the processes that have shaped your group and individual identity and current
status. You will also critique and evaluate the conclusions reached by
theorists and authors regarding how patterns and processes shape
minority-majority relations by contrasting your personal experience and
evaluating both against findings from the peer-reviewed research and
demographic data you locate.
While it is preferable to do this
paper based on your racial/ethnic identity, you may elect to write your paper
based on another aspect of your identity such as gender, religion, or sexual
preference. The group identity you choose should be applicable to you personally.
You may also choose to combine two or more of the dimensions of personal
identity, perhaps noting which dimensions are more important in terms of your
individual identity. For example, an African American female who is a lesbian
may choose to write about how each of these various dimensions has impacted her
personal identity and life chances in society, perhaps noting which she
believes has had the most impact. This may make the paper a little more
challenging. You are encouraged to consult your instructor for guidance.
Resources for Content and Analysis
In writing your paper, you will
integrate selected course materials from your assigned readings, concepts,
theory, typologies, and models from the course, demographic data, and at least five outside sources of original academic research
from peer-reviewed journals. You must incorporate these sources of
information and analysis into your paper. Five is the minimum number of
peer-reviewed articles you need to meet expectations. If you want to
“exceed expectations,” you will need to include more than that. Only reputable,
peer-reviewed academic sources will count toward the reference requirements of
your paper. You can and should draw on what you have learned about locating,
evaluating, and integrating such sources with course material from your weekly
library research/writing activities and assignments. Links to appropriate
sources for statistical and demographic data are provided in your list of web
resources. You may also include interviews with relatives and additional
information from newspapers, magazines such as Newsweek, news organizations
such as CNN, and other well-selected Internet sources to supplement your
analysis, but these should only be used for illustration and background
information. They should not be used to support or substantiate your analysis
and evaluation of theory or course materials. You must use peer-reviewed
academic sources (academic research journals or books that reflect original
work) or demographic data for that. If you have questions about a source or how
to use it in your paper, contact your instructor for guidance.
Citation and Formatting Guidelines
Length of Paper: Your paper should
be approximately 2000 - 2500 words excluding title page and references. It
should be double spaced, 12-point font (Times Roman or Courier) with 1-inch
margins. Do not exceed 3000 words.
APA Style Requirement: You are
required to use the APA style format for this paper, as in all written work in
this course. Your paper should include a title page, an abstract, and a list of
references. While information on APA style format has been made available to
you, you may also want to obtain a copy of the fifth edition of the APA
Publication Manual for additional guidance.
Citation Requirement: You are required
to cite all of the sources used in your paper by using citations within the
text as well as providing a list of references. If you do not properly cite
your reference sources, then you are guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in immediate
and serious academic penalties.
Given that, it is imperative that you follow the rules for citing your sources,
especially those that pertain to in-text citations. If you quote directly,
paraphrase, or summarize any information that comes from a reference source and
do not note this appropriately in the text of your paper, you are guilty of
plagiarism and will suffer the consequences. Citing your sources in a list at
the end of your paper is necessary, but it is not sufficient to avoid charges
of plagiarism. Any direct quotes, paraphrases, factual statements, or ideas
used from your sources should be so noted in the text of your paper at the
places where they appear and properly cited using parenthetical in-text
citation in the APA format.
Your work must be your own.
Information about plagiarism and how to avoid it may be found on the Park
Academic Support Center’s website at http://www.park.edu/support/ethics.asp
Core Assessment Instructions: Basic
Organization and Content Guidelines
Your paper should include an
introduction that contains your thesis statement (a statement that indicates
the overall point of focus for your paper) and a summary of the major points
you intend to cover in your paper to support your thesis.
Part I Relative Importance of Group
Identity to Personal Identity
How does your group identity shape
your personal identity? Many things influence our personal identity—ethnicity,
race, sexual orientation, gender, religion and even our physical capabilities.
These are also things that form the basis of minority or majority status in
society. Individuals share in a group identity, and the extent to which they do
so varies according to the individual. Guidelines for writing this section:
Consider the reasons people identify
themselves by race, ethnicity, or some other basis for group belonging as well
as the meanings of categories and terms people use to identify themselves and
others. Consider how minority and majority groups are defined and the
consequences of those definitions, including such things as prejudice,
discrimination, marginality, etc. What concepts, theories, and findings from
research can you use to describe, explain, and support the points you make in
this section? If you are part of the majority, you
may not feel your race or ethnicity is a significant factor in your personal
identity. You would want to explain why you believe it is not significant or
why you feel that way, using what you have learned in the course and from your
outside research to support your analysis.
Part II Historical Context and
Link your family history and
personal experiences with larger historical and social structural forces.
Research and discuss the history of your group in American society and how its
status may have changed over time, comparing/contrasting it with your
individual family history. There will be some information available in your
text, but you may want to look for additional background information from
outside sources. Research your family history to the extent that you are able
and compare/contrast this history with the information you located on your
identity group. If you are not able to gather much information about your
ancestors, that's fine. Just focus more on what you know about the history of
your identity group and do the best you can. Guidelines for writing this
In writing this section, consider
the ways in which majority and minority status is created and maintained and
the consequences for both. Think about how you might use theories of ethnic
stratification, theories of assimilation, and minority coping strategies
(accommodation, separatism, radicalism) to explain and analyze your group’s experience
and your family’s experience. You will also want to critique and evaluate those
theories against your own personal experiences and the findings from your
outside research. Are there areas of agreement or disagreement? What do you
feel are the strengths and the weaknesses of some of these models or theories
and how would you justify your conclusions?
Part III Impact on Life Chances and
In this section, you will write
about how and to what extent you believe your group identity has affected your
life chances (your opportunities to benefit from such things as a good
education, job, home, and/or good health) and how you see the future in terms
of opportunities for your group and yourself:
In your conclusion, discuss what you
feel your group/personal experience has to say about the nature of
minority-majority relations in the US. Draw some conclusions about what you
have learned overall from taking this course and writing this paper.
If you have questions regarding any
aspect of the Core Assessment Essay, please post them in Instructor's Office
where the instructor can answer them for the benefit of everyone.
Final Proctored Exam (Week 8)
A proctored examination will be
taken in a proctored testing environment during the 8th 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. Acceptable alternate proctoring cites are limited to the
following locations: college or university, public library, US embassy, US
military bases. Approved proctors may include accredited college or university
faculty/testing center administrators, certified librarians, US embassy
officials, military testing control officer/unit education officer. Excluded from the list of approved proctors shall be
family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers and/or supervisors, K- 12 educators or K-12 librarians, clergy, adjunct
faculty members . This includes anyone who works within the same company or
university. For military personnel in remote areas, you MUST have a commissioned officer proctor your exam.
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, closed note, comprehensive exam of 50 multiple choice questions
drawn from the pools of questions created for the weekly quizzes. Each question
is worth 4 points for a possible 200 points or 20% of your grade. If necessary,
the instructor reserves the right to curve final exam scores based on the
performance of the class as a whole. No one will be allowed to pass the course
without taking the final proctored exam. The final exam is to be scheduled
during the 8th week of the course. Make sure that you schedule your final exam
during the designated dates. If you are a special needs student and require
special accommodations for your Final Exam, please notify the proctor/campus
center at the time you fill out your proctor form.
Securing a Proctor: It will be the responsibility of the student to arrange
for a proctor by Friday of Week 6. Approval of proctors is at the discretion of
the online instructor. If you live within 1 hour of a Park University campus
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 campus 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 the term. Proctors at our campus sites
are automatically approved. For those requesting non-Park proctors, you will
need to fill out and submit the online form, and it will come to me for
approval. I may have questions regarding your proctor and may require you to
provide additional information about your proctor before I approve your
request. Please co-operate in this matter. I do not have to approve any proctor
I feel could possibly compromise the testing environment. Failure to take a
final proctored exam (or submit your final project for some online graduate
courses) will result in an automatic "F" grade for the course. Some
graduate online courses may not require a proctored Final Examination.
Grading Criteria for Course
% of Grade
Weekly Discussion, Online
Activities, Journal Assignment, and Weekly Quizzes
Weekly Sunday Midnight CT
Sunday Midnight CT End of Week 5
Core Assessment Essay
Sunday Midnight CT End of Week 7
Course Grading Scale:
Grade of A Assigned
90- 100 %
900-1000 Total Points
Grade of B Assigned
80 - 89%
800 - 899 Total Points
Grade of C Assigned
70 - 79%
700 - 799 Total Points
Grade of D Assigned
60 - 69%
600 - 699 Total Points
Grade of F Assigned
Below 600 Total Points
Late Submission of Course Materials:
Discussion for the week must be completed by Sunday
Midnight CT 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 CT 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 the group project. 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.
special circumstances (such as unexpected deployment), a student may be allowed
to make up the points from missed discussion by completing an alternate journal
assignment as determined by the instructor. Special
circumstances must be documented (ie., a copy of deployment orders). Late online journal
assignments 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 assignment if you
have not notified me prior to the due date and supplied documentation. Upon notification, I reserve the
right to decide whether or not I feel your reason falls within these stated
guidelines. Any late journal assignment or activity will receive an automatic
20% deduction, regardless of the reason it is late.
of weekly quizzes is at the discretion of the instructor. The same rules apply
to these as to late weekly journal assignments. You must notify
the instructor prior to the due date of a problem with completing the quiz. Since quizzs are set for multiple submissions and review dates are set for the Monday following the week in which the quiz is taken, if you have to take a makeup quiz, the quiz will have to be reset, and you will only be able to enter the quiz one time. You must take it and submit it in one sitting.
Late journal assignments,
weekly activities, or makeup quizzes must be completed by the end of the week
following the one in which they are due. No make up of weekly assignments will be accepted after Sunday of Week 7. A late core assessment must be submitted by Friday midnight of Week 8 and must have prior approval from me. Under no circumstances will I accept an assignment posted after term end (Sunday midnight Week 8). That includes a final exam unless you have made arrangements with me beforehand. My goal in establishing these
policies 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.
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:
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 Online Students 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
Think Before You Post
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
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.
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:
can't believe you wrote something so ignorant. You obviously haven't learned
people like you are the reason there is war everywhere."
obvious you don't know what you're talking about. Let me educate you."
is your problem?"
do all you people think alike?" (This goes beyond a personal attack to
attack the person as representative of an entire group)
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
What are some things we can do to create and maintain trust in our learning
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
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
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 :-)
for making our learning environment a challenging and rewarding one!
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 CT. Weekly discussion threads are
timed to end at midnight CT each week. Assignments scheduled for completion
during a class week should be completed by Sunday Midnight CT 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 CT deadline. Your initial
Discussion Response should be posted by Thursday midnight CT 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
are asked to complete their assignments in some version of MS Word. 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. 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. While this may work in terms of my
ability to read and grade your assignment, you may not be able to read the
comments I make or view the grading rubric that accompanies your returned
assignment because I use MS Word for both. 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.
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 http://www.parkonline.org. 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. 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.
All students are given a Park Mail email account when they register for online
courses. This is an outside email account through Google Apps. Your Park Mail
address is the email address the administration uses to contact you. You should
make a habit of checking your Park Mail account frequently for messages from
the administration and occasionally from your instructor. You should utilize a
Park Mail address/account for communicating with Park administrators. You can
also email your instructor through this account by using the email link in the
eCollege classroom. Please remember to put your last name and ID number in the
subject line of your email.
reminders and other important announcements will be made in the Announcements
section on the Home Page of the course (very top). Weekly announcements 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.
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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96Avoid problems of plagiarism by writing your assignments 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 10% directly quoted or closely paraphrased material. Information from your references sources must 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.
Plagiarism: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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98
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: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:12/26/2012 3:18:43 PM