Unit 1: Introduction
Unit 2: Principles of Macrosociology
Unit 3: Materialism
Unit 4: Evolutionism in the Work of the Founders
Unit 5: Contemporary Social Evolution
Unit 6: Bureaucratization
Unit 7: Capital
Unit 8: The State
Unit 9: Rationalization
Unit 10: The System
This is a ten week MOOC beginning September 2, 2013. You may sign up at Coursesites.com.
Elwell, Frank W. 2013. Sociocultural Systems: Principles of Structure and Change. Alberta: Athabasca University Press.
Assorted articles to be distributed through the Internet.
Articulating important sociological principles, this course provides a critical understanding of social institutions and issues, while furnishing a framework for possible solutions to the crises that plague human societies.
Work Required & Grading
Completion of each unit means that you will do all of the reading, full participation in the discussion forum, as well as completing assignments in your blog.
This course is quite demanding and requires higher order skills of synthesis, critical thinking, and integration. The vocabulary words are measuring the far more basic skill of memorization. While most undergraduates are good at it (and thus it boosts many grades), there are a few in every class who struggle with it (I was never very good at it either). For students like us it takes discipline, repetition, and actual use to finally sink in. I suggest handwritten flash cards to people who are in our predicament. I should add that in addition to boosting grades mastering the vocabulary is really the first step in mastering a subject area—it can only help you in the rest of the course (and in life itself).
Grading: All written assignments are graded in accordance with the standards explained on the attached Grading Rubric.
Student Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): I know that this seems like a significant amount of work. This is not an easy class. But if you are of average intelligence, have some interest in sociology and in the workings of capitalism, and have a good work ethic ("Life is easier when you work hard") you will do fine. So that this is clearly understood I ask each of your to print, sign, and turn in the Student MOU.
Other Useful Information
Attendance: Mental attendance should be regular. Traditional lecture material is presented off of this web site. You should plan on spending time attending online lectures, forum discussion, blogging, and perhaps viewing of films.
Academic Integrity: By signing your name to a test or paper you are indicating that the work is yours and yours alone. Any academic cheating will result in failure of the course. "Plagiarism is the representation of the words or ideas of another as one’s own, including: direct quotation without both attribution and indication that the material is being directly quoted, e.g. quotation marks; paraphrase without attribution; paraphrase with or without attribution where the wording of the original remains substantially intact and is represented as the author’s own; expression in one’s own words, but without attribution, of ideas, arguments, lines of reasoning, facts, processes, or other products of the intellect where such material is learned from the work of another and is not part of the general fund of common knowledge.” One of the social problems that appears to be on the rise in American society is academic dishonesty. Don't do it!
Much of the class will be given over to informed discussion. You should begin your reading immediately by going through the "Introduction" class presentations. I will keep you informed through e-mail of the specific due dates of your reading assignments. While the occasional articles I will send through e-mail are usually optional, reading them will help you master class material. Class discussion will often center on the required readings and the instructor presentations. It is therefore imperative that all assigned reading be done in a timely fashion.
A Final Point: You are encouraged to ask questions on the readings through e-mail or in instructor forums. It is not expected that you will always agree with the perspectives of the instructor, the authors of various texts, or with your classmates. As have all human beings we have been influenced by the values of our society as well as our roles in various social structures. However, it is the duty of the social scientist to acknowledge these influences and attempt to minimize their effects upon social analysis. Should the resulting analyses be counter to your perceptions, challenge them on the basis of empirical fact, logic, and reason--not ideology, prejudice, wishful thinking, or "politically correct" assertions. The goal of this course is for you to develop your own critical thought processes and world view, not for you to blindly accept any one perspective.