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Modern Social Problems

Syllabus for Social Problems

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Social Problems   Modesto Junior College
MSocio 102-2799
Class meetings: MTWTh  10:55am -1:30pm
Semester hours: 3
Founder's Hall 231, East Campus
Office hours: before or after class or by appointment anytime

Required Text :
Title: THINK Social Problems
Author: John D. Carl  Year: 2013
ISBN: 978 0205 125 623

Course Overview: Modern Social Problems is a survey-type course, in which we focus on the nature and definition of contemporary social problems, and if and how to seek solutions, in a social science framework.  Because the nature and degree of social problems varies cross-culturally, we will examine not only mainstream American society, but sub-cultural, international, and global case studies to help shape our understanding.  The scope of the course includes some or all of the following areas: family-related problems; health and illness; poverty; aging; ethnic relations; gender, sexual, and social inequality;  crime and delinquency; drugs; sex trades; population growth; terrorism; and education.  This class requires a high level of critical thinking!

Student learning outcomes:

Socio 102: Social Problems in the United States

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Identify and apply the sociological perspective to an interpretation of social problems.

2. Describe the steps in the research process and recognize how the scientific method is used to analyze social problems.

3. Identify and apply the major sociological paradigms to an understanding of social problems.

4. Demonstrate knowledge about current social problems, including the ability to describe their effects on individuals as well as society at large.

5. Critically analyze current societal-level problems impacting various nations, including the United States.

Instruction Methods: The nature of the subject requires in-class discussion and debate based on pre-reading of required text chapters and papers, articles, or news items assigned.  Some portion of each class will be devoted to clearing up questions on the text, lectures emphasizing salient points, arguments, and if time permits, viewing short videos or films to stimulate discussion.

Requirements:  YOU MUST READ THE ASSIGNED TEXTS BEFORE EACH CLASS!  The reading assignments define the nature of the problems, provide the specialized vocabulary and background needed for class discussions.  In addition, quizzes and writing assignments are based on the reading and class discussions.  There is a peer-reviewed research paper assignment.  A final essay exam is required.  If you don't like to read and write, please don't take this class!!!!

Grades:  You are the one who determines your final grade.  It is based on the work YOU do, and the level of thinking that you apply to the issues.  The points are earned cumulatively as follows:

Essays (8 @ 5 pts.)  total possible 40

Peer-reviewed research questions possible 20

Link to this assignment:

Quizzes (3@ 5) total possible 15

Final exam essay, total possible 25

Total possible: 100

F= <60

D= 60-69




Attendance: Each 3-hour class is equal to two classes.  You cannot pass this class without attending regularly and on time.  Students may miss up to two classes for extenuating circumstances (police, hospital, morgue).  In-class quizzes, debates, and writing assignments cannot be made up.  You cannot pass this class without regular attendance.  After the third absence, begin procedures to withdraw you from class as per MJC policy.  If you do not plan on staying in this class, please remove yourself from the roll so others may be permitted to register! 

Policies on cell phones, tablets, and computers:  NO texting or IM-ing in class.  It is distracting to students around you, and disconcerting and rude to me.  If you don't want to be in this class, please drop it!  If you are in class, please give me and the rest of the class your attention.  I reserve the right to ask you to close your computer if I believe you are using it for other than class work.

I understand that many of you have children or work obligations that require you to be available by phone.  I have no problem with this in moderation, but do let your friends know you are busy at this time! Please change your phones to vibrate in class---no dopey song clips, please!

Policies on photos and recordings of any kind:

NO photos of me or my classroom, no videos or audio recordings are allowed without my express written permission.  My lectures are my intellectual property, and I reserve the right to take legal action, civil and criminal,  against any violation of this policy. 

Plagiarism: Plagiarism means presenting someone else's work or words as your own.  Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that will result in your failing the assignment and even the class, possible expulsion from college, and rejection by other educational institutions.  The College's policies and procedures for offenses will be followed, including filing official papers of academic dishonesty on your records.  If you have any question about whether your work violates plagiarism standards, please ask in advance of submission.

Students with disabilities:  Please contact me and I will make arrangments to support and accommodate you. 

MJC has a writing lab which can help you improve your writing skills.  Please take advantage of this!  If you need a referral, I will give you one.

My goals for you in this course are to help prepare you to be better citizens of the world by understanding the scope of the social problems we face in the 21st century, and to challenge you to see beyond the clichés of common beliefs.  A secondary goal, though no less important, is to improve the logical thinking, communications and formal writing skills that you will need in the rest of your college education as well as in your chosen career.

I hope you will enjoy the journey, and be surprised at where you are at its end!

Syllabus is subject to change.  Rev. 06/08/2016