American Sociological Association

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  1. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  2. Making It Count: Using Real-World Projects for Course Assignments

    Previous scholarship has demonstrated the value of high-impact practices of community engagement, inquiry-based pedagogy, and collaborative learning for engagement and learning in sociology courses, especially undergraduate research methods and statistics. This article explores the changes made to an upper-division undergraduate course focused on applied research practices and community-level interventions.
  3. Strategic Design toward Foundational Learning Goals in Introduction to Sociology

    Scholars of teaching and learning in sociology have argued that introductory courses should teach toward foundational learning goals instead of providing an exhaustive review of the discipline. Nevertheless, prior research has provided far more guidance on what instructors ought to teach than how they can cohesively support learning across the goals advocated. Additionally, few studies have considered whether introductory course designs adequately address students’ diverse reasons for enrolling.
  4. Republication of “Science Fiction and Introductory Sociology: The Handmaid in the Classroom”

    Although there is a great deal of available material on using nontraditional resources for teaching sociology, the pedagogical uses of science fiction have not been examined for 20 years. This essay first asserts the need for an update based on changes in society and in science fiction over the past two decades.
  5. Teaching about Animals: Incorporating Nonhuman Animals into Sociology Classrooms

    The topic of human–animal studies (HAS) remains largely ignored within the sociology classroom. While a few sociologists have encouraged teaching about animals, none has assessed whether incorporating nonhuman animals into the curriculum is effective. In this study, three instructors at two universities incorporated animal-related materials in their sociology courses in a variety of ways. Data analyzed from course exam responses and student papers as well as end-of-semester student surveys indicate that student learning and enjoyment were enhanced.