American Sociological Association



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  1. Reconceptualizing Participation Grading as Skill Building

    Two common ways that instructors assess participation in sociology courses are recalling participation by memory or counting times spoken during class in real time. However, these common assessments rely on faulty assumptions that do not support their usage. This article reconceptualizes participation grading as an opportunity to motivate skill building across a variety of dimensions. The evidence from two classes of 45 and 47 students demonstrates that this conceptualization can be effectively implemented in undergraduate courses.
  2. Extra Credit in the Sociology Classroom

    The role of extra credit in the college classroom has been examined as a philosophical and pedagogical issue, but in this project, we argue that the matter of extra credit is also a sociological one. Using survey data, we examine how college instructors’ status and individual demographic characteristics are related to the use of extra credit. We found that women and instructors with less teaching experience are more likely to offer extra credit.
  3. Analyzing the Social Construction of Media Claims: Enhancing Media Literacy in Social Problems Classes

    Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media.
  4. Call Your Representatives: Connecting Classroom Learning to Real-world Policy Action

    This article presents an in-class exercise that teaches students how to call elected officials about a course-related issue of their choice. The goals are to connect classroom learning with real-life action, to show that contacting elected officials need not be difficult or intimidating, and to help students develop a sense of efficacy that can contribute to ongoing engagement. I describe the exercise and present evidence that it led students to call their elected officials, most for the first time ever.
  5. Share, Show, and Tell: Group Discussion or Simulations Versus Lecture Teaching Strategies in a Research Methods Course

    Impacts of incorporating active learning pedagogies into a lecture-based course were examined among 266 students across nine research methods course sections taught by one instructor at a large public university. Pedagogies evaluated include lecture only, lecture with small group discussions, and lecture with simulations. Although lecture-simulations sections outperformed lecture-only sections on one outcome measure, few performance differences appeared between lecture-only and alternative groups.
  6. Who Counts as a Notable Sociologist on Wikipedia? Gender, Race, and the “Professor Test”

    This paper documents and estimates the extent of underrepresentation of women and people of color on the pages of Wikipedia devoted to contemporary American sociologists. In contrast to the demographic diversity of the discipline, sociologists represented on Wikipedia are largely white men. The gender and racial/ethnic gaps in likelihood of representation have exhibited little change over time. Using novel data, we estimate the “risk” of having a Wikipedia page for a sample of contemporary sociologists.
  7. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.
  8. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  9. Basic Income and the Pitfalls of Randomization

    This essay evaluates the state of the debate around basic income, a controversial and much-discussed policy proposal. I explore its contested meaning and consider its potential impact. I provide a summary of the randomized guaranteed income experiments from the 1970s, emphasizing how experimental methods using scattered sets of isolated participants cannot capture the crucial social factors that help to explain changes in people’s patterns of work.
  10. Gender and Race Differences in Faculty Assessment of Tenure Clarity: The Influence of Departmental Relationships and Practices

    The authors look at how the intersection of gender and race influences pretenure faculty members’ perceptions of the clarity of tenure expectations. The authors also seek to identify potential predictors (assessment of mentoring, relationships with peers, feedback on progress toward tenure, and of fairness in tenure decision making and evaluation) of perceptions of tenure clarity for four intersectionally defined groups, including historically underrepresented minority women (URMW).