This article discusses the use of problem-based learning (PBL) in the undergraduate sociology classroom. PBL shifts students from the role of passive listeners and learners to active knowledge builders and communicators through the use of concise and engaging social problem cases. PBL creates opportunities for building substantive area knowledge, research skills, and problem-solving capacities and fosters student enjoyment.
This article describes an experiment in collaborative course design in a midlevel sociology course. Unlike most of the literature on collaborative teaching and learning, which often deals with collaboration among students, this article discusses collaboration between the instructor and students. The students in this course collaborated with the instructor in designing the course—choosing the readings and developing the assignments—from the first day of class. Student feedback on the experiment was overwhelmingly positive.
Prior research measuring service-learning program successes reveals the approach can positively affect students’ attitudes toward community service, can increase students’ motivation to learn and ability to internalize class material, and can change their view of social issues. Studies also suggest that college students sometimes enter and leave a field site in ways that contribute to the reproduction of inequality.
What should activist-scholars teach in the social problems classroom? In this conversation, I challenge the assertion that advancing a sociology of social problems is an overly academic enterprise of little use to students and other publics. I introduce the potential of a pedagogical framework for promoting social problems literacy: a set of skills that promotes critical, sociological understandings of social problems toward aims of supporting civic engagement and activism.
The ASA Task Force on Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major, Third Edition (LL3) has been working steadily on the charge put to it by ASA Council at their August 2014 meeting: to revise the ASA document Liberal Learning and the Sociology Major Updated: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Sociology in the 21st Century (McKinney et al. 2004). Perhaps the most important as well as the most cited sociology curricular document in the United States, this revision comes at a critical time when several changes are occurring in higher education.
What explains the rise of race-conscious affirmative action policies in undergraduate admissions? The dominant theory posits that adoption of such policies was precipitated by urban and campus unrest in the North during the late 1960s. Based on primary research in a sample of 17 selective schools, we find limited support for the dominant theory. Affirmative action arose in two distinct waves during the 1960s. A first wave was launched in the early 1960s by northern college administrators inspired by nonviolent civil rights protests in the South.
The U.S. prison population continued to rise even after the crime rate began declining in the mid-1990s because judges were faced with more repeat offenders, a new study suggests.
Using data from Minnesota, an Ohio State University sociologist found that the U.S. criminal justice system felt the reverberations from the increase in violent crime and imprisonment that occurred from the 1960s to the early 1990s.
Immigrants detained in a privately run detention facility while awaiting deportation decisions are far less likely than those held in county or city jails to receive visits from their children, a new study finds.
ASA speaks with sociologist Christopher Dum at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Dum talks about what it means to “do sociology,” how he uses sociology in his work, highlights of his work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and his advice to students interested in entering the field.