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. ‘‘I Can Turn It on When I Need To’’: Pre-college Integration, Culture, and Peer Academic Engagement among Black and Latino/a Engineering Students

    Drawing on interviews with 38 black and Latino/a engineering students at a predominantly white, elite university, I use a cultural analytic framework to explicate the role of pre–college integration in the heterogeneous psychosocial and academic experiences of students of color on predominantly white campuses. I identify three cultural strategies students of color adopt to navigate the university’s ethnoracially segregated peer network landscape and more specifically, engage majority–white academic peer networks: integration, marginalized segregation, and social adaptation.
  7. Symbolically Maintained Inequality: How Harvard and Stanford Students Construct Boundaries among Elite Universities

    The study of elites is enjoying a revival at a time of increasing economic inequality. Sociologists of education have been leaders in this area, researching how affluent families position their children to compete favorably in a highly stratified higher education system. However, scholars have done less research on how students do symbolic work of their own to bolster elite status. In this study, we use qualitative interviews with 56 undergraduates at Harvard and Stanford Universities to explore how students construct a status hierarchy among elite campuses.
  8. Aspiration Squeeze: The Struggle of Children to Positively Selected Immigrants

    Why is it that children of immigrants often outdo their ethnic majority peers in educational aspirations yet struggle to keep pace with their achievements? This article advances the explanation that many immigrant communities, while positively selected on education, still have moderate absolute levels of schooling. Therefore, parents’ education may imbue children with high expectations but not always the means to fulfill them.
  9. The Conscripted Curriculum and the Reproduction of Racial Inequalities in Contemporary U.S. Medical Education

    In their attempt to address racial disparities in the provision of healthcare, the U.S. medical profession has reproduced racial inequalities of their own. In this article, I draw upon interview data with medical educators and students to detail how medical educators routinely offload the instruction on the social underpinnings and consequences of race onto students, particularly students of color. I develop the concept of the conscripted curriculum to capture how students’ social identities are utilized by educators in the professionalization process.
  10. Gender and Health: Beyond Binary Categorical Measurement

    This study leverages multiple measures of gender from a US national online survey (N = 1,508) to better assess how gender is related to self-rated health. In contrast to research linking feminine behaviors with good health and masculine behaviors with poor health, we find that masculinity is associated with better self-rated health for cisgender men, whereas femininity is associated with better self-rated health for cisgender women.