social forces beyond the classroom and the student-professor relationship impact what appears on the syllabus. What are some of these and why is this so?
Sociological Imagination and Research Methods
Sociologists look beyond the individual and their immediate environment for explanations of why people act the way they do and why social phenomena exist. As you read in Conley, Chapter 1, C. Wright Mills’s concept of the sociological imagination helps us to connect personal troubles, or individual biographies and experiences, with the larger social forces that shape and influence them.
Read the following article on how the format and content of course syllabi have changed in recent years, then contribute your ideas in discussion on the topic. Develop your posts in paragraphs, supporting your thoughts with specific references to material in the Conley reading, Chapters 1 and 2.
Schuman, Rebecca. 2014, August 26. “Syllabus Tyrannus: The decline and fall of the American university is written in 25-page course syllabi”. Slate.com.
Below are some ideas you may address in the discussion. Note that these are discussion “prompts;” you do not need to answer these questions formally by starting a thread. Rather, if the discussion is underway, reply to other students and build on their ideas (still using paragraphs and incorporating material from Conley). Feel free to discuss related issues from the reading that pertain to the topic as well. Remember that the point of discussions is to explore concepts from the readings in depth, not simply to post personal opinions.
Professor Schuman suggests that many social forces beyond the classroom and the student-professor relationship impact what appears on the syllabus. What are some of these and why is this so?
Reread the syllabus for our class. Identify one section of the syllabus that you think illustrates the points Professor Schuman makes in her article. Describe the connection you see, explaining and supporting your rationale.
Choose one assertion Professor Schuman makes about the impact of larger societal trends on the college classroom (as reflected in course syllabi). How might you study this assertion? Describe an appropriate research method, the variables involved, how you would operationalize them, and the specific procedures you would use to carry out the research study (based on information from Conley).
Other connections you make between what you have read in the Conley text and issues Schuman raises in her article.