Summer 2018 Syllabus Survey of Social Inequality and Stratification with Dr. Springer

Note: This syllabus has general information for a fast check only (nicely accessible on your mobile phone). Please refer to the full syllabus (pdf format in Laulima, and sent to you via email) for detailed information about all components of the class.

Course Information

Sociology is the study of the social world; people, groups, organizations, institutions, political bodies, economies and power. Stratification is the study of how all of these systems are both products and producers of inequality. This class will introduce you to the sociology of social inequality and stratification through exposure to classical and contemporary theories of inequality and stratification, particularly in areas structured along lines of race, class and gender, data on the extent of social inequality and stratification in the U.S. and in the world, and discussions of some consequences of social inequality and stratification. This is a writing intensive course and to promote the learning of course material writing assignments will be assigned throughout the semester. In these assignments, you will be able to apply the knowledge you acquire during the course and they will help you polish your critical thinking and writing skills.

Writing Intensive Focus

This course is designated as a Writing Intensive course. It adheres to the criteria set-forth by the Manoa Writing Program:

  • The course uses writing to promote the learning of course materials
  • The course provides interaction between the professor and students while students do assigned writing
  • Written assignments contribute significantly to each student’s course grade (at least 40%)
  • Students write at least 4,000 words (about 16 typed pages - not including drafts and in-class essay exams)
  • The course is limited to 20 students

Online - Course

This online course is similar to any traditional face-to-face course in some ways, yet different from it in others.

Difference: You do not have to find parking. If you own a computer at home you do not even have to get dressed to participate in class. You can choose your own seat and even bring a pillow if it makes you more comfortable. You can eat and drink during class and you can answer your cell phone. Best of all you can work late at night or early in the morning – anytime that is convenient for you.

Similar: You still have to do all the readings and you do have to participate in class. It is not possible to hide in the back of the room in an online course. If you don’t participate in the course you will not pass this class.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  1. Develop a descriptive and analytical understanding of social stratification and inequality
  2. Explore central concepts through which sociologists investigate social stratification and inequality.
  3. Become familiar with key debates that animate contemporary research on social stratification and inequality.
  4. Consider and critique competing explanations for social stratification and inequality.
  5. Strengthen clear and effective written communication skills
  6. Strengthen critical thinking skills

Course Goal

The goal of this class is to provide you with analytical tools for recognizing, analyzing, and working to solve problems of social inequality in the world around you. This course will also provide you with data on the empirical realities of social inequality and its consequences in contemporary society. Sociology provides the student with a toolkit for critical thinking and questioning the world in which s/he lives and works. Students should leave this class with an ability to read critically, write clearly, articulate clear arguments in their discussion, and use the tools of sociology to analytically observe the social world. Students will gain a better understanding of how their own experiences are both the products and producers of larger stratification systems.

The most practical goal in this course is for students to leave this course able to read a news story, watch a movie or television program, and see the larger social, political, economic and cultural systems that produce and maintain inequality in contemporary institutions and organizations.


Instructor Role & Contact Information

I am looking forward to working closely with you this semester, and you can expect me to play an active role in this online course. I will post announcements, join you in class discussions to help you understand course concepts, answer questions in the discussion forum in Laulima, and provide you with help on the assignments. Answers to Laulima questions can be found by clicking on the button below titled "Laulima Support for Students." Computer questions are best handled by ITS.

ITS Help Desk

Contact Information:

  • Phone: (808) 956-8883
  • Toll Free: (neighbor isles) (800) 558-2669
  • Fax: (808) 956-2108
  • Email: help@hawaii.edu

Phone and Email Support:

  • Sun – Sat: 7:00am – 11:00pm
  • Open during all Holidays

Walk-In Support (Mānoa Campus):

  • Information Technology Center
  • Mon – Fri 8:00am – 4:30pm
  • Not available on Holidays

For any other questions, please reach out to me if you need help—that’s why I’m here! Email: aspringe@hawaii.edu


To participate in this course, students should verify that the satisfy all minimum technical requirements before class begins.

Web Browser

Information Technology Services (ITS) recommends Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) for use with Laulima. Currently, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge do not interact well with Laulima and are not recommended for submitting assignments, posting discussion posts, or taking tests.

Distance Learning at the University of Hawai’i

As noted on the University of Hawai’i distance learning website, distance learning is not for everyone. Students should have working knowledge of the computer and proficient online skills to be successful in a distance learning course. This includes the ability to perform basic computer operations, Internet skills such as accessing the web and using search engines, and the ability to use online communication tools such as email, discussion forums and chat.

If you want to test your ability to become a successful distance learning student, take the Self Assessment Quiz.

If you are new to Laulima, begin by going to the Laulima Student Help Section

Check whether your computer meet the Laulima technical requirements

For additional information check out the Online Learning Student Guide

Student Orientation to Laulima - A brief introduction to basic concepts in Laulima


All the readings will be from the required texts. You might receive additional small reading assignments (which will be posted on Laulima under “Modules”). Complete reading assignments prior to the weekly discussions.

Required Text and Material:

Methods of Assessment

Discussions: This is one of the most important elements of this course. You must participate in the weekly discussion. I will post various discussion questions throughout each week and every student is expected

  • to enter the discussion at least two times a week. Post one response to the original question and respond to at least one of your classmates with meaningful comments in accordance with your syllabus. Your original posts should be in the 100-word range and your responses to classmates in the 75-word range.
  • You must post on at least two different days/dates of the week.
  • If you do not participate you will be losing the points for that week. There is no make-up by ‘over-participating’ the following week.
  • It is not considered participating in a discussion when you "just post" comments at the end of the week. A discussion should be an extended, interactive communication between the instructor and all students throughout the week dealing with the topic of the week.
  • You must post your original response on, or before Wednesday to allow other students enough time to comment on your post.

Writing Assignments:

  • There will be four (4) writing assignments.
  • The assignments open at the beginning of the semester and you can submit them any time before the deadline (schedule yourself accordingly and avoid falling behind)
  • Each of these written assignments must be at least four (4) pages (or 1000 words each)
  • The assignments must be submitted by the due date. Late assignments, or assignment submitted via e-mail will not be accepted.
  • Each assignment has additional, detailed information

See the syllabus in Laulima for detailed requirements, due dates, and grading rubrics.

Quizzes/Final Exam:

  • There will be 9 quizzes and 1 final exam
  • All quizzes and the final exam have the same format (multiple choice and/or short answers)
  • Each Friday of the week, throughout the semester, a quiz opens that covers the respective weekly materials (see syllabus for exact due dates and times). You have all day Friday and Saturday to take the quiz. It is always due by midnight (HI time) on Saturday.
  • In the last week there will be a Final Exam instead of a quiz (same format as quizzes, but more questions and worth more towards the final grade).

Missing Discussion Posts, Quizzes, and Assignments

If you don’t post during a week you will lose the points for that week. There is no make-up discussion by over-participating the following week since the topic changes every week. You cannot submit a quiz, an exam, or an assignment once the due date/time has passed. No assignments, or discussion responses submitted via e-mail will be accepted or graded! No exceptions!

Netiquette is a set of guidelines for good behavior in an online environment. It is etiquette for the Internet, and knowing these social rules can help you have a more rewarding semester. The netiquette guidelines discussed here are ones that are especially important in our online classroom.

  • Participate. Complete and submit the assignments and discussion posts on-time. Use proper punctuation and formatting (use spell check before submitting).
  • Remember the human: This common Internet mantra means that even though we may not be face to face, there is a real person behind each discussion-board post. Do not write something that you would not feel comfortable saying in a traditional classroom setting. Discuss ideas, not people. In other words, do not attack a classmate for expressing his or her opinion; instead, discuss your position on the ideas that have been presented. Be kind and understanding with your classmates to keep our environment positive and productive.
  • Don’t shout. TYPING IN ALL CAPITALS MEANS YOU ARE SHOUTING AT US! Don’t do it. The same can be said of repeated exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!


Regular attendance and class participation is as vital in an online class as it is in a traditional classroom. Your presence will be counted not by taking roll but by your regular contributions to discussions and activities. Attendance in an online course is determined by participation in academically related activities. You will be considered present if there is evidence of your participation in course activities including, but not limited to, submitting an assignment, taking an exam, participating in an online discussion, and working on exercises if applicable. You will be considered absent if there is no evidence of your participation in the academic activities of this course.

Students who do not complete the first week’s assignments, or who do not introduce themselves to the class by the third day, may be dropped. However, if you choose to drop the course you will need to do so officially through Admissions and then notify your instructor.

KOKUA (Students with disabilities)

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability is invited to contact me privately. I would be happy to work with you, and the KOKUA Program (Office for Students with Disabilities) to ensure reasonable accommodations in my course. KOKUA can be reached at (808) 956-7511 or (808) 956-7612 (voice/text) in room 013 of the Queen Lili'uokalani Center for Student Services.

Please see the full syllabus in Laulima.


Alexandra Springer

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