SOCI 100A (3 cr): Introduction to Sociology – Social Construction and Socialization

Course Outline

*This is a provisional syllabus and is subject to change

Is the ‘news’ of newspapers dead or just dying? Are twitters or blogs the new sources of ‘news’? Is it just new technology that changes these things, and even if it is, what are the social implications of these changes? How about the place of science in our world? The softer sciences are much maligned, but so too is the science of climate change. How does this happen? Why does science seem to be authoritative at times but open to ridicule at other times – as in television advertisements? If you are curious about how the world is organized, and why, this course is for you.

This introductory course provides students with the sociological tools to understand how major institutions, including science, religion, media, and the economy, are constructed and change over time. We will also consider how individuals influence and are affected by these institutions through processes of socialization.

This 3 credit course has an optional accompanying course. Students may choose to only take one of the courses or to take both in any order (for example, a student could take course A and then course B the following term or vice versa). Completion of both courses satisfies the Soci 100 six credit requirement for majors and minors.

Course Topics

Unit 1 – Introduction to Sociological Analysis

Unit 2 – Social Constructionism and Socialization

Unit 3 – Constructing Institutions and Culture: Media & Social Change

Sociological Perspective

Social Constructionism

Media Theories

Language as a Social Process


Political Economy of the Media

Language and Society

Types of Society

Media, Reality, Identity

Science and Religion as Ways of Seeing


Is change possible? Social Change and Social Movements

Making connections


Course Evaluation

Discussion Participation 20%
Reading Quizzes (11 x 2%) 22%
Unit Tests (written online; 2 x 10%) 20%
Essay (Unit 3) 18%
Final Exam (cumulative) 20%
Total 100%


Discussion Participation

Students are expected to participate in weekly discussions with their peers between Wednesday and Sunday of each week. Discussions will vary in size from small groups to the entire cohort and will include discussion, debate and collaboration activities.

Discussion counts toward 20% of your final grade and is evaluated based on the following criteria:


Making regular and consistent posts to weekly discussions 5%


Engaging with readings and course content using thoughtful, focused and original approaches 5%
Responding to peers and their ideas in meaningful ways that contribute to the learning of all students 5%

Discussion reflection assignment

During the last week of the term, students select three of their posts to be used in a discussion reflection assignment. With each post they must include a rationale for why they selected it. One post should represent how much you have learned over the term (for example, reflecting on your post in the first week versus your opinion today). Another post should show how relevant your thinking was to a course concept or reading. The third post should show how you contributed to the learning or engagement of other students. 5%


Students will only have access to the weekly discussion question once they have completed the lesson’s reading quiz.

Reading Quizzes

Students are required to complete a weekly reading quiz midway through each lesson. These quizzes last about 15 minutes and are designed to help students reflect upon relevant readings and concepts. Quizzes are composed of both multiple choice and short answer questions and are marked based upon correct answers as well as completion. If you are keeping pace with the course the quizzes should be quite manageable and a good chance to review key material.

Reading quizzes count toward 22% of your final grade (2% for each quiz). Students will still be able to take weekly quizzes after the due date (to unlock the weekly discussion question), but will not receive marks for it.


Each week students will have an opportunity to think about course concepts and readings in ways that are relevant to their own lives. Interesting activities and questions will be available for students to work through as they complete each lesson. These reflections are not marked, but are for students’ own critical thought development (not to mention great preparation for the unit test!).

Unit Tests

There will be two unit tests, one at the end of Unit 1 and another at the end of Unit 2. Tests will be composed of multiple choice and short answer questions and will be written online. Each test will be available for a 24 hour period, but note that IT support will only be available between 8:30am and 4:30pm. Once you commence a test you will have approximately 1 hour to complete it. Each term test is worth 10%, for a total of 20% of your final grade.


Students will submit an independent research essay at the end of Unit 3. The essay is worth 18% of your final grade and will allow you to apply a key course concept, the sociological imagination, to your own biography. Students will be required to draw from course readings and independent research to support their points.

Final Exam

The final exam will be similar to the term tests in that it will have multiple choice questions and short answer questions. However, it will also have a short essay question.

It will be written during the exam period at the end of term and will be invigilated on campus or at a remote location. The final exam will count for 20% of your final grade and will cover material from the whole term. To pass this course students must pass the final examination (although professor discretion can be used if there are extenuating circumstances).

Reading Materials

Students will need to purchase a course reading package and the following text from the UBC Bookstore:

  • Joel M Charon Ten Questions: A Sociological Perspective 8th Ed. Wadsworth Publishing.

Students will also need access to UBC for online readings.

SOCI100A Textbook Order Form