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Discussion Questions

Page history last edited by Jessie Daniels 5 years, 2 months ago

Classroom and Online Discussions


For students, class discussion can be some of the more engaging time they spend learning. For instructors, getting class discussions started and sustained can be challenging. While I build in short (2-3 minutes) discussion exercises in many of my lectures, I also make sure that students have an opportunity to discuss online. Some of the key elements of an effective online discussion include: a strong course design strategy in which discussions are tied to learning objectives and students understand they are a meaningful part of the class; clear, concise guidelines; an assessment component to give feedback to students; and well constructed questions.


Discussion Questions

You can copy, use, or remix these questions for your SOC101 course.


  • Introductions: Part of how this class will operate is through this online course site. To get started, you can introduce yourself here, by answering these three questions:  

where did you grow up? 

what song is your 'most played'? 

tell a story about how you got your name (were you named after someone, does your name have a special meaning, did you change your name....).


  • Discussion for "56 Up" (+ Assigned Readings):  Watch the film "56 Up" and complete the assigned readings by Mills and (about) Collins. Remember, one of the skills you're developing in this course is making connections between visual texts (films) and written texts (readings). For this film, you have several questions worth 8 points total (2 points each). You should answer ALL the questions in one 'thread' and number your answers.


1. Filmmaker Michael Apted interviewed 14 children from different class backgrounds, meaning they had different economic circumstances and opportunities as children. What are the visual elements he uses to tell their stories? (Use the back of the video worksheet for clues.)  


2. According to the film, how did their early economic position affect where they ‘ended up’ later in life? In other words, was their economic position about the same as when they were children or significantly different than when they were children? And, what does this suggest about the class system in Britain?


3. In your assigned reading by C. Wright Mills’ “The Promise,” he writes: 

“the sociological imagination” is a "quality of mind to develop reason to make connections between what is going on in the world and what is happening to themselves. The sociological imagination allows one to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society.” How is Apted’s film an example of the “sociological imagination”?


  •  In class, we screened the film, "The House We Live In," which describes the process by which "race" translates into real, material advantage (i.e., "wealth" or "net worth") for those who are designated "white." In a sentence or two, explain how the filmmaker makes this argument using specific examples. (2 pts)  
    • After reading Coates' article, "The Case for Reparations."  In a sentence or two, explain how he extends the argument in the film about race and housing, using specific examples.  (4 pts) 
    • Then, in another sentence or two, explain Coates' argument in favor of reparations, again using specific examples.  (4 pts)


For the remaining discussion questions, check my SOC101 course site on Canvas.



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