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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

SOCI 350: *Social Gerontology

Course Description

Social, psychological and physical aspects of aging, including the consequences of the societal demographic shifts toward an increasingly aged society.  Investigate the research on death and dying and the role of the elderly in our society.  Additionally, generate an understanding of the theoretical perspectives on aging. Cross-listed as HUMS 350.

Prerequisite: Junior Standing

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Hooyman, N. & Kiyak, H.. (2011). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (9th). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
    • [ISBN-978-0-205-76313-9]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The main objectives of this course are for the student to learn about the concepts related to the aging population, as well as the role of the human service professional in the gerontology field. Students will learn about theoretical perspectives on aging, roles of older adults in society, and social policies that affect older adults in the United States.


Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Objectives

  • To demonstrate understanding of the social, psychological and physical aspects of aging.
  • To demonstrate understanding of the development of the field of gerontology.
  • To demonstrate understanding of the shifting roles of the aged and the manifestations of such.
  • To study the research on death and dying.
  • To demonstrate understanding of sociological theories of aging and social policies pertaining to the aged and the needs of an increasingly aged society.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of the social, psychological and physical aspects of aging.
  • Describe the demographic shift toward an increasingly aged society and the manifestations of such a shift.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the emergence of the discipline of gerontology.
  • Demonstrate an ability to critically analyze and interrogate social policies for the aged, understanding their value as well as their limitations: Social Security, healthcare, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Evaluate differing sociological perspectives on aging.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the intersection of race, gender, and class on aging.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 360-400 90-100%
B 320-359 80-89%
C 280-319 70-79%
D 240-279 60-69%
F 0-239 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (18) 90 22%
Research Paper (1) 100 25%
Exams (4) 200 50%
Class Participation (1) 10 2%
Total 400 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 5 Tuesday
Discussion 2 5 Thursday
Discussion 3 5 Saturday
Plagiarism quiz 0 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 5 Tuesday
Discussion 5 5 Thursday
Discussion 6 5 Saturday
Exam 1 50
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 5 Tuesday
Discussion 8 5 Saturday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 5 Tuesday
Discussion 10 5 Saturday
Exam 2 50
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 5 Tuesday
Discussion 12 5 Saturday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 5 Tuesday
Discussion 14 5 Saturday
Exam 3 50
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Research Paper 100 Monday
Discussion 15 5 Tuesday
Discussion 16 5 Saturday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 17 5 Tuesday
Discussion 18 5 Friday
Exam 4 50 Saturday
Class Participation 10
Total Points 400

Assignment Overview

Readings

Text readings should be completed prior to submitting assignments or weekly discussion postings. All graded assignments will rely upon information derived from our text readings.

Discussions

Each week there will be at least two separate topics for the class discussion. You are required to submit an initial post that responds to all the questions posed in each discussion topic, to submit a minimum of two substantive responses to your classmates’ posts in every topic, and to read your classmates’ and instructor’s posts. When a discussion prompt asks for your opinion or beliefs, a factual source, (e.g., the course textbook) must be cited as evidence to support your opinion or belief. All primary posts must include supportive material from the text, including citations and reference, to demonstrate application of the concepts in the reading assignment. Please review the class participation requirements below. Two reply posts per topic are the minimum; however, you are strongly encouraged to post more replies. You are also required to read others’ posts.

Posts should be completed by their respective deadlines. Posts that are edited after the deadline will receive a zero. Late discussions are not accepted. Response posts must be submitted no later than Sunday of the active week for a discussion topic.

“Must post first:” Students must submit their own original posts before they will be able to view their classmates’ posts. Original posts are expected to be complete at the time of submission. Editing, deleting and reposting, or otherwise altering an original post is not allowed after initial submission. Students who attempt to circumvent the “must post first” expectations may receive a zero for their original posts.

Discussion posts will be graded according to the discussion grading rubric. (Please see the Please see the Grading Rubric in the Content area, Course Expectations, Discussions  Expectations.)

Note: Participation in class discussions is mandatory. Students who don’t submit an original post in at least 75% of the discussions forfeit their opportunity to submit a research paper and take the final exam.


Class participation

In an online course, the discussion forum represents the classroom in which students learn from the instructor and their colleagues. You are expected to read others’ posts and provide substantive responses. A substantive response is one that advances discussion of the topic. (“Good post,” “I agree,” “Good job,” etc. will not meet the criteria for a substantive response and will not receive credit.) Your full participation will enhance your experience as well as that of your colleagues. Each student is expected to submit an original post for each discussion or journal topic. The expected minimum number of responses to classmates’ posts is two in each topic. This is considered minimum or average participation; however, students who participate more than the minimum and who read all the posts in the forums likely will earn a higher participation grade at the end of the session. Your class participation score will be calculated based on the number of posts you submit and the number of posts you read for the duration of the session.

Research Paper

Please choose ONE of the following topics listed for your research paper (due to the course Dropbox on Monday of Week 7). The total research paper must be a minimum of 9 pages, including a title page, abstract, body, and reference page. This means that the body of the paper must be a minimum of 6 pages in length. Note: Papers cannot be accepted by e-mail. Please do not e-mail late papers to me.

1. Constructing a health promotion program: Optimal health is more than just the absence of disease. Construct a health promotion program that focuses on promoting optimal health for older adults. Select a specific health condition facing older adults that is covered in the text. Design your health promotion program to address the specific causes of the condition, the potential for social stigma, and adaptations that can be made to alleviate the condition, as well as the proposed program’s structure, goals, objectives, and potential results. Evidence from scholarly sources must support your program.

2. Services for caregivers: Design a community-based social and health-care system that could encourage many informal caregivers to use these services for their older care recipients. Include discussion of the theoretical reasons behind the system you designed as well as the programs and procedures to be included. Support your design and discussion with evidence from scholarly sources.

3. Building an intergenerational center: Based on reading Chapter 9, you should have a familiarity with the benefits of intergenerational reciprocity. Design an intergenerational program for the local community. What services would it provide? How would the center work to maintain its focus on intergenerational relations? Where would the center be located and what would it look like? Support your program design with evidence from scholarly sources.

• Research: You must communicate your points about the topic and support them with factual evidence obtained from scholarly/peer-reviewed sources. Peer-reviewed journal articles are available through the college library via the link on the course home page. You should use a sufficient number of sources as well as evidence from these sources to support your assertions throughout the paper. Note: The course text is acceptable as a supplemental source. Textbooks other than the course text will not be accepted as references.

• APA format: Use of APA format will be considered in grading. The paper must include title, abstract, and reference pages in addition to the minimum of 6 pages required for the body of the paper. APA citations must be used. At least two levels of headings are required to organize the paper. Resources on APA format are available in the course Content area.

• Proper English: Grammar, spelling and punctuation will be considered in grading.

• Software note: MS Works is not an acceptable format. Submit papers in Word (.doc or .docx) or RTF (.rtf) formats.

• Grading criteria: Please see the Grading Criteria section of the Content area, Course Expectations, Research Paper Expectations.

Exams

The course includes four unproctored exams. The exams will include 50 multiple-choice or true/false questions. Each exam is worth 50 points. Students will have 75 minutes to complete them. You will have one attempt to take the exams, which will open on Wednesday and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Saturday of the week it is assigned. Note: PowerPoint slides for each chapter as well as study tips for open-book exams are provided in the course Content area.

Note

All work submitted in this course must be original to the current session. Work submitted in other courses or in previous attempts at this course is not allowed. Submission of “recycled” work will result in a zero for the assignment.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: The field of social gerontology
Readings
Chapters 1 & 2
Discussion 1
Introduce yourself. Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Discuss your own reasons for learning about older adults and the aging process, and the benefits you hope to gain from your learning experience. Please post your introduction by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Note: Your grade for the introductions post will not be entered unless you complete the plagiarism tutorial and quiz located in the course content area by Sunday of week 1.
Discussion 2
Discuss with friends and family some common terms used to describe older adults, such as “elderly,” “old folks,” and “elders.” What did you learn in your discussions about the images of aging and older adults that these terms convey? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
Discussion 3
Think about immigrant and refugee groups in your community. What is your impression of ways that elders in such families are involved or not involved in the lives of their children and grandchildren? What impact do a common language and shared cultural values appear to have on their interactions? To what extent have cultural differences created family conflicts and reduced the status of elders? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Plagiarism quiz
Complete by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Week 2: The biological and physiological context of social aging
Readings
Chapters 3 & 4
Discussion 4
Look around your own home or your parents’ home. What physical factors can you identify that would be a hazard for an 80-year-old woman living there? Think about lighting, stairs, floors, cabinets, and so on. What changes could make the home congruent with an older person’s needs? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 5
Think about a health habit that you have tried to modify, such as increasing your daily exercise and intake of fruits and vegetables. Discuss the obstacles or difficulties you faced in make the desired changes. What are some strategies or techniques that worked for you? Could these same methods be used to help older adults change lifelong habits? To what extent do you think that lifestyle changes after age 65 can overcome the effects of poor health habits acquired earlier in life? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
Discussion 6
Age-related impairment simulation. Visit the web page http://crab.rutgers.edu/~deppen/teach.htm. Using ordinary household items, you will simulate the experience of age-related impairments in vision, hearing, smell/taste, and mobility. Choose at least two of the impairments listed on the web page and use the supplies indicated to carry out the activities. Attempt to carry out normal tasks, such as moving about your home, going outside, using your computer, eating or drinking something, etc. Describe your experience. How did it feel? What difficulties did you encounter? What thoughts do you have about the reactions or behavior of older people who have a form of impairment? How have your thoughts or feelings about older adults changed as a result of this exercise? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. .
Exam 1
The exam, which covers Chapters 1-4, will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday. You must complete it by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. You will have 75 minutes to complete the unproctored exam.
Week 3: The psychological context of social aging
Readings
Chapters 5 & 6
Discussion 7
Studies of learning among younger people have found an inverse-U function between anxiety and performance such that a moderate level of anxiety is associated with optimal learning. To what extent does this model apply to older learners? Include in your discussion a description of two techniques to help improve cognitive abilities in older adults. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 8
Self-concept is generally established early in life, but is modified through social roles and life experiences. Discuss some experiences of the later years that may alter an older person’s self-concept and may negatively influence their self-esteem. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Week 4: Social theories of aging; intimacy
Readings
Chapters 7 & 8
Discussion 9
Please respond to ONE of the following topics below. Note your topic in the subject line of your post. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11: 59 p.m. Tuesday.

a)
Discuss one issue that older gay men and lesbians face in society. As a human service professional, how would you address this issue? Prior to addressing this question, review the information at http://www.asaging.org/larc/, a clearinghouse for the LGBTQ community. Consider legal, policy, end-of-life, housing, or health and mental health issues facing older gays and lesbians. Note: Please do not comment in your post about whether you support homosexuality. Focus your discussion on how you would work as an HSP with LGBTQ persons and recognize the unique issues facing this group.

b)
What are the prevalent attitudes and beliefs about sex and love in old age? How are these attitudes reflected in our society? What consequences do they have for older adults?
Discussion 10
Discuss a theory in Chapter 8 that could provide you with useful guidelines for working with older people in a community-based setting. Give examples of practice guidelines that you could derive from this particular theoretical perspective. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Exam 2
The exam, which covers Chapters 5-8, will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday. You must complete it by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. You will have 75 minutes to complete the unproctored exam.
Week 5: Social support
Readings
Chapters 9 & 10
Discussion 11
Identify at least three unique issues facing older adults living in a high rise apartment building for low-income elders. Describe an intervention you might use to address these issues. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 12
Respond to ONE of the following. Note your topic in the subject line of your post. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

a) Discuss some reasons why family members are the primary source of caregiving for frail older adults. Include discussion of why some middle-aged women may become caregivers of multiple older persons and adult children simultaneously. Relate this discussion to the concepts of subjective and objective burden.

b) Discuss the Family and Medical Leave Act. In what ways has FMLA reduced the stresses of informal caregiving? In what ways has it not affected the stresses of informal caregiving?
Week 6: Productive living; living arrangements
Readings
Chapters 11 & 12
Discussion 13
Describe some trends in long-term care that have resulted in older people receiving services in settings other than nursing homes. What societal and policy factors have influenced these changes? Discuss the options for a client who does not wish to move to retirement housing but prefers to stay in the large, mortgage free home in which she has lived for 40 years but can no longer maintain. What might be some options available to this client? Consider these options in light of varying socioeconomic factors. Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 14
Describe some factors that influence the employment and retirement patterns of older men and women. Considering the primary sources of income for older adults, what are some gender and ethnic inequities in these sources that result in significant variations in financial adequacy among the older population? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Exam 3
The exam, which covers Chapters 9-12, will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday. You must complete it by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. You will have 75 minutes to complete the unproctored exam.
Research Paper
Please note that the research paper must be submitted to the Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. on Monday of Week 7.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Death and dying; resilience in minority cultures
Readings
Chapters 13 & 14
Research Paper
Please note that the research paper must be submitted to the Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. on Monday of Week 7.
Discussion 15
What can human services professionals do to protect the rights of dying patients and ensure a “good death”? In what ways might these goals be in conflict with one another? How do your attitudes about dying or death influence your perceptions about a “good death”? What might increase your feelings of comfort? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 16
What are some strengths of older persons of color who have grown up in an earlier era of racial discrimination in the U.S.? What are the major problems facing ethnic minority elders in our society? What do you perceive to be some solutions to these problems? Barriers to these solutions? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
Week 8: Issues facing older women; social policies in aging
Readings
Chapters 15 - 17
Discussion 17
What do you view to be the major strengths or resources of women in our culture, and what do you view as the major problems facing older women? From a policy or program perspective, what would be strategies for building upon these strengths? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Discussion 18
Describe differences between health services provided under Medicare (Part A versus Part B) and Medicaid. How would you respond to arguments that Medicare and Medicaid must be cut and consequently that health care benefits to older people must be limited? Support your post with evidence from the textbook, including citations and a reference. Please post your answer and reply to at least two of your classmates’ answers by 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Exam 4
The exam, which covers Chapters 13-17, will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday. You must complete it by 11:59 p.m. Saturday. You will have 75 minutes to complete the unproctored exam.
Class Participation
Each student is expected to submit an original post for each discussion or journal topic. The expected minimum number of responses to classmates’ posts is two in each topic. This is considered minimum or average participation; however, students who participate more than the minimum and who read all the posts in the forums likely will earn a higher participation grade at the end of the session. Your class participation score will be calculated based on the number of posts you submit and the number of posts you read for the duration of the session.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late assignments will not be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and only with instructor notification and approval prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog).

Late research papers and exams are subject to point deductions at my discretion as follows: 25% for one day late; 50% for two days late; 75% for three days late. Late assignments will not be accepted more than three days beyond the deadline. Students should consider working on assignments within D2L and using the Lockbox feature in the course to save assignments so they can be accessed from any computer.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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