Syllabus for SOC-384

GANGS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Gangs examines the most salient and contemporary issues in the study of gangs in American Society that include the prevalence, structures, norms, and behaviors exhibited by gang members.

It explores why and how gangs form, conditions of membership, and effects on members and society. Gang proliferation, race and gender issues, the relationship between gangs and violence and drugs are also examined. The design and effectiveness of prevention, intervention and suppression policies and programs developed in response to this phenomenon are assessed.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the current status, historical growth, and projected trends of gang membership in the US and locally.
  2. Describe current research on gang formation and the implications for society and community, local and national.
  3. Identify and classify the types of gangs common in various geographical or societal communities and their effect on social, educational, and criminal justice systems, including social service and health providers, police, courts, and schools.
  4. Assess various approaches, programs, and policies for responding to gang formation and activities.
  5. Synthesize relevant issues in gang formation and functioning and create recommendations for community response.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. The Modern Gang Reader, 3rd ed., edited by Arlen Egley, Cheryl L. Mason and Jody Miller (Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury, 2006)

ISBN-13: 9780195330663

COURSE STRUCTURE

Gangs is a three-credit online course, consisting of five (5) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Understanding Gangs

  1. Module 2: Gangs, Gang Membership Definitions & Classification

  1. Module 3: Gang Membership: Who? Characteristics?

  1. Module 4: Programs, Policies and Approaches

  1. Module 5: Synthesis of Learning and Recommendations

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take tests, and complete a final paper. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum, Gangs requires you to participate in seven graded class discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Deadlines for posting responses to the discussion questions are given in the course Calendar.

Specific directions for these activities, and the questions to be discussed, are given in the Activity Modules area of the course Web site.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete five (5) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

Gangs also requires you write a final paper. Your objective in writing this final paper is to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the causes of gang growth and gang membership, characteristics of gang members and the policies and programs developed to address local gang issues.

Prepare your written assignments and the final paper using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Tests

There will be four open book modular tests for this course. The tests should be taken after you complete the reading activities and online discussion for each module. There will be twenty (20) True/False and twenty (20) multiple choice questions on each of the tests, each worth 1 point. The tests will be worth 40 points each. There is no time limit to complete the test but you may take it only once.

Final Paper

There is no proctored examination (midterm or final) in this course. The final paper acts as your final assessment and is worth 20 percent of your grade. You may begin work on this paper at any time during the course, but you must submit the outline and the paper itself by the due dates listed in the course Calendar.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (7)—26 percent
  2. Written assignments (5)—30 percent
  3. Tests (4)—24 percent
  4. Final paper—20 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism.  (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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