orgtheory.net

a new super cool way to teach intro to sociology – trust me, people, this is good

A few years ago, Shamus Khan appeared at my doorstep on a dark and stormy night. Shocked, I mumbled, “Lord Khan, what do I owe this honor? I didn’t know you ever left Manhattan.”

“Ser Rojas, I travel to your Midwestern hovel with grave urgency. I think I may have solved a problem that has plagued sociologists for generations!”

“Long review times for journals?”

“Sadly, no.”

“Getting the ASA to reduce the annual conference fee?”

“Again, no,”

“That most dangerous of beasts, Reviewer 2?”

“Egad, I have yet to vanquish that cruel monster.”

“What then, my friend, have you solved?”

“I know how to publish a quality introduction to sociology textbook that all people can afford.”

“By Jove, Lord Khan, how can this be?”

“The issue is this, my friend. The intro sociology textbook faces two great challenges. First, they are of great cost. Many texts, even e-texts, will cost $50 or $75 or even more. Second, no sociologist can write a text book that adequately covers all of sociology, for the field is as vast as the people it studies.”

“All true. What is your strategy?”

“I have teamed up with two most excellent scholars, Gwen Sharp of Nevada and Patrick Sharkey of New York,  and we created SOCIOLOGY EXPERIMENT.  This website contains within it a wealth of sociology that most any student can easily afford.”

“Pray tell, how does Sociology Experiment work?”

“It is an idea most simple and elegant. We shall ask scholars from across the realm to write a chapter about topics which they know the best. Then, we shall put each chapter on the Sociology Experiment website. Teachers shall then choose the chapters they need for the class.  Thus, no scholar needs to know all of sociology to write the text and the text can be tailored to the needs of each teacher.”

“Brilliant! But would this marvelous website not cost a lot of money?”

“To the contrary, we can offer each chapter for the most humble of all prices – $1. Web based distribution drastically cuts costs. If the teacher needs all 14 chapters, then the highest price a student would pay is $14, the price of coffee and a pastry at Whole Foods. In practice, most instructors would select chapters that fit the class. The typical student might pay $8 or $10 for the entire course.”

“Surely, my liege, $1 per chapter can’t buy much!”

“Au contraire, mon frere. $1 buys you a fully developed chapter on a major sociological theme, like deviance or culture. But the instructor also gets power point slides, sample exercises, links to external resources, and suggestions for test questions. And teachers can be assured that each chapter is authored by a scholar driven by passion for the topic.

“What an incredible bargain!!!!”

“Indeed and that is what brings me to your abode. We need a scholar who cares about political economy to author a chapter on political institutions and another one on economic sociology.”

You have my axe.”

“Then, so it shall be. You have entered the Fellowship of the Introduction to Sociology Textbook. When our quest is complete, and Sociology Experiment is ready for the people, you are bound to this promise: With all your might, blog and tweet the birth of Sociology Experiment so that the instructors of the future may bring the best of our discipline to the widest audience at the lowest price.”

“It shall be done.”

++++++++

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Written by fabiorojas

May 1, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Posted in uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. I’m intrigued, but I’m also a tough audience for intro books. Can a free chapter be made available without registering? I’m kind of at my limit for creating accounts to access things online. It’s also unclear what happens when I register. Do I gain access immediately? Does anyone check to see if I am a legit instructor anywhere before granting me access to assessment instruments?

    I’m curious as to how this model would work for a student that needs to use their financial aid money to purchase directly through their campus bookstore or wait a couple of weeks to purchase books once those funds have been released to them. Open access to at least the first chapter (ideally first two chapters) would help. I have yet to find a publisher willing to do this. I get that charging a dollar is minimal and helps offset web hosting fees and so on, but I have students that will not or can not spend the dollar until they get their financial aid money.

    Are the chapters downloadable? Or can they only be accessed via an internet connection? So many questions…

    I’m also a little perplexed as to why I need this resource and the ancillaries to “create an extraordinary course.” I’m far more interested in whether or not my students learn. How does this text support student learning?

    I’m all for a low-cost intro book, but I don’t use the one from OpenStax for a reason (actually, at least a dozen reasons). Like I said, I’m intrigued and generally supportive of the idea here, but I’m also a tough audience for intro books…

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  2. Will there be a chapter on organizational sociology?

    Liked by 1 person

    Pedro

    May 8, 2019 at 8:57 am

  3. Pedro: YES ! Our economy and society chapter is very org centric.

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    fabiorojas

    May 8, 2019 at 7:03 pm

  4. […] I recently announced “Sociology Experiment” on the blog and on Twitter. The idea is simple. A team would write an intro text book and make it available for a whopping $1 per chapter. Since the book only has $14 chapters, no student would ever pay more than $14 for the course. Now that’s a bargain! […]

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