Professor Reymers - Spring 2018

All assignments should be e-mailed to:

Online Media SOCI5:
Extreme Isolation


Answer the following questions about Kingsley Davis's article titled Extreme Isolation:

1. Compare and contrast the experiences of both Anna and Isabelle both during confinement and after confinement in terms of:
a. family situation
b. physical abilities and challenges
c. mental capabilities and challenges
d. social development

2. Why did Isabelle make more progress physically, mentally, and socially than Anna?

3. What conclusions can be drawn in terms of the importance of early socialization experiences? What do these experiences contribute to the 'nature-nurture' debate?

E-mail your completed assignment to:, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI5

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link to email me; or if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading "SOCI#")

Due on or before Friday, Feb 23 at 5pm


Online Media SOCI4:
Learning Our Roles

"Knowledge is shaped by the social world." - Karl Mannheim


Answer these questions regarding the next media assignment, Learning the Student Role: Kindergarten as Academic Boot Camp, a reading by Harry L. Gracey:

1) What does the author, Gracey, mean by his title: "kindergarten as academic boot camp?" What are the simkilariies to a boot camp from a sociological perspective?

2) What are the similarities between the student role in kindergarten and the student role in high school and college? What are the differences?

3) Describe the main learning objective of the students in this school which claims to want to enhance their ability to "live with others in a small society."

4) According to Gracey, what do we do within the space of rigid rules and routines created for us by authorities?

Due on or before Friday, Feb 9 at 5pm

E-mail your completed assignment to:, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI4

Remember, no attachments and use subject SOCI4


Online Media SOCI3: We Talk About Culture

Answer the following questions about SOCI reading #3, Mitch Albom's We Talk About Culture:

1. In following Morrie’s advice, how would one go about “creating one’s own culture”?

2. What point is Morrie making about similarity between people?

3. What is the secret of the life course, according to Morrie?

Recommended video accompaniment

E-mail your completed assignment to:, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI3

Due on or before Friday, Feb 2 at 5pm

Remember, no attachments and use subject SOCI3!

Online Media SOCI2: Science vs. Common Sense


Watch this video about "common sense" and why it is a problem for sociological thinking. Duncan Watts, TEDx Dec 1 2011 (YouTube 15 min). Then send your answers by email to your professor (see below).

1) What is "The Puzzle" that sociologist Duncan Watts is investigating in his presentation?

2) How does Watts define "common sense"?

3) What is the "The Problem" of common sense?

4) How is the "problem of obviousness" related to determinism?

5) What do we do with "stories"?

6) Mark Twain said: "History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes." How would you interpret this proverb and what part of Watts' presentation relates to it?

7) What's the solution to large-scale social problems?

8) What is the tool invented in the recent past that has helped sociology the most (the "telescope" of sociology)?

Due on or before Friday, 1/26 at 5pm. No late assignments will be accepted.

DO NOT send as an attachment. E-mail your completed answers to:, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI2.

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link; if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading "SOCI#", as these emails get automatically filed in a folder other than my inbox).

Online Media SOCI1: The Sociological Imagination

Sociological Imagination

Watch this video about the "sociological imagination" and discuss the questions below in an email to your Professor. Recommended additional reading material: Mills' original article "The Promise of Sociology"

1. What is another personal trouble (other than obesity, as described in the video) that has social factors that contribute?

2. How do social structures contribute to social problems?

3. How does using the sociological imagination help us examine human behavior?

Due on or before Friday, 1/19 at 5pm. No late assignments will be accepted.

DO NOT send your answers as an attachment. E-mail your completed answers directly to:, with the SUBJECT line to read: SOCI1.

(Note: for regular correspondence, do not use the above link; if you do, be sure to remove the automatic subject line heading "SOCI#", as these emails get automatically filed in a folder other than my inbox).




Administrative Note: I will give you 3 chances to get the subject heading correct in your online media emails to me. For example, when you sent the first online media assignment, you should have used a subject heading in the email of "SOCI1." If you wrote something else (like, for instance, "Online Media Questions 1" or "soci 1 hw" or "from Joe Student"), or if you have included your assignment as an attachment, you have not paid attention to the details of the assignment instructions (details which make it crucially easier for me to organize your responses and read what you have written). You can do this three times without penalty, but a fourth instance of not paying attention to the details will result in a 1-point reduction from your Online Media grade. For the vast majority who are doing it right, thank you for paying attention to the details! - Regards, Prof Reymers




Preparing for Exams

A. Do not wait until the night before an exam to study! Of course, you should be regularly reviewing your notes, but the preparation still takes time.

B. A good first step in preparation is to read through your notes a couple of times. While you are doing this, you might also

1. Highlight major topics and subtopics, with the goal of generating an outline of your notes. Even if you take your notes in outline form, this is a good practice. Major topics often extend through more than one day's lecture, and it is easy to lose track of the overall picture from day to day.

2. With a second color, highlight all vocabulary terms.

C. Outline the entire set of notes. When you study a large body of information, you should study from concept to detail, not the other way around. It will, in fact, be much easier to learn the details if you take the time to learn the concept and theory first. The least efficient approach to studying is to attempt to memorize your notes from beginning to end. It's not the words which are important--it's the ideas.

D. Consider ways of dealing with the information other than those used in class. the more ways you can manipulate and experience the material you are trying to learn, the more secure your understanding and memory will be. Some suggestions:

1. Make charts, diagrams and graphs.
2. Make lists.
3. If the subject matter includes structures, practice drawing those structures. Remember that a drawing is useless unless the important structures are labeled.

E. There are almost always types of information which you will have to memorize (eg. vocabulary). No one has ever invented a better device for memorizing than flash cards.

F. One of the most universally effective ways to polish off your study activities is to prepare a self test.

1. Challenge yourself as severely as you can.
2. As you are studying, keep a running collection of "exam questions." If you seriously attempt to write difficult and meaningful questions, by the time you finish you will have created a formidable exam. When you begin to feel you're ready for your instructor's exam, take out your questions and see if you can answer them. If you can't, you may need to go back and reinforce some of the things your are trying to learn.

G. Never, ever pull an "All-Nighter" on the night before an exam. This is a "freshman trick," meaning that good students learn very quickly that it is futile. What you may gain from extra study time won't compensate for the loss of alertness and ability to concentrate due to lack of sleep.

H. On exam day:

1. Try not to "cram" during every spare moment before an exam. this only increases the feeling of desperation which leads to panic, and then to test anxiety. You may find it useful, on the night before an exam, to jot down a few ideas or facts which you wish to have fresh in your mind when you begin the exam. Read through your list a couple of times when you get up in the morning and/or just before you take the exam, then put it away. This kind of memory reinforcement not only improves your performance on the test, it also improves your long-term memory of the material.
2. Be physically prepared.

a. Get a good night's sleep.
b. Bring necessary writing materials to the test--at least 2 writing tools, erasers, blue books if necessary, calculators if appropriate and allowed. Be aware of what the instructor has specified as permitted for use. Some instructors object to exams written pencil; some prohibit use of tools like calculators. It is your responsibility to know these requirements; you should be prepared to take the consequences if you don't.
c. This may seem silly, but go to the bathroom just before the exam. Don't expect your teacher to let you leave to do this during the test! The tension which generally goes along with taking an exam may increase the need to perform this physical activity, so you may need to go, even though you don't particularly feel like it.


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