Social Activism and gender-based student engagement through online classes

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Joanna HADJICOSTANDI, Univ Texas Permian Basin, USA
Although students are quite interested in learning about issues of social inequality and intrigued by the various ways theorists with different sociological perspectives explain these, chances are that the knowledge will remain on the academic level when they finish taking the particular sociology class that exposed them to an analytic view of the issues.  As educators how can we encourage students not only to realize that they are capable of achieving social change, but to actively get involved in achieving social change?   This paper concentrates on analyzing students' interest in social activism, and social inequalities through the analysis of their responses to various on-line discussion questions and in a MOOC of 10,000 students online class.  The content analysis of those questions will be juxtaposed with similar discussions and papers from 4 university regular online Social Stratification classes.  Gender differences will be noted and analyzed.

This topic is very important because we live in a world that is global and in a country, the USA, that is multicultural and multiracial, and its citizens have historically faced deep divisions and separations,  that are deeply seated in its social institutions.  Students of all backgrounds need to have an understanding of the socioeconomic and political issues involved in the social fabric of their cities and countries.   How are those different in US based courses as opposed to an International MOOC?

A lot of the material analyzed and discussed in a course like this presents itself to scrutiny, suspicion and very often resentment.  It is very important to hold a neutral position in discussions and to present historical facts as clearly and in depth as possible, in order to allow for the students to gain access to critical thinking.