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SOC 3650 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SOC 3650 - Juvenile Delinquency

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course investigates the causes of juvenile delinquency, responses to delinquency, and the system of juvenile justice from a sociological perspective. A range of topics examined include: the measurement and nature of delinquency, individual and social causes of delinquency, and the social, political, and historical underpinnings of the system. Specifically, criminal justice and juvenile delinquency policy are explored and connected to social, political, and historical factors in contemporary America.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe various forms of juvenile delinquency found in society (e.g., violent crimes, property crimes, status crimes, etc.) including nature and measurement.
  • Be able to apply criminological theoretical perspectives to the study of juvenile delinquency.
  • Explain how a sociological perspective specifically aids in research and understanding of juvenile delinquency issues.
  • Describe the social, political, and historical contexts that shape juvenile delinquency.
  • Apply their knowledge of juvenile delinquency in the development of policy and prevention programs specific to youth.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Introduction to Sociology - SOCI 1010

Course Topics:
  • Nature and Extent of Juvenile Delinquency
  • Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
  • Environmental Influences and Juvenile Delinquency
  • Special Populations and Juvenile Delinquency
  • Juvenile Justice and Policing Youth
  • Juvenile Courts
  • Corrections and Youth Justice
  • Juvenile Delinquency Policy
Specific Course Requirements:
  • Students must be able to access video and audio links provided by the instructor which requires Internet access. This course contains multi-media platforms. 
  • This is an academic course, not a course about expressing your own opinions and beliefs. We will discuss topics - including statistics and theories - that may contradict your own experience. Thus, it is important to remain open to the learning experience that takes place in academic coursework.
  • Do not feel obligated to reveal your own experiences. Reveal only what is comfortable for you to have other people know on discussion forums. 
  • Confidentiality: Any revelations made in the class should not be repeated in an identifiable way to others. Respect what is said by your peers by maintaining confidentiality (an important skillset to acquire for your future career).
  • We should respect each other - as students and as the instructor - for their statements, even if we disagree. 
  • Disagreements should be handled through constructive dialogue. It is easy to get angry or defensive with whom we disagree and with categories of people. Keep it constructive. 
  • It is easy to get depressed about criminology and criminal justice subjects. Keep in mind that the situation is better today than years ago because practitioners, scholars, and activists have worked for change. It will only get better if we are persistent in our work and continue moving forward in the quest for justice. By participating in this course, you will further the awareness and change necessary to one day change juvenile delinquency and the juvenile justice system.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Tough Love - documentary for rent on YouTube ($1.99):

All other materials will be provided through free, open access websites.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Letter grades for this course will be assigned based on the following scale.

Point RangeAssigned Grade
900 - 1000 pointsA
800 - 899 pointsB
700 - 799 pointsC
600 - 699 pointsD
under 599 pointsF

Graded Items

7 Discussions @ 45 points each315 subtotal points
7 Assignments @ 45 points each315 subtotal points
7 Quizzes @ 35 points each245 subtotal points
1 Research Paper Online @ 25 points each25 subtotal points
1 Final Research Paper @ 100 points100 subtotal points
Total Points1000 total course points


Grading Scale:
Assignments and Projects:

Discussions (7 @ 45 points each, 315 total points possible): During each week, students are expected to discuss the course material in a class discussion board. The instructor will prompt discussion by outlining specific questions students will have to address in their posts. Aside from posting their own reflections and thoughts on the readings, students are required to engage their peers in active conversation and debate. In other words, it is expected that there will be disagreement. Students will not be allowed to see any of their peers’ posts until they post themselves. Here are some tips on how to be successful in the discussion component of this course:

  • Controversial topics are discussed in this course. The goal in both conversation and education is to challenge our own biases and assumptions in order to gain perspective on the topics we discuss. Your perspective and your experiences may be dramatically different from a classmate, and it doesn’t make either of those experiences any less valid. Be sensitive to the fact that your experiences may or may not represent what empirical data says about a particular social problem.
  • In sociology, social scientists look to empirical data to identify patterns in society. Thus, the experience of one or two, while important to those one or two, could be not an accurate representation of a pattern that has been identified repeatedly through systematic research.
  • Read the posts of your peers and respond thoughtfully. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree, but be constructive and never target someone or make personal attacks. Related to the aforementioned, ensure you are basing at least part of your argument/claim/response on actual data outside of your own personal knowledge. Personal opinion is fine to note, but should not represent the majority of your post and should seek to relate to the material provided in this course. This is an upper-level course and I expect you to utilize your knowledge of research each module in the discussions.
  • Enter the discussion well in advance of the deadline and remain active throughout the entire module timeframe. Entering the discussion post on the due date will result in a lower score (10 points will be deducted if you enter the discussion on the day it is due) and has significantly negative impacts on other students who may be waiting for your post to complete the rest of their requirement for this grade (i.e., responding to others in the course). What you do (or don't do, in this case) at the last minute impacts other students and the instructor.
  • Ensure you are actually adding to the discussion and not simply reiterating what previous posts have noted. While I want you to reply, just agreeing with a bunch of people is not engaging in the discussion.
  • Ensure you’re keeping the threads together by clicking the “reply” button. Do not attempt to reply to someone outside of the thread in which the first comment was made, or it will become confusing to everyone else following the discussion.

Active-Learning Assignments (45 points each, 315 total points possible): During the semester, students will engage in various active learning exercises that are designed to assist in the application of course material to the everyday world. Details about each particular activity will be discussed in advance of due dates. These activities cannot beturned in late unless a documented emergency occurred (e.g., note from doctor/hospitalization, note documenting death in the family, a record of the accident, etc.).

Quizzes (35 points each, 245 total points possible): During the semester, eight quizzes will be given including material covered up to that date. This is to ensure that students are reading the required the material and assess the overall understanding of topics among the class.

Research Paper Proposal (25 points for one, 25 total points possible): You will complete one research paper in Module 8 that is focused on Policy, Prevention and the future of the Juvenile Justice System. Students will choose a prevention program from the list provided in the detailed instructions for the paper. This should outline your plan as much as possible including: which program do you plan to research? what is the organization's website? what juvenile delinquency risk factors does the organization serve? After conducting a quick search on YouTube, do you see any promotional videos that explain the overall purpose of the program? After conducting a quick review of the organization's website

Research Paper (100 points for one, 100 total points possible): This assignment involves choosing a juvenile delinquency prevention program in the United States and thoroughly researching the organization. You will review the organization's website - including what is available on their main website, any promotional material you find from general searches for the organization, and/or any research conducted by you that informs you about the organization and its goals and practices. Once you're familiar with the organization, you will identify any underlying theoretical concepts that you believe underlie the goals, motivations, practices, and policies of the organization in their response to juvenile delinquency. You will assess whether or not their model is working the address and prevent juvenile delinquency. You will present your research in written format, via a Word document that contains your research about the organization (including its policies and practices) and a references page at the end of the document in order to share which sources you used to research the organization.

Class Participation:
Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on September 10, 2018