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SOCI 217 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SOCI 217 - Sociology of Aging

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a general course in social gerontology with an emphasis on the aging process and the problems of the aged.

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of social gerontology and its concepts and terminology.

2. Describe demographic trends and cultural differences for aging in the U.S. and the world.

3. Explain the influences of biological, psychological, social, and political forces on the aging experience.

4. Compare and contrast biological, psychological, and sociological perspectives related to aging.

5. Describe informal and formal social supports, caregiving, and living arrangements for older people and explain their importance.

6. Discuss objectively social, ethical, medical, and legal issues related to the death, dying and bereavement.

7. Evaluate social issues and policies related to caring for older people.

8. Clarify personal values about the aging experience. 

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

1. Growth of Social Gerontology

2. Historical and Cross-Cultural Issues in Again

3. Resilience of Elders of Color

4. Resilience of Older Women

5. Social Consequences of Physical Aging

6. Managing Chronic Diseases and Promoting Well-Being in Old Age

7. Cognitive Changes with Aging

8. Personality and Mental Health in Old Age

9. Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Old Age

10. Social Theories of Aging

11. The Importance of Social Support

12. Opportunities and Challenges of Informal Caregiving

13. Living Arrangements and Social Interactions

14. Productive Aging: Paid and Nonpaid Roles and Activities

15. Death, Dying, Bereavement, and Widowhood

16. Policies to Address Social Problems and Health and Long-Term Care Programs 

Specific Course Requirements:

You must be knowledgeable in the use of the Internet and related browsers, Microsoft Word (or another program that can save documents in Rich Text Format—RTF) for word processing, Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing reading assignments, the online course dropbox for any extra credit opportunities, the quiz function for taking tests, the discussion tool for participating in required discussions, and Real Player, QuickTime or Media Player for viewing/listening to assigned videos/audios. It is your responsibility to ensure your service provider is capable of allowing adequate connections and connection time in order to complete and submit tests and assignments and to participate in discussion boards.

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:

The instructor may assign or you may research supplementary reference and learning materials.

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

Testing Procedures:


Grading Procedures:

Your progress in this course will evaluated as follows: 

Assessment NameNumber of AssessmentsPoints
Module Tests5 @ 100 points each500
Discussions5 @ 20 points each100
Research Paper1 @ 100 points100
Total Points 700


Grading Scale:

The following grading scale will be used to calculate your final grade: 

Grade                          Points                          Percentage Scale

  A                               627-700                           90%-100%

  B                              557-626                            80%-89%

  C                             487-556                            70%-79%

  D                            452-486                             65%-69%

  F                            Less than 451                   Below 65%


Assignments and Projects:

Getting Started Assignments Email Instructor any questions about syllabus or requirements Email Instructor that you read and understood the syllabus and course requirements Participate in the Introduction Discussion 

2Social GerontologyModule I Reading, Web, and Video Assignments Discussion #1
3Social GerontologyModule I Reading, Web, and Video Assignments (continued) Test #1 
4Biological and Physiological Context of Social AgingModule II Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments Discussion #2Research Paper Topic
5Biological and Physiological Context of Social AgingModule II Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Test #2
6Psychological Context of Social Aging Module III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments
7Psychological Context of Social AgingModule III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Discussion #3 Research Paper References
8Psychological Context of Social AgingModule III Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Test #3
9Social Context of AgingModule IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments
10Social Context of AgingModule IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Research Paper Outline
11Social Context of AgingModule IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Discussion #4
12Social Context of AgingModule IV Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments (continued) Test #4
13Societal Context of Aging Module V Reading, Web, and Audio/Video Assignments Research Paper Discussion #5 
14Societal Context of AgingTest #5




Class Participation:

Instruction in this course will be conducted in an independent manner. You are responsible for any readings, audios/videos, tests, discussions, written assignments, papers, or other materials as assigned by the instructor. Timely submission of required work is essential for success in this course. You, not the instructor, are responsible for ensuring that work is submitted on the assigned dates and that regular communication with the instructor is accomplished. Due to the independent nature of this course, you must be responsible for checking course announcements frequently and for requesting help when you need it. Thus, you are encouraged to contact the instructor as often as needed via email, telephone, or any other manner deemed appropriate by the instructor. Furthermore, you are encouraged to interact with other students, taking into careful consideration the parameters of academic dishonesty, as this is considered a valuable component of the learning process. A "General" discussion board will be provided for you to interact casually or to discuss course issues, i.e., readings, assignments, study tips, questions to the instructor that might benefit others in the class.

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 May 15, 2017