Here is a list of miscellaneous teaching resources that the graduate students at the University of Minnesota have compiled.  We hope it’s helpful!

SOCNET: Sociology Courses and Curricular Resources Online – This website has links to all kinds of sociology courses, activities, syllabi, and other curricula online.

ASA Online Bookstore – Includes resources on teaching techniques, ASA Syllabi Sets, research briefs and volumes, social policy volumes, reference materials, national department information and management resources, and special journal issues and indexes (all for sale as hardcopies).

Reaching the Second Tier: Learning and Teaching Styles in College Science Education, by Richard Felder – This is an article about learning styles and how to teach students with different ways of understanding information.

Good Teaching: The Top Ten Requirements, Richard Leblanc – An article with tips for effective teaching.

Good Teaching Practices, Barbara Gross Davis – A compendium of classroom-tested strategies and suggestions designed to improve the teaching practices of all college instructors, including beginning, mid-career, and senior faculty members. The book describes 49 teaching tools that cover both traditional practical tasks–writing a course syllabus, delivering an effective lecture–as well as newer, broader concerns such as responding to diversity on campus and coping with budget constraints.

Teaching Effectiveness Program, University of Oregon – The Teaching Effectiveness Program provides a wide range and variety of valuable resources for instructors. Among the materials included in this section are general classroom resources, information focusing on diversity, articles about featured University of Oregon teachers, library listings, and web links.

Good Teaching Ideas from the University of Oregon – This site is from the University of Oregon’s Teaching Effectiveness Program. It has links and ideas for group learning, teaching large classes, service learning, and creating a teaching portfolio.

Teaching through Distance Education: An article from Cause/Effect teaching journal – This article, “An Emerging Set of Guiding Principles and Practices for the Design and Development of Distance Education Combining Good Teaching with Good Technology”, is an excellent resource for faculty and instructors considering this option and/or using WebCT.

The Nine and a Half Commandments of Good Teaching – In addition to the nine and a half commandments of good teaching, this site has articles and advice on lectures, teaching methods, and classroom management.

Working Conceptualization of ‘Good Teaching’ Introduction – This article is an attempt to define good teaching. It focuses on beliefs and dispositions, the importance of professional and political knowledge, and good teaching practices and skills.

Inside the Mystery of Good Teaching – This article also focuses on good teaching and closing the performance gap, and the resources available to teachers in their path to good teaching.

WebCT Tools and the Good Teaching Principles They Support – This site outlines the tools available through WebCT and the learning and interaction goals they help students and instructors meet.

Teaching Tips Index – This useful index includes information and articles about learning styles, motivating students, course design, dealing with difficult students and behavior, the first day of class, assessment techniques, lesson plans, syllabus design, and much more.


Learning Neighbourhood 2011

Just had to repost this for those who may not follow all the other great stuff on The Society Pages.

Check out Office Hours’ conversation with Nathan Palmer about creating an online community of free teaching content.

Then, download his Soc 101 Class Pack for free!




Next week we’ll share the final post from our guest blogger, Nathan Palmer.  In the meantime, if you have a activity or an assignment that you would like to share with our community of teachers, please send it to us!  We welcome any activity that is paired with Contexts articles or used generally to teach about the social world.  We would love to showcase your work!!

Email Hollie at  or Kia at

write or be written off
At Contexts and, we spend a lot of time thinking and expounding about how, for social science to be effective outside the academy, it simply has to be accessible. That means writing rigorous science in an approachable way and allowing for skillful editing to help make our points clear and concise for all readers. Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen have been addressing these issues recently, both in their Letter from the Editors column in each quarterly issue of Contexts and in their Editors’ Desk posts here on They’ve written about science-in-the-vernacular and the art of being edited, along with the nuances of presenting scientific knowledge when, well, “It’s Complicated.” What we haven’t talked about is how good writers become good writers.

Sure, a few excellent authors were born that way. Silver-tongued and fleet-fingered, these stars of social science naturally present the insights of the ivory tower in the language of the people. Show-offs.

But, as a recent essay submitted by one sociology student points out, the rest of us need a little help. Kate Parker says, “For many undergraduate students, the writing life of a professor is pure mystery,” and pleads, “Teach students about the process of writing… Better yet, tell them about your writing process.” Below, her essay in its entirety and, in the comments (with any luck) you can share your suggestions on making writing itself a key pedagogical function.

“Out of My Shell,” Kate Parker

I used to be notorious for refusing to let anyone but professors read papers I had written.  My mother?  Nope.  My partner?  Not likely.  My fellow sociology students?  No way.  Each time I turned a paper in, I was convinced it was awful.  My writing process involved a steady flow of anxiety, punctuated with moments of pure panic.  I paced around the room, consumed sweets as though they were pure intellectual fuel, and stayed up all hours of the night.  In the end, I was sure that I had missed something critical.  I was certain that my thought process was not sophisticated enough or that my writing style was average at best.  So when a professor suggested I take her class on writing for sociology students, I nervously jumped at the chance.

On the first day of class, I took a look at the requirements for the course and came across one of my biggest fears: peer reviews.  Not only did I cringe at the thought of my fellow students quietly laughing at my writing, I felt extremely uncomfortable with the idea of criticizing their work.  Who was I to judge someone else’s writing?  We started reading Howard Becker’s book Writing for Social Scientists and discussed our fears in class.  Our professor explained that graduate students and professional sociologists depend on their peers for feedback.

After realizing that everyone else was as nervous as I was, my fears started to lessen.  We reviewed each other’s work several times throughout the semester and I began to (brace yourself) enjoy them.  Reading my classmates’ work exposed me to new styles of writing.  Finding both effective and ineffective aspects of their work helped me focus on what was effective and ineffective in my own.  They gave me fantastic suggestions and helped me work through specific areas I was struggling in.  I even found myself continuing to discuss assignments with other students after class.  Most importantly, I realized that letting others read and comment on my writing made me a better writer and this skill will be extremely useful when I graduate.

Peer reviews were not my only fear, however.  We were also expected to write multiple drafts of each assignment.  Like many undergraduate students, my idea of paper writing consisted of sitting down at 10pm the night before an assignment was due and writing the entire piece at once.  No drafts, minimal revisions.  I thought writing and revising multiple drafts were irritatingly tedious.  Now, in hindsight, it’s very easy to see why I was so anxious about my papers.  I felt that I had to have it perfect the first time.  And by waiting until 10pm the night before, I sort of did.  As I wrote and rewrote drafts for my writing class, I enjoyed how it managed to quell a great deal of the anxiety I felt during the writing process.  I stopped pacing around my room and eating a steady stream of sweets all night.  Realizing I didn’t have to create perfection the first time around was a huge relief, and I have taken that knowledge to other parts of my life.  I used to avoid risk in any situation, fearing humiliation if I didn’t do something correctly.  Now, I am comfortable with the fact that nothing is perfect the first time and sometimes I need to just go for it.  This has led me to start running again with the goal of finishing a half-marathon within a year, regardless of the fact that some people may think the term “running” is a bit of an exaggeration due to my tortoise-like pace.

Finally, I had to deal with my worst nightmare.  Even the mention of public speaking was enough to send my heart racing and make my palms sweaty, and now I had to endure this horrible process twice.  The first would be a practice presentation of our final research paper in front of the class.  The second was far worse: presenting at an undergraduate research conference.  I had grudgingly participated in the conference last year, and it was not an enjoyable experience due to the feeling of my nerves being wrapped around my stomach.  A class I had taken in public speaking ended in disaster after disaster.  Why would this be any different?  Luckily, I felt very comfortable with my classmates by this point in the semester, so I did not feel overly anxious during the practice session.  The conference presentation loomed in the back of my mind, but I began to notice that I wasn’t feeling the deep, overwhelming sense of dread I had previously experienced.  This, however, made me nervous.  There was no logical reason for me to feel this calm.  Surely a massive panic attack was just lurking under the surface, waiting until I made my way in front of a room filled with people.  But then this fear of my lack of fear suddenly disappeared as I made my way to the podium.  I presented my research loudly and clearly, without my face turning the unnatural shade of burgundy that had accompanied all of my previous public speaking experiences.  The confidence that had been built in my class transferred to my presentation, and if I had not been forced into the experience I would still be terrified of talking in front of people.  As a committee member for a local charity event, this confidence in front of a crowd was a great asset when I had to address volunteers, and I’m extremely grateful that I have this skill for my future career.

I’d like to finish with a little advice for Sociology professors: please teach your students how to write.   I’m not just talking about how to write a great topic sentence or how to use correct punctuation.  Teach students about the process of writing, that it’s ok to ask for help, that you don’t have to get it perfect the first time.  Better yet, tell them about your writing process and the anxieties you have experienced.  For many undergraduate students, the writing life of a professor is pure mystery.  It seems intimidating, foreign, out of reach.  Your students may have made it halfway through college, but it is very likely that no one has truly challenged them to face their biggest fears associated with writing.  If you give them this challenge, they will be much more confident and prepared for graduate school and professional life.

Kate Parker graduated from Indiana University of South Bend in 2010. She wrote this essay for Dr. Gail McGuire’s course “The Social Practice of Writing.” Parker can be reached at kate[dot]parker4[at]gmail[dot]com.

The most recent episode of the Contexts Podcast features an interview with Walt Jacobs about teaching race through comedy. Check it out.

Paper Chain MenHave you ever wondered if there was an online community of sociologists sharing ideas and resources in a single place? It turns out, Danish sociologist Lars Damgaard has started just such a community —

About, Damgaard writes:

The vision of is to connect the globalized world of sociologists, sociology students or any other form of sociological allies who share the interest in the subject of sociology.

I am convinced that this vision a good idea, if you agree, please don’t hesitate to inform your colleauges, friends, co-students about the existence of As more and more people interested in sociology join the website the quality of the content of the site will improve.

Like most sites, the content is organized by ‘tags,’ see below for the topics covered on this unique site.

Most popular tags

recognition jazz critical sociologycapitalism max weber sociology of emotions Hegel social stratificationmaster-slave dialectic critique social spacedialectics hegemony sociological imagination Bourdieu feeling rulesoutsiders spirit deviance Gesellschaftpierre bourdieu The Philosophy of Moneyrationality panopticon The Metropolis and Mental Life sociology organismsurvival of the fittest choice philosophyQuantitative methods powerFoucault class analysis marx social action emotions Frankfurt schoolnew features agil philosophy of science marxism Critical theoryparsons Gemeinschaft The Strangerevolution chicago

There is so much to explore! Join the site and expand the community of sociologists.