This is a personal blog for Phillip N. Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. He states that the site is used to "keep a running account of the connections between families and inequality. The nature of this relationship is one of the central problems of inequality in modern societies."
Type of Material:
The blog would be of great benefit to instructors and students studying family sociology, regardless of adoption of his text. The posts would serve to update and extend discussion on relevant family-related developments.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Cohen started the blog to facilitate his writing of a textbook. The blog continues to serve instructors/students by encouraging interaction about concepts raised in text and treatments of emerging issues related to family inequality not necessarily covered in the text. However, the blog goes far beyond its initial focus as it addresses diverse topics of relevance to the field.
Target Student Population:
College students in sociology, family studies, etc. Would be a good resource in a sociology of the family course.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
General sociology background; at least an earlier course (intro sociology) would be helpful.
Offers timely posts on important family/inequality related topics. Generates evidence-based conclusions and implications (i.e., employs current quality research and census data). Posts are consistently thought-provoking, well-written, jargon-free, and include links to relevant collateral research. Stimulates lively interaction with readers. Non-family related posts often take on big issues relevant to the discipline.
The blog has a lot of information and would require an additional assignment or instructions in order for students to use it effectively. Otherwise it can be overwhelming.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Content of posts is highly informative in terms of subject matter. Cohen also provides a model for engagement in public issues that instructors may want to emulate (that is, he has a well-reasoned position; and argues passionately).
Does not have specific learning objectives. It is a personal blog and means of sharing the authors work. Some of the content is also not easy to find or is not intuitively organized by topic-- rather by date of the various blog posts. Students would have to dig around a little bit to find the information they are looking for. Additionally there is not a measure of student learning as this is not the intent of the material
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The blog is easy to use and the format will be familiar to students. It has videos, links to research and news articles that students can easily access. Generates lively user interaction. Provides useful teaching aids (e.g., set of course syllabi).
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a good resource if you want to learn about family inequality in general but it was not set up or designed to necessarily be a collection of learning materials as it is a personal blog.
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