Collaborative Learning in Sociology
There are lots of opportunities for incorporating collaborative learning across teaching modalities!
Gender Utopia Activity
Curating a collection of media that represents a gender utopia
Students use Lucal’s (1999) perspective in thinking about gender and what they have already learned in class to develop an imaginary “gender utopia” and to visually represent this utopia on a Padlet website. This pushes students to evolve their learning to the highest level, which is creating.
 Lucal, Betsy. 1999. “What It Means to Be Gendered Me: Life on the Boundaries of a Dichotomous Gender System.” Gender and Society 13(6): 781-797.
Analyzing Children's Fairytales
Learning about childhood gender socialization
In this activity, students read a popular U.S. fairytale in small groups. They're then guided through a packet that asks them to think about the importance of children's literature, identify stereotypes (and understand their relationship to social norms), and identify important messages and explain how they support moral development or socialization. We then read a feminist fairytale together as a class called the Paper Bag Princess. Students then contrast the fairytale they read in small groups with the Paper Bag Princess. Finally, in their small groups, students rewrite the original fairytales they read in a way that challenges stereotypes.
Researching, presenting an argument, and evaluating
Debates support both collaborative and problem-based learning. I also love debates because they translate well between online and in-person class formats. One example of a debate I do in my Introduction to Sociology course is the debate on whether internet access should be a human right or a luxury. To prepare for the debate, students must examine and research the issue and engage in critical thinking about controversial issues. By participating in debates, students practice effective communication strategies and engage in challenging conversations in respectful and productive ways.
The Relativity of Deviance
Considering others' perspectives and the social construction of deviance
In this activity students work in small groups to rate three lists of nine behaviors from most to least deviant, with each subsequent list providing greater context for the behavior. By working in groups, student learn that deviance is relative and learn about their peers' diverse perspectives. They then answer the post-activity reflection and comprehension check questions.