SYD 3600 - Cities in Society

Fall 2014 / Professor Carlson / DISTANCE LEARNING COURSE (on-line)

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Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives for this course are listed specifically for each week of the course as shown below on the course schedule.
This course has been approved as meeting the requirements for Liberal Studies Area II, History and Social Science, and in combination with your Liberal Studies courses, provides an important foundation for your lifelong quest for knowledge. The Liberal Studies Program at Florida State University has been designed to provide a perspective on the qualities, accomplishments, and aspirations of human beings, the past and present civilizations we have created, and the natural and technological world we inhabit.

Americans with Disabilities Act:
Students with disabilities needing academic accomodation should: (1) register with and provide documentation to the Student Disabilities Resource Center, and (2) bring a letter to the instructor during the first week of class, indicating the need for and type of accomodation requested. This should be done during the first week of class. All audio tracks from lecture videos and instructions for the group project are available as printed text files for persons who document a hearing disability. The University may be able to provide access, depending on available resources, to readers who can read some materials aloud for persons who document a visual disability; course materials are not available in Braille at this time. For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact the: Student Disability Resource Center, 874 Traditions Way, 108 Student Services Building, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167 (850) 644-9566 (voice) (850) 644-8504 (TDD), email, web site

Academic Honor Policy:
The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “. . . be honest and truthful and . . . [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.” (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at Violations of these principles, including collusion with other students to mis-use the conditional access features of the Blackboard course site, giving or taking answers to test questions, submitting the work of others as your own, or allowing your own work to be submitted as the work of others may lead to a failing grade on an assignment, to a failing grade in the entire course, or in egregious cases to formal disciplinary action by the university.

Organization of the Course:
The class is conducted completely on-line using the internet and the FSU Blackboard system. This course has no hard-copy textbook or other paper readings. See the reading list instructions in this Course Syllabus to locate all assigned readings through the resources of the FSU Library system. The course schedule below is organized into syllabus-weeks. The topic heading for each week is an active link that will open a set of study questions to guide you in reading and taking notes on each of the three assigned readings for that week. Each syllabus-week of the course appears as a self-contained module in the Blackboard "SYLLABUS" section. A syllabus-week covers each of the three readings in the following order:

Students should complete each syllabus-week of this schedule in approximately one week of a regular semester (or two days of a summer semester). On-line assignments and tests for the first week will be available at the start of the semester. Each following week becomes available to the student only when all work for the previous week has been completed (see above), so the course is self-paced to some extent. Falling behind the syllabus schedule, however, will cause cumulatively greater and greater problems for a student later in the class.

In addition to questions about assigned readings and lectures, a group project using census data to study U.S. cities will be completed independently by students. Teams of students obtain census data for different U.S. cities and then prepare project reports (see the Blackboard "Assignment" feature for details):

Since there is no classroom attendance for this course, there are no absences, excused or otherwise. However, certain events and conditions may interfere with your ability to complete these assignments in a timely manner. If you represent the University at official events such as athletic competitions, or if you experience documented illness of yourself or dependent children, deaths in the family or other documented crises, a call to active military duty or jury duty, or religious work-restricted holy days, this may affect your schedule of work for the course. For this reason it is a good idea to work slightly ahead of the schedule of syllabus-weeks, in case your regular pattern of work is disrupted. If you find yourself falling behind the syllabus schedule due to these events and conditions, you must catch up and complete the scheduled work by the end of the semester, since the university has fixed deadlines for submission of grades. If you are unable to complete the work for the semester by the end of classes and if you have documentation of excuses noted above, you may submit these excuses in order to request an Incomplete grade in the course. This request will be reviewed by the Instructor, and may be accepted, in which case you will receive a grad eof I for Incomplete. Your request may be rejected if your circumstances do not match those allowed by the university for such a grade. All excuses and requests for Incomplete grades must be resolved before the end of regular class sessions during the semester; no excused absences can be resolved following the last day of class. Note that students must be passing the course at the time they request any incomplete grade. See university regulations for the time you will have to make up the incomplete if a grade of I is awarded for such excuses.

Components of Course Grade:
Sixty percent (60%) of the course grade is based on your responses to questions about the assigned readings. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the course grade is based on the group project assignment (including the spreadsheet, rough draft and final report). A cumulative final examination must be taken in person at a Testing Center recognized and accepted by Florida State University; this final exam counts for fifteen percent (15%) of the course grade.

Points appear in the Blackboard "Grade Center" feature as they are earned. Students may estimate their grades at any time during the semester by consulting this record. The grade distribution for the course will be based on the total number of points received on all test questions about the readings, the group project score, and the final examination. A prior introductory course in a social science is recommended before taking this course.

Course Schedule

READING LIST INSTRUCTIONS: A few of the assigned readings listed below appear with titles as direct links (in color). For these readings, you may click on the highlighted title to see the assigned reading on your screen. However, most of the readings are available through a web archive called JSTOR, to which FSU has an expensive annual subscription. Your visits to the JSTOR site to read course assignments will help to demonstrate the importance of this valuable resource (already paid for with your tuition dollars) to the university. To find each reading in JSTOR, go to the FSU web site ( and choose "libraries" from the Key Links item near the middle of the page. On the Libraries main page, choose "Find a Database" from the left-side menu and type JSTOR into the field on the right. When you click "Go" you should see an entry highlighted in yellow for JSTOR. (You may have to log into the FSU site with your FSU username and password at some point.) Clicking this highlighted entry should take you to the JSTOR "advanced search" page. Type in the name of the author (first name and then last name, no punctuation) in the first blank field, select "author" from the pull-down box to the right of this field, click on "articles" in the "NARROW" section below, and type the date of the publication in both the "From" and "To" boxes to the right of the "articles" option. Then click on the SEARCH button to find all articles by that author from that year. The assigned reading should be one of the displayed options. Click on "Article PDF" below the correct citation to open the article as an Adobe Acrobat PDF document. (If you do not have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software on your computer, you can download it from the Adobe web site without charge.) Rather than try to read this document directly from the web, it often is much faster to download and save this document on your computer, on a removable flash drive, or in some other location. Then you can return to the document and read it conveniently at any time, and also review it later for the final exam.

STUDY QUESTIONS: Each syllabus week for the course has a title shown below as a highlighted link. Clicking on this highlighted topic for each week brings up a page showing study questions for each assigned reading. You should print out each page of these study questions, and use them as reference points for reading each article. If you write sample answers to these questions on the sheet or in a notebook, you will be better-prepared for the test questions on each article.

This page maintained by Professor Carlson.