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Bringing PCs into Introductory Sociology Courses: First Steps, Missteps, and Future Prospects

Caroline Hodges Persell
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 91-103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1317391
Page Count: 13
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Bringing PCs into Introductory Sociology Courses: First Steps, Missteps, and Future Prospects
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Abstract

Can microcomputers enhance the goals of teaching and learning in sociology? This paper attempts to answer this question. Aiming primarily at nonusers, the author first outlines the negatives and positives of using PCs. Negatives include expense, hassle, and uncertainty. The positives arise from the functional strengths of PCs and from the fact that they are interactive, customizable, efficient, and open-ended. Next the author describes her experiences using a PC in an introductory sociology classroom: to prepare and present visual materials, to teach basic concepts and analytic strategies, to illustrate analytical storylines, and to engage students in posing sociological questions and hypotheses explored instantaneously in class. The author concludes by suggesting additional applications and by reflecting on issues raised by the experience.

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