Courses & Syllabi

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Course descriptions and syllabi

Educ 200 Analyzing Schools
This course introduces the study of schooling within an interdisciplinary framework. Drawing upon sociology, we investigate the resources, structures, and social contexts which influence student opportunities and outcomes in the United States and other countries. Drawing upon psychology, we contrast theories of learning, both in the abstract and in practice. Drawing upon philosophy, we examine competing educational goals and their underlying assumptions regarding human nature, justice, and democracy. In addition, a community learning component, where students observe and participate in nearby K-12 classrooms for three hours per week, will be integrated with course readings and written assignments.
NOTE: Each student must reserve one three-hour block of time in their weekly schedule (anytime between 9am – 3pm weekdays) for a community learning placement in a neighborhood Hartford public school, to be arranged by the instructor during the first week of the course. Enrollment limited to 29.
Offered each semester.
Fall 2021 syllabus with Professor Elise Castillo
Spring 2020 syllabus with Professor Dan Douglas
Fall 2019 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong
Fall 2016 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty

Educ 206: Data Visualization for All
How can charts and maps tell meaningful stories? How can they mislead us from the truth? In this introductory hands-on course, we will create data visualizations in order to better understand design principles and develop a critical analysis of the field. Students will learn skills in both quantitative reasoning and digital storytelling as we advance from beginner tools to editing code templates. For the community learning component, our class will build interactive charts and maps on a public policy issue with a Hartford-area partner organization. No coding experience is necessary, but curiosity is required. Fulfills requirement in Numerical and Symbolic Reasoning (NUM).
Cross-referenced with Community Learning, Public Policy & Law, Writing & Rhetoric, Urban Studies.
Fall 2021 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty

Educ 218: Special Education
How are children labeled (or mislabeled) as having learning and developmental disabilities, autism, or attention deficit disorder? How have definitions and diagnoses of learning disorders changed over time? How does the law seek to ensure the accommodation of the needs of individuals with learning disabilities? Students will critically analyze current research on disorders and examine special education case law and advocacy.
Prerequisite: Ed 200 or Psyc 295 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 24.
Spring 2018 with Visiting Professor John Foshay

Educ 300 Education Reform: Past & Present
How do we explain the rise and decline of education reform movements? How do we evaluate their level of “success” from different sources of evidence? Drawing upon primary source materials and historical interpretations, this course examines a broad array of elementary, secondary, and higher education reform movements from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, analyzing social, material, and ideological contexts. This intermediate-level seminar explores a topic common to all branches of educational studies from both theoretical and comparative perspectives. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 24.
Spring 2020 syllabus with Professor Elise Castillo
Spring 2019 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty

Educ/Socl 303 Sociology of Education
This course will apply a sociological perspective to the institution of education. It will examine the ways that formal schooling influences individuals and the ways that culture and social structures affect educational institutions. It will explore the manifest and latent functions of education in modern society; the role education plays in stratification and social mobility, and the dynamics of race, class, and gender in education. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or Socl 101 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Fall 2021 syllabus with Professor Dan Douglas

Educ 305 Immigrants and Education
How have schools played a role in the experiences of diverse immigrant communities in the United States? How have immigrants and their children encountered U.S. culture and policies through schools and, through the encounters, negotiated their own roles in U.S. culture and society. In this class, we will examine both historical and contemporary efforts by educational institutions to address linguistic, cultural and religious practices, race and academic opportunity in relation to a variety of immigrant communities. The course will include a community learning component in which students will conduct interviews with immigrants who have been involved in U.S. education institutions. A prior course in Educational Studies or International Studies or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Spring 2019 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong

Educ 308: Cities, Suburbs, and Schools
How did city dwellers’ dreams of better schooling, along with public policy decisions in housing and transportation, contribute to the rise of suburbia in the twentieth century? How do city-suburban disparities affect teaching and learning in classrooms today? What promise do Sheff v O’Neill remedies for racial isolation, such as magnet schools at the Learning Corridor, hold for the future? Students will investigate these questions while developing their skills in oral history, ethnographic fieldwork, and geographical information system (GIS) software. Community learning experiences will be integrated with seminar readings and research projects. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or Psyc 225 or the Cities Program or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Spring 2016 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty

Educ 309 Race, Class, and Educational Policy
How do competing theories explain educational inequality? How do different policies attempt to address it? Topics include economic and cultural capital, racial identity formation, desegregation, multiculturalism, detracking, school choice, school-family relationships, and affirmative action. Student groups will expand upon the readings by designing, conducting, and presenting research projects as part of the community-learning component for this seminar. Pre-req: Educ 200 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Fall 2021 syllabus with Professor Elise Castillo
Fall 2019 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty
Spring 2018 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong

EDUC 310 Testing: From IQ to Common Core
Standardized testing is ubiquitous in education today. Across the globe, policymakers and the public use the results of standardized tests to draw conclusions about the educational progress of children, schools, and even entire countries. This course will examine the history, application, and mechanics of standardized testing in the United States and abroad in places such as China and Finland. Particular emphasis will be on the role of testing in educational reform efforts and movements in the city of Hartford.
Spring 2016 with Professor Robert Cotto

Educ 312 Education for Justice
Schools and educational systems historically and continually are often spaces of exclusion and marginalization, built and maintained to serve the needs and desires of the privileged. But education also holds the possibility of being liberatory and transformative. This course will centrally explore the questions: What does it mean to educate for justice? How can education and/or schooling play a role in creating and working towards freedom, resistance, healing, respect, and sovereignty? We will examine theoretical approaches to critical and liberatory education, as well as how these theories take hold in practice, both in formal and informal schooling settings. Areas of study include multicultural education, culturally relevant pedagogy, critical pedagogy, social justice education, feminist pedagogy, anti-racist teaching, and abolitionist teaching. Pre-req: Educ 200 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Spring 2020 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong

Educ 315 Higher Education in America
America has developed one of the largest and most diverse systems of higher education in the world, with curricula that range from the study of Greek, Latin and antiquity to the decorating of cakes. Despite this diffuseness, American higher education enjoys an enviable global reputation and each year the number of students from around the world applying to colleges and universities in the United States far surpasses the number of American students seeking to matriculate abroad.  This course will examine the forces that shaped the development of American higher education from its origins to the present, and then focus on several salient issues (such as diversity, student misbehavior, academic freedom, and athletics) that vex and enrich modern institutions. Students will be required to conduct a field research project that analyzes a current issue and compares how two or more institutions have reacted.  Pre-requisite: Educ 200 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Spring 2019 syllabus with Professor Dan Douglas
Spring 2017 syllabus with Professor Angel Perez

Educ 320: Anthropology and Education
The anthropology of education has a rich history of investigating the links between culture, learning, and schooling. Anthropologists studying education have sought to illuminate learning and educational achievement as social processes and cultural products that cannot be understood apart from the socio-cultural contexts in which they occur. In this upper-level seminar, we will explore selected works in the anthropology of education — both classic and contemporary — in order to understand the unique contributions anthropology makes to the study of education, and in particular, the experience of minority groups in education. We will explore topics such as race, gender, and language in education and how they have been addressed by anthropologists. Students will have an opportunity to read critically a variety of detailed ethnographic and qualitative studies focusing on formal schooling and informal education in the United States and in other countries. Reviewing these studies, we will explore the central questions: What is a cultural analysis of schooling? What unique insights does ethnography — anthropology’s signature method — offer into key educational problems? And finally, how can a cultural analysis of schooling inform efforts to create a more socially just educational system?
Prerequisite: A C- or better in Ed 200 or Anthropology 201 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 19.
Fall 2021 syllabus with Professor Stefanie Wong

Educ 350 Teaching and Learning
This seminar will explore theoretical, policy, and practical issues of teaching and learning. Who should teach in public schools, and what kind of preparation is necessary? What type of curriculum should be taught, and how do different interest groups shape that decision? How should we assess the quality of student learning? Finally, how do debates on all of these questions influence the nature of teachers’ work and classroom life? Note: For the community learning component, students will design and teach two hands-on science or math lessons at a nearby elementary school during our class time. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or permission of instructor (email a one-paragraph statement of interest to either instructor). Enrollment limited to 19.
Spring 2019 with Professors Jack Dougherty and Kyle Evans

Educ 400 Senior Research Seminar
To fulfill the senior exercise requirement, students carry out an independent research project which builds upon acquired skills and evolving interests. The weekly seminar provides a thematic focus as well as a continuous forum for both support and critical feedback from peers, in preparation for a public presentation of the student’s work at the end of the semester. Each year, the seminar will be organized around a broad theme in educational studies. Ordinarily taken in the fall semester of the senior year, with the option of continuing as a one-credit senior thesis (Educ 497) in the spring semester.
Fall 2019 syllabus with Professor Dan Douglas
Fall 2017 syllabus with Professor Jack Dougherty

Educ 497 Senior Thesis
Open to senior majors in spring semester, who have received B+ or better in Ed 400, as a continuation of their independent research projects. By arrangement with professor.