Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to buy?

The course has one textbook, The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology, 7th Edition, by Kerry Ferris and Jill Stein. You can purchase it through the bookstore. Our class is using Digital Delivery for the textbook. You already have access to the ebook, and in order to keep it, all you have to do is follow the instructions in the email from, to opt in by purchasing the “opt in” item listed for your class on our website, I strongly recommend this option, which costs $39.95 and includes additional online resources we will use. (If you aquire a print version of the textbook, you will also need to purchase access to the extra online resources we will be using each week.)

The 6th edition of the textbook is very similar, so feel to use that if you can find it. However, you will still need to purchase access to the “InQuizitive for The Real World” for the 7th edition from the student store.

You will also need access to Netflix during the semester. We will be watching twelve documentaries during the semester. Several films are available through the UNC library, but their collection of contemporary movies is more limited, so many of our films are available over Netflix. A standard Netflix account is $13 a month, but you get your first month free.

What’s the attendance policy?

I expected everyone to participate actively during our virtual meetings. Watching the films together is a central component of this course. If you are unable to attend, you may write a more extended film response and submit your film notes for that week’s Film Response assignment on Sakai. Except for the exams, I drop one or more of the lowest grades for each assignment type.

If you anticipate not being able to participate in class for an extended period of time, please email Professor Caren.

What are we going to be doing during class?

The core idea and concepts of the course are in the lectures, readings and videos posted with each lesson. On Tuesdays, we will meet on Zoom. I’ll be reviewing the homework, explaining the central concepts for the lesson, and detailing future assignments. A recording will be made available on the lesson page for those of you who cannot join us.

Thursday we meet on Slack. Each week we will be watching a different film together. We will meet in our course Slack channel. After a few minutes of introductions, everyone will press play and start their stream of the film. During the film, groups will discuss connections between the film and course concepts. If the film runs long, feel free to stick around or you can finish the movie at a later point.

What is a Teaching Assistant?

Teaching assistants are graduate students in the sociology department whose job is to help you out in this course. Primarily, they are responsible for grading your work, but they are each quite knowledgeable about the course content. If you have any questions about your assignment grades or course content, feel free to reach out to a TA. Each TA is responsible for a portion of the class, based on your last name.

Last Name




Mirah Alix


Grace Franklyn


Anna Gardner

How do I prepare for an exam?

The exams are multiple-choice and administered on Sakai. There are three major types of questions. The first set of questions are similar to those on InQuizitive, so practice there. The lesson key words cover what I think are the core concepts in each chapter, so these are particularly important to know. The second type of question is similar to Case Studies, so be sure to practice and review your approach. Finally, there will be questions that ask you to make connections between the films and course concepts. They don’t require detailed knowledge of each scene, but be sure to be familiar with the major themes of each film shown. Practice exams will be made available on Sakai.

I can’t make it to the exam. What can I do?

If you are unable to take an exam because of a serious medical condition, religious observance, or athletic obligation, contact the Dean of Students Office to request a University Approved Absence in advance. If you have an exam day emergency, email Professor Caren.

Why does this class have a Code of Conduct?

I intend that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. I intend to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. The topics that we’re covering in this class are often difficult, not just intellectually but emotionally. While I expect there to be rigorous discussion and even disagreement in the course of our class discussions, I ask that you engage in dialogue with care and empathy for the other members in the classroom. Aim to disagree without becoming disagreeable. In this course, we will not shy away from the uncomfortable. Critically examining and assessing assumptions and values is not just one of sociology’s tasks but is an activity vital to engaged citizenship. I will work to ensure a classroom environment that supports your taking these intellectual and emotional risks. The Code of Conduct helps ensure that everyone is aware of the types of interactions that foster positive interactions and those that may not.

Any student who is impacted by discrimination, harassment, interpersonal (relationship) violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or stalking is encouraged to seek resources on campus or in the community. Please contact the Director of Title IX Compliance Adrienne Allison (, Report and Response Coordinators in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (<, Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential), or the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (; confidential) to discuss your specific needs. Additional resources are available at <>.

Can I hand in work late?

For each non-exam assignment, you can drop your lowest grade(s). Skipped assignments receive a zero, but as long as you do at least the minimum number of required assignments of that type, the zero won’t impact your final grade.

You can hand in Applications and Film Reflections up to two weeks late for reduced credit. Late applications must fulfill the requirements for a Pass, but will receive a Low Pass score and will not have the opportunity to revise the assignment. Late Film Reflections must complete the expanded requirements of those who did not participate in film discussions and will receive an 85 for satisfactorily completing the assignment.

Do academic integrity policies still apply to an online course?

Yes. I expect all students to follow the guidelines of the UNC honor code. In particular, students are expected to refrain from “lying, cheating, or stealing” in the academic context. You can read more about the honor code at In any course, including mine, what constitutes cheating can change from one activity to another. For example, collaboration may be encouraged for an assignment but qualify as cheating during an exam. Please see my guidelines for each activity, and if you are unsure, please ask me to clarify.

In remote classes, there may be many temptations for using online exchange sites, such as Chegg. Note that these sites provide names of students who have used their materials, and they routinely cooperate with institutions around academic integrity issues. Additionally, the Sakai website tracks your location and submission times. Simultaneously handing in nearly-identical answers raises flags. Please don’t get caught up with honor code issues just because it appears to be simple and untraceable. It is not!

How can I get accommodations?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in barriers to fully accessing University courses, programs and activities. Accommodations are determined through the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. See the ARS Website for contact information: or email

What other campus resources can help me?

The [Writing Centeris available to assist with papers. If you experience an emergency this semester, please contact the Dean of Students Office. They will notify all of your instructors so that you will not have to.

CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services, whether for short or long-term needs. Go to their website to learn more.

If you are navigating challenges presented by the coronavirus, information on financial resources, academic support, and health and wellness is available through the CV19 Student Care Hub. You have access to these excellent resources. Please use them!

How is the final grade determined?




% of Course Grade





Case Studies








Film Responses








Final Exam





All grading takes place on Sakai and you can find your current grade in the Sakai Gradebook.

Do you round up?

No. Your final letter grade will be converted from your numeric score as follows:

94% to 100% = A

- 90% to 93.99% = A-

- 87% to 89.99% = B+

- 84% to 86.99% = B

- 80% to 83.99% = B-

- 77% to 79.99% = C+

- 74% to 76.99% = C

- 70% to 73.99% = C-

- 67% to 69.99% = D+

- 64% to 66.99% = D

- 60% to 63.99% = D-

- 59.99% or below = F