Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Online Spring 2021 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note: This plan is subject to change as the University and the College release new guidelines. Please stay connected. Please read this document very carefully before our first online session this week. If you have any questions and concerns, please email me at

Q. I am not familiar with Blackboard. What should I know about it?

A. You must familiarize yourself with Blackboard for online classes. Please spend some time navigating it.

For this course, you will see the menu on the left and use some options there: Announcements, Start Here!, Weekly Assignments, and Writing & Exams. First, Start Here contains the basic information about the course, including syllabus and the FAQs. Second, Weekly Assignments include weekly folders that contain all the reading and discussion assignments as well as lecture videos. Each weekly folder will be available on every Monday. Third, Writing & Exams include two folders: Downtown Brooklyn Project and Exams. Please navigate all of them on the first week.

Q. How will content be taught?

A. This is an asynchronous class.

Asynchronous lectures and activities

Our class begins on Monday and ends on Wednesday each week. I will post all the weekly assignments and make them available at 12:01 am on Mondays on Blackboard. See the menu on the left and click on “Weekly Assignments.” You will see the weekly folder.

For example, on Feb 1, a new weekly folder, “Week 1: Feb 1-3” will be available at 12:01 am. Click on the folder for that week.

Once you click on the title, read “instructions” and “checklist” very carefully. I will post all the assignments, reading materials, lecture videos and notes, discussion prompts, and many other things on the weekly folder. You have 72 hours to read, write, and complete all the assignments. Please complete all the work in order in the folder, because I organize the folder just like I teach in-person classes. Get them done.

You must allocate at least 3 hours or more to complete each week. You have three days, because I would like to give you enough time to digest those materials. The weekly folder will be disappeared by the end of that week. You can submit your assignments late, but no more than Sunday. But remember that there will be a penalty for the late submission. There will be an 1-point deduction every 6 hours for late submissions.  See the syllabus. Email me at, if you need an accommodation.

Note: “Two exemption rule”

As I explained in the syllabus, there is the two exemption rule for the weekly discussion posts. I will drop the two lowest grades when I calculate your final grade. That means you can be exempted from two discussion posts (NOT TWO WEEKS) for the entire semester. Things happen in your life and you might have some urgent situations. I won’t ask you why you did not submit your work. You do not have to email me to discuss it. But remember that it applies to everyone equally, so there will be no negotiation.

Synchronous meetings.

Though this class meets asynchronously, I will add some synchronous activities.

First, I plan to offer intensive individual meetings with students as much as I could. Please make an appointment with me during my office hours (See “how to make an appointment” under the Start Here folder!). You will have a private Zoom link when you request a meeting with me, so each meeting will be confidential.

Second, I will offer midterm and final exam review sessions. I will offer two sessions for each exam. Please mark your calendar.

          • Midterm exam review: 10:30 am – 11:10 am, March 15 or 12:00 pm- 12:40 pm, March 16
          • Final exam review sessions: May 11, 2:00 pm – 2:40 pm, or May 12, 11:00 am – 11:40 am

I know some students might have conflicted schedule, such as class and work. In this case, please let me know in advance so that I can accommodate you.

Q. How will materials be disseminated?

A. You are also required to purchase a textbook and read a chapter before a new topic begins. Yet, all the other materials, including videos, will be posted on Blackboard. Once you click the weekly folder with date, read and follow my instructions very carefully. I will attach everything under that folder.

 Q. What do I have in the weekly assignments folder?

I will be using a combination of reading assignments, lecture videos (or notes), reading response papers, and discussion board for the course. Rather than having real-time lectures, I will post lecture videos (mostly slides with my voice) and other activities on the weekly folder. There will be some variations, but typical weekly assignments will be like:

1) Reading

I will also share supplementary materials in the weekly assignments folder.

2) Watching

You will see lecture videos in the weekly folder; and are required to watch them to digest class materials. I have already shared short videos on our course website. Yet, again, I will share further instructions for that week on Blackboard.

3) Lecture videos

I do not share my slides with my students. So please take a note, while watching videos.

4) Discussion board posts

You will participate in class discussions through discussion board posts on Blackboard each week after reading and watching videos. Each student is assigned into a group with 5-6 members; and you will make comments on other students’ posts or comments. Click your group only. Discussion board posts must be posted to the Blackboard discussion board by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. EST.

 Q. What do we write for writing assignments?

A. There is one individual project that you must complete in order to pass this course: Downtown Brooklyn project (four short writing assignments). You must write more than 15 pages in order to pass a WI course at City Tech. Rather than writing a long research paper, each student write four short writing assignments in order to pass this course. Each short writing assignment is required to have two or three pages, depending on assignments.

Please see further instructions on our website: Downtown Brooklyn. Please read the instructions very carefully.

Please remember that you will find course readings and videos on our course website, but you are required to submit all the work via Blackboard.

Q. Where do I submit my writing assignments?

A. Click on “Writing & Exams.” You will see two folders: Downtown Brooklyn and Exams. For the writing assignments, click on “Downtown” for the instruction.  

Once you write your paper, save it either in MS Word or PDF and submit it by clicking on “View/Complete.”

 Q. Can I submit my assignments late?

A. You must complete all the work by the end of Wednesday night. You can still submit your assignments late, but no more than Sunday. The folder for the week will be disappeared at the end of that week.

For writing assignments (Downtown Brooklyn Project), you can still submit them late, but I strongly encourage you to submit your draft on time. If you earn less than 80 out of 100, I will give you a chance to revise your draft (writing assignments only).

Remember that there is a penalty for the late work for EACH 6 HOURS (not each class) after the deadline. Students will receive a 1-point deduction (out of 100) for each 6 hours. See the syllabus.

However, email me at, if you need an accommodation with a legit reason!

Q. Do you still take attendance?

A. Yes, I do. Once you complete all the work, I will mark it “attend.” If you do not do it, I will mark it “absent.”

 Q. Now I know you are willing to meet with us. But are you available to meet in person?

A. Nope. Per public health guidelines, I will not be taking in-person meetings. However, I am happy to correspond with you via email or to chat with you via Zoom during my office hours (T 11:00 am -12:00pm, W 1:00 pm -2:00 pm, or by appointment).

Q. I’m having a technical issue now. What should I do?

A. Given that this course is entirely reliant on technology, it is important to complete your work ahead of time to avoid the risk of technological failures preventing you from doing your work on time. If you encounter technical problems, please find the appropriate contact information here:

Remember I do not accept any email submissions unless you have a serious technical issue with Blackboard. Please submit all the work via Blackboard.

Q. How could I succeed in this course? Could you give us some advice?

A. First, note that you must be self-motivated and self-disciplined in order to succeed in this class. Many of you might take four classes; and have many assignments to pass those classes. Some professors might have real-time lectures, while others, like myself, offer you more flexible time to complete weekly work with some synchronous activities. Both have pros and cons. Yet, for asynchronous classes (or mixed), like my class, I would suggest you to make a routine for each class. You may want to set a particular time to complete all the weekly assignments for Elements of Sociology class. For example, you can dedicate yourself to complete all the work for my class between 8:30 am and 11:00 am on Tuesdays. For additional writing assignments, you can work them on Wednesdays. Make a plan in advance!

Second, do the work. Write on your computer. I often see students working on their assignments on the phone. Remember that this is a WI course; and you must write four writing assignments and midterm and final essays throughout the semester. Second, do the work. Write on your computer. I often see students working on their assignments on the phone. Remember that this is a WI course; and you must write six writing assignments and midterm and final essays throughout the semester. Please keep in mind that you are more likely to have errors when you work on the phone. Please avoid unnecessary errors.

Third, writing is a learning process. Revise, revise and revise your draft. I also share the information about the Writing Center, when available. Make an appointment with them and ask for help. Do not be shy. I do write a lot and have published articles and book chapters. I have worked with my editor for many years! Again, I will give you a chance to revise your draft, if you earn less than 80 points.