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CCOG for SOC 230 Spring 2024

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Course Number:
SOC 230
Course Title:
Introduction to Gerontology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores applied Social Gerontology, focusing on current practices, programs, and policies. Considers professional standards, advocacy and policy development using a person-directed perspective and age-friendly framework. Emphasizes cultural diversity and systems of social inequality and power. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

While the course is essential for those who want to work professionally in the field, the information about aging services and policies is valuable for all of us as we and our families age. It is a required course of the Gerontology AAS Degree and the Advocacy and Activity Professional Certificates.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Develop a solid foundation in Social Gerontology as the framework for analyzing individual and population aging.
  2. Describe how an individual’s life experiences are shaped by social structures and cultures, specifically through the intersection of age with race, class, gender, sexuality and abilities using the gerontological imagination.

  3. Use social research to evaluate institutional practices, programs, and policies, and to explore person-directed, age-friendly approaches to improve services and promote best practices in the field.
  4. Explain the ways in which social inequality and systems of power impact the quality of life and aging over the life-course and result in differential outcomes for older individuals.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to plan and implement appropriate and effective programs, policies, and social change strategies for and with older persons through an Applied Research Project.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

Social gerontology offers unique perspectives that help us understand how our lives across the life course and generations are connected to each other and the larger society. Social gerontologists use social research to study how societies are organized, why they change, and the different ways that social forces impact people’s lives. Social gerontological perspectives allow us to understand micro and macro dynamics, through the power of social contexts, with varying structures, cultures, and groups shaping our opportunities, attitudes, behaviors, and identities and the broader social world.

Aspirational Goals

Successful students will age well and advocate for older persons and intergenerational interdependence.

Gerontology majors will demonstrate the Gerontology Education Competencies in their professional lives.

Course Activities and Design

This course is offered in an online format, with optional live-streamed and recorded class meetings, including on-campus optional attendance when possible.

The course is organized into ten Learning Modules that incorporate the Outcomes Assessment Strategies listed below.:

1. Introduction to Gerontology

2. Living Arrangements and Livable Communities

3. Care and Caregiving

4. Healthcare and End of Life Care

5. Social Services, Medicare and Medicaid

6. Older Workers and the New Retirement

7. Financing Retirement: Pensions, Assets, Social Security

8. Research in Aging: Introducing the Applied Research Project

9. Age Politics, Elder Advocacy, and the New Aging Marketplace

10. Signature Assignment: The Applied Research Project

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate the learning outcomes by these tasks conducted individually and in collaboration with other students:

1. Complete reflections, concept clarification, and critical thinking assignments and discussions on various professional, aging services, and policy issues.
2. Engage in a community-based learning project with older persons, virtually or in person, that incorporates a reflection component.
3. Conduct an applied research proposal on a major gerontological issue, grounded in social gerontological theories and research, and incorporating program, policy, legal, or social change strategies and proposed evaluation. The project includes a presentation, an outside review by a professional or by persons potentially affected by such a project, and a self-assessment.

4. Complete a final self-assessment describing how well they feel they have met the Course Learning Outcomes, which integrate the 2014 Gerontology Education Competencies.
5. Students enrolled in the Gerontology Certificate/Degree Program should complete e-portfolio entries related to knowledge, attitudes, and skills gained through the course.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts, themes, and issues
The course focuses on social gerontological perspectives and concepts, themes, and issues related to health, longevity, and healthcare; care of older persons; dying, death, and bereavement, the economics of aging; inequalities and aging; welfare state policies related to the older persons; and the politics of aging, including social policy issues and social movements. These issues are approached with a perspective sensitive to social inequality, systems of power, diversity and difference. Other concepts, themes, and issues in the field of gerontology are examined according to student interest.

Competencies and Skills
Some of the skills students will develop include:

1. Interpretation and application of gerontological research on the aging and older persons.
2. Critical analysis of gerontological issues, programs, and policies, with attention and sensitivities to social structural and cultural factors.
3. Appropriate application of gerontological theories, practices, programs, and policies to diverse aging populations.
4. Program and social change strategy planning and implementation.
5. Clear and effective communication on these issues, in written and oral form.
6. Effective group work.
7. Reflection on community-based learning experiences.

Course Text
The Gerontology SAC must approve required texts used in this course. The current approved text is the latest edition of Moody and Sasser's, Aging: Concepts and Controversies. 
This text is also used for Soc 223. Extensive online resources are integrated into the 10 Course Learning Modules.

Instructional Delivery Mode

This course has been approved for classroom, hybrid, remote, and distance modalities. It is currently taught online, with some optional livestreamed and recorded meetings, accommodating on-campus attendance when possible.