While having a long winter term is great, the best way to enjoy time with family while also being productive is to register for one or more of Miami’s online J-term courses. If you choose to take Introduction to Social Justice Studies, here are some things to know:

1. It has an organized schedule

The course is designed to last four weeks, with three modules being completed every week. Even though you don’t have to physically turn in papers like you would on campus, you’re still held accountable for deadlines. As opposed to the standard on-campus class, this online class adds an additional technological dimension, but technical difficulties are not accepted as excuses for late work, so it’s important not to save everything for the night before.

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2. The course is well-rounded

Within each module, there is a compilation of overviews, articles, videos, and worksheets through which to learn the material. The videos are especially helpful if you’re more of an auditory learner and often take the format of a TED talk. It’s important to practice close reading because the quiz questions which follow can be pretty specific.

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3. You’ll still have quizzes and papers

Each module ends with a corresponding quiz and assignment. The quizzes are all multiple choice, ranging from 10-15 questions. It’s important to note, however, that they are timed and do not allow you to skip questions or view ones you’ve already answered. Also, there’s a wide variety of assignments, including discussion posts, news analyses, and traditional papers. The overall grade breakdown is 60% for assignments and 40% for quizzes, with a 93% or above constituting an A. Grades and feedback are provided at the end of each week.

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4. You’ll see the world around you from a different perspective

The course‘s thorough dissection of social justice issues encourages students to seek out the true causes of inequality in order to better understand potential solutions. Developing a solid understanding of the topic enables students to find their roles in both preventing and alleviating social injustices. Issues discussed range from human trafficking and refugee crises to homelessness and access to education. The course themes help cultivate students’ compassion towards others who may not share their situation with respect to finances, family, education, etc.

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5. The professor is very helpful

Even though you’re not taking the class directly on campus, you’ll find that communication is not an issue. Professor Harrington is approachable and makes herself very reachable despite the distance. She even sent out the syllabus ahead of time so students could get a general idea of the class structure. A professor at Miami University since 1990, her dedication to sociology also shows through her many publications. Image result for email communication


If you’re looking to beat some boredom and get ahead in your college endeavors, winter-term Intro to Social Justice Studies is definitely for you!

Samantha Marotta

Professional Writing and Spanish double-major at Miami University

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