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SOC2201 - Practice of Social Policy - Gould: Assignments

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Gateway City Project

The Massachusetts Legislature defines Gateway Cities as communities with a population between 35,000 and 250,000 and median household income and rate of educational attainment of a bachelor's degree or above below the Commonwealth's average.

Discussion Forums and Monitoring

Readings and EC Learn Online Discussion Forums:  It is incumbent upon every student to come to class prepared, ready to participate in informed discussions and debates.  Therefore, students are required to read and watch all the assigned material prior to class.    For ten classes, you are required to write one post and respond to someone else’s post in the online discussion forum by noon before the respective class indicated on the course schedule.   Your posting should include current ways in which individuals, societies, non-governmental organizations, businesses or governments are trying to implement respective policies and the challenges or best practices thereof.  Entries in the online discussion forums should be relative, succinct, non-offensive and professionally written.  You may incorporate articles, webpages or videos not assigned for homework to strengthen your points.  Entries in the online discussion forums should be succinct, non-offensive and professionally written.  Use proper citations when appropriate. 

ArcGIS Storymap

Students will create a digital StoryMap to inform others on the role demographics, immigration, housing, employment, transportation, education, childcare, health, crime, climate change and prejudice play in your respective gateway city and a few of the resources and initiatives that work to eliminate poverty and inequality.  Designing interactive maps to illustrate spatial relationships, info charts/graphs, succinct narratives, and multimedia, students will create a minimum of a ten-tab story map using a free public ArcGIS account.  GIS labs during the course will aid students in creating maps with multiple datasets/data layers from a variety of organizations. The link to your map must be uploaded in EC Learn by midnight on April 23, 2020

Strategic Options Paper

Strategic Options Paper and Oral Presentation Group Project:  You will work with one other person and write a short (1-2 page) strategic options paper in which your team examines and provides a framework of options to key stakeholders and political leaders on how a policy on reducing poverty and inequality can be put into practice in their respective gateway cities,   Your group's job is to present the facts and possible concrete solutions, not to write about the morality of the problem.  While the assignment may seem small, your group will soon discover the difficulties policymakers have in condensing large comprehensive research recommendations into a short, succinct format.  Remember, leaders, do not have the time to read through large research binders.  Your group will conduct a 3-5-minute presentation in class on your analysis and recommendations.  Presentations will be conducted and papers uploaded in EC Learn on March 19, 2020.  A peer review of the paper will be conducted in class on March 17th.

Oral Presentation Tips


Be engaging, passionate, natural and organized.

The best presentations are where members of groups play off each other in a way which it feels more like a conversation between the presenters than a lecture. Transitions should be smooth.

  • Watch your nonverbals: Do not hold up walls, hide behind podiums, fidget or stand like a T-rex with an awkward posture.
  • Ensure that what you are wearing does not take away from your message.
  • Engage your entire audience with eye contact.
  • Limit videos to less than 60 seconds.
  • Do not do death by PowerPoint. Use your PowerPoints for images and just a few key points. A picture is worth a thousand words if it is not buried in writing.
  • Memorize your presentation, only have a key few words or sentences on a piece of paper if anything. Do not read your speech!
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! You should be running through your presentations at least ten times as a group.
  • Project your voice! Do not be monotone. Speak at a natural pace
  • Ensure you have no hesitation or use filler words and, uh or ums, like, etc.
  • Do not use words that dilute your message, i.e., I think, I guess, kind of, sort of, like, maybe. To be honest, well, I mean….
  • Smile, you want to be here presenting (even if you do not).
  • Only give out handouts (if you choose to have them) after the presentation.
  • Have an opening that will engage and prepare the audience for the message.
  • Start with a question or comment that brings home the problem and makes it personal to the audience. i.e., How would you feel if your child could not play outside out of fear of being shot…. If you could help save a life through a few actions, would you do it… If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember this….
  • You can also use a quote, statistic, or a story that will relate directly to your message.
  • Briefly introduce your team.
  • I am ….
  • Begin with a Purpose: i.e., give a short overview of your message. Examples: Our objective today is to introduce… The purpose of our presentation is to…. Our mission is to identify three potential solutions that can reduce violence in Chicago, etc.

During your speech

  • Be clear and concise on each point. Do not use unnecessary words or bury your audience in the weeds.
  • Occasionally pose a question to the audience to ensure they are staying engaged.
  • Ensure your closure summarizes your points, i.e., In closing, I would like to reiterate three points…. Now that you have learned about….
  • Include a call to action in your closing, now that you have been educated on X, we hope you will…..
  • Thank them for their time and attention.
  • Are there any questions?
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