Fall 2017

Class: Tuesdays 11:45 a.m. – 1:40 p.m. and Thursdays 12:50 – 1:40 p.m. in Anderson Hall 0034





Monika Ardelt, Ph.D.

Wanlu Shi, MA


3350 Turlington

3357 Turlington





Office Hours:

T, Th 1:45-2:45 p.m. and by appointment

M, W 1:00-2:00 p.m.




Course Content


How and why do we age? Is old age necessarily a period of decline? What are the benefits of old age? Why is it important to study aging? How is individual aging related to the structure of society? What are the problems of an aging society? These and other questions are the topic of this course. We will examine aging from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, social demography, history, biology, the medical sciences, and economics. In particular, we will start by studying aging from a developmental or life course perspective. Then we will discuss health care for the elderly and issues of death and dying. We will end the course with a social and economic outlook for an aging society.


Required Reading


·         Moody, Harry R. and Jennifer R. Sasser. 2018. Aging. Concepts and Controversies. 9th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

·         See also the Online Appendix available through the publisher’s Web site at that includes self-quizzes, e-flashcards, additional readings, and web resources and activities.

·         Course packet (abbreviated as “CP” in the reading list) available at Target Copy (1412 West University Avenue right next to Chipotle Restaurant; Phone: 352-376-3826;


Recommended Reading


Ram Dass. 2001. Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying. New York: Riverhead Books.




Readings and Class Participation: An interaction between students and instructor will be the basis of most classes. Hence, it is absolutely essential that you read the assigned material in advance so that you are able to participate in class discussions.


Discussion Questions: For each of the ten controversies that we will discuss in class, you will prepare one or more questions on the issue at hand and write down possible answers to those questions or issues that should be considered when attempting to debate the controversy, referring back to the readings on the controversy in the Moody textbook. You need to mention the authors of at least two of the controversy readings from the Moody book in your discussion of the controversy and highlight the names (e.g., According to Rowe and Kahn, successful aging is defined as … . Yet, Erikson et al. state that old age might have special meaning because …), but you do not need to cite the references. On the day when the particular controversy is discussed in class, you are encouraged to ask your question(s) to stimulate class discussions. You will receive 1 point per Q&A submission if you write at least 300 words that were not copied verbatim from the Moody book or course packet AND mention the authors of at least two of the readings. Answers that only repeat what can be found in the course packet or the Moody book will not count.

Q&A entries for each controversy should be submitted via e-Learning in Canvas after the file has been saved either as a Word document (*.doc or *.docx) or as a rich text format (*.rtf) file. I will not be able to download, read, and grade any other file format. The deadline for submission is before class on the day the respective Q&A submission is due. For general information about e-Learning in Canvas visit


To submit your MS Word file or *.rtf file in e-Learning, go to the University of Florida e-Learning Support Services home page at (bookmark this page). To sign into e-Learning in Canvas, click on the “e-Learning in Canvas” link using your assigned Gatorlink username and password. If you do not have a Gatorlink ID or if you cannot remember your Gatorlink login information, go to the Gatorlink website at <> or to the CIRCA Help Desk in the Hub (phone: 392-HELP) for assistance.


After you have successfully logged into e-Learning, you will be taken to your Dashboard, which will help you to navigate through Canvas. For further assistance please contact e-Learning Support Services at (352) 392-4357 or email:


To submit a Q & A entry via e-Learning, navigate to our course and click on Assignments in the menubar. Assignments can be displayed in the order they are due or by type. Do the following to submit a Q & A entry:

Step 1: Click the Q & A entry you want to submit.

Step 2: Click on the “Submit Assignment” link.

Step 3: To upload your file, click the Choose File button. Browse for a file to upload.

Step 4: Check “This assignment submission is my own, original work”

Step 5: Click Submit Assignment when you are done. After you have submitted your work, you will see information in the Sidebar about your submission. If you choose, you may resubmit another version of your assignment using the Re-submit Assignment link.


To view your grades, click on Gradebook in the menubar.


Attendance: Attendance of class is required because non-attendance by several students at a time will destroy the dynamic of the class. If you attend class regularly (i.e., not more than 3 unexcused absences – for all or part of a class), you will be rewarded with 1 extra credit point that will be added to your grade at the end of the term!


Tardiness: If you arrive late to class, you will be marked as “absent.” In this case, it is your responsibility to let me know at the end of the class that you were actually present. Otherwise, I will count your tardiness as absent from class. Arriving late to class unexcused two times will be recorded as one absence.


Use of Electronic Devices: I request that you do NOT use any electronic devices, such as a laptop or cell phone, which might distract you during class. Even if you use a laptop for note-taking, the temptation will be too strong to go on the internet and leave the classroom mentally.


Debate Teams: At the beginning of the semester, I will divide the class into opposing debate teams. Each debate team will be responsible for presenting relevant material and leading the class discussion to support one side of one of the controversies introduced in the Moody book. Opposing debate teams will conduct one class session (50 minutes) on the controversy. The teams will research the issue at hand further by including material into the debate that is not already published in the Moody book. Each member of a team will contribute at least one additional empirical or theoretical aspect to the debate. The bibliography with the names of the presenters is due on the day of the class presentation. The particular format of the class session is open, but it is required that all members of a debate team actively participate, that they introduce several aspects of their side of the controversy, and that they involve the rest of the class in the discussion. Grading will be based on the quality of the actual class session and the quality of the material used to prepare for the debate, including the bibliography.


Interview Project: As a class project, you will conduct and analyze 30-minute qualitative interviews with two older adults, age 55 or above, every week for a total of 8 weeks over the course of the semester. Preferably, you should interview one of your older relatives and one nursing home or assisted living facility resident. Those interviews and analyses can be used as the basis of an optional individual or group term paper for extra credit that is due on November 28th before class. The term paper should be 8-10 pages long for an individual paper and 15-25 pages long for a group term paper (double spaced). Detailed instructions for the interview project and the term paper can be found in the course packet. We will talk about the interview project during the section on “Techniques for qualitative interviewing” and about the term paper during the week after the 2nd exam.


Cheating: I define copying parts or all of a written submission from an author or another student or allowing another student to copy parts or all of your written submission or exam as cheating.  

WARNING: Students who are caught cheating in this way will fail the class immediately!


UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code ( specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions.


Exams: There will be 3 online exams at a place of your choice. The first two exams will be on September 28th and November 2nd during regular class time. The third exam will be during Final Exam Week on December 15th between 10 p.m. and noon. All exams will consist of multiple choice questions and will be open-book (but not open discussion with another person). The exams will be based on the readings and material from class, including class discussions. The exams will not be comprehensive, i.e., they will cover only material presented in class or in the readings that were not covered by the previous exam(s).

I do not plan to give any make-up exams. If you should encounter or anticipate any difficulties, please come and see me early!







Questions for debates

Debate team

Interview project

Three exams

Term paper

% of Final Grade







Questions for debates

Debate team

Interview project

Three exams

% of Final Grade






Your grade will be calculated according to the formula of either Option 1 or Option 2, whichever results in a higher grade for you. 

Plus, you can earn 1 extra credit point that will be added to your final grade points if you did not miss unexcused all or part of class more than three times during the semester!


I will not grade on a curve, i.e. your grade will depend on your absolute performance, not your performance compared to other students.


The points that you will earn can be translated into letter-grades as follows:


92.5 - 100.0 = A

90.0 - <92.5 = A-

87.5 - <90.0 = B+

82.5 - <87.5 = B

80.0 - <82.5 = B-

77.5 - <80.0 = C+

72.5 - <77.5 = C

70.0 - <72.5 = C-

67.5 - <70.0 = D+

62.5 - <67.5 = D

60.0 - <62.5 = D-

          <60.0 = E


A WORD OF CAUTION: Keep in mind that the points you earn during the semester will determine your final grade. All assignments must be submitted by the due date and cannot be turned in after the end of the semester to improve your grade. Your actual total points at the end of the class will determine your grade. I will not round up points. Begging will be futile!


Note: This section is NOT a Writing Requirement section for the 24,000 word writing requirement.


Three Tips for Staying Awake in Class (and make class more interesting to you):

1.      Ask questions.

2.      If you feel yourself falling asleep, ask provocative questions. Challenge your professor.

3.      Read the assigned material before class to do #1 and #2.


For information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points, see


Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at:


Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open. Summary results of these assessments are available to students at


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565, by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodations. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.


Help with Writing: If you need help with writing, you can visit the University Writing Center ( in 302 Tigert Hall


Important phone numbers and contact information

University counseling services and mental health services: 392-1575 or

University Police Department: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies well-being is important to the University of Florida. The U Matter, We Care initiative is committed to creating a culture of care on our campus by encouraging members of our community to look out for one another and to reach out for help if a member of our community is in need. If you or a friend is in distress, please contact so that the U Matter, We Care Team can reach out to the student in distress. A nighttime and weekend crisis counselor is available by phone at 352-392-1575. The U Matter, We Care Team can help connect students to the many other helping resources available including, but not limited to, Victim Advocates, Housing staff, and the Counseling and Wellness Center. Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength.



Tentative Class Schedule




08/22 – 8/24

Differences between individual and population aging.   

Theories of aging

Pp. xxiii-xxxi

Pp. 8-13

08/29 – 08/31

A life course perspective on aging

Pp. 1-8 & 13-27


Volunteer orientation and techniques for qualitative interviewing.

CP: Qualitative Interviewing

09/05 – 09/12

Controversy 1: Does old age have meaning?
Q&A for Controversy 1 due!

Pp. 29-53

09/14 – 09/19

Controversy 3: Do intelligence and creativity decline with age?
Q&A for Controversy 3 due!

Pp. 97-131

09/21 – 09/26

Controversy 2: Is biological aging inevitable?
Q&A for Controversy 2 due!

Pp. 55-95


First exam: A life course perspective on aging.

Pp. xxiii-xxxi and 1-131

10/03 – 10/05

Aging, health care, and society  

Pp. 133-166

10/10 – 10/12

Controversy 4: Should we ration health care for older people?
Q&A for Controversy 4 due!

Pp. 167-198; CP: Callahan vs. Cassel, 2003; Kaufman et al., 2004

10/17 – 10/19

Controversy 5: Should families provide for their own?
Q&A for Controversy 5 due!

Pp. 201-233; Canvas: Small is Beautiful


Controversy 6: Should older people be protected from bad choices?
Q&A for Controversy 6 due!

Pp. 237-263

10/26 – 10/31

Controversy 7: Should people have the choice to end their lives?
Q&A for Controversy 7 due!

Pp. 265-295


Second exam: Aging, health care, and society

Pp. 133-295

11/07 – 11/09

Discussion of term paper.
Social and economic outlook for an aging society

Pp. 297-329

11/14 – 11/16

Controversy 8: Should age rather than need be the basis for entitlement?
Q&A for Controversy 8 due!

Pp. 331-359

11/21 – 11/28

Controversy 9: Should Social Security be privatized?
Q&A for Controversy 9 due!

Pp. 361-399


All sets of interview notes and (optional) term paper due!


11/30 – 12/05

Controversy 10: Is retirement obsolete?
Q&A for Controversy 10 due!

Pp. 401-440


Third exam (10 a.m. -noon):
Social and economic outlook for an aging society

Pp. 297-440

Note: All page numbers refer to Moody & Sasser. 2018. Aging. Concepts and Controversies. 9th Edition.