Syllabus: UConn’s Introduction to the Co-Operative Movement: History, Philosophy & Prospects for the Future

“This course provides an introduction to the modern cooperative movement. (More than 800 million people around the world are members of co-operatives, including an estimated 1 in 4 Americans) Our goal is to acquaint students with the historical context and philosophical ideas that gave rise to co-operation; the evolution of the co-operative enterprise; comparative co-operative models and practice; the relevance of the co-operative alternative to modern economic and social issues such as globalization, climate change and the financial crisis; and case studies in co-operative business. Specific co-ops will be examined, with a focus on the ways they have worked to address community needs, create change, and support economic development”.

Syllabus – Spring 2010
GS 3088 – Variable Topics – Introduction to the Co-Operative Movement:
History, Philosophy & Prospects for the Future

Excluding textbooks, the information on this syllabus is subject to change.  For the most up-to-date syllabus, check this site on the first day of classes. 

 Course Information

Course Title: Variable Topics – Introduction to the Co-Operative Movement: History, Philosophy & Prospects for the Future (GS 3088)
Credits: 3
Instructor: Erbin Crowell

E-mail: erbin.crowell_iii@uconn.edu

For special permission to register for this course, contact ccsonline@uconn.edu. Include your Peoplesoft ID number and reason for taking the course.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the modern cooperative movement. (More than 800 million people around the world are members of co-operatives, including an estimated 1 in 4 Americans) Our goal is to acquaint students with the historical context and philosophical ideas that gave rise to co-operation; the evolution of the co-operative enterprise; comparative co-operative models and practice; the relevance of the co-operative alternative to modern economic and social issues such as globalization, climate change and the financial crisis; and case studies in co-operative business. Specific co-ops will be examined, with a focus on the ways they have worked to address community needs, create change, and support economic development.

Course Objectives

By the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Explain the origins of the modern co-operative movement and the evolution of the co-operative identity, principles and values.
  2. Describe the different forms of co-operative enterprise and the needs and purposes they attempt to address.
  3. Relate modern social and economic challenges to the rise of the modern co-operative movement.
  4. Communicate why or why not the co-operative model represents a viable alternative to capitalist, state socialist and other economic approaches.
  5. Describe examples of successful co-operative economies.
  6. Illustrate how the co-operative model can be applied to challenges of the modern economy.
  7. Apply the concepts of a co-operative economy to modern economic and social challenges.

Course Requirements and Grading

Summary of Course Grading
This course will be graded out of a total of 1000 points as follows:

  Course Components

Points

Percentage

Online Discussions

200

20%

Shared Statements

200

20%

Individual Mid-term Paper

250

25%

Individual Final Project

350

35%

 

 

 

TOTAL

1000

100%

Online Discussions: Each of the seven modules contains at least one (1) discussion topic based on the module content and/or assigned readings. Some of the discussions will be in small groups, while others will be among the class as a whole. Much of your learning in the course will come from module discussions; therefore, your module discussion grades are based on the quality and thoroughness of both your initial postings and your subsequent responses to your classmates’ postings. Within the course, each discussion topic explains your expected role and outlines the grading criteria. All posting should be carefully edited and well organized. The deadlines for completing each discussion activity are listed in HuskyCT’s Calendar tool.

Shared Statements : You will have to opportunity to work in small groups on four (4) shared statement activities. These papers should be short, between 2-4 double-spaced pages each. These joint paper activities allow you to collaborate on assignments, balance different opinions, build on ideas and input from others, and create a shared perspective/shared statement. Each small group’s shared statement will be posted to the class. Specific requirements and expectations for these shared statements will be outlined in the course. The deadlines for completing each shared statement activity are listed in HuskyCT’s Calendar tool.

Individual Mid-Term Paper: This is an individual assignment requiring you to write a 3-4 page double-spaced mid-term paper. The mid-term paper requires you to explore what you personally find most compelling about co-operative values and principles, while also identifying ways co-operatives could be improved. Specific details for this assignment will be outlined in the course. The deadline for the mid-term paper is listed in HuskyCT’s Calendar tool.

Individual Final Project: The individual final project allows you to synthesize the learning in the course into a 10 page (or more) double-spaced project. You have three (3) options for your final project:

  • Option 1: Conduct an in-depth exploration of a specific co-op or co-operative system and its relevance to contemporary economic, social or ecological concerns
  • Option 2: Write a proposal for a new program for an existing co-op that will help it achieve its mission, or
  • Option 3: Write a proposal for a co-operative enterprise or group that would address a current community challenge.

Students will present their individual final project ideas to the class and receive feedback. The final projects will be graded by the instructor. Specific requirements and expectations for the final project will be outlined in the course. The deadline for completing the final project is listed in HuskyCT’s Calendar tool.

Final Course Grade
The final course grading scale is as follows:

Grade

Letter Grade

GPA

93-100

A

4.0

90-92

A-

3.7

87-89

B+

3.3

83-86

B

3.0

80-82

B-

2.7

77-79

C+

2.3

73-76

C

2.0

70-72

C-

1.7

67-69

D+

1.3

63-66

D

1.0

60-62

D-

0.7

<60

F

0.0

You are responsible for acting in accordance with the Student Code, available at http://www.dosa.uconn.edu/student_code.cfm?from=im&fn=Judicial%20Affairs 

Course Policies

Course Communication and Etiquette

At all times, course communication with fellow students and the instructor are to be professional and courteous. If you are new to online learning, you may want to look at this guide titled, The Core Rules of Netiquette.

It is expected that you proof read all your written communication in the course, including discussion posts, assignment submissions, and mail messages. Incorrect spelling and grammar will be penalized when course work is graded.

Course Due Dates

The Calendar tool in HuskyCT lists the course’s important due dates and details the course schedule. All course deadlines are based on Eastern Time; if you are in a different time zone, adjust your submittal times accordingly.

Instructor Availability

I will check into the course frequently, once a day during weekdays at the beginning of the course and on average once every two days after that. If I expect to be away due to illness, travel or family obligations, I will make every attempt to notify you in advance. If you need to discuss an issue with me individually, please use the Mail tool within HuskyCT.

Feedback and Grades

I will make every effort to provide feedback and grades in a timely manner. To keep track of your performance in the course, use the MyGrades tool. In addition, the Assignments and Assessments tools have their own grading feedback mechanisms.

Students with Disabilities

Students needing special accommodations should work with the University’s Center for Students with Disabilities . You may contact the Center by calling (860) 486-2020 or by emailing csd@uconn.edu . If your request for accommodation is approved, an accommodation letter will be provided. Please present your official letter to the instructor as soon as possible so special arrangements, as appropriate, can be made. (Note: Student requests for accommodation must be filed each semester.)

The University of Connecticut’s online course management system, HuskyCT, is a product of Blackboard, Inc. “Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility levels using two sets of standards; Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued from the United States federal government and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).” (Retrieved December 1, 2008 from http://www.blackboard.com/company/accessibility.aspx).

Course Materials

Required Course Materials:

  • Birchall, J . (1997). The International Co-operative Movement . Manchester University Press. To be purchased through the UConn Co-op as part of the Course Reader.

  • Cropp, R . & Zeuli, K . A. (2004). Cooperatives: Principles & Practices in the 21st Century. Board of Regents of the University Wisconsin System: Madison, WI. PDF link to be provided through HuskyCT.

  • Course Reader. Supplementary papers and articles. To be purchased though the UCONN Co-op.

All other required course readings are available via the Internet or linked within HuskyCT.

Software Requirements

Your Internet browser and browser settings need to be HuskyCT compatible.
See Settings. 

Course Outline

Module 1 – Introduction to the Co-operative Movement
Module 2 – Early Co-operation
Module 3 – The Growth & Development of the Co-operative Identity
Module 4 – Modern Co-operatives
Module 5 – Co-operative Economies
Module 6 – Modern Challenges & Opportunity
Module 7 – The Promise of Co-operation

Evaluation of the Course

Students will be provided an opportunity to evaluate instruction in this course using the University’s standard procedures, which are administered by the Office of Institutional Research.

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