Fall 2019 - GERO 101 D100

Aging and Society (3)

Class Number: 9413

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 2205, Vancouver

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2019
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    HCC 1315, Vancouver



Introduces the social, psychological, and physical dimensions of aging. Largely based on the Canadian context, but will also include international research and knowledge. Students who have taken GERO 300 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Stories and myths about aging abound in the media and in popular culture and many of them are contradictory and do not align with your personal experience. If societies are under threat of economic collapse from the “Silver Tsunami”, why does everyone in your family still rely on your grandparents for financial assistance? Are older people frail and living in long-term care or are they participating in the Senior Olympics and living in their own homes, happier than they have been for most of their lives? Whether you just want to know what’s in store for you or older family members as they age, or you are thinking about taking a Gerontology minor, Aging and Society is the course for you! Gerontology is a multidisciplinary social science that draws on evidence from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, geography, psychology, health services research and architecture to understand how we perceive the process of growing older and how society responds to the issues and challenges of aging. We will focus primarily on the Canadian context, but will also include international research and knowledge. The first part of the course provides students with different ways of looking at aging as a demographic phenomenon, as a social construct that varies by time and place and as a component of diversity, intersecting with race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and health. Subsequent units examine issues of work and retirement, housing and living arrangements, health care, caregiving, and death and dying. We will explore these topics through a dynamic combination of lecture and discussion, assigned readings and documentary or fictional depictions of the aging process (e.g., Apted’s ‘Up’ series that has followed 14 individuals every 7 years since 1964; the comedy TV series, ‘Grace and Frankie’). Assignments are designed to build the student’s capacity to think, read, write and critically and to generate sound research papers.


1.      Understand the processes and issues linked to the later stages of the human life cycle;
2.      Develop an appreciation of the psychological, social, political, and economic aspects of an aging population;
3.      Provide a critical view of stereotypes and public perspectives on aging;
4.      Demonstrate the multidisciplinary characteristics of gerontological inquiry
5.      Develop incrementally students’ capacity to write a critical research paper Foster an appreciation of the joy of learning


  • Class participation: Online and in-class components, including no-stakes in-class self-graded quizzes (are you on track?) 17%
  • Copyright and plagiarism quizzes: Three quizzes, each associated with copyright and plagiarism tutorials (What separates research from plagiarism? Clarifying the grey zone) 3%
  • Research Paper – developmental approach (see evaluation philosophy, below) 55%
  • Final Exam: Short answer and essay questions 25%


Evaluation philosophy Evaluation in this course is based on the following premise: “Feedback is a process in which learners make sense of information about their performance and use it to enhance the quality of their work or learning strategies”[1] and aligns with the goal of building students capacity to write critical research papers. The grade assigned to the research paper is therefore distributed across multiple small tasks that build the skills necessary to complete a critical research paper as the final product. The instructor will assess which components we need to include relative to the existing skillset of the students in this class. Components may include summarizing versus analyzing papers, recognizing trends across different papers, citing sources, developing a thesis statement, creating a paper outline, etc. [1] http://newmediaresearch.educ.monash.edu.au/feedback/framework-of-effective-feedback/definition/



None – all readings will be uploaded to Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html