READ THIS SYLLABUS VERY CAREFULLY!
THEN READ IT AGAIN.
REFER TO IT OFTEN AND PAY ATTENTION TO ALL THE
Political Science 2201: American Politics
(Introduction to American Government)
Summer 2009 On-Line Course (Blackboard)
(Summer Session 2: June 29-July 31)
Professor Jeff Bosworth
Office: 206 Pinecrest
Phone: (570) 662-4762
Course Catalog Description:
An introductory course on the major institutions and processes of the US political system. Topics discussed
include the principles of governance, separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, civil rights and
liberties, and policymaking.
Complete Course Description:
This course is an introduction to the political system of the United States. As an introductory course, significant
attention is given to the definition of basic political science concepts. For majors and minors, this is an essential
building block for further study in this field; for non-majors, this course serves as an introduction to thinking
about politics and provides a substantive basis for expanding your knowledge of the US system.
In the first part of the course, we cover a brief overview of the political system and the historical development of
the country. Particular emphasis is placed on philosophical debates about the role and structure of government.
The second part of the course emphasizes US political institutions: Congress, the President, the judiciary and
bureaucracy. The third section assesses the political processes that take place within (and without) these
institutions: public opinion, the media, voting, elections, political parties, and interest groups. The final brief
section addresses the policymaking process.
Homeworks (14 @ 30 pts each) 420 42%
Online Quizzes (15 @ 20 pts each) 300 30%
Discussion Board (15 @ 10 pts each) 150 15%
Final Essay (100 pts) 100 10%
On-time points 30 3%
Total points 1000 100.0%
Edward S. Greenberg and Benjamin I. Page. 2009. The Struggle for Democracy (9 edition). NY:
Internet access (Blackboard)
Course Meeting Times:
This is a 5-week on-line course using Blackboard. Enrollment in the course will automatically enroll you in
Blackboard. Your work is graded on an ongoing basis. There are NO SPECIFIC times that you must be on
Blackboard. It is essential that you understand that YOU are responsible for learning in this course.
Grading Procedures and Assignments:
HOMEWORK QUESTIONS (420 points, 42% of course grade): There are 14 chapters in the textbook and a
handful of additional readings (such as the US Constitution). Each homework consists of one or two short essay
questions in which you should expect to write about 400+ words (if there is only 1 question, I expect 400+
words; if two questions, then 200+ words for each question).
Your answers to these questions should be based on your reading of the chapter (and any additional readings).
Your answers should also reflect your use of critical thinking skills, your ability to support an argument or idea,
and your writing ability. DO NOT QUOTE FROM THE READINGS IN YOUR ANSWERS! These are relatively
short writing assignments and you need to use your own words. I expect that you will use information from the
textbook and/or assigned readings in your answers, but there is no reason to quote the textbook directly. In
addition, be VERY CAREFUL about using your own words—do not plagiarize from the text sources (see the
plagiarism section below). Using your own words demonstrates to me that you truly understand the concept or
argument—using words from the book/readings is something a monkey could do.
In general, you will find a 30/30 (A+ superior work) is difficult to earn. However, any serious attempt will likely get
at least 15 points.
When you complete a homework assignment, email me the assignment as an attachment in Word or RTF. If
you have problems with attachments, you may cut/paste the assignment directly into the email.
READING QUIZZES (150 points, 15% of course grade): There are 15 online quizzes to take over the five weeks
of this course. There is one quiz for each chapter of the textbook and one quiz on the US Constitution. Each
quiz is worth 10 points toward your grade.
Each quiz consists of 10 multiple choice questions drawn from the textbook chapter (or the US Constitution).
You are limited to 15 minutes for each quiz, although you are free to use your book and any notes while you
complete the quiz. Please note that I STRONGLY recommend that you actually READ the chapter BEFORE
taking the quiz. If you have a computer problem while taking a quiz, please email me right away. I recommend
that you use Microsoft Explorer as your browser—it seems to work better for the online quizzes.
Note that the first 14 quizzes correspond to the 14 assigned chapters in the textbook. You may take the quizzes
at any time, but pace yourself—don’t take all the quizzes at once! You have only 1 chance at each of the 14
chapter quizzes. The 15 quiz covers the US Constitution, which you are expected to read and study. The US
Constitution quiz is the ONLY quiz which may be taken multiple times. I suggest that you try it at the beginning,
see how you do, and then re-take it until you get a score you can live with.
BLACKBOARD DISCUSSIONS (150 points, 15% of course grade): There are 14 discussion forums available
on Blackboard that correspond to each of the 14 textbook chapters. The 15 discussion forum revolves around
current US politics. Within each discussion forum, I have posted questions (threads)—simply hit reply and type
Each discussion forum is graded on a 10-point scale. In general, a “quality” post is at least a good paragraph in
length (i.e., more than 3 sentences!) that displays at least a modicum of critical thought. You may, in addition,
return to a forum to add additional posts (such as replies to the comments of others), which will be added to
your grade (not to exceed the 10 possible points per forum). Please note that you are encouraged to at least
begin making posts sooner rather than later—if y’all wait until the last minute, you won’t have much to respond
to (and someone will need to go first!).
Do NOT engage in personal attacks against other students. Politics fundamentally involves debates and
differences of opinion. Treat others with the same respect that you expect. You are free (and encouraged) to
post your opinions, but you need to support your opinions.
FINAL ESSAY (100 points, 10% of course grade): The instructions for the final essay are posted on Blackboard
(under week 5). In brief, you are to write a 4 page paper about what you feel is the greatest disadvantage and
the greatest advantage of the US political system (as a whole). This is due the last day of the class—Friday,
ON-TIME POINTS (30 points, 3% of course grade): this are points that I just give you if you complete the work
on the weekly basis suggested at the end of this syllabus. In an online course format, you have some degree of
flexibility about when you do the work for the class. However, you will find this course difficult if you try to
complete all the assignments in the last week in a desperate attempt to pass. Therefore, I will “give” you 30
points just for demonstrating consistency and a good work ethic. If you are “late” on the homework assignments,
quizzes, and/or discussion board postings, the only penalty is loss of some of these points.
Other Course Information and Policies:
CONTACTING ME FOR QUESTIONS OR HELP: If you have any questions about the course, please refer to
the syllabus and Blackboard as a first stop. 90% of emailed questions can be answered with a simple, “read the
syllabus.” If you do have a question, please email me. I will be travelling in Russia for the month of July (pretty
much the duration of this course), so there will be times where I will not have internet access for a couple days.
PLAGIARISM: This really, really, really ticks me off, so do your own work. If you plagiarize someone’s work, I
will fail you for the assignment, the entire course, and seek to have you expelled from the University.
All of your work should be your own! Having other people write your assignments is plagiarism. Copying
material directly without quotes is plagiarism. Note that changing a few words in a sentence is STILL plagiarism.
Taking someone else’s ideas without citation is plagiarism. Taking the online quizzes in groups is plagiarism (or
more technically cheating, but the penalty is the same).
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Any student who has a documented learning or physical disability must
contact me during the first week of classes if alternative arrangements for course requirements are necessary.
If you have any questions about available services, please contact Mr. William Chabala in Hemlock 100a.
GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS: This course may fulfill a General Education requirement for the
Social Science block. As specified in the Mansfield Catalog, General education outcomes include: critical
thinking, analytical thinking, and communication. Assignments may used for assessment of these outcomes.
Course Schedule and Assignments:
As this is an on-line course, you may complete the more or less at your own speed (ie, there is no set schedule).
Don’t forget to get your easy 30 points for completing the assignments by the following schedule below. If you
slack off for a week and then make it up later, you will lose some of the 30 points, but there is no other penalty.
Obviously, there is no penalty for working ahead.
WEEK 1 (ending Fri July 3)
Chapter 1 “Democracy and American Politics” (HW1, quiz1, discussion board ch1)
Chapter 2 “The Constitution”; Declaration of Independence; US Constitution (HW2, quiz2, discussion
Chapter 3 “Federalism” (HW3, quiz3, discussion board ch3)
WEEK 2 (ending Fri July 10)
Chapter 4 “The Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics” (HW4, quiz4, discussion
Chapter 5 “Public Opinion” (HW5, quiz5, discussion board ch5)
Chapter 6 “The News Media” (HW6, quiz6, discussion board ch6)
WEEK 3 (ending Fri July 17)
Chapter 7 “Interest Groups and Business Corporations” (HW7, quiz7, discussion board ch7)
Chapter 8 “Social Movements” (HW8, quiz8, discussion board ch8)
Chapter 9, “Political Parties” (HW9, quiz9, discussion board ch9)
Following Directions: 10 pts if you have all work for chapters 1-9 completed by 11:59pm Fri July 18.
WEEK 4 (ending Fri July 24)
Chapter 10 “Participation, Voting, and Elections” (HW10, quiz10, discussion board ch10)
Chapter 11 “Congress” (HW11, quiz11, discussion board ch11)
Chapter 12 “The Presidency” (HW12, quiz12, discussion board ch12)
WEEK 5 (ending Fri July 31)
Chapter 13 “The Federal Bureaucracy” (HW13, quiz13, discussion board ch13)
Chapter 14 “The Courts” (HW14, quiz14, discussion board 14)
Following Directions: 10 pts if you have all work for chapters 10-14 and final essay completed by
11:59pm Fri Aug 1.