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Distance Education · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2018
  • Section N30 CRN-10543
  • 3 Credits
  • 09/24/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 08/17/2018

Meeting Times

This is an internet class, which runs constantly (24/7) during the semester.

Because this is a 12-week class, the course will run at an “accelerated” pace.

Students will have assigned ending times for assignments throughout the course.

Each module (and assignment) will only be available for five days!

Contact Information

Instructor: Mr. Larry G. Salazar

I am available virtually through my ZOOM application weblink.

Zoom is a third-party software (that operates like Skype) that offers teleconferencing.

Since I am out of town, students can email me 24/7 or contact me via Zoom.

Office Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 7:15 AM to 7:45 AM, Virtual

If these times do not work, please let me know.


Government 2305 is a study of the organization, functions, and administration of the several branches and agencies of the national government, including a study of the federal constitution. The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of these subsystems. 48 contact hours. Credit: Three semester hours.


Student must be college reading ready according to Texas Success Initiatives Standards (TSI). Please see the Catalog section under Texas Success Initiative.

Core Curriculum Statement

Through the Texas Core Curriculum, students will gain a foundation of knowledge in human cultures and the physical and natural world, develop principles of personal and social responsibility for living in a diverse world, and advance intellectual and practical skills that are essential for all learning. For details relating to this core course, please see:


Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States.

Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system.

Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in both theory and practice.

Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.

Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system.

Analyze the election process.

Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics.




  • EDITION:   11E
  • ISBN:   9780393622850


Gideon's Trumpet

  • Author: Anthony Lewis
  • Publisher: Random House
  • ISBN: 0-679-72312-9

This book will be required for your final paper.

Course Requirements

Exams: There will be four required exams in this class (including the final exam). The first three exams will be non-cumulative and will be comprised of forty multiple-choice questions, chosen at random by the test. The fourth exam will be a "cumulative" final exam. It will be comprised of forty multiple-choice questions over unit four, chosen at random by the test. In addition, the final exam will include an additional ten multiple choice questions from previous exams. Test questions will come from the textbook and the learning units. To do well on the exams, you need to be familiar with both. Each exam will be worth fifteen percent of your final course grade, or sixty percent of your total course grade. You will have approximately two hours to complete each exam.

Quizzes: During the course of the semester, there will be five short chapter quizzes each comprised of five multiple-choice questions based off of the relevant material from the weekly learning unit. These are designed to get you to make sure that you comprehend the content — which is a vital part to ensuring your success on the exams. The quizzes will be at the end of the respective learning units when they are to be assigned. Each of these chapter quizzes will be worth three percent of your total course grade, or effectively, all of them will be worth another fifteen percent of your total grade in this course. You will have approximately fifteen minutes to complete each chapter quiz.

That’s worth the same as an exam grade. Yes, they are that important!

Discussion Board: A portion of your grade will be based off of occasional discussion postings that will be given on Blackboard that will allow each student an opportunity to discuss his or her opinion more thoroughly. These postings might be from something in the lecture material or something entirely abstract that relates to the material being discussed. Information provided with sources will be highly encouraged and given potential “bonus” points. Otherwise, opinions will suffice for the most part, but please consider your answer carefully for each discussion posting. While only one posting will be required to satisfy the requirement for the grade, multiple posts throughout the week are highly encouraged. While these are designed to encourage discussion among classmates, they should NOT turn into an argument. The discussion boards will be worth three percent each, combining for fifteen percent of your total course grade.

That’s worth the same as an exam grade. Yes, they are that important!

Final Paper: Your final assignment of the semester will be to read Gideon's Trumpet, the historical novel that follows the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). You will need to read the book in its entirety and then write a response paper, based on the book. The instructions and writing prompt are listed in a separate tab online. Once completed, students will turn in the final paper to Dropbox to submit the assignment. (It will be checked for cheating and plagiarism through Turnitin, so please write your own work!) The final paper will be worth ten percent of your final course grade. More to the point, that means: if you do not do the final paper, you cannot receive an "A" in the course!

Reading Assignments: While this is not an official part of your final course grade, you should keep up with the weekly textbook reading in order to do well in this course! The chapters that you are to read (in your textbook and online) are listed in the learning units. You will have the entire week to read the material, familiarize yourself with the relevant chapters in the textbook, and learn the material accordingly. The purpose of assigning reading in the textbook is to help you to better follow the learning units and to allow you ample time to ask questions on aspects that you are unsure about along the way. Most importantly, please do not skip or skim any of the weekly readings!



Grade Breakdown:

Exam 1:                                   15%                            A = 90-100

Exam 2:                                   15%                            B = 80-89

Exam 3:                                   15%                            C = 70-79

Exam 4:                                   15%                            D = 60-69

Quizzes (5 @ 3%):                  15%                            F = 59 or less

Discussion Board (5 @ 3%)   15%                             W = as appropriate

Final Paper:                            10%                             I = as appropriate                  



Too frequently, students wait until the end of the semester to try to rectify poor grades received throughout the term. I am here to help, so utilize me. However, once all the grades are said and done, there is not much that I can do. But if you get with me earlier in the semester, chances are that grades can be rectified. Remember, there is no stupid question!

Blinn College Policies

All policies, guidelines, and procedures in the Blinn College CatalogBlinn College Board Policies, and the Blinn College Administrative Regulations are applicable to this course.

Specific information on civility, attendance, add/drop, scholastic integrity, students with disabilities, final grade appeal, alternative retailers, campus carry and proctoring arrangements and cost.

Notice of any action taken under these protocol and procedures, by Blinn College or its employees, may be delivered by hand, through the U.S. Postal Service, or electronically to the student’s Blinn Buc e-mail account. Notice shall be deemed received upon actual receipt, on deposit in the U.S. Mail, or upon entering the information processing system used by Blinn College for Blinn Buc e-mail accounts, whichever first occurs.

Course Policies


Too frequently, students wait until the end of the semester to try to rectify poor grades received throughout the term. I am here to help, so utilize me. However, once all the grades are said and done, there is not much that I can do. But, if you get with me earlier in the semester, chances are that grades can still be rectified.

Remember, there is no stupid question!

Late Work and Make-Up Work Policies:

Late quizzes will not be allowed for any reason. You can only take exams early if you have an approved absence in advance. Early exams will be given at an agreed upon date, time, and location between the instructor and student. You cannot take an exam after the learning unit has expired, unless it is approved by me in advance in writing (email). In the event that this occurs, you must have a copy of an email granting you permission to do so, before you will be given the exam. Therefore, if you cannot take and complete the exam when it is given to the entire class, you will have to take a Make-Up Exam on your own time during the week before finals week. You will need to contact the instructor to receive a password to access the Make-Up Exams. You may NOT have more than one make-up exam. Finally, all make-up exams will be comprised of two essay questions from the respective section that you missed. So, please don’t miss an exam!


You must complete every assignment at the end of all learning units. (Every learning unit will end with either a quiz, discussion board, or an examination.) Each assignment's due dates are listed on the title page of each learning unit as well as on the syllabus. Not knowing when an assignment is due is NOT a valid excuse for non-completion!

If you do not complete any assignment, you will be submitted to Blinn as having "missed" one week's worth of classes. At that point, you will be required to meet with me regarding why you missed the assignment before you will be allowed to continue in the course further. If you have two such weeks, you are subject to being dropped from the course, according to the Blinn Attendance Policy. Please keep in mind, that if the second missed assignment occurs after the "Q" drop date, your grade will be officially recorded as a "QF."

Important Dates for 12-Week Courses (Fall 2018):

9/24: 12-Week Classes Begin

9/25: 12-Week Classes Dropped for Non-Payment (Regular)

10/4: Day of Record / 12-Week Classes Dropped for Non-Payment (Add/Drop)

10/9: Last Day to Receive 70% Credit for Dropped Classes

10/12: Last Day to Receive 25% Credit for Dropped Classes

11/30: Last Day to Drop

12/7: Last Class Day

12/14: Grades Due by 5PM



Week / Class Cancellations


Reading(s) for the Week

 Assignments, Quizzes, & Exams


September 24 - September 28


Syllabus / Meet Your Instructor

Ginsberg Chapter 1


Log onto Blinn eCampus /

 Introduce Yourself


September 29 - October 3


Ginsberg Chapter 2


Quiz# 1


October 4 - October 8


Ginsberg Chapter 3


Discussion Board# 1


 October 9 - October 13


Review for Exam# 1


Exam# 1:

Chapters 1, 2, & 3 of Ginsberg


October 14 - October 18


Ginsberg Chapter 6

& Ginsberg Chapter 7



Discussion Board# 2


October 19 - October 23



Ginsberg Chapter 9

& Ginsberg Chapter 11


Quiz# 2




October 24 - October 28 


Ginsberg Chapter 8

& Ginsberg Chapter 10



Quiz# 3



 October 29 - November 2


Review for Exam# 2



Exam# 2:

Chapters 6, 7, 8 , 9, 10, & 11 of Ginsberg



November 3 - November 7


Ginsberg Chapter 12



Discussion Board# 3



 November 8 - November 12


Ginsberg Chapter 13



Quiz# 4


 November 13 - November 17




Ginsberg Chapter 15


Discussion Board# 4



November 18 - November 22



Review for Exam# 3


Exam# 3:

Chapters 12, 13, & 15 of Ginsberg



November 23 - November 27


Ginsberg Chapter 4 (in part)


Quiz# 5




November 28 - December 2


Ginsberg Chapter 4 (in part)


 Discussion Board# 5 


December 3- December 7


Ginsberg Chapter 5


(Optional) Course Evaluations

& Make-Up Exams


December 8 - December 13


Review for Exam# 4


Cumulative Final Exam:


Chapters 1-13, 15 of Ginsberg


Final Exam & Paper Due:

 (Thursday, December 13th by 5:00PM!)