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Bryan · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2018
  • Section 430 CRN-10493
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/27/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 08/29/2018

Meeting Times

TIME: Tuesday and Thursday, 4:15 PM- 5:30 PM

ROOM: Building A, Room 106

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]
Office: Building A, Room 261

You may also contact me through Ecampus. 


Tuesday and Thursday- 9:00 AM-12 PM, 2:50-4:05 PM 


Matters may occasionally be handled in the classroom immediately before or after class time and, if necessary, we can move to a more secure location.

Appointments are available outside the normal scheduled time for office hours. Please see me to arrange a time that would be more beneficial to your schedule


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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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


Course Requirements

Quizzes: 100 points

Quizzing will be done in class. You must be in class on the day the quiz is given to receive any credit. There will be a total of 10 quizzes during the course, with each one worth up to 10 points. Each quiz is posted in the course schedule. A categorization of the chapters each quiz covers is as follows-

  • Quiz 1- Chapters 2 and 3
  • Quiz 2- Chapter 12
  • Quiz 3- Chapters 13 and 14
  • Quiz 4- Chapters 1 and 15
  • Quiz 5- Chapters 4 and 5
  • Quiz 6- Chapters 6 and 7
  • Quiz 7- Chapters 8 and 9
  • Quiz 8- Chapters 10 and 11
  • Quiz 9- Chapter 16
  • Quiz 10- Chapters 17 and 18

Exams: 500 points

There will be three (3) standard examinations covering specific sections of subject matter. Each of these exams will be worth a maximum of 100 points. The exams will be multiple choice questions taken from the textbook and lecture. The final exam will be worth 200 points and will be comprehensive. 

Use of another version/edition of the textbook other than the approved version is done at your own risk!

All tests will be done in class on the specified days. A categorization of the chapters each test covers is as follows:

  • Exam 1: Chapters 2, 3, 12, 13, 14
  • Exam 2: Chapters 1, 15, 4, 5
  • Exam 3: Chapters  6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
  • Final: Chapters 16, 17, 18, Comprehensive 

The chapters covered on each test are also available on the calendar section provided at the end of this syllabus.

The following applies to the classroom environment during all testing:

  • No books or notes are allowed during the tests.
  • No electronic devices may be used during the tests.
  • No sharing of answers or information with other students is allowed during the tests.
  • Nobody shall leave the room except in an emergency and only with the specific permission of the instructor.
  • If granted permission to leave the room during an exam, the student must turnover to the instructor any electronic device that may be in their possession.
  • All tests will be done in class on the specified days.
  • Note: The activities identified above, if violations of the testing requirements are carried out and discovered by the instructor, shall be considered cheating and result in a non-replaceable grade of 0 (zero) for the test. Stiffer penalties are in order for any repeat incident. No exceptions.          

Participation: 200 points

There will be a total of 20 participation point opportunities, including discussion activities, judicial simulations, discussion forums and written reflections. Each assessment is worth up to 10 points. Discussion forums are noted in the schedule. The discussion forum assignments will be due at 11:59 PM on the day they are due. All other participation points will be earned DURING class. In the event of a written assessment, while spelling and grammatical errors may not be strictly enforced, points will be deducted where the errors are so profound that they take away the instructor’s ability to comprehend the point being made.


Projects: 100 points

There will be two major projects, each worth 50 points. The first is an in class legislative simulation and reflection paper turned in during class. The second is a media bias project. You will find two different sources of the same news story, and compare and contrast them in a 1-2 page double spaced paper. An announcement in class in class will be made later to go over the project in more detail.

Review Session Groups: 100 points

You will receive your group assignments and the Group Assessment worksheet on the second day of class. Group 1 will present the review guide, located on Ecampus, for the first exam. Group 2 will do the same for the second, and Group 3 will do the same for the third. The purpose of this project is to give you the opportunity to teach the material, while at the same time providing an opportunity for your peers to review the material for the test. How your group goes about presenting and divvying up duties and questions is up to you. However, I recommend frequent communication to ensure your group receives full credit. Your will receive the full 100 points if-

  1. Your group demonstrates substantial knowledge in the material
  2. Your group communicates this knowledge in a clear and concise manner during the review session
  3. Your group turns in the Group Worksheet detailing the parts of the review the individuals assisted with

Points will be deducted from individuals who do not assist their group in completing this assessment. 


Extra Credit Policy

  • I provide three extra credit assignments throughout the semester. I will make announcements and update Ecampus when they are available. Each will be worth 10 points




Grades will be calculated as follows: Points earned are totaled on all the assignments and compared to the table below- there is a maximum of 1000 points (excluding bonuses):

900 points and over- Grade of 'A' and four (4) grade points

800-899 points- Grade of 'B' and three (3) grade points

700-799 points- Grade of 'C' and two (2) grade points

600-699 points- Grade of 'D' and one (1) grade point

Fewer than 599 points- Grade of 'F' and zero (0) grade points


A score will be provided on each graded exam, homework assignment, quiz, and project. This is for the specific purpose of providing the student a general idea on how they ranked on the common grading scale. Points are earned throughout the course and will be compared to the table above at the end of the term to determine the student’s grade. Do keep in mind that, while grades are rounded up at the .5 mark or greater, anything less remains in the lower grade category. For example, an 89.5% would be the equivalent of an ‘A’ after rounding up to a 90%.

If there are extenuating, documented circumstances, a grade of "I" may be assigned, following current Blinn policies. If a student withdraws (drops) from class a grade of "Q", "QP", or "QF" will be given, depending on the date of the student's withdrawal and their current grade. Note: There may be occasions when points will be added to a student's grade to reward actions above expectations. 

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


Students are expected to attend class.  It is the student’s responsibility to see the instructor concerning absences.  Students will NOT be dropped from the course by the instructor.  If a student chooses to drop the course, it is the student’s responsibility to do so at the Office of Admissions and Records.  Failure to do so will result in a grade of “F” for the course.

You must be present in class the day of the scheduled classroom day.  You must answer roll call or sign in on the sign-in sheet to be counted as present. You will be considered tardy if you sign in after class is scheduled to begin, unless arrangements have been previously made with the instructor. Depending on consistency, you may lose grade points for being tardy.

It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor of any known absence in advance. If an unexpected absence does occur, it is expected of the student to contact the instructor at the earliest possible time to inform them of their situation.

Students are not allowed to leave the class without first informing the instructor. An early departure, without instructor approval, will be treated in the same manner as a tardy.

Course Work

The instructor will provide specific information on how homework assignments are to be completed and the deadline for their completion. It is the student’s responsibility to keep themselves mindful of all approaching dates related to class events.

Late assignments:  Assignments in class, just like assignments in the real world, are due according to the schedule.  All assignments are due as posted and announced by the Instructor in class. Consequences for substandard performance are experienced in the real world, and will be enforced in the classroom. Therefore, if the instructor accepts late work, it will receive a grade of no higher than B. Please do not belabor this point. It is fair to assume work done well and in a timely manner should get a higher grade than work that does not meet the deadline.

Make-up Policy: If students wish to make up their assessment they must do the following- 1.) Email me BEFORE you miss. 2.) Schedule a time with me during my office hours within ONE WEEK of the missed date. If less than a week before exam over material you must come in before that test. If you cannot make my office hours, I will work with you to schedule a time to come in. 3.) Come in to my office, you will perform a make-up assignment. Documentation may be requested at the discretion of the instructor.

Classroom Etiquette  

Students are expected to clean-up after themselves at the end of each class if they bring food.

Cellular phones and pagers must be turned on silent before entering the classroom. If you are expecting an emergency call or text, please let me know.

Laptops are allowed for purposes of taking notes and performing research tasks. They are not to be used for extra-curricular activities not directly associated with course subject matter and permitted by the instructor.

Devices used for the purpose of recording lectures will be authorized if arrangements are made with the instructor in advance. Any unauthorized recording may be considered a violation of classroom etiquette policy as well as intellectual property rights.

Blinn College does not tolerate cheating, plagiarism or collusion.  Procedures for dealing with these acts are outlined in the Scholastic Dishonesty Policy.

As you can see by the Schedule section below, there will be firm due dates for each section of course material.

Any material not completed by the test date will be assigned a grade of 0 (zero). Once a section has expired, further work associated with that section will not be allowed unless specifically authorized by the instructor.

Be prepared to take notes on lectures. Lectures are key to successful grades on the exams and course completion.




Date Material Covered Assignment Due Contact Hours
28-Aug Syllabus    
30-Aug Chapter 2: The Founding and the Constitution Participation Assessment 1 3
4-Sep Chapter 2: The Founding and the Constitution/ Chapter 3: Federalism    
6-Sep Chapter 3: Federalism/Chapter 12: Congress Participation Assessment 2, Quiz 1 3
11-Sep Chapter 12: Congress Legislation Simulation  
13-Sep Chapter 13: The Presidency Participation Assessment 3, Quiz 2 3
18-Sep Chapter 13: The Presidency, Chapter 14: Bureacracy in a Democracy    
20-Sep Chapter 14: Bureacracy in a Democracy, Review Session 1 Participation Assessment 4, Quiz 3, Group 1 Review Presentation 3
25-Sep Exam 1    
27-Sep Chapter 1: American Political Culture/Chapter 15: The Federal Courts   3
2-Oct Chapter 15: The Federal Courts/ Chapter 4: Civil Liberties Participation Assessment 5 (Discussion Forum)  
4-Oct Chapter 4: Civil Liberties Quiz 4 3
9-Oct Chapter 4: Civil Liberties/Chapter 5: Civil Rights Participation Assessment 6  
11-Oct Chapter 5: Civil Rights Participation Assessment 7 (Discussion Forum) 3
16-Oct Chapter 5: Civil Rights/Review Session 2 Participation Assessment 8, Quiz 5, Group 2 Review Session  
18-Oct EXAM 2   3
23-Oct Chapter 6: Public Opinion    
25-Oct Chapter 6: Public Opinion, Chapter 7: The Media Particiaption Assessment 9 3
30-Oct Chapter 7: The Media, SPECIAL HALLOWEEN LESSON Participation Assessment 10 (Discussion Forum), Quiz 6  
1-Nov Chapter 8: Political Participation/Chapter 9: Political Parties Participation Assessment 11 (Disucssion Forum) 3
6-Nov Chapter 9: Political Parties/Chapter 10: Campaigns and Elections Participation Assessment 12, Media Bias Assignment Due  
8-Nov Chapter 10: Campaigns and Elections Participation Assessment 13, Quiz 7 3
13-Nov Chapter 11: Groups and Interests Participation Assessment 14  
15-Nov Chapter 11: Groups and Interests/Review Session 3 Participation Assessment 15, Quiz 8, Group 3 Review Session 3
20-Nov EXAM 3    
27-Nov Chapter 16: Government and the Economy Participation Assessment 16 (Discussion Forum)  
29-Nov Chapter 16: Government and The Economy/Chapter 17: Social Policy Participation Assessment 17 (Discussion Forum)/ Participation Assessment 18 (Discussion Forum) 3
4-Dec Chapter 17: Social Policy/Chapter 18: Foreign Policy Participation Assessment 19 (Discussion Forum), Quiz 9  
6-Dec Chapter 18: Foreign Policy/Final Review Participation Assessment 20, Quiz 10 3
11-Dec FINAL EXAM   3