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Distance Education · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2018
  • Section N04 CRN-10487
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/27/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 08/26/2018

Meeting Times

This is an online distance education course.  It is open throughout the semester but there are assigned due dates for submitting assignments and tests.

In-person meetings at the Bryan campus can be arranged by appointment if necessary.

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Jason Smith

Office: A271 (Bryan Campus)

Office Phone:  979-209-8977 

Office Hours: MWF 10:00am-11:00am (A271), TR 10:30am-11:50am (Rellis 330)

Office Email: [email protected]


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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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



Ginsberg, Benjamin, Theodore J. Lowi, Margaret Weir and Caroline J. Tolbert. We The People: An Introduction To American Politics. New York: W.W. Norton, 2017 (11th edition). ISBN: 9780393622850 (special custom edition for Blinn College).

This is a special Blinn College edition of the textbook. You use any other version at your own risk.

Course Requirements

The student will take two (2) exams; one (1) midterm and one (1) cumulative final exam. In addition, each student will be required to complete ten (10) quizzes, the information for which will be derived from textbook readings.

Further, each student will complete six (6) homework assignments to reinforce key concepts in the course. In addition, students will write four (4) discussion forums throughout the course of the semester.

This is not a self-paced course, but rather there are hard deadlines for assignments. Assignments will not be accepted after the due date listed below without an excused absence. You may turn in assignments early.


Each student will complete three exams during the semester. Each exam will count for 25% of your grade. These exams will consist of 100 multiple-choice questions derived from the textbook chapters for each section of the course.

The final is cumulative consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions from all materials covered in the course. This final will count for 25% for your grade.


There are six (6) homework assignments for this course. These will be averaged to count for 15% of your final grade. These are to be completed without the assistance of your classmates. Failure to complete these assignments on your own will result in an ‘F’ for the course. NO EXCEPTIONS! These assignments must be typed into the forms available on eCampus. These assignments will be turned in electronically on the dates listed on eCampus. Please remember that you must cite all sources for all assignments. All assignments must be typed. Only .doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, .pdf file formats can be accepted for your submissions. You will be asked to resubmit improperly formatted assignments.


There is a quiz for every chapter in this course. Your highest ten (10) quizzes will be averaged to count for 20% of your final grade. These are to be completed at home without the assistance of your classmates. Failure to complete these assignments on your own will result in an ‘F’ for the course and possible expulsion from Blinn College. NO EXCEPTIONS! These assignments will be submitted on eCampus by midnight on the dates listed below. You are responsible for a reliable internet connection and proper time-management.


Four (4) discussion forums concerning topics covered in this course will be averaged to count for 15% of your final grade. More information concerning these forums will be available on eCampus. These forums must be 250 words in length covering questions posted by the instructor on eCampus. Students are required to respond to three (3) classmates’ initial posts in the discussion forum as part of the assignment. You must cite all sources for these discussions. 


Failure to complete a major assignment (quizzes or exams) will be marked as an unexcused absence. Accumulation of more than five (5) absences will result in you being dropped from the course.


The two exams (midterm and final) will account for 50% (25% each) of your grade. Quizzes will count for 15% of your grade. Essays will count for 15% of your grade. Homework assignments will count for 15% of your grade. Participation and attendance will count for 5% of your grade.

Grades will be assessed as follows:

A = 89.5 - 100  

B = 79.5 - 89.4 

C = 69.5 - 79.4 

D = 59.5 - 69.4

F = > 59.5


Please note that the grading scale already rounds up. An 89.5 becomes an ‘A’ and so forth. I will not curve final grades any more than this. 


Midterm exam


Final exam


Ten (10) quizzes


Four (4) discussion forums


Six (6) homework assignments


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

As this is an internet-based class, all assignments will be submitted through eCampus. The instructor is unable to provide technical assistance for the class. You must contact [email protected] to receive assistance. The sections end on the dates listed below. However, due dates for all assignments are posted on eCampus. Each new section of the course will open on the due date of the previous section. The course is available at all times (except in cases of software maintenance). Assignments will not be due on holidays, but the course can be accessed on these days.

Failure to complete a major assignment (quizzes or exams) will be marked as an unexcused absence. Accumulation of more than five (5) absences will result in you being dropped from the course.

The last day to drop this semester with a Q is November 30th.





Contact Hours

Section 1:

Chapter 1- American Political Culture

Four(4) Homework Assignments

Two (2) Discussion Forums

Nine (9) Quizzes 

Midterm - Due October 19th


August 27 - October 19

Chapter 2 - The Constitution


Chapter 3 - Federalism


Chapter 4 - Civil Liberties


Chapter 5- Civil Rights


Chapter 12 - Congress


Chapter 13 - Presidency

  Chapter 14 - Bureaucracy
  Chapter 15 - Courts
The last day to drop this semester with a Q is November 30th.   

Section 2:

Chapter 6 - Public Opinion

Two (2) Homework Assignments

Two (2) Discussion Forums

Nine (9) Quizzes 

Final Exam - Due December 12th




October 20th - December 12th Chapter 7 - Media
  Chapter 8 - Political Participation


Chapter 9 - Political Parties


Chapter 10 - Elections

  Chapter 11 - Interest Groups
  Chapter 16 - Government and the Economy


Chapter 17 - Social Policy


Chapter 18 - Foreign Policy and Democracy


Total Contact Hours



Please note: The exact daily schedule is subject to change. The above represents chapters/events scheduled for that section. There are separate due dates for the various assignments within each section. 

NOTE: The coursework listed above is consistent with the requirement of 48 contact hours.

NOTE: Online classes are aligned with their counterpart classes offered in all other modes – i.e. face-to-race lecture courses. They include the same objectives and learning outcomes. The Master Course Syllabus aligns course objectives and learning outcomes. Moreover, these are reviewed and verified through the division (using the Division Online/Blended Course Pre-Review Form) and through the Distance Learning Course Review Team procedures. Furthermore they conform to the guidelines established by Texas Administrative Code Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter A, Rule 4.6 (e).