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Distance Education · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2018
  • Section N02 CRN-10484
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/27/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 08/22/2018

Meeting Times

This is an online course. All assignments and exams will be delivered online through eCampus. You are not required to come to campus for any testing in this course.

Ecampus Link



Contact Information

Mr. Keith Carlson
Government Instructor, Blinn College
RM 408, Old Main - Brenham Campus
[email protected] (I constantly check email, so this is probably the most effective method in which to contact me, especially for an online course)
PH# 979-830-4381


Course Dates are August 27 - December 13, 2018.  

Office Hours Fall 2018
M 10:30am - 11:30am
W Noon - 1:00pm
TR 2:30pm - 3:30pm

I am available before and after classes by appointment. Also, students may email me at [email protected] with questions and concerns.




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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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

The student is responsible for keeping up with assigned readings and assignments.  The student will have required assignments that are to be accessed and completed through eCampus. 

I will divide up the course into the following sections: 

Section I: Foundations; American Political Culture and the Constitution

Section II: Politics; Interest Groups, Media, Public Opinion, Parties and elections, Participation and Voting

Section III: Institutions; Legislative, Executive/Bureaucracy and Judicial

Section IV: Policy; Economic, Social, Foreign

Section V: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties


Grades will be determined based on the following formula/breakdown:

Class Participation/discussion grades - 8 total = 25 points each or 200 points of total grade

Chapter Quizzes - 10 total = 25 points each or 250 points of total grade

Section exams - 5 total = 50 points each or 250 points of total grade (Major Grade)

Final exam = 200 points of total grade (Comprehensive) (Major Grade)

Evaluation of a student’s accomplishments in Government 2305 will consist of 10 chapter quizzes, 5 section exams, and a comprehensive final exam.  Participation and discussion by the student will also factor into the final grade.

All assignments will be administered online giving the student several days in which to decide when to take each quiz. Failure to complete the quizzes within the allotted time will count as a zero. There are no makeups for missed quizzes or exams.

There will be 8 participation/discussion grades which will influence the student’s overall grade. The participation/discussion grades will count towards over 20% of the total grade. These grades cover the reading materials or current events in the news.  No make-ups will be given for missed Discussion/participation grades.

Attendance during exams is mandatory.  Not taking the section exams or final exam will result in an exam grade of “0” for the student. Please review the absence policy below for further explanation of “excused” absences. These are the only excused absences I will accept in regards to offering a makeup exam. Any makeup exam granted will result in different content of the original exam you missed. Attendance and grades go hand in hand; missing class for any reason puts you, the student, at a distinct disadvantage. 

All quizzes and exams will consist of multiple choice. true or false and short answer questions.  Readings, quiz and test dates are explained below in the Course Calendar/Schedule.


Based on the assignments, the grades will breakdown as follows:
(Based on points)

A = 900-810
B = 809-730
C = 729-630
D = 629-540
F = 539-below

The grading scale is as follows:
(Based on percentages)

A = 100%-90%
B = 89-80
C = 79-70
D = 69-60
F = 59-50

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

Since this is an online course, failure to complete 4 assignments will constitute as “absences” from class and you can, at my discretion, be administratively withdrawn from class.

It is the student’s responsibility to officially drop a class he or she is no
longer chooses to attend. To officially drop a class the student must obtain the
class withdrawal form from Enrollment Services, complete the class
withdrawal form, secure the required signatures, and return the completed
form to Enrollment Services. The last day to drop this course with a Q
is November 30, 2018.

Assignment are divided into sections and you are responsible for the following assignments during each section. I only open assignments on the days listed on eCampus. While this is an online class, we are trying to mimic an actual face to face course in terms of interaction and assignments. (All starting and ending dates are listed on eCampus in the Content section of the course. Please review the Graded Assignments module for more information):

1. Read chapters and take notes, and review additional chapter study material (see end of each chapter for study guides and additional materials)

2. Complete assigned quizzes  (see calendar for due dates)

3. Answer the eight discussions and respond to at least two students per discussion with one response being to a student with whom you disagree.

4. Complete the Final exam at the end of course term.

ALL assignments are completed online, including the exams, and can be accessed through the CONTENT tab on Ecampus.  There are time periods for all assignments and once the time is up, you cannot complete the assignment and will receive a zero. All assignments are due by 10pm on the due date.

Quizzes, Section Exams and Final Exam: You may use your textbook and any notes you have created while completing these assessments. However, you may not use internet sources to search for answers to these test questions. These assessments are to be completed by YOU - not in collaboration with anyone else (collusion). Furthermore, use of any internet sources while completing the assessment will be considered cheating.

*Students must use Tegrity to proctor the final exam.. A link (Tegrity Proctoring for Students) for a tutorial for how to do this is included here in the syllabus (see Course Policies: Academic Integrity Policy). This link will also be provided in a link inside the Student eCampus Resources module in eCampus.



Discussion – 8 graded discussions will be posted. You are to write a detailed original essay on each
topic. Once the due date has passed, any posted responses will not be graded. The discussion board
is set up as POST FIRST so you must post your response to the discussion questions before you can
see other student’s responses. If you mistakenly post a message that does not include your response
to the questions, your response will not be graded because you then have access to other student’s
answers. Your response must be substantive in nature. That is, you must  respond with more than, "I
agree...I like your post, etc. Failure to respond to the minimum number of students will result in
a grade of zero. Also, just doing the minimum does not mean you will receive full credit. No
partial credit is given.

Each discussion is worth up to 25 points. The potential grading for each discussion breakout is:

Original post: Up to 15 points.
Each response: Up to 5 points each.

Remember if you only do the original post, you will receive ZERO points. If you only do the original post and and one response, you will receive ZERO points.

Final thoughts for written work:

• Your responses should be YOURS…not just reciting information you found on a website, the book, or from another student. If you are using material from other sources like the book or a website to support your argument, you need to provide proper citations within the text of your response.

• Each original posting must be at least 500 words in length – while quality of content is the primary factor considered in grading, I am also VERY picky on the length. If your posting does not meet the minimum of 500 words, it will not be graded and you will receive a zero for that assignment. Also, if you fail to respond to the minimum number of students (2), you will receive a zero. Each response should be no less than 150 words each. One of the responses to other students must be to someone with whom you disagree. You don't have to be mean about it. The point of these exercises are to create dialogue and discussion. Remember just because you do the minimum does not mean you will receive full credit. No partial credit is given.

•  Please check grammar and spelling before posting. I reserve the right to refuse to grade your written work if it is not grammatically correct so please review your written work before posting. Lack of punctuation or capitalization is important considering this is a college essay so I would suggest writing like you are in college!

• Finally, personal attacks of any kind or profanity will not be tolerated and will result in you
receiving a zero for the discussion question and response. You can disagree
with each other but please be respectful and realize that you will encounter different opinions and you need to respect everyone’s opinion even if you disagree. I encourage debate but please be respectful.



Chapter Quizzes:  25 minutes (you may use the text and the notes you take during readings)

Section Quizzes: 50 minutes

Discussion: open to answer during the unit which assigned and due dates in calendar and semester schedule in syllabus

Final Exam:  approximately 120 minutes to complete





Course Calendar

* Note; the instructor reserves the right to make changes to the following schedule as necessary. This calendar is only an approximation since events can dictate class discussion topics. Any changes will be announced in class/eCampus in a timely manner. The due dates for all assignments will be announced in eCampus in a timely manner. The last day to drop this course and receive a "Q" is Friday, April 27, 2018. It is your responsibility to pay attention to due dates and times. Also you are responsible for dropping the course prior to this date if you so choose. Dropping after this date will result in a grade of F.

All online assignments are to be submitted by the 7pm on the due date of each assignment posted. I will give students plenty of time in which to complete all assignments.


Week One (Aug 27-Sept 02, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Introductory discussion assignment (extra credit), Chapter 1 - American political culture.


Week Two (Sept 3-Sept 9, 2018)


Labor Day Holiday (Monday, Sept. 3)


 Chapter 2 - Constitution, Quiz 1 due


Week Three (Sept 10-Sept 16, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


Chapter 3 - Federalism, Section Exam 1 due


Week Four (Sept 17-Sept 23, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapters 6 & 7 - Public Opinion and the Media, Quiz 2 due


Week Five (Sept 24-Sept 30, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 8 & 9 - Political Participation and Voting, Quiz 3 due


Week Six (Oct 1-Oct 7, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapters 10 & 11 - Campaigns/Elections and Interest Groups (Quiz 4 and Section Exam 2 due


Week Seven (Oct 8-Oct 14, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 12 - Congress, Quiz 5 due


Week Eight (Oct 15-Oct 21, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapters 13 and 14 - Presidency and Bureaucracy, Quiz 6 due


Week Nine (Oct 22-Oct 28, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 15 - Judiciary, Quiz 7 and Section Exam 3 due


Week Ten (Oct 29-Nov 4, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 16 - Economic Policy


Week Eleven (Nov 5-Nov 11, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 17 - Social Policy, Quiz 8 due


Week Twelve (Nov 12-Nov 18, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


Chapter 18 -  Foreign Policy


Week Thirteen (Nov 19-Nov 25, 2018)


Thanksgiving Holiday (Wednesday-Friday, Nov 21-23)


 Chapter 18 - Foreign Policy, Section Exam 4 (Tuesday 20th)


Week Fourteen (Nov 26-Dec 2, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 5 - Civil Rights, Quiz 9 due (Last Day to drop course is November 30)


Week Fifteen (Dec 3-Dec 9, 2018)


Online Assignment Details


 Chapter 4 - Civil Liberties, Quiz 10 due/Section Exam 5 due)


Week Sixteen - Finals Week




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Final Exam due


Total Contact Hours





Important Dates for Fall Semester 2018
Classes Start - August 27
Labor Day - September 3
Thanksgiving - November 21 -23
Last day to drop - November 30
Last day of instruction - December 7
Final Exams - December 10-13 (This class final is due Tuesday, December 11 by 7pm.)