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RELLIS · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT


American Government
GOVT-2305

  • Spring 2019
  • Section BR1 CRN-25623
  • 3 Credits
  • 01/14/2019 to 05/09/2019
  • Modified 01/31/2019

Meeting Times


This course is a blended course structure. ‘Blended’ refers to a course in which a majority (between 51-85%) of contact hours are completed when the students and instructor are not in the same place.

We have face-to-face (F2F) meetings on Thursdays in Schwartz 210 on the RELLIS Campus from 10:35-11:50am and the online portion is completed through eCampus.

Contact Information


Professor Jeff Lee, Schwartz Building 430L on the RELLIS Campus, 979-209-8893

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from Noon-1:15pm.

Email: There are two ways to email me: (1) within the eCampus system, thus from your eCampus address - ending in ecampusd2lmail.blinn.edu - to my eCampus address, or (2), at [email protected]. Please remember to include your specific class section (GOVT 2305.207) somewhere in your email. I will reply within 24 hours on weekdays and 36 hours on weekends.

When you have questions, feel free to talk to me before or after class, come by my office during office hours, set up an appointment if my office hours conflict with your schedule, call my office, or email me.

Description


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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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

Requisites

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:

http://www.blinn.edu/academics/core_curriculum.html

Outcomes


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.

Materials


WE THE PEOPLE 2017 PKG

REQUIRED |By GINSBERG

  • EDITION:   11E
  • PUBLISHER:   NORTON
  • ISBN:   9780393622850

 

As a blended course, some of our instruction and assessment is completed on eCampus therefore you need a reliable computer and internet access, and browser with required plug-ins is supported by eCampus.

  • According to Distance Education policy, problems occurring due to an unreliable computer or internet connection, or unsupported browser are the responsibility of the student.
  • Technical problems with the class should be directed to [email protected]

Course Requirements


Participation: Students will participate with preparedness, attentiveness, quality, and civility.  

1. Disrespectful participation in class, being a distraction in class (including use of electronic devices, lack of emotional and verbal filter, consistently arriving late and leaving early), and lack of shared responsibility on group assignments are examples of reasons for participation grade deductions. 

2. Regarding electronic devices – Silence your electronic devices (phone, smart watch, tablet, and/or laptop), put them away, and do not use them in class. Messaging in class is rude, dismissive behavior. Laptops and tablets are too often used in class for non-class purposes. In the rare occasion that you anticipate an important message or call during class, simply come tell me before class. 

All students begin the semester with a 100 for Participation. This is 10% of the overall grade. When a deduction occurs for use of electronic devices, the deduction will be noted on the student’s grade book and the student will see anywhere from a twenty to fifty-point deduction, depending on the severity of the action or if the action has already occurred with the individual student.

Minor Assignments: (1) To begin the Public Policy Discussions, set up to receive free political news. This news can be received through social media follows, email subscriptions, or any other feed that can be cited and verified in your discussion posts. The news should focus on the American Federal Government, whether domestic or foreign policy. From those various resources, focus on one public policy topic for your eCampus post. To complete the discussions, follow the instructions on the discussion assignment links on eCampus. To emphasize, each discussion assignment is to be on a public policy topic, not political personalities or election campaigns. Discussion grades are based on form (readability, spelling, grammar) and substance demonstrated in the post. (2) The lecture outline submissions have instructions on the lecture outlines posts on eCampus modules assignment links. 

Minor Assignments will be graded within 48 hours of the given discussion's closing time. 

Major Essays: Building on the Public Policy Discussions, choose any single topic addressed in those discussions and demonstrate a more focused, in-depth, analysis of the topic you choose. Based on your analysis, advocate a specific policy solution you think should be followed by the American Federal Government. 

Your essay should include the following:

Introductory paragraph - (1) cite the source and date of policy email publication where your chosen topic is addressed; (2) briefly address why this chosen topic both is salient; (3) provide a clear, concise advocacy thesis statement that previews and directly correlates to the topic sentences that begin the essay's body paragraphs.

Supporting body paragraph #1 - (1) clear, concise topic sentence that fulfills what you have previewed in the thesis statement; (2) substantive analysis that supports the policy solution you advocate.

Supporting body paragraph #2 - (1) clear, concise topic sentence that fulfills what you have previewed in the thesis statement; (2) substantive analysis that supports the policy solution you advocate.

Opposing body paragraph #3 - (1) clear, concise topic sentence; (2) substantive analysis that shows you understand the opposition view to the policy solution you advocate.

Concluding paragraph - concisely review what you believe you have proven in the body of the essay. 

Your submission should demonstrate the format and writing qualities expected by a high school English teacher let alone a freshman-sophomore level English professor - overall strong organization with effective transitions, clear thesis statement, clear topic sentences directly related to the thesis statement, allowing the reader to move easily through the essay. Use parenthetical citations at the end of sentences as is relevant. 

Your submission should demonstrate college-level analysis - sophisticated and fresh analysis, higher-order thinking and not simply regurgitating the words of others. 

The essay should be 500 words, though 490-510 words are acceptable. Use Times New Roman, 12pt font, single-spaced. Using the drop box already lets me know your name and which class you are in so there is no heading necessary; save that space for your essay. Your essay should fit on one page. Use a second page only for your Works Cited. 

Essays will be graded within 48 hours of the assignment's in-class evaluation exercises. Your submission must be either a Microsoft Word document or a PDF to receive credit. The drop box is open from the first day of class so you may submit your essay any time before, but no later than, the given due date on eCampus. Especially since these assignments are open 24/7 from the first day of class, no late submissions are accepted.

Midterm Exam: Students will complete one Midterm Exam. Students will need an Accuscan DataLink 1200 answer sheet.

1. During our F2F class meeting, you will have 40 minutes to complete the exam. The Midterm will typically have 40-45 answer sheet questions and 1-2 short-answer or essay questions. At the end of the 40 minutes, we will go over all the exam answers, you will be able to ask clarification questions and complete a rough-draft of an exam reflection assignment. 

2. You will submit on eCampus the final draft of your reflection assignment no later than 10am the morning after the exam to be eligible for bonus points on that exam grade.

Midterm Exam grades will be posted within 48 hours of exam completion. 

Final Exam: Students will complete one comprehensive Final Exam. For the Final Exam, students will need an Accuscan DataLink 1200 answer sheet. The Final will typically have 80 answer sheet questions and 1-2 short-answer or essay questions. There is no exam corrections assignment for the Final. 

Bonus - Service Learning Project: This is not a required assignment. You may earn up to five bonus points on your overall grade by completing the following instructions:

1. Complete 5 volunteer hours with your choice of organization from the list provided at http://www.blinn.edu/servicelearning.htm. Click this link, then on the left side of the page you will the link for Community Partners. For class credit, your volunteer hours must be with one of these Community Partners approved by Blinn College. 

2. One email from your chosen organization's supervisor to [email protected] in which the supervisor confirms the hours you volunteered and that you represented Blinn College well.

3. One paper - Write a one-page reflection on your experience overall; on page two you will include at least two pictures of you working at the organization's facility as you completed your volunteer hours (The photos do not have to include other people. If they do, make sure to get the permission of the people around you while you are volunteering if they mind being photographed.)

4. Confirmation email and hard-copy of paper may be submitted anytime before, but no later than, the beginning of our Final Exam class meeting.

Service Learning bonus points will be posted on the grade book within 48 hours of the instructions above. 

----------------------------------------------- 

One or more of these requirements will address the Student Learning Outcomes above.

 

 

Evaluation


Participation - 10% of overall grade

Minor Assignments Average – 20% of overall grade (lowest three grades drop)

Policy Essay Average - 20% of overall grade

Exam Average - 50% of overall grade

Service Learning (optional) - up to five bonus points added to final overall grade

 

A - 100-90%, B - 89-80%, C - 79-70%, D - 69-60%, F - 59 and below

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


Absence Policy Applied to This Class

Blinn Administration requires faculty to drop students for excessive absences. When students accumulate two weeks of unexcused absences they will be dropped from the course. In this blended class, attendance is both online and F2F, thus any combination of four F2F and/or online unexcused absences is the equivalent of two weeks.

  • Online attendance is counted as 'present' when the given online work is completed on time.
  • To be F2F 'present' is to be in class on time and leaving when dismissed. F2F attendance record is taken at the beginning of the class meeting. Students leaving early without a documented reason meeting one of the four excused absences recognized by the College (above) or a medical note will be counted absent even if they were counted present at the beginning of the class meeting. 

After one week of unexcused absences, a warning email is sent by Blinn Administration to the student's buc.blinn.edu student email account (thus it is vital to check that account). After a second week of incomplete coursework a second absence will be recorded with Blinn Administration signifying the student should be dropped from the course for absences.   

Electronic Devices

Silence your electronic devices (phone, smart watch, tablet, and/or laptop), put them away, and do not use them in class. Messaging in class is rude, dismissive behavior. Laptops and tablets are too often used in class for non-class purposes. In the rare occasion that you anticipate an important message or call during class, simply come tell me before class.

Make-Up Assignment Policy

Since all eCampus assignments are open from the first day of class, there are no make-up opportunities for these online assignments. For F2F assignments, students may make up these assignments when they have a documented reason meeting one of the four excused absences recognized by the College (above) or a medical note. The student has three business days to provide documentation and schedule make-up assignment.

Copyright Notice

"Some of the materials utilized in this course are copyrighted. They are intended for use only by students enrolled in this course and only for instructional activities associated with and for the duration of the course. They may not be retained in another medium or disseminated." - Blinn College Distance Education

Schedule


The semester schedule, below, shows the weekly course schedule. Each week's eCampus assignments close at 10am on the Wednesday morning before the given Thursday F2F class meeting. See eCampus weekly modules for specific assignment open/close details.

Please note that Blinn College is in the US/Central Time Zone. eCampus assignments are due according to the Central Time Zone.

Professor Lee will announce any changes to the schedule in class meetings and/or through eCampus posted announcements. 

Friday, April 26, is last day to drop with a 'Q'

16 weeks x 3 contact hours = 48 contact hours

Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1
Course Orientation

F2F - Course Orientation

eCampus - CO Discussion; CO Dropbox Submission

3 contact hours

Week 2
The U.S. Constitution of 1787

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 3
Federalism

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 4
Major Assessment

eCampus - essay submission

F2F - essay evaluation exercises

3 contact hours

Week 5
Populace Participation, pt1

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 6
Populace Participation, pt2

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 7
Separation of Powers

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 8
Major Assessment

F2F - Midterm Exam

eCampus - Exam Reflection submission

3 contact hours

Week 9
Legislative Power

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 10
Executive Power

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 11
Judicial Power

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 12
Major Assessment

eCampus - essay submission

F2F - essay evaluation exercises

3 contact hours

Week 13
Public Policy, pt1

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 14
Public Policy, pt2

eCampus - policy discussion; video lecture submission

F2F - lecture and discussion

3 contact hours

Week 15
Final Exam

eCampus - bonus assignment

F2F - Final Exam

3 contact hours

Week 16
eCampus assignment only

eCampus - political movie post

3 contact hours