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Distance Education · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Summer II 2021
  • Section R11 CRN-40833
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/12/2021 to 08/09/2021
  • Modified 07/12/2021

Meeting Times

This is a 4-week remote/online course

The class meets every day at 8am via Zoom. You can access the lecture through Zoom link in eCampus. 

Note: The last day to drop this class with a "Q" is July 30th.

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Jason Smith

Office: SCHW 330

Office Phone:  979-209-8977 (Voicemail)

Cell Phone: 713-262-6361 (Text only)

Office Hours: To be announced (accessed via the online link provided in eCampus). Traditional office hours will not take place this semester.   

Office Email: [email protected]

You may text me at any time if you encounter any problems with the course. You will receive a quicker response if you text. You may send me an email at any time as well. Please allow 24 hours for a response. Response times may be slower outside of normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM) and during the weekend.


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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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, 2019 (12th edition). ISBN: 9780393431261 (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. You are responsible for obtaining a copy of the textbook. Neither the college nor the instructor provides any copies of the textbook for students.

Course Requirements

Each student will take three (3) exams total; two (2) regular exams and one (1) cumulative final exam. In addition, each student will be required to complete ten (10) InQuizitive assignments, the information for which will be derived from textbook readings and/or class notes. Further, each student will complete five (5) discussion forums, as well as write two (2) essays during the course of the semester. Each student will also complete (5) attendance assignments as part of the final grade calculation.

All assignments are due by electronic copy on eCampus by midnight on the date specified in the course schedule below. I do not accept hard copies of assignments, so ALL assignments must be submitted online. Assignments turned in during class time will not be accepted. Assignments will not be accepted after the due date listed below without a legitimate excused absence. Assignments are due online at midnight on the date specified in the course schedule below. You may turn in assignments early. In order to check for plagiarism, assignments must be submitted using .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf or .odt file formats. Assignments submitted using the .pages format will receive a zero (0) for a grade.

Failure to complete these assignments on your own (without assistance) may result in an ‘F’ for the course. NO EXCEPTIONS!


Each student will complete three (3) exams during the semester. Each exam will be online (electronic) in format and administered through eCampus. Two of these exams will consist of 50 multiple-choice questions derived from the textbook and lectures for that particular section of the course. The final is cumulative consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions from all material covered in the course.

Honorlock will proctor your exams this semester. Honorlock is an online proctoring service that allows you to take your exam from the comfort of your home. You DO NOT need to create an account, download software, or schedule an appointment in advance. Honorlock is available 24/7 and all that is needed is a computer, a working webcam, and a stable Internet connection

To take the syllabus quiz and exams for this course, you MUST use Google Chrome and the Honorlock Chrome Extension. You will be prompted to download the extension when taking the syllabus quiz. You will NOT need to download the extension for subsequent exams. 

When you are prepared to take the exam, clicking on the exam will open a separate window beginning the Honorlock process. Clicking "Launch Proctoring" will begin the Honorlock authentication process. This process will include taking a picture of yourself, showing your government-issued ID, and completing a scan of your roomTherefore, you MUST have a webcam to successfully complete this course. Honorlock will be recording your exam session by webcam, as well as recording your screen. You CANNOT take your exams on a cell phone, tablet computer, or any other mobile device. Further, you will NEED a reliable internet connection. You are responsible for the internet connection you are using. If you decide to take an exam at Starbucks and the internet connection fails, the exam will not be reset for you.

Things to keep in mind when taking an exam:

The exam will be open only during the class session on the date listed for the exam in the course schedule below. The exam cannot be paused. You must complete the exam during the class session unless you have a verified excused absence or appropriate accommodations. If you leave the viewing area of your webcam during the exam without a legitimate excuse, you will receive a zero (0) for the exam. The use of external resources, i.e. notes, textbooks, internal searches, etc. are strictly prohibited. Failure to follow these rules, and common sense in general, will result in receiving a zero (0) for the exam.


There is a quiz for every chapter in this course through the InQuizitive platform (linked through eCampus only). Your highest ten (10) InQuizitive assignments will be averaged toward your final grade. Obviously, 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.


Each student will complete five (5) discussions through eCampus. Seven (7) discussions will be offered with your highest five (5) averaged toward your final grade. The topics of these discussions will be derived from course materials but may require further reading of outside sources.  Initial posts in these discussions must be 250 words in length and are due on Wednesday by midnight through eCampus. You must cite all sources for these discussions. 

In addition, students are required to respond to two (2) classmates’ initial posts in the discussion forum as part of the assignment. Your responses must be at least 100 words in length and are due on Friday by midnight through eCampus. 


Each student will write two (2) essays concerning topics related to this course. Three (3) essay topics will be offered with your highest two (2) averaged toward your final grade. These papers must be at least 750 words in length covering questions posted by the instructor on eCampus. More information concerning these papers will be available on eCampus. These assignments will be submitted on eCampus by midnight on the dates listed below.


Each student will complete five (5) attendance assignments for this course. Six (6) attendance assignments will be offered with your highest five (5) averaged toward your final grade. These are to be completed without the assistance of your classmates. These assignments must be typed into the forms available on eCampus. These assignments will be submitted on eCampus by midnight on the dates listed below.


The two regular exams will account for 30% of your grade. The cumulative final will account for 25% of your grade. Quizzes (InQuizitive assignments) will account for 10% of your grade. Discussion forums will account for 15% of your grade. Essays will count for 10% of your grade. Attendance assignments will count for 10% 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. 


Two regular exams 

30% (15% each)

Final exam


Ten (10) quizzes

10% (1% each)

Five (5) discussion forums

15% (3% each)

Two (2) essays

10% (5% each)

Five (5) attendance assignments

10% (2% each)

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.

Information about the changes Blinn has made to the May Minimester, Summer I, and Summer II semesters: Back with Blinn.

Course Policies

Please read the general course policies for this semester provided by Blinn

Attendance and Absences

Each class counts. If you do not attend class through Zoom, you will be counted as absent. You are only allowed to accumulate two (2) weeks of unexcused absences [three (3) for summer classes}. Excused absences do not count against your accumulated absences.

Please be mindful that students MAY NOT automatically 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.

Course Work and Late Assignments

You are solely responsible for the timely completion and submission of the assignments for the course. The due dates for the course are located in the schedule below and on eCampus.

All assignments must be submitted through eCampus in the appropriate file format (see Course Requirements). No assignments will be accepted through e-mail.

Course assignments are due according to the schedule. To be equitable to all students, IF the instructor accepts late work, it will be subject to the following penalties:

  • <24 hours late                            10% grade reduction
  • 24-48 hours late                         20% grade reduction
  • 48-72 hours late                         30% grade reduction
  • Over 72 hours late                           NOT ACCEPTED
  • Submitted during finals week        NOT ACCEPTED

Make-up assignments for full credit will be authorized only under the circumstances of excused absences. Should you need to make up an assignment under these circumstances, please contact the instructor as soon as possible.

Group Messaging Apps

Participating in or joining a Group Messaging App (GroupMe, Slack, WhatsApp, etc.) and File Sharing (dropbox, google docs, etc.) is not an academic misconduct violation; however, the exchange of answers to graded work and the exchange of copyrighted materials (instructors’ exams are considered copyrighted material) are examples of academic misconduct.

Examples of appropriate group messaging activities are questions related to due dates or specific instructions about assignments or where to find materials on eCampus. Again, if you distribute answers to quizzes/tests to everyone in a group chat, that is academic misconduct. If you upload answers to quizzes/tests to a file-sharing service and then allow people to access those notes, then that is academic misconduct.

Extra Credit

Opportunities for extra credit may be offered, at the instructor's discretion.  If offered, these opportunities will be granted to all students on an equal basis.  Individual extra credit will not be authorized

Additional Electronic Devices Prohibited in Class

In addition to cell phones and pagers, iPods and other mp3 players are prohibited as are headphones in the classroom. Laptop computers are allowed in the classroom, but the use of the internet is prohibited during lectures. You may be removed from class for failure to comply. 

Drop Date

Note: The last day to drop this class with a "Q" is July 30th



Assigned Readings



Contact Hours

(48 total)

Section 1

Chapters 1-5

Attendance Assignments 1-3


July 12 - July 21


Discussion Forums 1-2




InQuizitive - Chapters 1-5




Essay 1




Exam 1 - Due July 21st


Section 2

Chapters 6-11

Attendance Assignment 4


July 21 - July 30


Discussion Forums 3-4




InQuizitive - Chapters 6-10




Essay 2




Exam 2 - Due July 30th



Last Day to Q-drop - July 30th


Section 3

Chapters 12-18

Attendance Assignments 5-6


July 30 - August 9


Discussion Forums 5-6




InQuizitive - Chapters 12-18




Essay 3




Final - Due August 9th

48 total 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.

This course satisfies the 48 contact hour requirement for the core curriculum