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Distance Education · Social Sciences · Government - GOVT

American Government

  • Fall 2021
  • Section B6J CRN-18974
  • 3 Credits
  • 10/25/2021 to 12/16/2021
  • Modified 10/21/2021

Meeting Times

9:10AM - 10:25AM; MW Online through eCampus/Zoom; Oct 25, 2021 - Dec 16, 2021

Contact Information

Mr. Keith Carlson
Government Instructor, Blinn College
A31 - Academic Building - Brenham Campus
[email protected] (I am typically checking email more, so this is probably the best way to contact me other than to track me down in the Academic Building.)
PH# 979-830-4381

Office Hours FALL 2021 for Brenham campus

Monday/Wednesday: 10:30AM-11:30AM

Just let me know if you have questions or concerns and we can work out a time when we can meet virtually or through email/chat

I am willing to meet with students briefly before class or directly after class as well. Students may also email me at [email protected] or through ecampus for assistance with class.



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The primary factors considered relate to the three branches of government -- judicial, executive, legislative -- major historical documents, the events that shaped the nation, and current events.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:  13E
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-53902-8

First Day Inclusive Access


Print upgrade ISBN 978-0-393-87633-8

Course Requirements

The student is responsible for keeping up with assigned readings and assignments.  The student will have assignments that are to be accessed and completed through eCampus. Please note my dividing up of the course does not necessarily match that of the book. I will discuss this further in the syllabus as well as in class. 

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 - 4 total = 50 points each or 200 points of total grade

Quizzes - 6 total = 50 points each or 300 points of total grade (major grade)

Mid term exam = 100 points of total grade (major grade)

Final exam = 200 points of total grade (major grade)

Evaluation of a student’s accomplishments in Government 2305 6 chapter quizzes, mid term exam, 4 discussions and a comprehensive final exam. All of these combined will factor into the final grade.

All assignments will be administered online through eCampus giving the student several days in which to decide when to take each quiz. Failure to complete the assignments within the allotted time will count as a zero. There are no makeups for missed discussion assignmentsI will not reopen discussions after the due date. For quizzes and exams, if a student asks to reopen the assignment after the due date, they will receive a 25% deduction in earned points for the quiz/exam. 

In order to ensure students participation and attendance there will be FOUR (4) participation/discussion grades that will influence the student’s overall grade. The participation grades will count towards 25% of the total grade. These grades cover the reading materials or current events in the news.  No make-ups will be given for attendance/participation/discussion grades.

Attendance is mandatory.  Please review the absence policy below for further explanation of “excused” absences. Attendance and grades go hand in hand; missing class/not doing assigned work for any reason puts you, the student, at a distinct disadvantage.

Chapter quizzes will consist primarily of multiple choice questions directly from the course textbook. Exams will contain multiple choice and short answer questions from the text and class discussion/lecture. Also, since this book is lacking in substantive information regarding Texas politics, there will be articles posted online which will be covered and discussed in class. Quizzes and exams will cover the topics taught prior to the Quiz/Exam date shown on the course calendar.  Readings, quiz and test dates are explained below in the Course Calendar.


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

A = 800-720
B = 719-640
C = 639-560
D = 559-480 
F = 479-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.

Information about the changes Blinn has made to the Fall semester: Back with Blinn.

Course Policies

Addendum to the civility and absences policy: (both remote and face to face)

Since this is a college level course, I expect mature behavior while in class. This means no cell phones are to be out and visible nor should students being wearing headphones, ear buds or any other electronic device that takes away from pay attention. Any student caught with a cell phone will be dismissed from the class and counted as absent. Note taking in class both remotely and F2F is required. The student must have something to write with as well as a notebook to write in. Students are not permitted to sit in class without taking notes and they will be asked to leave and counted as absent. If assistance is required for note taking, the student should see Disability Services for further assistance. Remember, 2 absences will result in being administratively dropped from the class.

Statement on Group Messaging Apps (GroupMe, Slack, WhatsApp, etc.) and File Sharing (dropbox, google docs, etc.):

Can your use of group messaging apps get you in trouble? The answer is YES. Participating in or joining a Group Messaging App 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." If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to ask me. 

Attendance clarification:

Face to face: If you are not in your seat once I shut the door to the classroom you are considered absent for that class. I will be calling roll. No exceptions.

ZOOM (Remote) Requirements:

Blinn policy requires your camera to be on during class. Please turn your microphone off unless you want to ask a question. 

Classroom behavior I find disruptive will result in the individual being dismissed from class and being counted as absent. You will not be able to reenter the classroom until you formally request a conference with me to discuss the offending behavior. Things I consider to be offending and disruptive include but are not limited to: sleeping in class, headphones on during the class or even wearing them into the classroom, not paying attention, no note taking, etc. Basically, come to class pay attention for 75 minutes, participate in the class discussion and all will be good.

I do not make these rules to be difficult or mean-spirited. I make them because students need to understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own success in the class and in life. I am more than willing to assist and strive to make this course enjoyable but student's behavior is critical to the success of this course. Those who choose to play by the rules will be successful, those who do not will not be successful.

If you have any questions about my classroom policies, please feel free to schedule a conference with me to discuss your concerns.

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 Friday, December 3, 2021.

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. (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 and mid term  (see calendar for due dates)

3. Answer the 4 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 5pm on the due date.



Discussion – 4 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 50 points. The potential grading for each discussion breakout is:

Original post: Up to 30 points.
Each response: Up to 10 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.

This will be discussed in more detail in class. 

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.



Quizzes:  50 minutes (you may use the text and the notes you take during readings)

Mid term: 75 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




**Please note the schedule is subject to change. All changes will be announced on eCampus as well as in class. 

Week One 

Meeting Details 




Chapter 1




Chapter 2 (Discussion 1 assigned)


Week Two 





Chapter 3  (Quiz 1 assigned)




Chapters 6&7


Week Three





Chapters 8&9 (Quiz 2/Discussion 2 assigned)




Chapters 10&11 (Quiz 3 & Midterm assigned)


Week Four





Chapter 12 




Chapter 13&14 (Discussion 3 assigned)


Week Five 





Chapter 15 (Quiz 4 assigned)




Thanksgiving Break


Week Six 





Chapter 16




Chapter 17 (Quiz 5)



Last Day to Drop and receive a Q (Friday, December 3, 2021)



Week Seven 





Chapter 4 (Discussion 4 assigned)




Chapter 5 (Quiz 6)


Week Eight





Final Exam Review




Final Exam (Due by Wednesday, DEC 15 @5pm)




Total Contact Hours