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POL 150: American Government

Course Description

This course will focus on the study of American politics. Students will learn many of the central concepts in political science to aid understanding and ability to comprehend the American political system. Of particular interest will be the theory and practice of democratic government in the U.S. and institutions and processes of American government as manifestations of democratic values. (3 credits)

Prerequisite

  • None

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Describe how the rule of law establishes and maintains political stability.
  2. Illustrate the process of how to register to vote and voting.
  3. Discuss some of the major themes and conflicts arising from the foundation of the American political system to the present.
  4. Identify and describe the first ten amendments to the Constitution
  5. Assess the role of Congress, Presidency, Bureaucracy and Judiciary in our political system.
  6. Evaluate how political parties and interest groups influence and shape the public policy making.
  7. Present the steps involved in the passage of a bill through the legislature.
  8. Analyze the role of electoral process in the maintenance of democracy.
  9. Examine the role of women, discuss the meaning of class structure and its impact on American politics, and discuss the role race and ethnic relations and the impact on the American system of politics and governance.
  10. Discuss and evaluate the meaning and importance of civil rights and liberties issues in the past and present.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignments

Weight

Discussions (Weeks 1-8)

20%

Webtext Assignment Quizzes (Weeks 1-7)

28%

Midterm Exam (Week 4)

25%

Week 8 Quiz

2%

Final Exam (Week 8)

25%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

(Available through Charter Oak’s online bookstore)

  • Students will be required to purchase a webtext which is an interactive, web-based textbook. Students will need to log in to the webtext to complete most of the weekly assignments for the course.
  • Students access the webtext by purchasing a passcode through our bookstore.Pricing information is included on the bookstore's website. Students may only purchase the passcode through our bookstore. The access code will be emailed to you in 1-3 days.
  • The webtext we will be using is: Central Ideas in American Government, Evans and Michaud, 7th edition. You can access the webtext readings and assignments by clicking on the "Webtext" link in the Blackboard course menu.

Supplemental Materials - Powerpoints

  • The supplemental PowerPoint files in each weekly lecture folder are from the optional textbook listed below. You do not need to purchase this textbook.

Optional Textbook

Optional textbook not available through bookstore and would be an additional cost to the student.

  • Bardes, Barbara A., Mack C. Shelley, II. & Steffen W. Schmidt. American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials 2011 - 2012. 16th ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2012. (Not Required)

Course Schedule

Week

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignments

1

1,3,4

Topic: Introduction to the American System
  • Learning Unit 1: Political Forces of Change in Today's World.
  • Learning Unit 2: The Constitution
  • Learning Unit 3: Federalism
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 1 & 2
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

2

3,6,9,10

Topic: Civil Rights and Liberties
  • Learning Unit 4: Civil Liberties
  • Learning Unit 5: Civil Rights: Equal Protection
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 3 & 4
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

3

6,8

Topic: People and Politics
  • Learning Unit 6: Public Opinion and Political Socialization
  • Learning Unit 7: Interest Groups
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 9 & 13
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

4

2,8

Topics: The Process of Leadership Selection and Political Participation
  • Learning Unit 8: Political Parties
  • Learning Unit 9: Campaigns and Elections
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 11 & 12
  • Review assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz
  • Complete Midterm Exam

Midterm Exam Due

5

5

Topic: Political Participation (cont.)
  • Learning Unit 10: Voting and Participation
  • Learning Unit 11: The Media
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 10 & 14
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

6

1,5

Topic: Political Institutions
  • Learning Unit 12: The Congress
  • Learning Unit 13: The Presidency. Executive power, congressional power, checks and balances and the tensions between the two branches
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 5 & 6
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

7

3,7

Topic: Political Institutions (cont.)
  • Learning Unit 14: The Bureaucracy
  • Learning Unit 15: The Judiciary
Readings:
  • Webtext - Chapters 7 & 8
  • Read assigned chapters
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Webtext Quiz

8

3,7

Topic: Public Policy
  • Learning Unit 16: Domestic and Economic Policy
Readings:
  • PowerPoints in Lecture Folder
  • Read assigned chapter
  • Review lecture material
  • Participate in discussion
  • Complete Week 8 Quiz
  • Complete Final Exam

Final Exam Due

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.