United States Government Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

Office Hours

Professor Linda Powell


--Text me at (806) 410-0025,
--Write to me via the "MESSAGES" Tool from the top menu toolbar on the Course Webpage  (Please DO NOT use Outlook as this may delay a response). NOTE: I will not respond to emails sent from non-Amarillo College email address.

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at www.actx.edu/disability.
Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

Amarillo College Web Accessibility Policy Statement

Amarillo College is committed to providing equal access to all programs and services, including all working, learning, and service environments that affect equal access for persons with disabilities. This commitment to provide equal access and opportunity for persons with disabilities is in compliance with federal and state law. Amarillo College also strives to provide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) that are accessible to all authorized users.

If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is https://www.actx.edu/counseling/ . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is https://www.actx.edu/arc

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

Privacy Statement

The Amarillo College Privacy Policy is found at https://www.actx.edu/-amarillo-college-privacy-notice , and applies to all Amarillo College students.  If you have questions about this privacy statement or you believe that your personal information has been released without your consent, send email to humanresources@actx.edu .


GOVT-2305-005 United States Government


Course Description

Origin and development of the U.S. Constitution, structure and powers of the national government including the legislative, executive and judicial branches, federalism, political participation, the national election process, public policy, civil liberties and civil rights.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at https://melodiegraves.youcanbook.me

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


Required Books: 

Title:  We the People with McGraw-Hill Connect Access Card
Author:  Mora   
Edition: 14th Edition, 2022
Publisher:  McGraw Hill

Access Code with Ebook ISBN:  1265800618
Available from the AC Bookstore.
Access Code with Ebook ISBN:  9781265800611
Available for purchase directly from McGraw-Hill through the Blackboard Course web page on the first-day of class.

*NOTE:  Please remember that each student is responsible for purchasing the CORRECT Textbook for this course.  It is very easy in the hectic early days of a new term to glance at a card in the bookstore and select the wrong books.  It is also possible for a student to get conflicting advice from others, including bookstore personnel who mean well, but may be misinformed about the correct books for the proper Professor.  So be sure to go online, print-out-a-copy of the Syllabus and bring it with you when buying your books.  If in doubt, buy what is listed on the Syllabus, then sort out any issues later.  The Syllabus is the final word on which book is correct, so read it carefully and buy accordingly.

Is the ACCESS CODE Required?  Answer:  NO but Highly Recommended 
The Access Code is part of all NEW Access Code with Ebook  purchased from the AC Bookstore or directly from McGraw-Hill -- BUT here is the deal with the Access Code and my Class specifically. The Publisher Access Code gives the student complete admittance into all the support materials the Publisher offers found on the Course Materials Link, including all Practice Quizzes, particularly the Smartbook (E-Book) Textbook.  These materials are highly useful for studying prior to the Graded Quizzes and then reviewing the issues you might have scored incorrectly after taking either a Practice or Graded Quiz.  But, there is NO "Graded" Assignment that comes from the Publisher's web site that requires a student to purchase the Access Code if you are getting your Textbook used or from some other source.  Recall, that it will come already bundled and paid for if you purchase your Access Code with eBook at the AC Bookstore or McGraw-Hill directly.  The support material is there to make-up for the lack of an in-class lecture and the limited contact with a "real" Professor.  Some students need and like the help, especially the Practice Tests and LearnSmart Textbook which show students where a particular question came from in the book as they prepare for the "Graded" quizzes -- but it is NOT a mandatory tool.  If you buy from another location, or purchase a used book then the Access Code is not provided.  Student can, however, opt to purchase an Access Code from the Publisher at a later date for a fee, but that is your choice.


Regular access to a computer with Internet is necessary.  Students also have access to significant Virtual help from the Textbook publisher’s web site and often may use an E-Book instead of the more traditional printed version.  See AC Distance Education web site for computer hardware and software guidelines.

Computer Requirements: 

Regular log-on is necessary for satisfactory achievement.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their assignments. Students must have regular access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection to enroll in this course.  I repeat, these are minimum requirements for all students in every online course. 

Have a Back-up Plan (or 2, 3, 4) for any issue!: Technical problems or any other issues are not an excuse to miss a posted Quiz or other Due Date.  Students MUST plan ahead to have all work submitted earlier than the last Due Date in the event of a disuption of any kind (computer malfunction, loss of Internet, loss of power, travel by student, etc.).  Everyone MUST have access to a back-up computer/Internet at a family member's home, friend's location, local school, or local city library so they may still meet all assignment dates.  You can also download the Blackboard Mobile App as an alternative option for accessing the Course and completing your Assignments on your smart phone or tablet. This is one of the trade-offs for the convenience of a Virtual class.  

When technical problems occur, use your backup computer/plan to complete your assignment!  Then, students need to send an e-mail to the CTL Help Desk explaining the difficulty, and copy your Professor as well.  If you cannot use e-mail, call the CTL Help Line -- not your Instructor -- to explain the difficulty.  Only then should you then leave a summary of your trouble and the Help Desk's response on your Professor’s e-mail.  I will then contact the Help Desk for a summary of their efforts to diagnose and fix the issue. A Link to the CTL Help Desk is also provided on the left-hand menu of the Course Webpage.


CHECK OUT the "QUIZ TIPS" Link within the Blackboard Course Webpage.

Key Highlights for Graded Quizzes: The Exams for this Course are taken Online which means that each student will need access to a reliable computer and Internet service in order to take each of the required Quizzes and other Assignments.  You may take your Exams from Home, on the College campus, or the Public Library or any number of locations, but be sure that it has both a reliable Internet connection, and computer.  Students have TWO (2) Attempts within a Testing Cycle but once a Quiz is opened and it MUST be completed within the time limit allowed. If you are “knocked out” of the quiz before hitting submit, students can immediately log back in and the test can be resumed until the time has expired. To reiterate, once you open a Quiz, you must complete it as the Blackboard Program allows for only ONE (1) Test attempt to be open for each student at a time.  This issue is very important since I am now granting all students TWO (2) attempts at each Graded Quiz during a Testing Cycle. 

Be aware of the weather for the same reason.  Do not sit down to take your Exam just as a storm of any kind is approaching your house since that is just asking for trouble.  The same rule applies to your favorite "beverage" or any other item that might disrupt your ability to successfully complete each Quiz.  Keep the telephone number of the CTL Help Desk handy when you decide to take your Tests so that if a problem arises then you may contact them immediately.  A Link to the CTL Help Desk is also provided on the left-hand menu of the Course Webpage.  Please do not try and contact the Professor by telephone for any technology issue that may occur since I warn you now that my only skill with computers is punching random keys when they fail me.  The College does, however, have very talented people who specialize in solving such crises, and they are the ones to contact as soon as a problem occurs.  Do feel free, however, to send me an e-mail describing the event and what you are doing about it when you get service restored.

Helpful Hints: Since some of you are new to the AC Connect (Blackboard) online environment, here are some helpful hints to consider before taking the Graded Quizzes. Remember, that each Quiz must be completed and submitted prior to the 2355/11:55 p.m. deadline.  If you begin your Quiz at 2350/11:50 p.m. on the final due date, you will have only 5 minutes to complete the assignment before the test is automatically submitted by the Blackboard Program. Any student who is allowed extra time by the Student Services Center must allow for that additional time when planning when to start taking their Test.  All Quizzes are set to close at 2355 (11:55 pm) local time and that Completion Time is the same, meaning 2355/11:55 pm local time, no matter what extra is allotted to you. For best results and to guard against any unforeseen Internet difficulties, begin your Quiz at the earliest date/time available for best results.  Once you open any Graded Exam, you must complete it because the Blackboard Program allows for only ONE (1) Test attempt to be open for each student at a time.  This issue is very important since I am now granting all students TWO (2) attempts at each Graded Quiz during a Testing Cycle.  So be sure that you have completely finished your First effort and Submitted it, before trying to take a 2nd Graded Quiz and remember these are all timed efforts—so keep that clock in mind.  Be forewarned, however, that your second Quiz attempt will not use the same questions as you saw during your first effort because the Blackboard Program randomly selects questions from a large pool each time you log-in.  I cannot alter this issue, but who knows, you may get easier questions if you opt for a second attempt.  Understand, you ARE NOT required to take TWO (2) Quizzes, but the option/choice is there if you feel that you could do better on a 2nd Quiz than you did on your first Test.  You can take your 2nd attempt at any time during the Testing Window, it does not need to be immediately after your 1st try.  I have the Bb Program set to record only your HIGHEST grade, so taking it a second time will not hurt your grade point for this Test.   Pick a quiet place with adequate time and a reliable, preferably a Wired fast Internet connection for best results. So do not answer your door, or the telephone if it rings, banish your spouse, children or significant other while testing, and be aware of weather related issues that may develop, meaning do not start a Quiz during a storm or when one is anywhere near since our power grid is essentially spread across the Texas Panhandle!  The Graded Quizzes have a time limit so remember to watch your time because when the time limit runs out, the Quiz will automatically close and your computer will self-submit that Test. If you are “knocked out” of the Quiz, students can immediately log back in and your Test will resume until the scheduled Quiz time window has expired. Be sure to note that the timer continues running if you leave the Test for any reason---so access it again as quickly as possible if any problem arises!  Again, to reiterate, once a student accesses/begins the timed Quiz, the Bb timer will Start and continue running until time has expired, then Blackboard will automatically close and submit your Quiz as scheduled, even if you were forced out and re-entered due to a brief technical problem. 

Student Performance

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

1. Explain the origin and development of constitutional democracy in the United States.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the federal system.
3. Describe separation of powers and checks and balances in both theory and practice.
4. Demonstrate knowledge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
5. Evaluate the role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties in the political system.
6. Analyze the election process.
7. Describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens
8. Analyze issues and policies in U.S. politics.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at https://acconnect.actx.edu .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

DisAbility Statement:   Any student who, because of a disabling condition, may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact disAbility Services (Student Service Center room 119, phone 371-5436) as soon as possible. 

Student Responsibilities:  Student records are confidential under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.  Therefore, the student’s progress within this class cannot be discussed with parents, friends, or guardians without written permission from the student.  The student (not a parent, friends, or the professor) is responsible for contacting the professor if the student is concerned about their progress in the class, absent for an extended period due to illness, surgery, or other circumstances, or any other extenuating situations which may arise during the course of the semester. The student is responsible for following and understanding their rights and responsibilities as listed in the student handbook at on the AC Webpage.

Study Groups:  Student-led study groups are encouraged.  The professor will provide, if requested, a secure-web forum for each individual study group.  But, never forget that I am also available to you and will gladly help during my Office Hours or Appointments.

Departmental Tutoring Policy: If a student scores below 70% on an exam or writing assignment, he or she will be required to attend tutoring per the instructor’s directions before being allowed to complete the next assigned work.

Cheating:  Occasionally a few students will attempt to cheat on one of the examinations.  Students caught cheating in any way or using materials other than those allowed will have their examinations rejected and, at minimum, receive a grade of F (0 points) for that examination.  Additionally such students may receive a grade of F for the course and may be suspended from the College (penalties which become a permanent part of a penalized student’s record and cannot be eliminated by the repeat-option).

Communication:  Students are required to check their school email each day (Example:  yourname@amarillocollege.com). AC and your Professor send important information along with reminders and other messages via email.

Withdrawing From A Course: NOTE: AC withdrawal procedures are listed above. It is the responsibility of the student to officially Drop or Withdraw from a course prior to the Date set by the College and listed on both the College Master Calendar and under the Course Schedule for this class. Students are also now REQUIRED to contact their Professor and discuss the choices available to them. If completion of the Course is not an option, students MUST obtain all appropriate Paperwork signed by each Professor to initiate the Drop process. Failure by the student to Withdraw may result in a grade of “F” for the course. A grade of “W” will be assigned for student-initiated Withdrawals that are correctly submitted on or before the posted Drop Date.

PLEASE PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THIS PART!!!  Students who do not attend and participate in the class on or prior to the Census Date will be administratively dropped without any recourse by either the student or Professor. Effective Fall, 2016, students will be automatically dropped by Amarillo College after the Census Date and will NOT be allowed to re-enroll under any circumstances.  Please understand that this includes accidents, computer failures, family emergencies or any other circumstance.  Any failure to participate prior to the Census Date will lead to automatic removal of the student from the class under an administrative drop---period.  This Census Date is vital to you so be sure that you have not only logged-in but have actively participated in some assignment for credit, otherwise you WILL BE DROPPED and the Professor has no way to prevent or reverse the action so please be sure you are aware of and understand it.

For Summer 2022, the Census Date is 6/13/22.  Attendance in Online classes REQUIRES the completion of a Graded Assignment such as the Introduction Discussion Forum or the First Graded Quiz PRIOR to 6/13/22.  REMEMBER---Simply logging into Blackboard, AC Connect, the Course Webpage or any other contact such as an E-Mail to your Professor is NOT accepted by either the AC administration nor the State of Texas as “attendance,” and will not count as “participation.”  You Have Been Warned!!

Etiquette:  The study of U.S. Government is important and deserves respect from both the professor and from students. Everyone has an obligation to cultivate an environment for learning that enhances the ability to pursue the shared interest in government and its policies. Respect for one another and for the ideas and values of others are essential for a strong environment for learning government. Respectful students bring a strong work ethic to the course. They are expected to log-on to the class regularly, be prepared for class, and be attentive to discussions, participation assignments, and online chats. A shared respect for one another is essential to the academic integrity and a comfortable learning environment. Everyone must do their part to maintain an environment of openness and civility that encourages and honors the intellectual achievement. If you need to review the standard Net Etiquette rules, see the Net Etiquette for more information.

Instructor’s Policy on Academic Dishonesty:  Occasionally a few students will attempt to cheat or plagiarize.  Students caught will receive a grade of F (0 points) for that examination and/or essay.  Additionally such students may receive a grade of F for the course and may be suspended from the College (penalties which become a permanent part of a penalized student's record and cannot be eliminated by the repeat-option).  If you are unsure about the definition of plagiarism, see the links available to students or visit with your instructor.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

  • --downloading a free or purchased paper
  • --copying an article from the web or electronic database
  • --translating a foreign web article into English
  • --copy a paper from a local source
  • --cobbling -- cutting and pasting to create a paper from several sources (including web sites) even if properly cited
  • --excessive quoting (more than 20% even if properly cited)
  • --quoting less than all the words copied
  • --changing some words but copying whole phrases
  • --paraphrasing without attribution
  • --summarizing without attribution
  • --faking a citation
  • --recycling work from a previous or current course, whether your own work or another student’s work.

Review the plagiarism link located on the "Course Info - Start HERE!" Link located on the Course Website.

Choosing Good Sources for Research:  Students often search for additional information about U.S. Government and policy to supplement their understanding of the material in preparation for essays, participation assignments, discussions, and even quizzes.  To correctly interpret issues, students must have accurate knowledge of the facts. Students can also consult secondary sources such as the work of other scholars.  Students are, however, STRONGLY cautioned to choose these extra sources, particularly Internet sites, with care.  Websites, such as Wikipedia or Yahoo, DO NOT necessarily contain reliable facts, documentation, or interpretations, and therefore, should not be used in a college course, without other means of corroboration.  NEVER cite these websites as official documentation even if you use them for a “Quickie” look at what they say about some topic.  Remember that websites like Wikipedia even post disclaimers, informing users that their material may or may not be valid Wikipedia Disclaimer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Disclaimers). Students should, instead, choose sources from the AC Library such a History Cooperative, JSTOR, or other refereed journals. For websites, learners should select places where the author can be identified as a scholar, political scientist, or other knowledgeable person.  Such examples would include websites ending in .edu or .org.  Use of Wikipedia, Yahoo, ANY Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, or general History websites (like History.com or the .net one) or any similar websites as sources for a college-level assignment will receive a letter-grade deduction (generally this means a minimum of a 10-point loss). If you are in-doubt write to the Professor and ask for confirmation about the scholarly nature of the site/source in question.

Review behavior guidelines in the AC student handbook.

Review Net Etiquette rules before taking an online course.

Grading Criteria

Students will be expected to work through 17 chapters before the end of the Term as well as engage in Participation and Writing Assignments as required. (See Course Schedule for reading below).

Computer Requirements: 

Regular log-on is necessary for satisfactory achievement. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their assignments. Students MUST have regular access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection to enroll in this course.  I repeat, these are minimum requirements for all students in every online course.  Technical problems, computer malfunction, or any other type of issue is not an excuse to miss a posted quiz or other due date.  Students MUST plan ahead to have all work submitted earlier than the last Due Date in the event of a computer malfunction. Students MUST also have access to a back-up plan such as a computer at a family member's home, friend's location, local school, or local city library so they may still meet all assignment dates.  You can also download the Blackboard Mobile App as an alternative option for accessing the Course and completing your Assignment. This is one of the trade-offs for the convenience of a Virtual class.  When technical problems occur, students need to send an e-mail to the Help Desk explaining the difficulty, and copy your instructor as well.  If you cannot use e-mail, call the Help Line and not your instructor to explain the difficulty.  You may also leave a summary of your trouble and response on your instructor's voice-mail.

Make-up Policy:
Since you are given the chance to drop several grades (see below), then I DO NOT allow any Make-Up assignments -- for any reason so do not ask.  The second reason for not granting Make-Ups is that they tend to be more work for an already over-stressed student, and by allowing the Drop option instead, I feel that everyone benefits while still protecting your opportunity to succeed in this class. So, the rule is -- there are NO make-up exams or assignments under any circumstances -- this includes resets, early/late, etc.  A missed quiz or discussion will simply become a dropped score -- no exceptions and there is NO extra credit offered.  Therefore, it is imperative that students keep track of due dates for assignments.

Again, there is NO extra credit offered--so Please Do Not Ask.  This Syllabus is much like a Contract between the student and professor and alterations are not allowed.  Experience has demonstrated that Make-Up work is often just more to do for an already swamped student, so I have chosen to use the Drop score option to relieve the pressure and prevent students from trying to do extra work while still keeping up with up-coming work that is still due on time.  Remember, each student is being allowed several drop scores to assist those who must miss a Quiz or a Discussion because of outside obligations, illness, etc.  So there is no Extra Credit allowed.

Students MUST submit all Assignments and Quizzes electronically per the appropriate Instructions on the Course Website and no Assignments will be accepted in any other form as mandated by College and Course Syllabus rules.


  1. For the first component of your grade, students must take the seventeen (17) chapter quizzes over the Term and depending on scheduling needs, students will take either one or two chapter quizzes per testing cycle.  The goal is to allow for 17 Graded Chapter Quizzes so that student’s may drop their 5-lowest Quiz scores. Each individual quiz will be composed of ten (10) questions in various formats, including (but are not limited to) multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, maps, and more. Graded Quizzes begin at 12:00 p.m. Noon and close at 11:55 p.m. (just before Midnight) on the dates listed on the Course Schedule (see below). This allows students a total of 84 hours over a four (4) day window in which to take each quiz after it is posted and recall that each quiz is timed.  You will be able to access each individual quiz TWICE and you will have twenty (20) minutes to take and complete each quiz attempt within a Testing Cycle.  That means, for any testing period which has two (2) Graded Chapter Quizzes scheduled, students must allow for forty (40) minutes of time during the Testing Window, or 20-minutes for the first Graded Quiz, and then some time later, another 20-minutes for the second Graded Quiz set for that period. Once you open a specific Quiz, you must complete it within 20-minutes.  The Blackboard Program times all Quizzes so each student must prepare for TWO (2) Test attempts for a specific Quiz in case of some technical issue, or if they score poorly and wish to try improving their grade using a second effort within a Testing Cycle, and Blackboard will keep only the highest score.  Each quiz is worth 5.75% each and the student will be able to drop five (the 5 lowest scores) of the 17 chapter quizzes. The top twelve (12) Quizzes comprise a total of 69% of your Class Average, but remember there are other graded course requirements.  (Each Quiz is worth 5.75% or a total of 69% of the Final Course Grade.)
  2. The second component of a student's grade are Discussion Questions scheduled on the Calendar throughout the Course, generally at the end of several modules.  Each student will answer the Question posed by the Professor, and will have some choice from which to select.  These are posted on the Discussion Link and each answer should be a minimum of 250-500 words in length in a thoughtful and in-depth response. Students should provide the correct citations and the appropriate Works Cited at the end using MLA Citation Style.Rules for answering Discussion Questions are listed under the Discussion Rules Link (see the Course Info Link then look under Course Policies). Discussion Forums, including the student posts are open for one week, usually from Fridays beginning at 12:00 p.m. Noon to the following Friday until 11:59 p.m. Midnight. 

    NOTE: Students will not be able to view or respond to any of your classmates' messages until AFTER you have posted your initial Answer Response by creating a new thread.  Students who submit an Empty post or Reply FIRST (rather than an Answer post) to gain access to the Discussion Forum and their classmates’ posts – by accident or intent – will lose 20 points for the first infraction. Additional violations of this rule will result in a zero (0) for that Discussion Forum.

    To reiterate, you will have 6-Days in which to first, post your answer the question you selected, then each student must post two, shorter Commentaries (a minimum of 100-150 words in length) on the answers that two (2) of their classmates have posted to the Question they opted to write about.  So be clear, there are actually 3-Parts to this assignment.  The first is your own answer to a question posted by the Professor and selected by you, totaling about 500-words, then two shorter responses or commentaries totaling about 150 words each that you post regarding what two of your classmates had to say about the Question they chose to write upon.  However there are two (2) separate due dates so Do Not Panic, and remember that you have almost one week to complete all three (3) parts of this Assignment.  Be careful, however, to be sure that you submit your Answer to the Question you opted to write about No Later Than the First Due Date on the Course Schedule thus allowing at least 24 hours for the replies from your classmates ensuring each student will have time for thoughtful responses to what others wrote, and to what you posted as your answer.  Waiting until the last minute is unfair to those who need time to compose in-depth postings, so treat your classmates as you wish to be treated.

    The four (4) Discussion Forums during the Course are worth 100 points each and students will be able to drop the TWO (2), lowest scores. Or, put another way, students are only required to complete two (2) Discussions for credit during the Term. The points will be awarded as follows: seventy (70) points for a quality answer to the Discussion Question itself; and then fifteen (15) points for each reply to your classmate’s posts for a total of thirty (30) points. The responses to your fellow students' answers must be insightful commentaries that show you have read and considered what they have argued in their answer to the question being posed. Each Discussion is worth 15% each and the student will be able to drop two (the lowest 2 scores) of the 4 Discussion Forums. Your highest two (2) Discussion Forum posts will thus total 30% toward your Course Grade. (Each Discussion Forum is worth 15% or total of 30% of Final Course Grade.)
  3. The third component is the Introduction Post (separate from the three (3) Discussion Forums listed directly above). Students are required to post a short summary of about 150-200 words by answering a few posted Questions about their goals and more by the listed due date on the Course Calendar.  NO Replies to fellow students are necessary. (Introduction Forum is worth 100 points or 1% of the Final Course Grade.)


Method of determining course grade:

To view your Grades, click on the "Check Your Grade HERE" Link within the AC Connect Course Webpage.  Manually calculate your Grade or Current Average using the Course Syllabus and/or see the "Question on Drops/Avg?” Link for assistance.

Graded Chapter Quizzes (12 at 5.75% each)  


Discussions (2 at 15% each)


Introduction Post


A          90 and above
B          80-89
C          70-79
D          60-69
F          Failing (below 60)

Remember, there are NO make-up exams or assignments given for any reason so if you miss a posted assignment, that grade will become your dropped score or a zero. There is NO extra credit offered.

Participation Forums should be thoughtful and critical with supporting facts and appropriate citations. Opinions without documentary evidence will not receive a passing grade. YOU MUST SUPPORT YOUR STANCE WITH FACTS FROM YOUR READINGS. 

NOTE:  Online students play by a slightly different set of rules than classroom-based students. The nearest thing to the classroom interaction is found in the Participation postings that are done by each student from the assignments listed on the Course Schedule.  These are student-led learning tools, but they also give your Professor (me) a glimpse into how well you are learning the material, and substitute for the in-class debates often found in the normal lecture format.  So the Trade-Off for flexibility each week is that you must engage in these Participation Assignments to give your Professor the best opportunity to assess your overall performance in the class.  Failure to submit these has made the difference between a bright student earning an "A" instead of the "B" they got, and did not want.  So please remember to submit the Participation posts.


NO on-campus meetings are required. This course is conducted entirely Online.

NOTICE:  BE WARNED -- This is fast-paced 8-week course.

Attendance Policy: Regular log-ins are required not only for satisfactory achievement in the Course, but to meet the attendance criteria established for those accepting Financial Aid.  Be certain that you know---and follow the rules for such attendance as stated in your Financial Aid package.  Students must log into the course daily, or at a minimum of every 48 hours. This requirement is based upon the student's need to be informed on many issues that can arise, including changes in their course, any AC Connect announcement posted for the entire class, and in order to stay in contact with their Professor, who may feel that important information is not being understood by the students enrolled in the course, with AC Connect, or AC.  Experience has demonstrated the important role played by the announcements in assisting students in successfully completing the class.  So, remember to check the Homepage on a regular basis.
It is the responsibility of each student to keep track of their Assignments. Students must have daily access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection to enroll in, and to succeed in this course.  Technical problems with a Student’s computer or Internet provider are not valid excuses to miss Assignments, Exams, or other Due Dates.   Students MUST plan ahead to have access to a back-up computer. If a technical problem does occur, students should immediately send an e-mail to the CTL Help Desk, where specialists in this technology can provide assistance. You can also download the Blackboard Mobile App as an alternative option for accessing the Course and completing your Assignments.  You must also send a note to your Professor via the Course E-mail explaining the difficulty and the Date, Time and Steps taken to solve the issue.  Should the problem not be addressed by the Help Desk, they will provide the Professor with a detailed report of ALL actions taken and the Professor will then decide if the Student can be allowed to complete the work in another fashion. If you cannot use e-mail, telephone your Professor as a last resort to explain the problem.  Remember, however, that this is an Online course, and traditional telephone messages may take longer to be returned since they are outside of the normal communication chain.  If you reach your Professor's voice-mail, leave a message explaining the trouble and contact information where you can be reached.  Expect an e-mail response via the Course E-mail as the primary means of return contact, not a telephone call, since students are enrolled from around the world, and may, in fact, be on Active Duty in a military combat zone, or live in Alaska or Hawaii and so on.  This makes telephone communication problematic to say the least.  If necessary, a Chat Room can be created as a temporary method to discuss material that is too complex for a standard e-mail.

Online students play by a slightly different set of rules than classroom based students.  Because your Professors have no opportunity to meet you face-to-face, nor to conduct any real discussions with the class as a group, you pay a penalty when it comes to the final class averages.  Unlike those who are in a regular course, day-in and day-out for weeks and who can participate in the give-and-take of the academic process, there is no room for leeway when it comes to averaging a student's grade.  The nearest thing to classroom participation/discussion is found in the Discussion postings that are done by each student posted on the Course Schedule.  These are student led learning tools, but they also give your Professor a glimpse into how well you are learning the material, and substitute for the in-class debates found in the normal lecture format.  So the Trade-Off for flexibility and not driving to class each week is that you must participate in these Discussions in order to give your Professor the best opportunity to assess your overall performance in the class.  Failure to do these has often made the difference between a student earning an "A" instead of the "B" they got, and did not want.  So please remember to take full advantage of both the learning process and the assessment tool provided by these Discussion posts.

Log-on and Meeting Time: Students should purchase textbooks and receive them prior to the first day of class. In addition, students need to log in on or before the first day of class through AC Connect Course Webpage:  Students can access the associated Course Webpage on the Internet through the AC Connect Server at https://acconnect.actx.edu or through the AC Homepage http://www.actx.edu/  to begin the course. This class is conducted completely online and does NOT require proctors for exams. All Graded Quizzes and Assignments are submitted online through the course website.

Students MUST submit all Assignments and Quizzes electronically per the appropriate Instructions on the Course Website and NO Assignments will be accepted in any other form as mandated by College and Course Syllabus rules.


GOVT 2305 (8 wk)  --  Course Schedule   --  Summer 2022 Term

Assignments Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due before 11:59 p.m. (just prior to Midnight) Central Time (CT) on the final date listed.  All dates refer to the 2022 Calendar Year and all times refer to the appropriate seasonal CT (Central Time). Students MUST submit all Assignments electronically per the appropriate Instructions on the Course Syllabus/Website and no Assignments will be accepted in any other form as mandated by University and Course Syllabus rules.

Blackboard or Computer Problems? Contact the CTL Help Desk immediately by E-mail, telephone, or in person during most working hours (https://www.actx.edu/ctl/helpcenter) but plan ahead!  Technical problems are not an excuse to miss a posted Assignment Due Date. Turn in assignments early and/or have backup plan.

Date General Topics Covered Reading Assignment
Graded Chapter Quizzes
Suggested Date to Start Reading for Assignments Introduction/

Purchase correct Textbook (confirm with the Course Syllabus).

Familiarize yourself with the Course Webpage. 

Become familiar with ACConnect (Blackboard)

Graded Quizzes Available on the "Graded Quizzes" Link

Practice Quizzes and Other Study Materials Available on the "Course Materials" Link

Locate Questions & Post Entries on the "Discussions" Link

NOTE the TWO Separate Due Dates Below on Discussion Board Forums.

6/6 Lesson 1
Critical Thinking & Political Thinking
Textbook (Textbook refers to We the People by Patterson)

Textbook (Patterson) -- Chapter 1
6/10 - 6/13
(1 quiz)
Post Your Introduction
on the "Intro" Discussion Board Forum
Opens 6/6
Closes 6/13


Students who do not attend class on or prior to the Census Date will be administratively dropped.

Attendance in Online classes REQUIRES the completion of a Graded Assignment such as the Introduction Discussion Forum or the First Graded Quiz PRIOR to the Census Date.     

Lesson 2
Constitutional Democracy;

Textbook --
Chapters 2 & 3
6/14 - 6/17
(2 quizzes)
Disc. 1
Opens 6/10
Answers DUE 6/16
Replies DUE 6/17
Lesson 3
Civil Liberties;
Equal Rights

Textbook --

Chapters 4 & 5
6/17 - 6/20
(2 quizzes)
Disc. 2
Opens 6/17
6/19 Lesson 4
Public Opinion & Political Socialization;
Political Participation
Textbook --
Chapters 6 & 7
6/21 - 6/24
(2 quizzes)
Disc. 2
Opens 6/17
Answers DUE 6/23
Replies DUE 6/24

Lesson 5
Political Parties, Candidates, & Campaigns;

Textbook --
Chapter 8
6/24 - 6/27
(1 quiz)
Disc. 3
Opens 6/24

Lesson 6
Interests Groups;
News Media;

Textbook --
Chapters 9 & 10
6/28 - 7/1
(2 quizzes)
Disc. 3
Opens 6/24
Answers DUE 6/30
Replies DUE 7/1
  A SHORT Break Take a Break in Reading and Testing.    
7/6 Lesson 7
Textbook --
Chapter 11
7/8 - 7/11
(1 quiz)
Disc. 4
Opens 7/8
7/10 Lesson 8
The Presidency;
The Federal Bureaucracy
Textbook --
Chapters 12 & 13
7/12 - 7/15
(2 quizzes)
Disc. 4
Opens 7/8
Answers DUE 7/14
Replies DUE 7/15
7/13 Lesson 9
The Federal Judicial System; Economic & Environment Policy
Textbook --
Chapter 14 & 15
7/15 - 7/18
(2 quizzes)
7/19 Last Day to Drop Students are now REQUIRED to contact their Professor, get approval AND paperwork before Dropping any class.    
7/17 Lesson 10
Income, Welfare & Education Policy

Textbook --

Chapter 16
7/19 - 7/22
(1 quiz)
7/20 Lesson 11
Foreign Policy
Textbook --
Chapter 17
Congratulations!  When this last Quiz is done -- the Course is Completed.
7/22 - 7/25
(1 quiz)

Additional Information

Teaching & Learning Strategy:  The class is approached as an on-line instruction tool to learn about United States history. The course is designed to be completed during either a traditional 16-week Fall/Spring term or more recently adopted 8 week fast-paced session. A student should expect to schedule, on average, approximately 6-8 hours per week to accomplish the assignments required in this course and plan on reading 75-100 pages per week — even more in an 8-week session. The student should block out time in a day planner three (3) times a week in a traditional 16 week session (5-6 times a week in the 8-week session) for completing reading, reviewing Internet sources, and course work, just as you would do if you were on campus.  The seemingly vast reading load is the result of not attending classroom lectures where material is distilled by the Professor.  Instead, the student is given the assignments, and should read them first and ask any questions raised by the topics that each student as an individual needs guidance to follow.

The course is structured with readings that correspond to content material posted online. Students should be sure to view and/or print off the class calendar to keep track of the required posting dates for exams and discussion questions. In addition, students should regularly check their E-mail and Course Announcements for notices about any changes in the course or content materials. Participation in this course is crucial to success.

Since this course is offered as an online class, individualized learning is the key. Your ability to read the textbook and additional material and learn on your own to identify major theses and link material together into a comprehensive understanding of the United States is crucial. The professor is available by E-mail via the "Call PROF" Tool to discuss in-depth any material you do not understand but the burden of learning falls upon the individual student.

Go to the Course Webpage on AC Connect and select the "Course Info - Start HERE!" Link:
--Read and keep either a printed copy or notes of the Course Syllabus for the semester handy,
--Print out the Course Schedule on the "Course Schedule" Link and post somewhere prominent or place the dates in your smart phone calendar app.
--Review and be familiar with ALL Course Policies including the SafeAssign, Wikipedia and Plagiarism Handouts.

Copyright © 2008-2022 by Professor Linda Powell
All rights reserved. Course content including course presentations/materials, outlines, PPTs, video lectures, etc. are protected by copyright and is intended for your personal educational use only. Therefore, this course or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the professor's express written permission.

**Changes or adjustments in course material, course calendar, or other parts of this syllabus may be made during the Term if circumstances warrant.

Syllabus Created on:

05/09/22 8:33 PM

Last Edited on:

05/09/22 9:24 PM