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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Political Science

American National Government POLS-101

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 101
  • 3.0 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/20/2012
  • Modified 10/02/2012

Contact Information


Meeting Times


This is a virtual class (we don't meet face to face at all), so please make sure you check Blackboard every day, especially on Sunday's and Monday's.




Political Science 101 is the study of the foundation of the United States Government and the evolution of constitutional principles. Special attention is given to the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the three branches of national government, powers and limits of national government, civil rights, political parties, campaigns, political participation, interest groups, media, public opinion and select public policies. This is an essential course for student majoring in political science, pre-law, or law enforcement. It fulfills a social science requirement for A.A. and A.S. degrees. Lecture: 3 hours per week


Barbour, Christine & Gerald C. Wright.  2011. Keeping the Republic: Power and Citizenship in American Politics, 4th ed. Washington D.C.: CQ Press



POLS 101 is a course designed to provide students with the basic knowledge of how the United States government is organized and how it functions. Students are expected to learn about the institutions of government and how the Constitution, citizens, interest groups and the media all influence the operation of government. After taking this course students will:


·         Learn the basics of the government institutions and their powers.  

·         Be able to identify, understand and apply political science concepts and theories to historical and contemporary issues in American government and politics.

·         Obtain a working knowledge about the evolution and functioning of the American political system.

·         Have a basic understanding of how the U.S. government was formed and the documents and political philosophy that continues to influence our democracy.

·         Gain an understanding of the role that the media, interest groups, political parties, legal action and voters play in influencing the federal government.

·         Be expected to enhance their writing, presentation and research skills.

·         Gain an understanding of the ethical and moral issues that are involved in government service and citizenship

·         Have a broader understanding of the struggle for human rights by contemporary and historical groups that face discrimination and antipathy.


The assessment of these outcomes will include exams, discussion, writing assignments and class participation.   


TESTS (400 pts.): There will be four exams in the course. The exams will consist of multiple-choice, matching, fill in the blank, and/or short answer questions. The exams will cover the lecture material (PPPs), assigned readings. The exams will not be cumulative. All exams will be online. You will be given notice of the exam times, and the following week (seven days) to complete the exams. A ten point per day (up to a total of twenty points), will be deducted for late exams. On the third day after the exams close, a zero will be entered for the exam grade. There is no exception to the rule. Don’t be late!

PARTICIPATION POINTS (100 pts.): Class participation is based on participation in submitting , checking your e-mail/responding to quizzes/discussion board in a timely manner, and getting your final on time. If you treat this class as a job, you will get full participation points. Even though Discussion Board is graded seperately, it is a very good estimator of participationThese points are discretionary, and will not be justified.  Some quizzes will be posted. Posted quizzes are due seventy-two hours after posting. After time has passed a zero will be given. There is no exception to the rule. Don’t be late!

Discussion Board (100 pts.): There will be several postings for this assignment.  Each student will be required to write an original response to my question and one response to the original response of another student.  Responses are expected no later than a week after the original posting. After that time, a zero will be given. There is no exception to the rule. Don’t be late!

Course Policies

Grading, Course Requirements, and Course Guidelines:

There will be four tests, discussion board excercises, and participation points. The course is composed of different types of assignments so that all students get an opportunity to maximize their particular talents to their benefit. Participation and attendance are expected and will be rewarded over the course of the semester.

As you are well aware, this is a college level political science course. Since this is a political science course, it is required that all Political Science majors and minors use the APSA Style Manual for Political Science at:  It will help you immensely in your future classes to familiarize yourself with this style now. 

Special Note: Remember this is college and each student should follow the general guidelines outlined in the syllabus. Participating online and completing the required course work on time is expected. If you do not follow these guidelines you will not be successful in this course. Thank you and good fortune.


Tentative Course Schedule

This is a tentative schedule only.  I may add additional readings during the course.  Although I will not make major changes to the schedule I do reserve the right to alter the schedule as needed to accomplish class objectives.  Examples include but are not limited to: major political events occurring such as important legislation, executive announcements, major shifts in policy, or important Supreme Court Cases.

Week #/ Dates

Assignment Topic

Readings and Assignments

1 08/27

Basic Concepts of Political Science; Politics and Economics; US Constitutions

Chaps. 1-3; PowerPoint Presentations (PPPs) 1-6; Discussion Board

2 09/03


Liberty Treated: Civil liberties and Rights Overview; Torture Examined


Be sure to finish chap. 3 (79-94); PPP4; Chap. 4; PPP5 & 6; Chap. 5 (145-154); Read first two paragraphs under each heading/subheading (bottom of 154 [“the long battle to overturn Plessey … ] to 181) and chapter summary; Internet articles: “Guantánamo Bay: Inside the empty, rotting 'torture’ blocks of Camp X-Ray” (, and “Neglect of Medical Evidence of Torture in Guantánamo Bay: A Case Series” (

3 09/10

Make sure you are caught up on all your readings

 Discussion Board

4 09/17

 Exam 1 Review Sheet, Exam 1


5 09/24

Political Parties; Political Parties Continued: Two Party System; Interest Groups

Chap. 11 (356-369); PPP 7; PPP8; Chap. 11 (370-394); PPP9

6 10/01

The Media; Voting, Campaigns, and Elections

Chap. 13; PPP11; Chap. 12; PPP 12;

7 10/08

Make sure you are caught up on all your readings

Discussion Board

8 10/15

Exam 2 Review Sheet, Exam 2


9 10/22

Congress; the Presidency; Bureaucracy

 Chap. 6; PPP 13; Chap. 7 (228-246 and summary); PPP 14; Chap. 8 (261-271; 281-288); PPP 15

10 10/22

The Judiciary; Make sure you are caught up on all your readings

Chap. 9; PPP 16; Discussion Board

11 10/29

Intergovernmental Relations (IGR); IGR and Coercive Federalism

 PPP17; “The Politics of Coercive Federalism in the Bush Era,” Oxford Journals (‘Publius’) 37.3 (May): 390-412.

12 11/05

Exam 3 Review Sheet, Exam3


13 11/12

Foreign Policy

On page 614 of your text (index), complete ALL readings under the heading “ Foreign Policy;”  PPP 19

14 11/19

Domestic Policy

Pgs. 467-498 in your text;”  PPP 18

15 11/26

Social Policy

PPP 20; Discussion Board

16 12/03

Economic Policy


17 12/10

Take Home Exam Parameters outlined


18 12/17

Final Exams

 Your final (take home exam) is due by 5:30, Dec. 17 J

Additional Items


Division Policies

For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please ferfer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: 

Academic Dishonesty
Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at North Idaho College. These violations include the following:

Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study in any academic exercise.
Fabrication: falsifying or inventing any information or citation in an academic exercise.
Plagiarism: knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in an academic exercise.
Violation of Intellectual Property: stealing, altering, or destroying the academic work of other members of the community or the educational resources,materials, or official documents of the college. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of this policy.

Student Responsibility
As outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, all North Idaho College students have both rights and responsibilities: Please access www.nic.ferpa.StudentCode/index.htm for complete information that pertains to this subject.

North Idaho College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, provides both services and accommodations to students who meet the guidelines provided in these acts.  For a complete description, please see:

Please contact the North Idaho College Center for Educational Access in Seiter Hall, Room 100 for assistance.  Phone:  208-769-5947

To withdraw from all courses a student must obtain a college withdrawal form from the Registrar's Office, secure the signatures of those persons indicated on the form, and return the form to the Registrar's office. No student may withdraw from the college after the final date of withdrawal from courses except for compelling and extraordinary reasons. In such circumstances a student must petition the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee for late withdrawal from college using the college withdrawal form available in the Registrar's Office.


For complete information regarding student withdrawals, please see the North Idaho College Policy 5.04.01: 

Institutional Policies

Student Code of Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct applies to any student enrolled at North Idaho College.  This includes, but is not limited to, face-to-face classes and Internet classes.

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes:

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, Edminster Student Union Building, (208) 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, (208) 769-3304) for employee issues.

Institutional Statement

DROP FOR NON-PAYMENT:  By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You will be dropped from classes if payment is not received by  5 p.m. Pacific Time on the third day of the semester. Students on the waitlist will be given the option to register for classes after students are dropped for non-payment.

REMOVAL FROM CLASS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:  Attendance is based on your participation in this class. Failure to attend may result in your being removed from this class and may result in your financial aid award being reduced. You are responsible for confirming the accuracy of your attendance record.