*American Federal Government - HP 1113

American Federal Government Online is a survey course dealing with our national system of government.  The primary purpose of the course is to give you a basic understanding of our system of government and to help you to see where you fit in that system.  The founding fathers believed strongly that without such an undertanding and the active participation of citizens the nation could not survive.


Required Text:Central Ideas in American Government, Jocelyn Evans & Christy Michaud, Soomo Publishing. 

This is a webtext that includes the textbook and study assignments.  You may purchase an access code from the SNU Bookstore.  The Webtext Registration Link and Quickstart Guide are directly beneath the syllabus link on the main page.


Overview of Course Assignments

Below you will find a description of the activities that you will need to complete to be successful in American Federal Government Online.  Each week you will read two chapters in your Webtext, Central Ideas in American Government, complete the assignments in each chapter,  post and respond to two discussion forums and submit a Chapter Worksheet responding to questions based on the central ideas in each chapter.  

The assignment due dates and times are clearly posted in each week’s block on Moodle.  In addition, use the Assignments link at the beginning of each week’s block in Moodle e.g. Assignments for Week One, to see a table of all the objectives, activities and points associated with the week’s assignments.  The assignments are as follows:

 1.    Webtext reading(No points but necessary for success in the class)  You are expected to read all of the chapter assignments by the date and time required.  The reading assignments are not extremely long but to be successful in the class reading is essential.

As soon as you receive your access code for the Webtext you should look over the text and familiarize yourself with its features.  Use the help tab at the top of the home page to access the User Guide, the Comcast Student Guide and the FAQ’s.  If you have problems or questions use the “contact support” link.

 Read each assigned chapter completely.  There are two chapters for each week of the course.

 2.     Webtext  Assignments(10 points based on your grade in the Study Questions and 5 points for completion of the Assignments, Polls and Response Boards. Total Points = 180) As you read, complete all the webtext assignments for each chapter.  The webtext assignments include the following and they are referred to this way in the webtext grade book or “notebook” to which you have access.

1.  Assignments: these involve watching a video or reading material related to the topic or both and are best done as you read the text.  Do your best on the questions attached to these but once you enter a wrong answer you cannot go back and correct it.  Use these as a learning tool.  The grade will not count against you but failure to complete the assignments will.

2.  Polls:  these provide an opportunity for you to express your opinion on key questions related to the material being studied.  The polls will give you a chance to see how your classmates felt about the point in question.  Participation in these is required and failure to participate will impact your grade.

3.  Response Boards:  these provide another way for you to express your opinion on an important issue in the text chapter.

4. Study Questions: Get the Gist?)  These questions deal with the material in the textbook chapters and are scattered throughout the text.   They should be completed as you read.  Note that the answers can be reset and you should do them until you have correctly answered  them all.  Your grade on these questions will be based on your final scores on the Study Questions.

3.  Discussion Forums(10 points for the initial post, 5 points for responding to two of your classmates posts, total points = 180)  The forums are meant to help you express what you have learned from one of the weekly assignments and to discuss those results with your classmates.  All are based on the webtext assignments except one which asks you to reflect on your ideology paper.  The posts are meant to be extensive, roughly 250 words, and to deal with the most significant issues and concepts in the assignment.  Your responses should be thoughtful and not just chatty.   i.e. merely agreeing, disagreeing or complimenting your classmate would not constitute an adequate response.

 4. Chapter Worksheets( 20 points each, total points =240)  The Chapter Worksheets should be completed after all the other assignments for each chapter has been completed.  Each worksheet has 4 questions dealing with the most important concepts and issues in the chapter.  Read the questions carefully and answer the questions in your own words, clearly and concisely.  These assignment are submitted to Turnitin and if you turn them in a bit early you will be able to see your originality score and avoid problems with plagiarism.  Depending on the questions 100 to 200 words should be sufficient to answer these questions.

5. Ideology Assignment(Total points = 100) At the end of week 4 you will submit a paper describing your political ideology.  Ideology is dealt with in Chapter 9 of your webtext  and also assigned for week 4. You may wish to read ahead in the pertinent portions of this chapter to help get you started. This assignment will require you to complete a number of research activities to help you learn the definition and function of ideologies, the nature of modern American ideologies and the meaning of the terms “left” and “right” in the American context.  Most importantly, several of the activities are meant to help you begin to understand your own ideology and where it came from.   Use the link, Ideology Paper Instructions in the week 4 block to access the assignment instructions.