Borough of manhattan community college

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The City University of New York

Department of Social Science

Fall, 2012

POL 100—American Government, ONLINE

Professor Gerard P. Clock

Office: Room N-616

Office Telephone: 212-220-8227

Social Science Dept. Telephone: 212-220-1210 (leave message)

Faculty mailboxes are located INSIDE the Social science Department, N-620.


REQUIRED TEXTBOOK (You must use the exact edition noted below):

Harrison et al., Democracy Now. 2nd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-07-337907-4.


This is an ONLINE course in the historical origins of the American government; the structure of government; government’s influence on society; and how contemporary government deals with societal problems.


Students will:

--Read and listen analytically, with recognition of content and openness to other points of view;

--Write clearly, accurately, and fluently with logical progression of ideas;

--Learn about and demonstrate mastery of the working of the American government;


  1. Communication: This will be assessed via written work, including participation in Weekly Discussion Board, the required Blog, two papers, a Midterm Exam, and a Final exam.

  2. Analysis: Students must write and think clearly and assessment will occur via the written requirements of the course.

  3. Social Interaction: Engagement in Discussion Board topics is an integral part of assessment of social interaction.


  1. For technical support, contact the E-Learning Center, S501A, 212-220-8126.

  2. For tutoring, contact Tutorial Services, S500, 212-220-1378.

  3. For counseling, contact Counseling Services, S330, 212-220-8141.

  4. The Library is located on the Fourth Floor South, S400.


Each week is divided into “lessons” consisting, in general, of five parts:

--The weekly reading assignments which you complete on your own;

--The weekly “Class Notes” that I created to help highlight important material;

--The critical thinking questions which you should assess and keep a notebook with your responses;

--The required homework of the Discussion Board;

--The required Blog entry.

Your written, graded work is as follows:

  1. Weekly Discussion Board topics, as indicated on the Course Map and the Weekly Lessons.

Rules: All Discussion Board responses must be thoughtful, in-depth answers to the questions. You should think in terms of FOUR TO FIVE SENTENCE RESPONSES, and your sentences should be complete.

  1. Weekly Blog entries—this is your PERSONAL Blog—as per the topics indicated on the Course Map and highlighted in the Weekly Lessons.

Rules: This is your PERSONAL BLOG. As such, no other student will read it. With that in mind, grammar will NOT be factored into the grade; however, EACH BLOG ENTRY should be about a HALF TO A FULL PAGE. Your response to the question(s) each week should be thorough and thoughtful.

  1. Two short papers, the topics of which appear in the Course Map and in special folders within the appropriate Weekly Lessons (at Week Three and Week Ten).

Rules: Both papers must make proper use of EXACT MLA-STYLE. Grammar, organization, and proper use of MLA-Style will be integral parts of the grade. EACH paper should be TWO TO THREE TYPED (DOUBLE-SPACED, as per MLA-Style) pages. At week Three and Week Ten there will be separate folders within those weeks’ lessons which will provide more precise directions based on the actual paper topic. You must adhere to ALL instructions provided therein.

  1. A Midterm Exam at Week Seven and a Final Exam at Week Fifteen. Note that each exam will require you to answer THREE ESSAY QUESTIONS FROM A CHOICE OF FIVE. Each question will have to be TWO to THREE TYPED pages, and so the product of EACH exam will be approximately SIX TO NINE TYPED PAGES.

Rules: You will be allowed to refer to our Black Board site and your textbook for the essay examinations. There will be FIVE specific essay questions, and you will be required to answer THREE OF THEM. For each question, you will develop an essay of about TWO TO THREE typed pages. You must address the question in a precise manner; be specific. At Week Seven, the Midterm Examination will be in a separate folder at Week Seven’s Lesson; likewise, at Week Fifteen, the Final Examination will be in a separate folder at Week Fifteen’s Lesson.3


BMCC STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM: “Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas, words or artistic, scientific, or technical work as one’s own creation. Using the work of another is permissible only when the original author is identified. Paraphrasing and summarizing, as well as direct quotations, require citations to the original source. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Lack of dishonest intent does not necessarily absolve the student of responsibility for plagiarism.” In this class, PROVEN PLAGIARISM WILL MEAN AN F IN THE COURSE.

ACADEMIC ADJUSTMENTS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: “Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments MUST contact the Office of Accessibility, Room N320, 212-220-8180. BMCC is committed to providing equal access to ALL programs and curricula to ALL students.


--Weekly Discussion Board: 20 percent;

--Weekly Blog: 20 percent;

--First Paper: 10 percent;

--Midterm Exam: 20 percent;

--Second Paper: 10 percent;

--Final Exam: 20 percent.

Nota Bene: There are NO make-up provisions and NO WORK is accepted late. All work indicated above is DUE AT 11:45 PM ON THE SUNDAY THAT ENDS THE WEEK. (Example: Week ONE begins on a MONDAY; you have the entire week until 11:45 PM on SUNDAY to submit the work for WEEK ONE). This holds for the entire semester, with the EXCEPTION THAT THE FINAL EXAM WILL HAVE A SPECIFIC DUE DATE WITHIN ITS INSTRUCTIONS. Failure to comply with the deadlines will mean that the LATE WORK—OR UNCOMPLETED WORK—WILL BE COUNTED AS ZERO FOR THAT WEEK.

Course Map: It is the responsibility of EACH STUDENT to print the COURSE MAP, located via the COURSE MAP button. It contains all of the Weekly Reading assignments. Then, go to Weekly Lessons and complete EACH WEEK”s assignments. As a student in an ONLINE CLASS, the responsibility falls to each student to keep up with the Weekly Assignments. Below is an abridged guide to the Weekly topics. You must, each week, check the COURSE MAP (which you MUST print) and follow the steps within the WEEKLY LESSONS.

Weekly Topics:

Week One: Introduction

Week Two: Political Thinking, Harrison, Chapter 1.

Week Three: Current Events: The Economist (an article of your choice for your First Paper). FIRST PAPER.

Week Four: Constitutional Democracy, Harrison, Chapter 2.

Week Five: The Constitution, Harrison, The Constitution (Follows Chapter 2).

Week Six: Federalism, Harrison, Chapter 3.


Week Eight: Political Parties, Harrison, Chapter 8.

Week Nine: The Congress, Harrison, Chapter 11.

Week Ten: The Presidency, Harrison, Chapter 12. SECOND PAPER.

Week Eleven: The Judiciary, Harrison, Chapter 14.

Week Twelve: Political Socialization and Public Opinion, Harrison, Chapter 6.

Week Thirteen: Interest Groups, Harrison, Chapter 7.

Week Fourteen: Foreign Policy and National Security, Harrison, Chapter 17.


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