Bluefield State College
POSC 200 (BlkBrd Online)—Fall 2012

CRN:  10182

Class Meets Online: From August 20—December 17, 2012


Colin S. Cavell, Ph.D.


Course Description: An introduction to the structure, functions, and politics of the United States national (federal) government within its historical, constitutional, social, and theoretical contexts.


Instructional Objectives: Upon completion of POSC 200, students should be able to read and provide an immanent critique of texts; to articulate arguments and examine their flaws; be familiar with the basics of logical, ethical, and dialectical reasoning; be familiar with essays, both pro and con, regarding the 1787 US Constitution; understand the reasoning behind the separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the US Constitution; understand the reasoning behind the idea of checks and balances in the US Constitution; be familiar with characters associated with and the culture and history of the US republic; be familiar with the constitutional history of the US experiment in self-government; understand the differences between a secular and theistic form of living; understand the historical evolution of human culture, including struggles over rights and responsibilities; be familiar with the horrendous tragedies as well as accomplishments of the US experiment in self-government; empathize with the plight of the European Pilgrims, the Native Americans, the enslaved Africans, women, et al. who struggled to overcome adversity in their quest for freedom; understand the effects of race, gender, class and other divisions on society and the effect of constitutional provisions to either enhance or dissipate such divisions; articulate some conception of human freedom and adopt a stance towards it; and be able to envision a defensible future.


Caveat Emptor (i.e. Buyer Beware): This online distance learning course is intense and requires a commitment by you, the student, to keep up with the readings and the work. By taking this course, you are making a commitment to purchase the required texts, keep up with the chapter readings, submit your Research Paper by the required due date, and take the Chapter Quizzes and submit answers to the Class Discussion Questions as they arise, in addition to completing the Midterm Exam and Final Exam by the dates indicated.


Grading Policy:  25% for completing Online Chapter Quizzes and for answering Chapter Class Discussion Questions, 25% for the Midterm Exam; 25% for the Research Paper; and 25% for the Final Exam. A Guideline sheet, stipulating what is required for the Research Paper, is accessible by clicking on the Research Paper Guidelines.  The Research Paper Guideline sheet should be followed exactly.


Grading Scale:  90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; 0-59=F.  These numerical scores correspond to the following evaluations:  “A” = Excellent; “B” = Good; “C” = Satisfactory (NOTE:  A grade of “C” or better is required in major courses); “D” = Poor (passing, except in major courses); “F” = Earned Failure (removed only by repeating the course; upon successfully  passing the course, the first grade is “excluded” from grade point average.  The second grade is “included” in the recalculation of the grade point average); and “I” = Incomplete.


Quiz and Test Policy: You will have three possible attempts with each chapter quiz to make your highest score. On the Midterm and Final Exams, you will have only one possible attempt to make your highest score. Your chapter quizzes will become accessible on the date indicated online and you will have until the last day of classes at 11:55 p.m. to take them. The Midterm and Final Exams will be accessible on the date indicated online and on the syllabus and you will have only a limited, specified time to complete each exam. If you attempt to utilize the course textbook to answer the questions on the Midterm and Final Exams, you will likely run out of time. Make sure to complete both the Midterm Exam and the Final Exam by the stipulated dates.  The Midterm Exam will cover chapters 1-10.  The Final Exam will cover Chapters 11-19.  Questions on the Midterm and Final Exams will come directly from the chapter quizzes.


Special Note About the Chapter Quizzes: Each Chapter Quiz contains at least fifty questions and, sometimes, more. However, do not be discouraged by this, because you will NOT be graded on how many answers you get wrong or right on the Chapter Quizzes but, rather, you will be graded simply on whether or not you took each Chapter Quiz at least once. Yes, you read that correctly. All you need to do in order to receive your 12.5% credit (i.e. half of 25% for the Quizzes and Discussion Questions) for completing the Chapter Quizzes is to simply attempt to take each Chapter Quiz at least once. Make sure you click the “Submit” button at the end of each Chapter Quiz so that Moodle notifies me that you have taken the quiz.  By completing the chapter quizzes, you will also be preparing yourself for the Midterm and Final Exams, as the questions on the exams will come directly from the chapter quizzes.


Online Class Discussion Policy:  Each of you will receive each Chapter Class Discussion Question in your email.  At the bottom of the chapter question, there is a hyperlink “Reply” button.  Simply click this “Reply” button and submit your answer to the chapter question.  [Alternatively, click on the “Discussion” icon on the course Moodle page and then click on the Chapter Class Discussion Question you wish to answer; go to the bottom of the question and click on the hyperlink “Reply” button and submit your answer.]  Each student must make at least one entry per each Chapter Class Discussion question. Make sure you simply hit the reply button on the Discussion Question you receive in your email to submit your answer, so that the Subject Heading is the same as the Discussion Question, in order to get credit for that Chapter’s Discussion Question. Note that each student MUST provide their own answer to each question.  Copying from any other student’s answer or simply repeating what other students have written constitutes plagiarism and will be dealt with harshly. Also, you will not be able to view other students’ responses until you have submitted one of your own first.  Note that, like the quizzes, you must complete all chapter discussion questions by the last day of classes by 11:55 p.m. in order to receive 12.5% credit (i.e. half of 25% for the Quizzes and Discussion Questions).


Communication Policy: There are no synchronous or on-site requirements for this online distance learning course. As I am currently living in Bluefield, West Virginia, we will not be able to meet directly in person. Nevertheless, I will login to the course regularly to answer email, respond to bulletin board questions, etc. If you have a question, email me at mailto:ccavell@bluefieldstate.edu.


Disability Services Statement: BSC is committed to full inclusion of all students. Students who, by nature of a documented disability, require classroom, equipment, testing or assignment accommodations should contact the Student Support Services at 304.327.4227 to request accommodations before the start of the semester. Your immediate attention to these arrangements is necessary to assure a positive learning experience.


Academic Integrity Policy:   Academic integrity is expected of all students. This means that all work for this class must be undertaken and completed by you alone without collaboration from others. Any dishonesty in the performance of course work, such as plagiarism or cheating in other forms, will be reported. In the event the student is charged with some form of dishonesty, the Student Discipline Policy will be followed. The full text of the BSC Academic Honesty Policy can be found at:  http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/academics/academic-honesty-and-proctoring. In addition, students should be aware that research paper assignments may be submitted to Turnitin by the instructor for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism. Submitted assignments will be included in the BSC dedicated database of assignments at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism during the grading process during this term and in the future.


Library: Our goal is to ensure that distance learning students have access to resources and services that mirror those that are available to students enrolled in non-distance learning courses at BSC.  Click here for Information for Distance Learners:  http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/distance-education.  Access to traditional resources and services, including, but not limited to, magazine articles, books, course reserves and research assistance, is available through the Library’s homepage http://library.bluefieldstate.edu/. 


Dean of the Virtual College: Should you ever need to contact Audrey Biggs, Dean of the Virtual College at (304) 327-4578 or email her.


Help Desk: If you need technical assistance with BlackBoard, email blackboardsupport@bluefieldstate.edu or contact the IT Help Desk at 304.327.4510  or  304-327-4090.  If you need additional BlackBoard assistance, contact Audrey Biggs at 304.327.4578.  If you need Moodle assistance, contact  Cody Chambers at 304.327.4591.  Be sure to indicate your full name, ID number, course number, and the problem. Email assistance is preferred.

Free Tutoring Services Available: BSC offers free online tutoring for all BSC students in the following subjects:  Math; Accounting, Managerial; Accounting, Financial; Writing (all subjects); Grammar; Microeconomics; Macroeconomics; Statistics; Spanish. Chemistry, etc. This service is free and available 24 hours a day to all BSC students. Go to http://www.smarthinking.com/ and follow these instructions.


Important Links:

·         Distance Education website:  http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/distance-education

·         BlackBoard:  http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/distance-education/blackboard

·         Moodle Website:  http://bluefieldstateonline.com/

·         For Financial Aid or Student Account Information:  https://mycampus.bluefieldstate.edu/group/mycampus/finances

·         College Information:  http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/


Withdrawal Policy: Sometimes it is necessary for a student to withdraw from an online course. If that should become necessary, please complete the withdrawal form found at:   http://www.bluefieldstate.edu/faq/registration.

Technology Issues:  It is the student’s responsibility to see to the operation of any computing system you use off campus.  A malfunctioning computer system is not a valid excuse for submitting late work or missing deadlines.


Required Texts: Available at the BSC Bookstore:


Greenberg, Edward S. and Benjamin I. Page. 2011. The Struggle for Democracy, Tenth Edition. New York, NY: Longman. [ISBN-13 9780205741496]


Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison and John Jay. 1787/2003. The Federalist Papers. New York: Penguin Books. [ISBN: 9780451528810]


Ketcham, Ralph, ed. 1787-8/2003. The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates. New York: Penguin Books. [ISBN 9780451625250]

August 20, 2012: [Monday, classes begin] Introduction to United States National Government: Main Themes

Mandatory Name Assignment: Log on to the course webpage and familiarize yourself with the course content, icons, syllabus, Moodle links, etc. Each student must send me, either through the Moodle course email or to my BSC email at <ccavell@bluefieldstate.edu>, a document indicating your name and, optionally, your home page URL if you want me to post it on the course Moodle page for the other classmates to see. This document MUST be composed in Microsoft Word and SENT AS AN ATTACHMENT. As your research paper at the end of the semester must be composed in Microsoft Word and sent as an attachment, you must master this task at the beginning of the semester. Remember to send your Mandatory Name Assignment as a Microsoft WORD file and NOT a Microsoft WORKS file.

August 20-24:  Democracy and American Politics

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 1 and (in the Appendix) The Declaration of Independence; Ketcham, “James Madison to George Washington”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 1 and answer the Chapter 1 Class Discussion Topic.

Aug. 24 [Friday]: All students taking a fully online course must be logged into their course or be Administratively Withdrawn

August 27-31:  The Constitution & Federalism: States and Nation

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 2 & 3 (including the Constitution) and (in the Appendix) Madison, Federalist “No. 10”, Hamilton, Federalist “No. 78”; Ketcham, “The Virginia Plan,” “Debate on Representation,” “Debate on Executive Power”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapters 2 & 3 and answer Chapters 2 & 3 Class Discussion Topics.

September 3, 2012:  Labor Day holiday; College Closed

Sept. 4-7:  The Structural Foundations of American Government and Politics & Public Opinion

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 4 & 5; Ketcham, “Opposition to Executive Salaries,” “Opposition to a Unitary Executive,” “Electing Representatives,” “Debate on Method of Electing Senators”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapters 4 & 5 and answer Chapters 4 & 5 Class Discussion Topics. .

Sept. 10-14:  The News Media & Interest Groups and Business Corporations

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 6 & 7; Ketcham, “Debate on Veto of State Laws,” “The New Jersey Plan,” “Debate on the New Jersey Plan,” “Plan for National Government,” “Opposition to the New Jersey Plan”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapters 6 & 7 and answer Chapters 6 & 7 Class Discussion Topics.

Sept. 17-21:  Social Movements & Political Parties

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 8 & 9 and (in the Appendix) Madison, Federalist “No. 51”; Ketcham, “Debate on Federalism”; Ketcham, “Length of Term in Office for Senators,” “Debate on State Equality in the Senate”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapter 8 & 9 and answer Chapters 8 & 9 Class Discussion Topics.

Sept. 24-28:  Voting, Campaigns, and Elections

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 10; Ketcham, “Majority Rule: The Basic Republican Principle,” “Election and Term of Office of the National Executive”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 10 and answer Chapter 10 Class Discussion Topic.

Oct. 1-7:  MIDTERM EXAM [Click on “Quizzes” and then “Midterm Exam”; you will have 120 minutes to take the midterm, and you may only take it once. You must complete the midterm by 11:55 p.m. on October 7.]

Oct. 8:  Mid-semester Grades Due to Registrar; Columbus Day holiday; College closed

Oct. 9-12:  Congress & The Presidency

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 11 & 12; Ketcham, “The Judiciary, the Veto, and Separation of Powers,” “Appointment of Judges,” “Method of Ratification”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapters 11 & 12 and answer Chapters 11 & 12 Class Discussion Topics.

Oct. 22-26:  The Executive Branch & The Courts

Readings: Greenberg and Page Chs. 13 & 14; Ketcham, “Election of the Executive,” “First Draft of the Constitution”

Assignment: Complete Quizzes for Chapters 13 & 14 and answer Chapters 13 & 14 Class Discussion Topics.

Oct. 29-Nov. 2:  Civil Liberties: The Struggle for Freedom

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 15; Ketcham, “Qualifications for Suffrage”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 15 and answer Chapter 15 Class Discussion Topic.

Nov. 5-9:  Civil Rights: The Struggle for Political Equality

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 16; Ketcham, “Citizenship for Immigrants”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 16 and answer Chapter 16 Class Discussion Topic.

Nov. 9 [Friday]: Last Day to Withdraw with "W" for Full Semester Classes

Nov. 12-16:  The Budget and Economic Policy

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 17; Ketcham, “Executive Veto Power”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 17 and answer Chapter 17 Class Discussion Topic.

Nov. 19-23:  Thanksgiving Holidays; College closed

Nov. 26-30:  Social Safety Nets

Readings: Greenberg and Page Ch. 18; Ketcham, “Slavery and the Constitution”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 18 and answer Chapter 18 Class Discussion Topic.

Dec. 1 [Saturday]: Research Papers Due (Research Papers must be submitted today)

Assignment: Research Papers Due today. Send your Research Papers to me by email as a Microsoft Word attachment or post them on the course Moodle page under the Discussions button in the Research Papers bulletin board. I must receive them by 11:45 p.m. on December 1. If you email them to me, make sure they are sent as an Attachment.

Dec. 3-7: Foreign Policy and National Defense

Readings: Greenberg and Page, Ch. 19 & Appendix, “The Declaration of Independence,” “The Constitution of the United States”; Ketcham, “Election and Powers of the President,” “Opposition to the Constitution,” “Signing the Constitution”

Assignment: Complete Quiz for Chapter 19 and answer Chapter 19 Class Discussion Topic.

Dec. 7 [Friday]: Last day of classes. All Discussion Questions and All Quizzes MUST be completed by this date. No submissions will be accepted after this date.

Readings: Greenberg and Page Appendix, “The Federalist Paper No. 10,” “The Federalist Paper No. 51,” “The Federalist Paper No. 78,” “Presidents and Congresses, 1789-2009”

Assignment: Make sure you have completed quizzes for Chapters 1-19 and answered Chapters 1-19 Class Discussion Questions and submitted your research paper.

Dec. 8-16: FINAL EXAM [Click on Quizzes and then on “Final Exam”. You will have 120 minutes to complete the exam and only one attempt. You must complete the Final Exam by 11:55 p.m. on December 16.]

Dec. 17 [Monday]: Final grades due to Registrar by 12:00 Noon electronically