Spring 2018 - 1st 8 Weeks (01/16/18 - 03/11/18)
GOVT 2305 - SECTION 31436-086

INSTRUCTOR: Frank J. Garrahan
OFFICE: 2132-C Northridge OFFICE PHONE: 223-4805 FAX: 223-4310
E-MAIL ADDRESS: frankjg@austincc.edu URL www.austincc.edu/frankjg
MAILING ADDRESS: 11928 Stonehollow Dr., Austin, TX 78758
Mondays through Thursday: 10:00am - 10:30am

Monday & Wednesday: 1:20pm - 2:20pm / Tuesday & Thursday: Noon - 2:00pm


This course is an introduction to national government in the United States and is designed not only to provide students with the basic facts about U.S. government, but also to help students develop their ability to engage in the political deliberation that is central to our system of government. The textbook focuses on three issues: who is and who is not part of the American political community, American political values, and why should Americans be engaged with government and politics at all. In particular, the authors wish to show why everyone must for their own sake be interested in politics.


We the People: An Introduction to American Politics, by Ginsberg, Lowi, & Weir, 11th Essentials Edition, W.W. Norton & Co, 2017. (CAUTION: Do not confuse the required text with Patterson's We the People, which is also available at ACC bookstores. Also, there are various versions of the 11th Edition, make sure you get the one marked Essentials.). Texts may be purchased either by gong to an ACC or Bevo bookstores located near an ACC campus or online by visiting: http://www.mbsdirect.net/ or calling (800) 325-3252 or purchase through the pubisher or ebook: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294993781

How to Use the Text: Each chapter begins with Learning Objectives for the chapter. Keep these in mind as you read the materials presented. Read the entire chapter including the highlighted boxes and side notes, especially the definitions of the terms used in the text. After you have completed the chapter, review the "Study Outline", take the "Practice Quiz" and review the "Key Terms".

For additional assistance with the text materials check out the publisher's online interactive study guide that is located in Blackboard. Proceed to your course section on Blackboard and then click on "Course Materials" on the left side of the page. Then click on the chapter you wish to review. Here you will find Flash Cards, a pre-test you can take before you read the chapter, and then a post-test after you have read the chapter. Participating in these exercises is completely optional, but they can be very helpful in your prepatation for taking unit exams and the optional final.


This is a DIL course, each student is expected to keep up with the assigned readings and to prepare thoroughly for each test. Preparing for the tests involves more than just reading the textbook, it requires you to 1) take notes on the readings using the learning objectives and other study aids provided in the text; 2) review by answering the sample test questions in the text (answers are on page A41 of your text); 3) call or email the instructor with any questions you might have about the readings. Each student is responsible for keeping up with the course requirements and deadlines.

Each student should complete FOUR required tests (50 points each) taken at ACC Testing Centers, particpate in at LEAST TWO discussion boards (each worth up to 10 points each), and complete ONE report (worth up to 30 points). Each test will consist of 50 objective (that is, multiple choice & true/false) questions covering the material in that unit of study. In addition to the exams, there is one report and two discussion boards. If you complete additional discussion boards these will count as exrtra credit (each will be graded on a scale of 0-10). Your course grade will be based on the total number of questions on the four exams which you answered correctly, plus your scores on the report, the two required discussion boards, and any additional points earned as extra credit. If you want to improve your point total, you can take the optional comprehensive final and it will replace your lowest test score if your final score is higher. If you are satisfied with your point total based on the four unit exams, report & required Discussion Boards, you do not need to take the optional final.The grading scale is as follows:

A 215-250 B 190-214 C 165-189 D 140-164 F 139 and below


EXAM 1 - Ch 1, 2, 3, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, US Constitution, Federalist #51

Thursday, 1/25/18

EXAM 2 - Ch 5, 6, 7

Tuesday, 2/6/18

REPORT (maximum 30 points)

Tuesday, 2/13/18

EXAM 3 - Ch 8, 9, 10, Federalist #10,

Thursday, 2/22/18


Monday, 3/5/18

EXAM 4 - Ch. 12, 4, US Constitutiional Amendments

Tuesday, 3/6/18


Thursday, 3/8/18

Optional Final Test

A student may complete an optional final at any ACC Testing Center without the prior consent of the instructor up until the scheduled deadline date. The optional final covers all the chapters you studied in the textbook, therefore, it is a comprehensive test. If your score on the optional final is higher than your lowest test score, the grade on the final will substitute for that lowest score. If your final score is lower it will not count against you. The optional final must be completed by Thursday, March 8, 2018. Like your other exams, the optional final will be 50 objective questions (that is, multiple choice and True/False).


The Texas State Coordinating Board of Higher Education requires that, in order for an Open Campus course to be certified, instructors and students need to have at least two contacts with each other during the semester in addition to the orientation session. Therefore, for a student to get credit for this course, s/he must make contact, either in person, by phone, or e-mail, with the instructor on at least two occasions during the semester. (NOTE: A message left on my voice mail does NOT count as a contact.) When you send me an e-mail, please include your section number.


Students must take the four tests and the optional final at any ACC Testing Center. See link on instructor's ACC web page for Testing Centers' locations and times. Please read the instructions for computerized testing on the following link: http://www.austincc.edu/support-and-services/services-for-students/testing-services/instructional-testing/testing-center-guidelines It might be helpful to bring this instruction sheet with you when you go to test. Grades for tests will then be posted to Blackboard.

Although you will see "Test" on your Blackboard page, you need an access code to complete the tests and only the Testing Centers have the codes. Students will receive a Feedback Sheet which will serve as a verification of their test results. Each test will be based on the materials covered in each unit as defined in this syllabus. Whereas the optional final will cover the entire course. Tests may be taken any time up to and on the deadline dates. Contact the instructor if you are unable to take any of the tests by the specified date. Failure to take tests on time (without prior approval from the instructor) may mean that the results will not be accepted by the instructor. Again, you can find the link to the locations and hours of operation for the ACC Testing Centers on my web page.



Discussion Board



1, 2, 3, Declaration of Indepenence, Articles of Conferation, U.S. Constitution, Federalist #51*


Thursday, January 25


5, 6, 7


Tuesday, February 6


8, 9, 10, Federalist 10*


Thursday, February 22

12, 4, US Constitutional Amendments*


Tuesday, March 6


1 - 12 (Except Chapter 11)


Thursday, March 8

*You are reading the Declaration Of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers as primary documents to back-up or reinforce the materials you are reading in the assigned chapters for this unit. They are all located in the Appendix of your textbook.


Please consult the Testing Center Web Site for details.




215 - 250


190 - 214


165 - 189


140 - 164


139 and below


The platform ACC uses for its Web-Based courses is called Blackboard. While much of the online information needed for this course is available through various links on my ACC web pages, you will also need to familarize yourself with ACC's Blackboard page. This is the place you will go for course announcements from me and to see your progress in the course through grades on your tests, report, and Discussion Forums. You need to sign onto Blackboard during the first week of classes. To go to the student Bb page, click here.

The first thing you need to know about Blackboard is that it requires you to log in. The student login is available at: https://acconline.austincc.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp. All Distance Learning students across the College are asked to visit this link to learn how to log in to Blackboard. Once you log in for the first time, you must enter your e-mail address into the Bb system by clicking on Student Tools.

Student Accessibility Services

Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Student Accessibility Services on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do this three days before the start of the semester.


A grade of "F" will be assigned to any student involved in scholastic dishonesty Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thoughts research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, or homework.


A student may receive a temporary grade of 'I' (Incomplete) at the end of the semester ONLY if the following conditions are met:

1. There is a valid reason for needing the delay and the student has completed at least two exams, the required paper and one discussion board with a C grade average (that is, a student must have accumulated at least 90 points) by the end of the semester.

2. To request an Incomplete, a student must come in person to the instructor's office and complete the necessary forms.


A student may withdraw any time during the semester until Monday, March 5, 2018 without academic penalty. To withdraw from a class, you must do it officially by filling out the required form with Admissions & Records. The responsibility of officially withdrawing rests entirely with the student. The instructor will not withdraw any student from the course who completed the online orientation process. If you stop taking the course and do not officially withdraw, you will then receive a grade of 'F.' A student who misses test deadlines will not be withdrawn by the instructor, but the instructor reserves the right to refuse to accept any late test unless the instructor was previously notified by the student that the exam would be delayed. If you need to postpone an exam deadline, please contact the instructor, relate your reasons for requesting an extension, and establish when the test will be taken.


To take an exam at any of the Testing Centers you will be required to prove that you are currently enrolled as a student at ACC and to show acceptable proof of identification. Any student wishing to use an ACC Testing Center must have a current ACC ID (which has no photo) along with a photo ID such as a driver's license or passport. No student will be allowed to test in the Testing Centers without these two IDs. You may obtain an ACC ID from any campus Admissions & Records office.


Any Open Campus course requires the student to be highly motivated and understanding of a non-traditional method of study. For the most part, you are on your own; there is no structured classroom or lecture in such a course. You are expected to meet all course requirements by meeting deadlines and due dates. Feel free to seek out the instructor to review exams and course requirements.

The key to completing the course successfully is to follow the guidelines on the first page of this sylabus in how to use the text. Also keep the lines of communication with the instructor open. If problems develop during the semester, contact the instructor as soon as possible to resolve any difficulties.


There are four Discussion Boards on Blackboard for students' participation. You must reply in a reasoned way, either in response to the forum question itself or in response to something one of your classmates has posted. "Reasoned" means you've thought about the question and present your ideas in a coherent fashion. You will encounter a variety of viewpoints on volatile topics over the course of the semester. You may disagree, perhaps strongly, with the opinions expressed by your classmates. As long as you treat each other with respect, these differences enhance class discussion and create an atmosphere where we learn from each other. Rest assured that your grades will not be influenced by beliefs or ideas expressed on the discussion boards.

Each student should complete two of these four discussions for grade points (up to ten points will be awarded for each Discussion forum). A student may complete additional discussions for extra credit points. Each Discussion forum will be open until 11:59pm on the test deadline date for that unit. Since the Discussion Boards are group activities, no deadline extensions will be granted.

Participation is graded on whether your comments are thoughtful and coherent, respond directly to the question (or another post in the board), contribute something new to the discussion, reflect an effort to move the discussion along, and reflect an understanding of the course materials. Disscussions are graded based on your contributions to the discussions. Points are awarded based on your response to the discussion question & your responses to others. So you start with zero & then accumulate points based on your contributions. The expectation is that you will respond more than once. These are group discussions, and therefore, no extensions to the deadline dates will be granted. The more you add to each discussion and the more often you respond increases your chances to earn the maximum amount of points.


Visit three of the following national media Web sites to answer questions one through five below. Compare the news coverage between ONE of the newspaper web sites (NYT, WaPo. Or La Times) and any two of the other news media web sites. Visit the sites in rapid succession to get a viable comparison.

CNN - http://www.cnn.com/

NBC - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/

Fox News - http://www.foxnews.com/

ABC News - http://abcnews.go.com/

CBS News - http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/home/main100.shtml

BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/

MSNBC - http://www.msnbc.com

National Public Radio - http://www.npr.org/

New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/

Washington Post - http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Los Angeles Times - http://www.latimes.com/

Report requirements - answer the following question:

1. Which three Web sites did you visit?

2. What were the top three stories on each of the three Web sites?

3. How close were the stories each media outlet chose to cover? In other words, did each one have the same three leads? Or were there differences? If so, what were those differences?

4. Compare and contrast the coverage of the top stories. Did each media outlet emphasize the same things? (Provide examples.) Was one more positive or more negative than the others? (Provide examples.) Did they quote the same people? (Provide examples.) Did they provide the same basic information, or did you learn more from one than another? (Provide specifics.)

5. What do the lead stories tell you about the media in their role as agenda setters? Be specific. What examples did you see of priming? What examples did you see of framing? Be specific. In your view, what should you as a media consumer do to mitigate the media's power as agenda setters who can frame issues and prime their audience to see issues in a certain way? 



In writing this paper, you must follow the guidelines provided here.

Documentation. You must provide documentation for any quotations and/or paraphrased information found in your research and used in your paper. Documentation acknowledges the source of your information. (In other words, you must give credit where credit is due.) You must document all information that is not common knowledge that you acquired from another source. The documentation must be in the Modern Language Association (MLA) style.

In the MLA style, parenthetical documentation in the body of the paper is used to briefly identify the sources of information that you have borrowed in writing your paper. An MLA style sheet is available courtesy of the ACC LRS or check link on my web page. Please consult this style sheet in order to correctly document your sources and format your works cited page. If the style sheet does not cover the types of sources used, or if you need further direction or clarification, go online and consult the MLA Web site.

First Page. In the upper right hand corner of the first page of your report list the Title of the report, your name, the course number (GOVT 2305), and your section number. DO NOT put the paper in a folder or plastic cover. Staple the pages of the paper in their proper sequence.

Format. Your paper must be three typed, double-spaced pages in length. Use standard margins of one inch (top, sides, and bottom) and standard font sizes. The first page of the paper may begin two inches from the top of the page. Papers which are too short or gratuitously too long will lose points. DO NOT use headings of any kind in the paper, or extra spaces between paragraphs. Remember the paper must be at least three full pages in length (not counting your works cited page).

Works Cited. The last page of your paper will be entitled Works Cited and will list the articles that you used to write your paper. In preparing the works cited page, remember to use the Modern Language Association style, following the style sheet in this syllabus.

Grading. The required paper will be graded on a 30-point scale according to the following criteria:

(A) Answering the all questions

(B) organization of the paper and writing style, including the proper use of grammar and punctuation

(C) proper documentation of your sources listed on the works cited page

(D) format (for instance, the paper should be neither too short nor too long).

Paper grading scale
: A 27-30 points B 24-26 points C 21-23 points D 18-20 points
F 17 or below

To receive at least a C grade, the paper must adequately cover the "content" requirements above, be coherently organized and written, follow MLA style in source documentation, and use at least three sites.

Report Due Date. Report will be due on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Your paper may be either mailed using the US Postal Service (postmarked by the due date), placed in your instructor's mailbox in room 1107 at the Northridge campus (stamped by mailroom personnel with the date it was turned in), sent by intercampus mail (stamped with date), faxed (223-4310, be sure to put my name on the cover page), emailed as an attachment - if I cannot read your attachment I'll email you and let you know, or turned into your instructor during posted office hours. The paper must be mailed or presented to your instructor by 11:59pm of the due date. Late reports will not be accepted.