Course Orientation


U.S. Government



 This webpage serves as an orientation for my US Government PCM courses. Read all of the information here and email me with the requested information about yourself.

If you have any questions after reading all the information contained in this orientation site, please feel free to call, email or come by my office. You can contact me at 223-3394, or come by my office at 1218 West Avenue , Room 3118 during my office hours.

  Course Description

This course is an introduction to United States national government. The course includes an introduction to a framework for understanding United States government and politics, the constitutional basis for United States government and politics, the processes of United States government and politics, the institutions of United States government and politics, and the policies of United States government and politics.


This course is worth 3 credit hours. It is an approved transfer course equivalent to University American National Government courses. This is a sophomore level course and it is highly recommended that you complete English Composition and History I or II before taking this course.


Required Text

The required text for this course is AM GOV by Losco and Baker published by McGraw Hill. You may use the 2009, 2010 or 2011 edition. It can be purchased at one of the bookstores around the ACC campuses or online. There is also an electronic version of the text available at


In addition, you are expected to stay informed concerning current political events through national news sources, such as the New York Times , the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, The Economist, or other reliable national newspapers, all available in print or online.


Other information, including detailed assignment instructions and a course calendar, is posted online at the course Blackboard website accessible via the ACC home page.

Instructional Methodology

This course is designed as a DIL (computer based distance learning) course. What this means is that this course can be completed off campus by accessing the course blackboard site at You will then be required to log on to the course site by entering your user id. There is a link to click on explaining what to do if you are a first time user. Your id is the first letter of your official first name followed by your ACC id #. After you enter your user id, you must enter your password, which you create.

The Blackboard course site allows me to post announcements that you will see on the main page. Please check the site regularly throughout the semester to read these announcements. The course site also contains various links on the left side of the home page that take you to information, including my contact information and the syllabus, with information on assignments and tests. There are also links to the Discussion Boards, Learning Outcomes and Chapter Quizzes.


If you are new to Blackboard, I recommend that you read the information provided via the Student Support links, including information posted on using the Discussion Board and the Grade Book.


ACC issues all students a gmail account through which all messages will be sent. You must set up your ACC email account to receive messages from me. You can access information on your account through the ACC email links provided on ACC's homepage and on the main Blackboard page. 

All of your assignments may be turned in by sending them directly to me at Please make sure you include your name on all emails. You may paste the assignment in the body of the email or send as an attachment. If you send an attachment, please use a common program like Microsoft Word so I do not have difficulty opening it.

     Grading and Course Requirements

Your grade will be whatever you want it to be. I do not grade on a curve; consequently, everyone can earn an "A". The course is divided into five units. For each unit you will have a quiz grade, a discussion board grade and a learning outcome grade. I will drop the lowest grade for each of these assignments, meaning your final grade will consist of your four highest unit quiz grades, your four highest discussion board grades and your four highest learning outcome grades. The possible points are distributed in this manner:

4 Unit Quiz Grades worth 100 points each =                       †††††††††††††††††400 points
4 Discussion Board Grades worth 50 points each =               ††††††††††††††††200 points
4 Learning Outcome Grades worth 100 points each =       †††††††††† † †††††† 400 points

TOTAL = 1000 points

Letter grades will be assigned based on the total number of points accumulated.

900-1000 points =    90-100% =    A
800-899 points =    80-89% =      B
700-799 points =    70-79% =     C
600-699 points =    60-69% =     D
0-599 points =        0-59% =       F

Online Quizzes

Each chapter has an online quiz located under the "Course Documents" tab on the course Blackboard site. You will be able to take each quiz two times and the system will only record the highest of your two scores. The combined chapter quiz grades for each unit total a possible 100 points. Your combined score for each unit will determine the four highest quiz grades that will be counted toward your final grade, with a possible total of 400 points. The deadlines for taking the quizzes are posted on the course Blackboard site.

  Discussion Board Forums

There is a discussion board forum for each unit located on the course Blackboard site. You will be asked to respond to questions about U.S. policy issues by reseraching the debate online. Each discussion board forum is worth 50 points for a total of 200 points. Only the top four out of five discussion board grades will count toward your final grade. More information on how to respond to the discussion boards, including the deadlines for each, is posted on the course Blackboard site.

 Learning Outcome Assignments

There is a learning outcome assignment for each unit under the "Learning Outcomes" tab on the course Blackboard site. The learning outcome assignments include options for writing essays or speeches or creating slide shows to demonstarte your understanding of the material. You will also be able to substitute your own assignment for one of the learning outcomes. You may choose to address the major issues covered in that unit in any format you choose,. These include, but are not limited to, poems, songs, drawings, paintings, blogs, sculptures, plays, and essays. Each learning outcome assignment is worth 100 points for a total of 400 points. Only the top four learning outcome grades will count toward your final grade.


  Incomplete Policy

In the event that a student successfully completes 2/3s of the coursework, but fails to adequately fulfill the remaining requirements and has acceptable documentation explaining the reasons (hospitalization, incarceration, military duty) for their inability to do so, I will give an Incomplete final grade. You are then responsible for making arrangements with me to fulfill the remaining course requirements by the end of the next semester. At that time, the Incomplete will be changed to the appropriate letter grade in your files.



Withdrawal Policy


Another alternative in the case of failure to meet the course requirements, is to officially withdraw from the class. It is your responsibility to officially withdraw from class if necessary. Withdrawal forms are available from the Admissions Office at each ACC campus.



Instructor Conferences


My office is located in Room 212 in the Attache building at 1209 Rio Grande. I am available for consultation during my posted office hours. If you need to meet with me at a different time, email me or call my office at 223-3394 and make an appointment.



Scholastic Dishonesty


As described in the ACC Student Handbook, scholastic dishonesty constitutes a violation of college rules and regulations and is punishable according to the procedures outlined in the Handbook. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating on an exam (either providing answers to or stealing answers from another student), plagiarism and collusion. Plagiarism includes use of another authorís words or arguments without attribution. Collusion is defined as the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work for fulfillment of any course requirement.


In the event of scholastic dishonesty, I will meet with the student to discuss the alleged offense. If evidence supports the charge, I will inform the student and the Assistant Provost in writing. The Assistant Provost shall asses a penalty appropriate to the charges and shall inform the student of such in writing. The student may appeal the decision of the Assistant Provost.



Disability Services


If you have a documented disability and wish to request accommodations, you should contact the Office of Students with Disabilities at any of the ACC campuses. The office director will meet with you and recommend appropriate accommodations and services after you have submitted the required documentation. Individuals eligible for services include, but are not limited to, those with chronic problems related to health, mobility, orthopedic, hearing, vision, speech, traumatic head injury, attention deficit, learning or psychiatric disabilities.



Academic Freedom


Please be assured that your grade will not be adversely affected by any beliefs or ideas expressed in discussion board assignments or your news journal. I believe every personís views are legitimate and I expect each of you to respect the views of others. All comments directed at other students should reflect this mutual respect.


Additional Information

Please contact me with any questions not answered in this orientation site. My number is 223-3394 or you can email me at

Don't forget to send me the following information:

Information I Need About You

Student ID Number
Street Address
Phone Number(s)
E-mail Address

Sentence telling me you have read the orientation
information and you understand the information

Good Luck in the Course!