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National Park, AR · General Education · General Education Soc Sci

American National Government

  • Spring 2020
  • Section
  • 3 Credits
  • 01/15/2020 to 05/18/2020
  • Modified 08/10/2020

Class Information

  • Class Days:  As preferred
  • Class Time: As preferred
  • Class Location: Online
  • Class Format: Online

Course Description

Studies the historical and modern role of government in American life. Specific attention is given to constitutional development and the various mechanisms of contemporary American politics.

ACTS Equivalent: PLSC 2003

Prerequisites: None

Corequisites: None

Next Course in Sequence:  None


General Education Purpose and Objectives


National Park College (NPC) is committed to its mission statement, "Learning is our focus, student success is our goal."  NPC is dedicated to helping all students develop as communicators, critical thinkers, and professionals who behave ethically and recognize the diversity of the world around them. The General Education Objectives are designed to be an integral component of all courses at NPC.

General Education Objectives (GEO)

It is the expectation that upon successful completion of a certificate or degree program at National Park College, the student will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively using oral, written, and electronic methods.
  2. Use critical and analytical thinking skills.
  3. Demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge, skills, and competencies.
  4. Exemplify professional demeanor, ethical behavior, and respect for diversity.

Arkansas Course Transfer System (ACTS)

Course Equivalent

Course Title:       American National Government

Course Number:     PLSC 2003

Course Description

The introduction to the principles, structure, processes and functions of the United States federal government and other related political activities.

ACTS Course Objectives (ACO):

The student will be able to explain, discuss, recognize, and/or apply knowledge of the following topics:

  1. Three branches of the American government (Executive, Judicial, Legislative) (CLO 2, 4)
  2. Constitution (CLO 1)
  3. Political Parties and interest groups (CLO 3)
  4. Campaigns and elections (CLO 2)
  5. Civil liberties and civil rights (CLO 5)
  6. Federalism (CLO 2)
  7. Public opinion (CLO 3, 5)

Course Level Objectives (CLO)

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify the key elements of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution (i.e., the Supremacy, Commerce, Elastic, and Full Faith and Credit clauses), and of the Bill of Rights. (GEO 3)
  2. "Demonstrate knowledge of procedural democracy through an examination of the policymaking processes of the three branches of government, the separation of powers in the federal system, the electoral process and political parties, and the influence of interest groups. (GEO 3)
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of procedural democracy through an examination of the policymaking processes of the three branches of government, the separation of powers in the federal system, the electoral process and political parties, and the influence of interest groups. (GEO 3)"
  4. Apply critical thinking skills to understand how political socialization, the media and public opinion, and political ideology affect the individual student’s personal values of equality, order, and freedom. (GEO 2, 3)
  5. Interpret data that relates to governmental functions and policymaking and integrate the data into written assignments, discussion board posts, or other classroom work. (GEO 2, 3)
  6. Discuss the connection between the democratic process and questions of race, gender, and class through a review of civil rights, civil liberties, and current social equality issues. (GEO 1, 3, 4)

Required and Recommended Materials

Required Textbook:

  Title of Textbook: American Government 2e

  Digital: ISBN-10: 1-947172-66-2

  Author: Glen Krutz and Sylvie Waskiewicz

  Publisher: OpenStax 

The online textbook is available for free online.  Please register at to have online access to and download the textbook and resources for free.

Course Activities

To accommodate different learning styles, I will employ a variety of teaching methods in this course.  Instructional methods include discussion board, peer review/feedback, a semester-long research project, self-assessments, chapter quizzes and exams. 

We will use only one textbook, American Government 2e, throughout the semester.  Lecture notes for each chapter will be provided throughout the semester during the assigned week.  Our goal is to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the textbook and therefore an introduction to each chapter theme.  Chapter lecture notes are provided on a weekly basis and are designed to clarify and reinforce the details of each chapter.  It is your responsibility to read the assigned chapters each week, while using the chapter lecture notes as an additional learning tool.

You will be graded based on five sets of assignments:

  • vocabulary quizzes
  • chapter quizzes
  • discussion board entries
  • a semester-long research project divided into five parts (proposal, quantitative analysis & peer feedback, first draft, final draft and PowerPoint) and
  • two exams.

Interactive Activities (Discussions, Group Work)

You will be given the opportunity to interact with one another in a variety of ways.  These will include such methods as discussion board postings, peer review/feedback, and other methods as appropriate.  It is very important students take advantage of the interactive activities provided.  They will typically also be graded activities. 

Self-check, Practice, Reflection

Self-assessment activities will be provided during the semester primarily through weekly chapter vocabulary quizzes.  These will be automatically graded and you will have the opportunity to revisit the assessment as often as you wish.

Grading Policy

Your grade this semester will come from a variety of activities as shown in the table below.  A brief description of each is provided here: 

  • Self-Assessment Activities: Self-assessment vocabulary quizzes will be assigned every week.  The self-assessment quiz is a matching quiz of roughly 10 vocabulary words and will be worth 5 points.  There is no time limit for the self-assessment quizzes and your highest score will be recorded.
    • Vocabulary is particularly important to establishing a core understanding of the material.  As a result, your will be re-tested on vocabulary words during both the Mid-Term and Final Exam.  Only the words that appear on the vocabulary quizzes will appear on the vocabulary section of each exam.
  • Chapter Content Quizzes: Chapter quizzes will be required each week. The quizzes will typically involve true/false, multiple choice and short-answer questions about content directly from each chapter.  The quizzes are worth 10 points and they must be completed in a single, time-session.
  • Discussion Board Postings: Discussion board postings will provide you with the opportunity to post and defend your position by referencing the readings and scholarly literature.  Discussion board postings are worth 5 points and can be completed anytime during the assigned week.
  • Exams: The will be two major exams throughout the semester – a Mid-Term and Final.  Each exam will cover all chapter material covered to that point in the course.  The Final Exam will include questions from the Mid-Term exam about material covered prior to the Mid-Term Exam.  Each exam will include vocabulary, multiple choice, true/false and short-answer questions.
  • Semester Project: A semester-long research project will be administered throughout the semester. 
    • The assignment will consist of developing a 6-7 page, double-spaced, 12 point font essay on a subject from the textbook.  The assignment will be graded in five parts:
      • Proposal (10 points)
      • Quantitative analysis & peer review (15 points)
      • First Draft (25 points)
      • Final Draft (30 points)
      • PowerPoint (20 points)
      • Total Points: 100 points
    • While the textbook is the major source of the essay material, you should also ultimately include at least 5 additional sources by the time of the Final Draft. These sources may include newspaper or magazine articles, journal articles and additional scholarly books.  These materials, including our textbook, should be cited using the MLA, Harvard or Chicago citation style.  
    • The First and Final draft must include the quantitative analysis, including a collection and/or presentation of data and an accompanying chart or graph.
    • The goal of the homework assignment is to acquire real-world and academic research skills, improve comprehensive knowledge of the topic, improve writing skills and practice constructing a convincing and professional argument.  The project will therefore be graded based on the following criteria:
      • Proper use of citations, grammar, spelling and organization.
      • Clear argument made based on empirical evidence demonstrated from sources.
      • Demonstration of key vocabulary words and themes from the chosen section/s revealing a comprehensive knowledge of the material.
      • Met requirements of each assignment stage.

Grading Policy

At the end of the course, the overall numerical grade will be converted from a numerical scale to the following letter grade scale as indicated in the Grading Scale.

Grade Breakdown




Syllabus Quiz and Intro




        ([email protected] pts. each)




        ([email protected] pts. each)



Chapter Quiz

        ([email protected] pts. each)




Final Project (Essay)

        (5 = 100 total)




Mid Term Exam




Final Exam








Grading Scale

Final Grade

Point Range



630 - 700

90 – 100%


560 - 629

80 – 89%


490 - 559

70 – 79%


420 - 489

60 – 69%


0 - 419

Below 60%

Rubrics will be provided for all assessments except those self-assessment activities that are objective in nature.  The rubrics will provide guidelines for you to follow in completing assessments.Evaluating Student Work (Rubrics)

Course Policies

Late and Make-up Work

Due dates are provided in the schedule. Most assignments are due Sunday night at midnight. Late work is typically NOT accepted, unless there are particularly special circumstances. 

Extra Credit

No extra credit opportunities are provided in this course.  Because of the mastery learning nature of the course, there should be no need for extra credit if you take advantage of opportunities to improve on your work.


I will typically respond within:

  • 24 hours, Monday-Friday, to messages or emails.
  • 48 hours, Monday-Friday, with grades and feedback for graded work that is submitted on time.
  • 72 hours, Monday-Friday, with feedback for work that is submitted late.  I rarely accept late work for a grade, but it is important that you complete all assignments, so I will give you feedback even if you do not receive a grade for an assignment. 

Time and Effort Commitment

The key to success in this class is persistent effort.  You should carefully consider your time obligations before committing to this course.  The general suggestion for all college courses of 2 hours work per week outside class for every hour credited applies to this course. (You should expect 6 hours of homework a week for a 3-credit course) plus the 3 hours you would normally be attending class for a total of 9 hours. 

Inclement Weather

When NPC is out of class due to weather, or in the case of an unplanned downtime, any assignments that are due during that time will be reopened for one day after the college re-opens.

Communication Policy

I am here to help you understand the material.  I will closely monitor all online communications.  My aim is to have a learning community where we can all share knowledge, ideas, and experiences – and thus learn from one another.  I may give you information periodically through Announcements, or Discussions.  For your own benefit, please learn how to use these resources and monitor them closely to keep informed. You will be held responsible for all information I provide. Below is a guide for how you can get your questions answered quickly.  

LMS E-mail

Use the email built into the LMS for private discussion between the two of us.  We will use this instead of NPC webmail.  This keeps all communication within the course and provides me with notification when you have posted something and vice-versa.  You may also use the LMS instant messaging feature anytime you are online and have a question and see that I am online too.

Expectations for Written Assignments 

All written assignments should be completed using APA, MLA or the format of your discipline.  This is a class of professionals and all written assignments will be assessed partly based on correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.  

NPC Policies

Board Policy 6.600 -- NPC Attendance Policy

Instructions to Students regarding attendance:

  1. Students are responsible to know and comply with syllabus attendance and coursework guidelines in each of their courses.
  2. Students are expected to meet all attendance requirements and engage in coursework as outlined in the course syllabus. Failure to maintain satisfactory course participation is the equivalent of excessive absenteeism and may result in the student being dropped. To maintain good-standing in online courses, students are expected to submit assigned coursework in a timely manner per instructor requirements.
  3. Students participating in athletics or a college-sponsored extracurricular activity are required to communicate scheduled absences ahead of time and to make arrangements with their instructors regarding missed coursework, including exams. The instructor determines how academic work associated with a college-sponsored absence(s) can be completed by the student.
  4. Failure to meet a course’s attendance policy does not mean a student will be automatically withdrawn from a course. Students seeking to withdraw from a course should do so either online through the student’s account or in person by visiting Student Affairs.
  5. Students who do not withdraw from a course by the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date will receive an earned grade.
  6. A faculty member may administratively withdraw a student from a course, including online courses, any time during the semester up to the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date if attendance does not meet syllabus guidelines.
  7. Students will not be administratively withdrawn by faculty after the published Academic College Calendar withdraw date except in life-changing circumstances or as a result of military orders.
  8. The withdrawal of a student from all courses may require the student to repay all or a portion of the financial aid received as calculated by the Financial Aid Office in accordance with government grant guidelines.
  9. Only in extraordinary circumstances may a student earn a grade of IP (In Progress) to defer course completion. Please see the Incomplete Grades policy in the Student Handbook located at

The full attendance policy is available by clicking on this link to the Board Policy

Academic Honesty Policy

National Park College considers honesty and integrity as essential qualities of any learning institution. The faculty and staff strive to live up to these qualities in all aspects of their lives and encourage their students to do the same. Integrity and moral values will carry over in to their professional lives and careers. NPC’s goal is to successfully prepare all students for their futures and equip them to handle whatever challenges they may face; therefore, NPC considers academic dishonesty as unacceptable.

Any NPC students who display dishonesty in their behavior while attending classes at NPC will be subject to disciplinary action to help the student first and foremost, but to also protect the rights, dignity, and property of others while maintaining an environment that fosters success and learning.

Violations of the Academic Honesty Policy will not be tolerated on the campus. Violations may range from receiving an “F” on the assignment in question up to permanent removal from the College.

  1. Technology manipulation
  2. Collusion
  3. Deception
  4. Misrepresentation and Lying
  5. Cheating
  6. Plagiarism
  7. Fabrication and Falsification
  8. Stealing, Defacing, and Destruction of Property

Please take time to read the entire policy, which can be found by clicking on this link to the Academic Honesty Policy.

LMS Policy

Brightspace by Desire to Learn (D2L) is the official learning management system (LMS) for the College. All students are expected to complete the LMS Student Training prior to the first day of class during their first semester here. Below you will find various policies relating to the LMS.

Privacy Policy:  Links to the privacy policies for all external tools used in the course are provided in the LMS. You can find the various privacy policies by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Accessibility Statement:  Links to the accessibility statements for all technologies required in the course are provided in LMS. You can find the various accessibility statements by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Netiquette Policy:  The netiquette policy for this course is located in your course in the LMS. You can find the Netiquette policies by clicking on the Netiquette Link by clicking in the Begin Here module in each of your courses.

Flexibility Clause:  The aforementioned requirements, assignments, policies, evaluation procedures, etc., are subject to change. Learners’ experiences and needs, as well as emerging knowledge, will be considered in modifying this course syllabus.

ADA Statement

National Park College (NPC) believes in providing equal access and opportunity to qualified persons with disabilities in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. It is our goal to ensure equal and comprehensive access to College programs, services, and campus facilities. It is the policy of NPC that no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages or accommodations at the College. National Park College’s ADA statement may be accessed by clicking on this link to ADA statement.

The Disability Services office is located in Room 240 of the Gerald Fisher Campus Center Building. You are also welcome to call us at (501) 760-4227 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. Students with disabilities should visit our website using this link to disability services for more information.

Student Resources

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center provides tutoring and other resources to help students succeed. Visit our webpage at this link to the Academic Success Center.

Computer Services Department

The Computer Services Department provides computing resources for students including password resets. Visit our webpage at this link to the Computer Services Department.

NPC Library

The NPC Library provides a wide variety of services to students. Visit the NPC Library website.

LMS Support

Support for the LMS is available through NPC Online by email to [email protected], phone at 501-760-4292, or visit Charlotte Phelps Room 204.

Testing Center

The Testing Center provides test support for students and faculty. To learn more about the testing center visit our webpage at Testing Center.

Class Schedule

The schedule for this course will be made available in the LMS.  The instructor reserves the right to modify the schedule as the semester progresses.

Course Evaluations

Students will be asked to evaluate their instructor and course near the end of the semester. These student evaluations are very important to the improvement in the quality of instruction and course materials. All results are anonymous and shared with the faculty only after the semester is over and grades have been posted.

Legal Disclaimer

The schedule, policies, and assignments in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances or by mutual agreement between the instructor and the students. The instructor will always inform the students of any changes in a timely manner.

In the event of a community crisis the college reserves the right to change the mode of instruction for any or all classes.