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POLISC-150 - Introduction to American Government and Politics - Brooke Collins

Course:Introduction to American Government and Politics
Professor:Brooke Collins
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


The World of Politics may seem at first very uninviting to you; after all, it is one rife with both scandal and conflict. My goal as your instructor is to not only welcome you to this world, but to also equip you with the knowledge necessary to navigate this tough terrain with confidence. Although you may not realize it at this moment, you do have influence over what decisions are being made in this nation and how they will affect your life. However, for you to be able to recognize the extent of this power you wield in society, you must first learn about your system of government and how it operates. You must grasp what rights and freedoms are afforded to you in your Constitution. You must know what resources are available to you to protect or defend them in the event they are threatened. You must be able to identify the core ideals/values which serve as the foundation for the different political parties that represent you.  

Fortunately, this class will make it possible for you to accomplish these objectives—and even more! When you are challenged to grow in this knowledge of your government and how it works, you are likewise challenged to grow in your perspective on politics. It is my hope that by the end of this class that you will have developed a greater appreciation of all that it can offer to you.  

Course Description

This course is designed with the intention to broaden students’ understanding of the political culture they inhabit; the system which frames it; and the values which lay its foundation. It does not require prior knowledge and serves as entry point to those interested in pursuing further studies in its field of research. It emphasizes both the federal and state level government in its exploration; with particular focus on California. It seeks to underscore our role and influence as citizens of a democracy through critical examination of our Constitution and those institutions, laws, and rights born from it. Success in this course depends upon the completion of assigned readings and critical review of related material demonstrated through online assignments/tests, as well as participation in online class discussions.


What to Expect in this Course

You should expect to reserve, at minimum, 18 hours of time per week to complete work for this course, depending on your skill level. Every week, you will be assigned a textbook chapter or chapters to read. Often, you will also need to engage with other materials related to the chapter’s themes or core ideas. This can include other readings, such as news articles, or require that you watch informative videos. You will next answer short answer or short essay questions based on this information. Once this is done, you will need to participate in a group discussion facilitated by the discussion board feature on Canvas. This demands that you respond critically to the posted prompt or prompts (in no less than 150 words) and that you reply in kind to at least 2 of your classmates’ posts.  

Although all tests will be open-book, they will also be timed. You may take the quiz twice and keep the higher score, but the final exam may only be taken once. 

This class is 100% online and asynchronous; there are NO in-person or Zoom meetings to attend. 

Technology Requirements: 

  • A reliable and stable internet connection
  • A good web browser (Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is recommended)
  • Access to a word-processing program, such as Microsoft Word


Types of Assessments

1 multiple-choice quiz/1 essay exam administered online through Canvas, as well as weekly online short-answer/short essay assignments and online discussion boards. 

Textbook Information

 Zero-cost textbooks American Government by OpenStax (3rd edition) and Introduction to California Government and Politics. Both are available to access on the college’s ZTC webpage, under “Political Science”.  

Other Relevant Course Information

Students will receive an email containing more detailed information on the course no later than 3 days before the class first begins and are welcome to contact the instructor before that time with any questions or concerns.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 04/06/2023 Sub#: 1568