Skip to main contentSkip to footer

POLISC-150 Section 56803 - Introduction to American Government and Politics - Dr. Richard Dyke

Course:Introduction to American Government and Politics
Professor:Dr. Richard Dyke
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Political Science 150 is a "must" for the college student.  It can also be fun as you learn new things and become knowledgeable about government and politics in general.  It will introduce you to American government and politics and help you to become a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen.  We need knowledgeable and engaged citizens to ensure that our democracy continues to work properly for the benefit of all citizens, and for those like the poor and the uneducated, who need our help to exercise their full citizenship rights and improve the quality of their lives to the maximum extent possible.

Course Description

In this class, we will learn about our federal government and California state government, including the rights and opportunities these institutions provide and the overall structure of these two types of governments.  At the federal level, we will study Congress, the President, and the federal court system, and the many civil liberties and civil rights we enjoy that has made us a model of democracy for the world.  There will be similar institutions at the state level, including the California Legislature, the Governor, and the California court system.  But the California Constitution is not simply a mirror copy of the U.S. Constitution--there are many differences and we will learn about them.  We will will also learn about the "nuts and bolts: of politics, including voter participation, public opinion, the media; interest groups, political parties, and campaigns and elections.  We will also focus on political "issues" and U.S. domestic and foreign policies.  Through it all, we will learn why money is so important in politics and also why politics keeps changing in some ways, and remains the same in others.

What to Expect in this Course

Because this class is an 8-week class, you can expect to read about two chapters a week.  I have prepared study questions that you will need to answer as you read, and they are pretty much found in order in the two books that make up our Political Science Department Custom Text.  The study questions will appear on the tests exactly, so your preparation of the answers will pay off.

You will need to have a working computer that can support the Canvas Learning Management System.  The whole course will be laid out for you in the Modules Tab.  You will proceed through four learning modules and will take a total of 5 or 6 tests, on which you will be graded.

Types of Assessments

There will be one essay test and 4 multiple-choice-questions tests that will be based almost exclusively on the the Study Questions I provide to you for each of the four modules.  You will even know the essay study question beforehand, and will have almost unlimited time (until the test) to study and prepare your essay.  There will also be a discussion board for each module.

Textbook Information

The Political Science Department uses a standard custom text for all classes.  The new Custom Edition for 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-324-02243-5) by W.W. Norton & Company (Publishers) will be available at the Cougar Bookstore in the fall.  You can buy the two books separately from W.W. Norton & Company if you wish, although it will cost more.  The two books are Benjamin Ginsberg (and others), We the People:  An Introduction to American Politics, 2021, Thirteenth Edition and J. Theodore Anagnoson (and others), Governing California in the Twenty-First Century, 2021, Eighth Edition.This

Other Relevant Course Information

This is an 8-week online class that is very manageable if you establish a regular study schedule.  There are no secrets, and no worrying about what will be on the tests.  Everything is laid out for you in the Modules Tab of Canvas.  The Study Questions are your guides to the tests in each Module.  There are complete instructions for each discussion.  I also reserve the right to grade on the curve, which tends to "lift everyone's boat a little" at the end of the class.  There is also Extra Credit to give you the opportunity to get the grade you want.  In 8-weeks, with a little effort, you can "sail successfully" through the class and earn 3 units of credit.

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: 05/26/2021 Sub#: 53