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Political Science 150 - Introduction to American & California Government - David C. Andrus

Course:Introduction to American & California Government
Professor:David C. Andrus
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 5 Week


David C. Andrus

Welcome to Political Science 150.  College of the Canyons uses "Canvas" exclusively as its online instructional learning management system. This is a completely 100% online class.  There are no real time (synchronous) class meetings in person or virtually, other than any voluntary sessions I decide to set up via Zoom teleconferencing.

If this is your first time using Canvas software, please take time to access the various links on the Canvas web site to review the course information and materials.  All course material, such as the course objectives, course summary, syllabus, assignments etc....can be located under the "Modules" link in Canvas.  When you click on Modules you will see a required "Course Check-In" Module.  If you do not check in by Wednesday, 9:00am during the first week of class you will be dropped from the course.  It is in this first learning module (folder) that you will also find the course syllabus, online orientation letter and writing assignment.  You should work through the assignments and material sequentially.  That means, if there are 5 assignments in a particular module (hypothetically), you should not jump around within that module.  You should work through the assignments 1 through 5.  In some cases, Canvas will not allow you to access, for example, assignment 4 of that week, unless you have already completed assignments 1, 2 and 3.  It depends on how I have set up each individual module.  Additionally, learning modules that contain all of your assignments are opened up by specific date in correlation with the reading assignments listed in the syllabus.  You MUST keep up with the workload and pace yourselves.  This semester will move very quickly and it will be easy to fall behind unless you stay on top of the assignments.  Finally, not all items in the modules are assignments. There is supporting information and resources placed in each module to assist your learning.

Also, because this is an accelerated course, you will have two to three modules per week to complete. 

Please make sure you read all posted announcements throughout the semester to remain current on any important course information.  Also, I have created a "Course Information" module that contains multiple links, files and information that should be of assistance to you for the semester.  That module will always be located at the bottom of all listed modules.   Feel feel free to e-mail me by way of the internal Canvas message system, or through MyCanyons, with any additional questions.

Course Description


Political Science 150 is an introductory course that seeks to establish a foundation and basis of understanding of American government.  The course will cover various elements and dynamics of American democracy, the institutional and practical linkage between citizens and their government, and the roles and functions of the individual governmental institutions.  A portion of the course will be devoted to understanding California State government and its relationship with the federal government.


Students will be able to speak knowledgeably of the following subjects: the United States Constitution, federalism, public opinion and the role of news media in government, political parties and interest groups, elections, campaign finance, congress, the presidency, the judiciary and American democratic values in general.  The learning process should sharpen and refine the students’ ability to understand everyday news and current events relating to the overall governmental structure in the United States.  Student participation in online discussion is deemed necessary to enhance learning and allows for continued development of individual speaking and oratory skills. In addition, the exchange of political opinions and experiences is vital to gaining a well-rounded understanding of issues that exist across the political spectrum.


The following are the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) listed in the Political Science 150 course outline for College of the Canyons.  SLO’s are similar to the objectives listed above.  They are the intended learning outcomes a student can expect to achieve for this course.  They are as follows:

Identify, explain, and evaluate the governmental institutions and political processes that shape public opinion, electoral outcomes, and public policy in the United States and California including the role of culture, public opinion, political parties, interest groups, and the mass media.

What to Expect in this Course


The assignments for the semester are grouped into weekly learning Modules (for a short summer or winter semester there will be multiple modules per week.)  To access the Modules click on the “Modules” link in the left hand menu of the Canvas classroom.  At the end of the syllabus is a semester schedule.  Every week students are assigned a new chapter, or chapters, for reading that correlates to the Canvas assignments.  The weekly modules open up every Monday at 12:01am.  (Again, for summer and winter semesters there are multiple modules opening up throughout each week.)  For each chapter you will be assigned reading, writing and participation assignments.  The due dates and point value are clear to see within the Canvas Modules.  Many of the modules are created for sequential learning.  That means, you cannot access the next assignment for that week until you have completed the first, then second etc....  You must complete the current module before the next week’s module will be made available to you.  There are also tests and writing assignments for the semester. Upon completing the assignments you will be able to access your grade by viewing your personal grade book from the left hand menu options.  Further details and the overall grading breakdown are as follows:




(1) Online Assignments

Please complete assignments and discussion questions for each topic.  Failure to submit the assignment by the deadline will result in a point deduction for those late assignments, or even a zero score for those particular assignments.  There are multiple assignments for each chapter.  You need to submit all components of each assignment in order to receive credit for that assignment.  The assignments are generally assigned on Mondays and due on Sunday nights, with a couple of exceptions.  In most cases, Canvas will not allow you to begin the next learning module unless you have completed the previous module assignments.


(2) Mid-Term and Final


Each test will consist of an essay question based on the readings, and or multiple-choice questions.

(3) Essay/Written Paper or Video Assignment

One goal of this class is to relate the concepts and theories that we discuss to current political events.  Students will write at least one or more essays during the semester.  The details of the essay/writing assignment will be posted via a separate assignment sheet on the Canvas website for the class. Certain assignments might require MLA or another standard academic paper format.

Types of Assessments

Multiple Choice Exams
Critical Thinking Written Essay Exams
Open Book Learning Quizzes
Video Lectures - followed by written answers.

Textbook Information

The Department of Political Science uses a custom textbook for Political Science 150. The Department made this decision to reduce the cost of the textbook available in the COC Bookstore. The custom textbook will be sold in the COC Bookstore and is a compilation of the following two widely published and available textbooks:

1. We the People (12th Edition – Full Version) by Ginsberg, et. al.

2. Governing California (7th Edition) by Anagnoson, et. al.

The custom textbook will not be available for purchase anywhere other than the COC Bookstore. But, the individual versions of the two texts (that, combined, make up our custom textbook) are available from other sources, sometimes for a higher price and sometimes for a lower price. Also, the COC bookstore does have a rental program for our custom textbook.

Please do not be alarmed when you notice that Chapter #3 to the California Text has been eliminated. This was intended and not a mistake.

Also, once you access the classroom in Canvas, the learning management system, you can go to the “Course Information” module to access a link to the publisher’s website for an e-book version of the Ginsberg text (but NOT the required Anagnoson textbook. That book is not available in e-book form). Purchasing an e-book is an option for students, not a requirement.

Other Relevant Course Information

This class will be conducted entirely online through Canvas, the Learning Management Software System utilized by College of the Canyons and will not be available until the first official day of the semester.  So please wait until then to try to log in.  Just in case you are not clear on how to access the Canvas online course, please follow this link to your Canvas sign on page:

Keep in mind that the COC home page has an easy access Canvas icon at the top of its web site.  It is the circular looking design placed to the right of the MyCanyons icon.  That is the quickest way to access the login page.

Once there, you will find simple instructions for how to log in with your username and password.  I suggest you change your password to something more secure once you access the course the first time with the generic log in information.

This course is designed around readings out of two required textbooks.  Students are required to regularly participate online at the “Canvas” class web site.  Students will be asked to answer questions online, participate in discussion groups, watch online lectures and assignments, take tests and write essays regarding the subject matter in the texts.  As I often tell my students, you must not only think about the “what” of a particular topic or issue, but also the “how”, “when” and “why”.  Learning occurs by a process of questioning yourself and others in order to expand your understanding of the material.  Do not be a passive reader.  Think about what you are reading and be prepared to answer questions that demand your analysis and personal thought and opinion.        

The requirements of this course can be found in the syllabus.  Once you log onto the Canvas web site you will gain access to the first course module.  There you will find the syllabus. You MUST review the syllabus to understand the academic and instructional requirements of the class.  The syllabus is the guiding document for the semester.  Once you log onto Canvas you will receive regular announcements regarding your individual assignments for this course.

Students who add the class after the course has been activated online should expect a two or three day delay before you are entered into the system and allowed to access the Canvas web site. 

Because this class is an online course, it requires commitment and personal responsibility on the part of students.  You must be self-disciplined and keep up with the work.  Also, you must have continual access to a computer with Internet access. Otherwise, you will not be able to reliably participate in this class.  In this class you will be required to access the class web site on a regular and frequent basis.  Students who fail to log into the class by Wednesday of the first week of the class will be dropped.  Wait listed students will then be added to fill any vacant positions in enrollment.  During the semester, students who fail to log on for a period of 7 or more days might be dropped from enrollment.  This is not a “real time” class.  You have the freedom to access the web site and conduct your assignments when it is generally convenient to you.  You do not need to be online while other students are online unless a particular assignment calls for such coordination.

For more information concerning online instruction, please visit the COC web page for the Office of Online Instruction:

Let me know if you have any additional questions.  If so, feel free to e-mail me at  Please note that while I frequently and consistently return e-mail, a delay in any response is possible.  Please allow me a reasonable amount of time to respond as your inquiry might not be the only e-mail I have to address.  I hope you enjoy the course. 

David C. Andrus, Professor

Chair, Political Science Department

Office:  Bonelli Hall - 329

Office Phone: (661) 362-3052 (Less reliable.)

Cell – (626) 260-0029 (Text is acceptable.)


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: 10/25/2021 Sub#: 979