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POLISC-150 - Introduction to American Government/Politics - Jim Starkey

Course:Introduction to American Government/Politics
Professor:Jim Starkey
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 5 Week


Jim Starkey

Hello, I'm Professor Jim Starkey, and over the next few weeks, we'll be going on an interesting voyage together exploring American government and politics. Quite honestly, with everything going on in the world of American politics at the moment, you couldn't have chosen a better time to take this course. It won't be long, but it promises to be interesting!

What are we going to be doing on this journey together? Well, the formal course description is listed a little further along in this letter, but informally, there will be many interesting stops. Among them:

1) First, In the creation of the United States Constitution, we will meet 3 of our 50 cousin states: our oddball cousin, our most loyal cousin, and our smartest cousin. And, we'll find out how they played key roles in the development and ratification of our nation's premier civic document.

2) Also, we will learn that the nearby San Andreas Fault isn't the only thing capable of producing earthquakes. Political parties also produce them, and, like the San Andreas, produce them pretty consistently over time.

3) In addition, we'll answer the burning question of how the movie Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory relates to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the American governmental system, processes, and participation at the federal and state levels. Key theories that will be covered include the founding of the Republic, the construction of the Constitution, federalism, public opinion & the news media, social movements, political party development, campaigns, elections & voting, Congress, the Presidency, the structure of the court system, domestic & foreign policy, and California state government. The textbook will be augmented by multi-media presentations and articles retrieved from the World Wide Web.

What to Expect in this Course

Since this is a five-week course, there will be an intense workload; keep in mind, what we are doing is stuffing 17 weeks of work into 5 weeks; I don't say that to scare you, but to be honest with you about what to expect. So,anticipate multiple quizzes, writing assignments, and discussions each week. There will be one formal exam, on the very last day of the term.

Learning Management System: CANVAS

Types of Assessments

1) Quizzes
2) Writing assignments
3) Discussions
4) 1 Exam

Textbook Information

Textbook Title: We The People, 12th Edition
Governing California in the Twenty-First Century, 8th Edition

The last thing I want to do in the midst of an economic depression is burden students with the high cost of textbook. So, find the cheapest copy of each edition of the required textbooks that you can; the best value is buying the E-Book versions of the required textbooks The ISBN's for each book are posted below, along with a link to Norton, the publisher of them.

We The People:

Governing California in the Twenty-First Century:

Other Relevant Course Information

Bring your sense of humor! I love to laugh, and political humor is an essential part of this course!

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: 10/26/2021 Sub#: 1071