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POLISC-150 - Intro-Amer Government/Politics - S. Reti

Course:Intro-Amer Government/Politics
Professor:S. Reti
  • Online
Course Length:5 week
Textbook Title:This is a Zero-Textbook Cost Course: American Government by OpenStax (on College of the Canyons ZTC link)
Types of Assessments:Short answer and open-book essay exam questions


Dr. Reti in front of the U.S. Capitol

Dear Students:

At last!  A Political Science course with  a free textbook! In this course, we will examine how American politics works, develop our own opinions and share them with one another, and consider how we can improve the American political system.   

We begin by determining our own ideologies. Are you a communist?  A liberal?  A conservative?  A libertarian?  An independent?   It's okay to not know who you are.  We study how the ideas of the Framers shaped the U.S. Constitutional system.  Next, we examine all the different ways to get involved:  voting, interest groups, political parties, campaigning, etc.   I ask you to relate what we are studying to current political events.  Third, we study how the institutions of government respond to our demands.   What reforms are appropriate to improve our political system?

Course Description

The objectives of this class are to help you analyze and evaluate American and California politics.   A typical week involves reading from our ZTC American politics textbook and from online resources and texts about California politics and then responding to short essay questions.  I include a short video introduction each week for most assignments and PowerPoint slides to provide current information about the topics.  The discussion board helps you brainstorm with one another about the issues that are presented each week.   There are also three essay exams that help you synthesize what you have learned in each unit.

Most students excel in this course.  If you like reading and writing, and can work independently, you will do just fine.  All the work is online.  I am happy to meet with you on Zoom to discuss material as you need, during regular office hours or by appointment.

I have taught the online PS 150 for several years now.  I find most people do quite well in the course.  Additionally, I teach the regular Political Science 150 course at the College of the Canyons.  I always enjoy the discussions that we have together.  

I have a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara.  I emphasize critical thinking skills and treat the course as an opportunity for you to better know your own political philosophy and points of view, rather than a course just about political facts.


What to Expect in this Course

Expect to engage in a great deal of exploring about how American and California politics works!  Expect to do quite a bit of reading and sharing of research and opinions.

Additional Textbook Information / Link to OER Textbook

Go to the COC Online Education website, under Zero-cost Textbooks, political science for our free book. Here's the link:

Other Relevant Course Information

I look forward to working with you. 

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 Accomodation 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

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 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.

Last updated: 10/18/2020 Sub # Orig: 1789