Borough of Manhattan Community College
City University of New York

Course NameIntroduction to American Government, Summer 2021
Course CodePOL 100 (0502)
Class HoursThis is an online course. You are expected to devote 6-9 hours a week studying for this course.
Credits3 credit hours
InstructorProf. Arto Artinian, Ph.D.

Course Description

The history, development, and intellectual origin of American government are studied and analyzed. Special consideration is given to the structure and operation of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, and the role of government and politics in a modern industrial society.


Prerequisites or Corequisites

Required Text & Readings

This is an OER/No-Cost course. This means you are not required to purchase materials or a textbook for this course.

Other Resources/Materials

Additional readings will be posted on the class website, on the OpenLab, here:

Grading Policy

Discussions1-4 per module30%
Quizzes2 per semester10% (2×5%)
Reading Responses1 per module10%
Midterm Exam1 per semester25%
Final Exam1 per semester25%

Late Assignments
Late assignments or make-up assignments are not permitted in my class. If you are planning to be out of town or if you have an emergency, please contact me ahead of times so that we can come to alternate participation methods.

Late Enrollment
If you enroll late in this course, it will be your responsibility to either catch up quickly or receive no points for assignments due before your late enrollment to the class.

Video Participation:
You are not required to participate in any class-related video activities. However, throughout the semester, I may hold optional Zoom meetings, where I host a Question & Answer meetings, mostly likely after a few modules have been presented. Such optional QA Zoom sessions will also be held before exams (to answer your questions, as well as review specific points). Note, again, you are encouraged to attend these Zoom meetings, but you will not be required to do so, your attendance of these video meetings is optional. All such Zoom meetings will be recorded and made available on our class website for everyone to watch, whenever convenient.

Difficulties with Technology:
You must have a plan for dealing with technical difficulties. It is your responsibility if internet goes out in the middle of submitting an assignment. It is your responsibility to find alternate ways to access content (campus Learning Center offers internet and computers). Reach out to me before assignments are due if you are having emergency issues that prevent you from participating in course.

Online Learning Orientation:
This class will be using BMCC’s OpenLab for hosting our course website. Extensive introduction and help on how to use the OpenLab is available here. In addition, specific requests for technical support on the OpenLab, can be made by writing to:

Office of Compliance and Diversity
BMCC is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive learning environment free of unlawful discrimination/harassment, including sexual harassment, where all students are treated fairly. For information about BMCC’s policies and resources, or to request additional assistance in this area, please visit or call the office, or email, or If you need immediate assistance, please contact BMCC Public safety at 212-220-8080.
www.bmcc, room S701, 212-220-1236.

The office of Accessibility can be accessed at, room N360 (accessible entrance: 77 Harrison Street), 212-220-8180. This office collaborates with students who have documented disabilities, to coordinate support services, reasonable accommodations, and programs that enable equal access to education and college life. To request an accommodation due to a documented disability, please visit or call the office.

Student Learning Outcomes:

What you should be able to do by the end of the semester

You will be able to…Types of Assessment
Course Student
1. Describe the history, structures and purpose of fundamental political documents such as the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court cases that have significantly shaped American political institutions and practices.
2. Describe and Discuss the functioning of the American political system (the branches and division of government)
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the moving forces of American politics, including the intersection of class, race, and gender, and how they have precipitated important events in United States political history and current events.
4. Discuss ongoing events and controversies in U.S. politics.
– Essay Exams
– Essay papers
– Quizzes
– Discussion board posts
– Collectice annotations of assigned readings
General Education GoalsSocial Sciences – Students will understand and apply the concepts and methods of the social sciences.

Student behaviors include being able to:
– demonstrate an understanding of the unique theories and methods of a social or behavioral science
– analyze and interpret a social, economic, cultural, political, philosophical, or historical issue.

Information and Technology Literacy  – Students will collect, evaluate and interpret information and effectively use information technologies.

Students will be able to generate pieces of informal writing in response to a variety of prompts, situations, concepts, or reading assignments.

Requirements and Grading

  • 50% Exams (25% Midterm and 25% Final Exam)
  • 30% Discussion Board Responses (this represents class discussion and is key for success in this class). Note, I will actively facilitate discussion on discussion boards, which will include giving regular feedback to student responses.
  • 10% Response Papers (these are essentially essays, responding to questions that appear at the end of modules. As such, they serve as reviews for the exams).
  • 10% Quizzes (5% for each of the two quizzes)

Please note: Your grades, feedback, and rubrics are always available by clicking on the Grades tab located on the top right corner of our website menu.

There should never be any surprise about your academic standing in this course. You can view the rubrics to see what you scored in each category of assessment. This is also where you will see additional feedback I may leave you regarding your work.

Late work will not be accepted. Failure to produce work on the date it is due will result in a grade of F for that assignment. It is your responsibility to follow instructions on how to submit required work, as well as keep track of assignments.

It is your responsibility to work out all computer/OpenLab and Blackboard-related issues with BMCC’s IT department. Keep documented records of all correspondence, as you may be required to provide correspondence if an issue should occur.

All required assignments such as Response Papers are due on the Wednesday, following the week they were assigned, by 11:59pm. Discussion Board comments, Quizzes and Exams are always due by 11:59pm on Friday, the week they were assigned.

Required Course Material
I will be providing online access for each reading assignment through our course website on the OpenLab, so no purchase of a textbook is required. Each student will need a BMCC email address. Without a BMCC email address, you will not be able to register and access our class on the OpenLab, which means you will not be able to complete this class.

Instructions on how to access the OpenLab and this course website are provided here.

All of our course work will take place on the OpenLab, at the following URL:

You will use Blackboard ONLY to keep track of your grades through the semester.

Communication during the semester

Throughout the semester, I will actively communicate with you individually, and as a group, in different ways (via video announcements, email messages, and announcement via Blackboard and the OpenLab). My goal is to keep you fully notified of my expectations of your work, as well well responding to specific pedagogical questions that emerge in the course of our study. Discussion board comments, feedback on exams and quizzes will also be a part of this communication process.

Support Services and Tutoring

Throughout the semester, you are encouraged to take advantage of the various student support services that are available to you at BMCC. These include:


College Attendance Policy
At BMCC, the maximum number of absences is limited to one more hour than the number of hours a class meets in one week. For example, you may be enrolled in a six-hour class. In that class, you would be allowed 7 hours of absence (not class days). In the case of excessive absences, the instructor has the option to lower the grade or assign an F or WU grade

Note: a student has to be active, not just visit, an online course in order to be considered in attendance. Attendance affects student aid, and is reported as required by law. Make sure you are logging into the OpenLab and Blackboard often to complete assignments. Be aware instructors can see how much time students spend in Blackboard and on which tasks.

Students facing challenges with immigration issues, securing food or housing, who believe this may affect their performance in the course please notify me if you are comfortable in doing so [instructor] If you prefer, you may contact the Office of Student Affairs (Room S350, 212-220-8130,,, or visit BMCC’s Single Stop for help accessing all available services.

Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. BMCC is committed to providing equal access to all programs and curricula to all students.

BMCC Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Statement
Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else’s ideas, words or artistic, scientific, or technical work as one’s own creation. Using the idea or work of another is permissible only when the original author is identified. Paraphrasing and summarizing, as well as direct quotations, require citations to the original source. Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Lack of dishonest intent does not necessarily absolve a student of responsibility for plagiarism. Students who are unsure how and when to provide documentation are advised to consult with their instructors. The library has guides designed to help students to appropriately identify a cited work. The full policy can be found on BMCC’s web side, For further information on integrity and behavior, please consult the college bulletin (also available online).

CUNY’s Definition of Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York. Penalties for academic dishonesty include academic sanctions, such as failing or otherwise reduced grades, and/or disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion.

Definitions and Examples of Academic Dishonesty.
● Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. Example of cheating include:
● Copying from another student during an examination or allowing another to copy your work.
● Unauthorized collaboration on a take home assignment or examination.
● Using notes during a closed book examination.
● Taking an examination for another student, or asking or allowing another student to take an examination for you.
● Changing a graded exam and returning it for more credit.
● Submitting substantial portions of the same paper to more than one course without consulting with each instructor.
● Preparing answers or writing notes in a blue book (exam booklet) before an examination.
● Allowing others to research and write assigned papers or do assigned projects, including using commercial term paper services.
● Giving assistance to acts of academic misconduct/ dishonesty.
● Fabricating data (in whole or in part).
● Falsifying data (in whole or in part).
● Submitting someone else’s work as your own.
● Read full policy on Academic Integrity here.

Student data and privacy
Your personal data is secure and kept private within the Blackboard learning management system, and BMCC’s OpenLab. All digital tools used for this course are compliant with the CUNY policy on protecting student data.

Technology Requirements

Help Desk
● The IT Help Desk installs equipment and provides technical support for Administrative (non Lab use) computers, hardware, software and the network throughout the college. The Help Desk will assist users in resolving their computing problems, or serve as a liaison to other resources such as the Computing Center or CUNY Computing.
● For general technical questions, you can contact the College Computing Center.

● Once you are logged in and no longer have issues with your password, you can contact the E-learning Center for question specific to the use of Blackboard or submitting assignments through Blackboard: 212.220.1243; by eMail : ; or in person: E-learning Center, Room S-510A

● Blackboard Student Tutorials (click here)

Recommended Devices and Operating Systems.
● Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS 10.8, Mac OS 10.9, Mac 10.10, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Chrome OS, any Linux-based OS (such as Ubuntu, etc.).
● iOS Devices: iPod Touch, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Mini, iPad Air 2.
● Android Devices: Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, HTC G1, LG C800 my Touch, HTC One, Galaxy Note 2014, HTC One M8.

Browser Requirements
● Chrome 49 or higher
● Firefox 48 or higher
● Safari 9 or higher
● Internet Access
● Internet access is required to participate in online components of your college courses at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
● An Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with the software and access necessary to use the Internet.
● Your computer should be hooked up to a fast internet connection, such as LAN, DSL or Cable. These type of internet connections are highly recommended for optimal student experience. You want to get the most out of your eLearning courses, and having a fast Internet connection is key to achieving that goal.

System Requirements and Technical Skills
● Familiarity with the OpenLab at BMCC:
● Blackboard Learning Management System. Tutorials are available on the College’s Blackboard website.
● An active BMCC email account. For more information go to
● MS-Office 2010 or higher.