Course Syllabus


This course will help students complete the following:

  • Build a knowledge base of ideas.
  • Help you learn analysis skills.

Not all of these ideas and skills will come easily. It may take a lot of work and practice before some of the things we talk about will even start to make sense, so don’t be surprised to find that it takes a little extra time to comprehend these ideas. Just be patient—as students approach the end of the semester their knowledge of and proficiency in, the things we have studied will start to come together and they will really see how much progress they have made. Students will understand what this course is working to teach them, and they will be glad you persisted in their efforts to learn.

An additional benefit of this course is that, as students thoughtfully apply the learning model to teach one another and ponder and prove what you have learned, and as they humbly seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Lord will bless them with a greater knowledge of His mercy and love, and they will receive an increased testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.



There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Resources

Proctored Exams and Assessments

The Proctorio exam requires a functioning webcam and microphone connected to your device. Make sure to properly set these up before beginning your exam.

This course will use an online proctoring software called Proctorio. This makes it possible for students to take assessments and exams without a human proctor present. Proctored exams can be accessed like any other exam, once the software has been installed. Exams will be recorded by Proctorio and reviewed by the BYUI Testing Center. Any questionable exams will be forwarded to the instructor for further review.

For step-by-step instructions on Proctorio installation, please refer to this help guide article.


The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. Students will be notified prior to any changes that may take place.

Course Text

There is no required textbook. All reading materials will be available through I-Learn.


Course Outcomes

  • 1. Be able to determine why states act differently. This is accomplished through the following two sub-objectives.
  • 2. Learn to identify and understand the three primary structures in every state.
      • Political
      • Economic
      • Societal
  • 3. These structures constantly intermingle and, as they do, influence decision-makers
  • 4. Start comparing these structures across countries.
  • 5. By comparing structures across countries, we can identify what seems to work, what does not, and why.
  • 6. Understand how this affects students directly and why the student should care.

Major Assignments

The table below is meant to help you see the relevance of each major assignment as it pertains to the course outcomes.

Major Assignments
Major Assignment Description Course Outcome #
W05 Project Project on System Analysis 1,2,3,4,5,6
W09 Project Project on System Analysis 1,2,3,4,5,6
W13 Project Project on System Analysis 1,2,3,4,5,6
W14 Project Project on System Analysis 1,2,3,4,5,6
W12 Quiz Complete a quiz on this week’s political terms and concepts. 1,2,3,4,5,6
W14 Quiz Final Quiz 1,2,3,4,5,6

Weekly Patterns

The table below displays typical weekly activities, due dates, and activity descriptions. 

Weekly Patterns
Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Prove Assignment Complete a worksheet on the definitions of key political terms you find through your own research.
Midweek Ponder/Prove Assignment Study articles on this week's topic, and explain each author's main points.
Midweek Teach One Another Discussion Contribute to a discussion on current, international events.
End of Week Prove Quiz Quiz on this week’s political terms and concepts.

*Set your time zone within user preferences so the dates and times for course activities will display correctly for your time zone.

Learning Model

Skim Reading

When most of us were taught to study, we learned to read things through once and believed that this constituted high comprehension. In this course students will be asked to do something different from what they are probably used to doing: students will be asked to skim through the same material several times. Although this will probably feel new, and a bit awkward at first, they will begin to see benefits that will help not only in this course but in any future situation where students are asked to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time. Research has shown that recall is much higher when one reviews the material several times, even if they don’t feel like they're are grasping everything when they are only skimming the material.

Peter Kump, author of Breakthrough Rapid Reading, and an expert in speed-reading says the following about the power of repetition:

The First Misconception

The first misconception is that you should read everything, in the same way, word by word. Whether you are reading the newspaper, a good adventure novel, or a physics textbook, it was implied that you should start at the beginning and go once through, from the beginning to the end. This is a waste of your time and it is possibly the worst habit that you have to break in your development as an efficient reader.

The Second Misconception

The second misconception concerns comprehension. It was implied, again because you were taught nothing else, that if you read the material using this once-through approach you should be able to understand it. Of course, you now know that many times you have not been taught. Yet what techniques were you given to use when a passage was difficult? Probably none.

The Third Misconception

It was finally implied that if you read a passage once through you should not only understand it but you should also be able to remember what was important. Yet how many times were you given tests on passages which you had read once through and found out that you didn't remember as much as you should have? Perhaps your teacher told you to "study" harder next time. But what did that mean other than reading once through once more? (a)

And S.D. Frank, author of The Evelyn Wood Seven-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program (Evelyn Wood is probably the most famous speed reader) had this to say about quickly reviewing material multiple times: I’ve heard some students object, 'But doesn’t all this…take more time than just going through the book once the way I’ve always done it?'

“The answer to this question is emphatically no…the multiple-exposure or layering approach to learning does increase your comprehension of and contact with study assignments. But this approach doesn’t take more time; it takes much less.” (b)

If you will dedicate some time to learning how to skim well you will be able to see similar results: greater recall of the material, higher comprehension, and no more time commitment than it would take you to read something normally.

  1. This quote about the power of repetition comes from chapter 7 of Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump, Parker Publishing, NY, 1979.

This excerpt is from Chapter 7 "Don't read just for its own sake"

  1. (Frank, S.D., (2009), The Evelyn Wood Seven-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program, Barnes and Noble Publishing, NY.)


Course Schedule

  • Each week will open early in order to accommodate students who want extra time to get started. New weeks will be opened two weeks before they begin. Weeks have no end date.
  • Each week has two main due dates.
    • Mid-week. By mid-week you will need to complete the following weekly assignments:
      • Terminology Worksheet Learning vocabulary
      • Article Analysis (Readings and other preparatory materials)
      • Current Events Discussion (Discussing international politics in current events in the news)—Initial post
    • End-of-Week. By the end-of-week you will need to complete the following weekly assignments:
      • Current Events Discussion Board (Discussing international politics in current events in the news)—at least one more comment
      • Quiz (answering questions and making connections about the subject material)
  • Projects
    • Week 05
    • Week 09
    • Week 13
    • Week 14
  • Current Events: (Participation grade)
    • Participation in this discussion board is required. Once students start following world news, they'll surely start to develop some opinions and/or questions about what is happening. Use this board weekly to civilly and thoughtfully share thoughts and ideas with classmates.
  • Terminology Worksheet: Each week, students will be required to find definitions for key political terms. It is important that they really learn what it means in a political context. For each term, students will also write a 2-3 sentence summary of the concept. After completing this assignment each week, they will receive a document that contains official class terms that they are required to know throughout the semester.
    • NOTE: The order of this assignment is deliberate. Searching for the terms yourself first requires the student to interact with them in a way that will help the student remember them better. It is more important that the student thinks deeply about the terms than that they get them right the first time.
  • Article Analysis: As preparation for the assessment activities of each week, the student will study specific week related articles that are available on the Article Analysis page. In order to evaluate the students understanding of assigned readings, they will be assessed in two ways:
    • Spend enough time reading each article in order to feel confident discussing its contents in an intelligent and constructive manner with peers. The student will then submit a few key points, principles, or ideas was gleaned from the reading.
    • After students have submitted the summaries, the instructor will provide feedback. Study the feedback received to see other points that may have missed from the readings. Using the feedback as a guide to help find other important points, skim through the article again for 15 minutes to see what else can learned.
    • NOTE: Some of the readings take longer than others to load. Please allow a generous amount of time (this may take several minutes) for readings to load. The time it takes to complete the assigned readings may not be consistent every week. Check the suggested times listed after each article to help plan your schedule.
  • Quiz: This assessment will allow the student to apply their understanding of political terms and develop their ideas concerning the weekly readings.
  • Projects: Four projects are assigned throughout the semester (Weeks 05, 09, 13, and 14). Projects are structured to allow students to compare countries based on the knowledge gained from the previous few weeks. They will consist of reports comparing what is most similar or most different about politics in modern nations.
  • Some weeks have additional assignments, such as mid-course feedback.
  • The due dates of the Introduction weeks activities have been relaxed and are not due until the mid-week due date of Week 02. This extra time is given to help students who add late have time to complete the assignments. Be sure not to procrastinate these assignments until Week 02 as that will make completing all of the assignments in Week 02 more difficult and time-consuming.
  • In this course, students will be required to turn in activities in .doc format. If they do not have Microsoft Office they can access a free download for either PC or MAC from BYU-Idaho's bookstore.
  • If any of your pages are not loading correctly read How to View Insecure Content article.

Grading Scale

Grading Scale
Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 100% – 93%
A- 92% – 90%
B+ 89% – 87%
B 86% – 83%
B- 82% – 80%
C+ 79% – 77%
C 76% – 73%
C- 72% – 70%
D+ 69% – 67%
D 66% – 63%
D- 62% – 60%
F 59% – 00%

Class Policies

Course Questions, Problems, Concerns

As this is an online class you will be interacting with others in various assignments, please remember to be kind, considerate, and respectful of differing viewpoints. You can differ in opinions (sometimes the best learning comes when others challenge your thinking) but still, be civil. Any violation of basic common courtesy-including interaction with the instructor-will negatively impacts your grade.

This course has an Announcements page where they can post general questions, problems, concerns, etc. Using this page will inform the instructor, other class members, and others monitoring the course of the issues they find and will allow the proper people to correct them for everyone. Please use this page each week. If students are experiencing the same problem as others who have posted, they can post as well so others know the seriousness of the problem. If you know the answer to a problem, please post solutions. Helping to solve your classmates’ problems is another way to teach one another. Additionally, your instructor will use this board to inform you of fixes and solutions. So check back often to learn of any changes to the course. Students should spend approximately 912 hours a week devoted to this class.

NOTE: Students should only email their instructor directly if the problem is of a personal nature or the instructor informs you this is the way he or she would like to be informed of questions, problems, or concerns.

Late Work Policy

Assignments are due on the day indicated. No late work will be accepted without permission from the instructor. Work that is late hampers your ability to fully participate in the course and will be accepted only at your instructor’s discretion. Inform your instructor before the assignment is due. Any late work that is accepted is subject to a penalty as determined by the instructor.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office (Links to an external site.) at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations (Links to an external site.). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies (Links to an external site.). It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due