Course Syllabus


This course consists of an English background of American institutions, colonial systems of government, the Constitution, and the evolution and adoption of government to the changing role of the United States as an industrialized member of the world of nations and the changing federal/state relations.



There are no prerequisites for this course

Required Resources

You must purchase the following required textbook: We the People, 14th Essentials Edition.

  • The required textbook for this course is a low-cost auto-access digital textbook.
  • Your student financial account will be charged automatically on the first day of class.
  • Access the textbook using the Course Materials link provided in the left course menu. 
  • Students who do not want to use the digital textbook (perhaps they already purchased the print version of the textbook), must opt-out, or they will be charged for the digital textbook. See "opt-out" information in the Course Textbook module.

Since this is an online course, it is your responsibility to arrange to use a computer with internet access. It is also your responsibility to make sure you have the word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software required to complete your assignments. In order to participate in online meetings with the instructor and your classmates, you are required to have a microphone for your computer and a set of earphones that will work with your computer. You will use the microphone and earphones to talk with others in a variety of learning activities in this course. Directions for setting up your microphone and earphones to work with the online meeting tool will be provided in a learning activity later on in the Course Introduction lesson.

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

Proctored Exams and Assessments

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 Proctorio help guide article.

I-Learn Profile Setup

To help your instructor and peers recognize you, please add a picture of yourself to your I-Learn (Canvas) profile. To do this, complete the following steps:

  1. Select on Account in the upper left-hand corner in I-Learn.
  2. Select Profile.
  3. Select the blank profile picture.
  4. Select choose a picture, then find an image of yourself you want and select Save.


Course Outcomes (CO)

In this course, we will:

  1. Analyze the importance of politics in American life.
  2. Identify the key elements of the US Constitution such as, separation of powers, limited powers, checks and balances, representation, Federalism, etc.
  3. Detail the roles, responsibilities, and powers of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the US government.
  4. Discuss and describe how civil rights and civil liberties have been historically developed and implemented.
  5. Identify power as the central concept in political science.
  6. Realize the saliency of political participation, citizenship, and civil discourse within the United States of America's system of government.
  7. Analyze current events using the key concepts of the United States of America's government.
  8. Describe key theoretical concepts of political science in essay format.
  9. Critically evaluate the impact that money, interest groups, political parties, citizens, and the media have on the United States of America's system of governance.
  10. Evaluate and identify the policy making process on the domestic and international levels.
  11. Compare and contrast the United States of America's system of government with other nations.
  12. Make effective political arguments in oral and written form.

Major Assignments

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

Major Assignment Description CO#
W07 Paper: Media & Politics Research and write a three-page report on one of the five current media challenges faced by the United States as it relates to politics.
W14 Final Exam Cumulative Exam

Weekly Patterns

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

Due Date* Learning Model Activity Title Description
Midweek Prepare Study Materials Study materials of the week.
Midweek Ponder/ Prove Quiz Quiz on the readings of the week
Midweek Prove Current Event Commentaries Find an article related to this week’s chapter reading and write a commentary.
End of Week Assignment Current Event Commentaries Weekly assignments where you offer commentary on the weekly national news.

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

*If you are not in the Mountain Time Zone, these due dates will be adjusted to your time zone if you have updated your I-Learn Profile and set your time zone. Once this is done, you may use the Calendar and your To-Do list to see the exact due dates and times for your location.

Course Policies

Late Work

  • In this class, each student has three late passes. That means you can turn in up to three assignments late without a penalty.
  • Your instructor will let you decide when you need them.
  • When you want to use a late pass, send your instructor an email with the assignment attached and a note stating that you want to use a late pass.
  • The last day to turn in assignments is the last day of the semester.
  • Late passes cannot be used on exams.

Grading Scale

How the Outcomes Will Be Assessed

While you may not be tested on everything you learn in this course, the instructor will be assessing your mastery of all of these learning outcomes. The general types of assessments used to measure these outcomes may include selected response tests, such as multiple-choice, true-false, matching, and fill-in-the-blank questions. You may also be asked to complete essays or other writing assignments. At times, the instructor may assess your performance of a skill or they may assess products you create using particular skills. In addition, the instructor may engage in personal communication with you to determine how well you understand the course content.

This course has been designed to ensure that the assessment methods used are appropriate ways to measure the learning outcomes. You won’t be taught one thing and then tested on something else. Also, every effort has been made to use fair criteria in grading and administering the assessments. If you ever think an assessment will not or has not given you a fair chance to show your mastery of the course outcomes, talk with your instructor. He or she will be happy to talk with you and negotiate an alternative assessment that is fair to you, as well as to all the other members of the class.

Grades will be based on a percentage of the total number of points students may earn from major exams, assignments, quizzes, and completion of any other learning activities assigned by the instructor. You may check your progress in the course at any time by accessing the Grades page.

  • Assignments—about 65% of your total grade
  • Exams and Reading Quizzes—about 35 % of your total grade

In assigning final grades for this course, the instructor will use the BYU-Idaho Standard Grade Definition criteria listed below.

A: The grade of "A" represents outstanding understanding, application, and integration of subject material and extensive evidence of original thinking, skillful use of concepts, and ability to analyze and solve complex problems. Demonstrates diligent application of Learning Model principles, including initiative in serving other students.

B: The grade of "B" presents considerable/significant understanding, application, and incorporation of the material, which would prepare a student to be successful in next level courses, graduate school, or employment. The student participates in the Learning Model as applied in the course.

C: The grade of "C" represents sufficient understanding of subject matter. The student demonstrates minimal initiative to be prepared for class. Sequenced courses could be attempted, but mastering new materials might prove challenging. The student participates marginally in the Learning Model.

D: The grade of "D" represents poor performance and initiative to learn, understand, and apply course materials. Retaking a course or remediation may be necessary to prepare for additional instruction in this subject matter.

F: The grade of "F" represents failure in the course.

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%

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 at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. 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 requires 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. 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.


As with all the classes you take at BYU-Idaho, in the end it is up to you to decide what you want to get out of this class. If you choose to approach the things you study in class with an open mind, if you prepare diligently and work hard to complete all the learning activities, and if you humbly seek the Lord’s help to understand the intellectual and spiritual truths discussed in this course, you will have an outstanding educational experience that will be a blessing to you throughout your life in many ways.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due