Grades for this course will be based upon three grading instruments: forums (8), exams (2), and a research paper (1). There are eight weekly discussion questions that are provided in the forums. A rubric explaining grading criteria is included in each weekly forum. The Mid-term and Final Exams will be comprised of two essay questions each. Exam rubrics are included in the course. Please pay close attention to exam submission instructions. There’s also a research paper described in the assignments section.
Forums, Procedures, and Requirements
For the benefit of the discussions, please make sure that throughout the course, everyone respects one another, and let's keep the discussion focused on the factual political process/aspects of the topics and not on the emotional aspects. Political, religious and/or any other type of personal opinions are not necessary to successfully complete this class.
Instead, a careful and detailed exploration/discussion of all sides of an issue is an essential part of this course. Please take the time to research all sides of the issue, and provide at least two possible solutions to the issue being discussed in each weekly forum within your main forum response post. Comments and/or posts simply arguing personal political or religious opinions will not meet course objectives. Moreover, any corrections and/or directions to the students will only be provided by the instructor. Having said that, for this course's discussions let's concentrate on the weekly topics. Furthermore, for all the discussions in this class you should meet the following criteria from the forum rubric:
1 - One main forum post (50% of forum grade) - Please include a thesis statement, references, quotes and citations. Post should consist of at least 300 words. The original student response should have at least three references plus one to the assigned readings (10% of forum grade). The external sources should be scholarly as discussed in the section on plagiarism and citing of sources. The writing should be clear, concise, and grammatically correct (20% of forum grade).
2 – Be sure to follow the rubric for grading criteria. Reply to at least three other students for maximum credit (20% of forum grade). Replies should consist of at least 150 words each. Please offer at least one reference to the assigned readings in each of your replies to other posts made by your classmates. Replies must be analytical, insightful, well-reasoned, and well-developed to earn full credit. Simply meeting the 150-word minimum will not guarantee 20/20 points.
3- Research paper (paper is found under assignments and is submitted via assignment tab) is due at the end of week 7.
- Please remember to submit your assignment as an uploaded MS Word document via the assignment section in order to be graded. Assignments will be checked by TurnIt-in for plagiarism. Confirmed instances of plagiarism will receive a zero for the paper and be reported to the university.
4- Please include a paper heading in all your assignments and exams (not forums) that includes: name, date, assignment title, course number, instructor's name, and university.
5- Ensure your posts directly answer the questions being asked. An opening thesis statement will ensure that and give your post a clear direction.
6- Even though your posts can take a clear position on issues, explore all sides of the issues including pros and cons. Exploring a single perspective, being biased and/or not realizing/discussing the pros and cons of all sides of an issue will result in a lower grade. Remember all sides have valid ideas and also not so valid ones; that is why the topic is an issue; therefore, it is key for us as students of political science to contemplate all the different views in order to come up with possible solutions to the issue. During the course, I will act as the 'Devil's Advocate' and provide the opposite view/counter arguments to your work, in order to provide you all with a view of all sides of the topic. Remember we are here to learn and learning occurs when we expand our own ideas through the exploration of different points of view.
Regarding our forums, the following are some points that will help you navigate the forums throughout the course:
1- Course forum participation is a requirement to pass the course.
2- Concentrate your responses along the lines of the political process.
3- If I ask you a follow-up question to something you have written, I expect you to address that question in a subsequent reply. Ignoring an instructor’s question online isn’t all that different than ignoring an instructor’s question in a face to face class.
4 - Feedback is provided first and the grades will be posted by no later than the following week, usually by the following Friday.
Students are encouraged to use the APUS online library as well as scholastic websites. Research using About.com, WiseGeek.com, general purpose dictionaries, and wiki sources, such as Wikipedia, is highly discouraged, and instructors may not accept those sources as credible.
Please be sure that you have completed and proofread your work before posting it. You will not be able to delete or edit your work once you've submitted it, similar to the way exams and papers will not be returned for corrections after they have been submitted.
Note: Meeting forum minimum requirements will result in a satisfactory grade of a C or higher (A, B, or C). It is not a guarantee that an A will be earned. Please read the rubric to see the scoring criteria.