Skip Navigation

POLS312 - State, Local, and Community Politics

Course Details

Course Code: POLS312 Course ID: 3750 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

Comparative analysis of state and local political systems in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the contemporary role of states and localities in the development and implementation of public policies. Additionally, there is an examination of the role of grass roots social movements in shaping local politics.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
05/25/20 - 10/30/20 11/02/20 - 12/27/20 Fall 2020 Session I 8 Week session
07/27/20 - 01/01/21 01/04/21 - 02/28/21 Winter 2021 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

CO 1 Explain a governor’s policy within their own individual state.

CO 2 Identify important issues passed by their own state legislature.

CO 3 Explain effective forms of local government.

CO 4 Explain the powers of elected and unelected officials.

CO 5 Identify an important issue at the state or local level.

Grades for this course will be based upon two grading instruments; 8 Forum discussion questions, a mid-term exam, and one term paper. Forum responses should be posted by 11:55 pm ET on Friday.


The forum is the primary means of class interaction and the source of over half the student’s grade, as noted above. Each forum requires that the student post one original response to the forum question. Ideally, it should be at least one page in length. Further, it should be supported by academic sources used by the student (at least one from the assigned readings), and listed at the bottom. The forums are set up so students must post their responses before being able to read what other students have researched and submitted.

Students are encouraged to use the APUS online library as well as scholastic websites. Research using,, 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.

Additionally, each forum submission requires that the student interact and discuss responses with other students. (Again, see the rubric for specifics on grading criteria). Criteria for substantiveness may include the following, either individually or in combination:

  1. The reply is in complete paragraphs, and not just one or two sentences.
  2. The reply genuinely adds something to the forum, in terms of new information or fresh insight.
  3. It explains the responding student’s reasoning: “You’re right” is not substantive, but “I agree with you because…” stands a higher chance of being so.
  4. It does not simply summarize what another student has said. Example: “I really like your post, especially when you said…”
  5. After your initial posts, your instructor may ask follow up questions to help you further develop your responses or to help you think further about the initial questions.

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.

Submission of Assignments:

Your original response to the forum question is due Friday at 11:55 p.m. ET (Eastern Time) each week. Replies to classmates' posts and exams are due Sunday evening at 11:55 p.m. ET. Any late submissions submitted will be subject to a late penalty, unless the student provides evidence to the instructor ahead of time about an extenuating situation and receives permission to submit work after the established course deadline.

Late penalties are assessed thusly. For each day that the assignment is late, the assignment is penalized 5% of the maximum grade. Repeated late submissions may result in failure of the course.

Term Paper

In 8-10 pages (double-spaced), analyze the issue that most concerns you at the state or local level. Then, propose how you would convince your state or local government to approve your proposed solution.

Forum Participation

In order to receive full credit for your Forum postings, please adhere to the following rubric. Asynchronous discussion enhances learning as you share your ideas, perspectives, and experiences with the class. You develop and refine your thoughts through the writing process, plus broaden your classmates’ understanding of the course content. Use the following feedback to improve the quality of your discussion contributions.


There are three Quizzes in this class, in week 2, 5, and 7. They are 30 minute timed quizzes, and need to be completed by Sunday at 11:55 PM Eastern of the week. They cover the material of the previous weeks, but only include the weeks since the last quiz.

1. Lecture Notes

2. Web Resources and Assigned Readings

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.