Assignments For Registered Students

APLS 201 - Internet


Fall 2010 (always under construction): Last updated 1/18/2011

All assignment exercises MUST be completed in the time period noted--see the individual exercises for the precise due dates. If you have computer problems, you can fax, snail mail, or hand carry your assignments to me. Unless the USCA website or email server or Blackboard are down, you are expected to complete your assignment on time. We will ignore weekends and holidays, since we are a virtual class, and so that you can have about a week to complete each set of assignments. Remember to do the Blackboard questions first, after you read the textbook chapter for each unit, (go to the Blackboard website at and log in there with your Blackboard user name and password, then click on the assignments link), the internet or newspaper assignment second, and the discussion assignment third. Please note that for the time being we are NOT able to use the class list, and instead, we will use the Blackboard discussion forum feature (in Blackboard, click on the discussion board link, and follow the instructions on the posted discussion thread – you can reply to my initial comment to post your comment there, and you should read the comments of your fellow students first!)

Assignments will be updated regularly. Please check back each week rather than relying on the schedule that is posted now.


Note: You may request a tutor from the Academic Support Center by completing the form found at this link:

Some information before you get started:

Computer and other problems: I’ll give you some wiggle room if your computer crashes, but you have a couple of responsibilities. One is to get in touch with me immediately if you have some kind of a problem (that goes for other kinds of problems, too). As an adult, you are responsible for getting your work done on time and for letting me know if you have some emergency that occurs. Even if your computer is on the fritz and you are not in Aiken, you can make a phone call. I get voice mail on my computer, and our administrative assistant takes messages. We also have a fax machine, and you can fax something to me in an emergency from a commercial venue where they have faxes available. Or finally, mail in your assignment using a stamp via the US mail, or send me a letter explaining why you have not done your work. Don’t just disappear. A second responsibility is to plan ahead and manage your time. No professor is very sympathetic when you wait until the last minute to do your work, and then experience a computer crash or personal issue. As my son’s band director used to say, “Early is on time, on time is late.” It’s a good philosophy!

Extra credit events (check back for updates!) - Events will be posted on the extra credit link as they occur. You cannot use an extra credit event for ICE credit and also receive extra credit in my class, though.

Web assignments: You will need to follow the instructions and click on the link to a web page. This portion of your assignment requires you to apply what you have learned and often, to see what real world application you can find. These will help you to put you learn in a real world context. Again, click on the link to answer and type in your response to send it to me. This will be labeled as an Internet Assignment. Be sure to write "Internet Assignment 1" in the subject line when you send me your answer. Email to

Newspaper assignments: For each newspaper assignment, you should find an article in a reputable online newspaper (see list on syllabus for typical sources), or similar paper newspaper if you prefer (in that case, you will have to give me a page number instead of a url). This must be a current article, written within the last two days and is due by midnight on the final day listed for the newspaper assignment. The subject of the article should be a topic that reinforces something you read about in the chapter (so for the assignment for unit 2 on the Constitution you may want to choose an article that illustrates one of the key terms in the chapter, like supremacy clause or judicial activism, for example. You are not limited to this approach of using key terms, but I am simply giving you some examples. For the second unit, your newspaper assignment should illustrate something from the US Constitution or whatever else we discuss in the chapter). You will need to give me the name of the newspaper and its url, the date that the article appeared, and summarize the story in your own words in a paragraph. In a separate paragraph, indicate what this illustrates from the chapter. Be very specific about this, referring to the appropriate section of the chapter so I know what you are describing! In general, the article should refer to some current and important political news although there may be instances where it is appropriate to choose an article from the entertainment or sports or living section. I suggest you skim or read through some newspapers to find these articles, as doing a search for a term like "constitution" may lead you to something about the Russian constitution or the Hawaii state constitution, which may not be relevant here. Again, there are some situations where something like that may be appropriate. All newspaper assignments should be labeled in the subject box of your email and mailed to by the due date. Be sure to sign your name and check your spelling and grammar so you receive credit for your work, and save a copy of what you sent me.

Remember that the web and newspaper assignments are worth 3 points each, and the initial discussion responses are worth 2 points each. For the Blackboard test mastery questions, you will simply answer on the Blackboard website for your class, and there will be 20 points for each chapter, 220 points in all.

A friendly warning: many of today’s students think it is fine to simply copy words and ideas off the Internet, especially without any attribution. This is plagiarism, the stealing of someone else’s ideas and words, regardless of whether the article you find has an author’s name after it. Closely paraphrasing, where you just change a few words, is no different. I want to stress that if you engage in this practice, I will give you an automatic F on the assignment and I will follow the University Judicial Procedure for Violations of Academic Integrity (see your Student Handbook for specifics). In other words, this is a violation of academic integrity. Don’t take these kinds of shortcuts – it’s dishonest and it’s morally wrong. It also violates my policy and university policy. I also note that I expect you to do your own work for assignments. If I ask you to read something and comment on it, I want your ideas, not someone else’s. You may not use Wikipedia or similar sources, even with attribution. You will receive an F on any assignment where you do so, unless I have specifically given permission in writing, an extremely rare occurrence.



Getting to Know You:  Aug. 19–23 (Thurs-Mon) – a. This will count as your first assignment for this class. Go to Blackboard, log in, and click on the link for discussions. If you cannot log in or get an error message, you may need a new password, although it will simply give you an error message. If so, click on the link for passwords and read the instructions, which require you to go to VIP and log in there in order to create a new Blackboard password. Go figure. If all else fails, consult the CSD Help Desk folks and they will assist you in getting up and running.

I have created a discussion forum on Blackboard entitled “Getting to Know You” and started a discussion thread there. You should introduce yourself to everyone after you read any posted comments by others. State your name, your class in school and major, where you are from, and tell us something about yourself that you would like to share. What do you like to do, how do you like to spend your free time, what are your hopes and dreams? Also, share with us one piece of information, something you know about American politics! Be sure you read what others have posted before you post your response, as I will not give you credit if you simply parrot or repeat what someone else says (this goes for all discussion assignments). Complete this assignment by Mon. Aug. 23 at midnight. For each unit, you should read the appropriate chapter before you do the assignment! With the exception of the “Getting to Know You” assignment, do the discussion questions after you complete the Blackboard mastery questions and web or newspaper assignments, please! Note: for the time being we will use this feature on Blackboard instead of the listserv described in your syllabus, as the listserv is not working (this is what happens when they decide to do an upgrade – haven’t they ever heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”).

b. Web/newspaper assignment— Aug. 24-26 (Tues-Thurs) – (Note general instructions at the top of this page for web assignments).  Please read and comment on the following in a one page essay. “Emotions Flare After Immigration Law is Blocked,” (New York Times). This article touches on a controversial issue, illegal immigration, and some of the problems that surround it, including the problems involved with enforcement of the nation’s laws and racial profiling. It also inevitably addresses the question of individual privacy and how far government should go. What are your thoughts here? And if you were stopped, could you prove you were a citizen or a legal resident alien? Should everyone have to carry identifying documents just to prove they are not criminals? Or does the greater good subsume those individual rights? As you will see after you complete unit 1, this also taps into your own political ideology. You will know what that means by the end of next week! Send your response to by midnight on Aug. 26. Send in the body of an email – no attachments!

Unit 1: Introduction—Aug. 27-Sept. 2 (Fri-Thurs):

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 1 by going to the Blackboard website. These are due by Mon. Aug. 30 at midnight. Be sure to read chapter 1 before you answer these questions! Do these on the Blackboard website. Do NOT send them to me! I will access your scores via Blackboard. You should be able to click on “assignments” to get to the unit 1 questions. Be sure to check it out no later than Thurs or early on Fri to make sure you have a user id and password that work, and that you understand what to do, so you can contact the Computer Services Help Desk or the Blackboard people in Columbia if you are having any problems. There won’t be any staff assistance available after hours or on the weekend! Blackboard questions will be posted by the date that we begin the unit, but will not be available once we have completed that particular unit. When you do the questions, you can save each question if you want to go back and look at it later, or submit it immediately. If you save it, remember that the Blackboard questions will no longer be available after the due date.  Also, you can print out your questions if you want to go over them by hand, and then type them in on the web page – do whatever works best for you!

Tues. Aug. 31          8 pm Speech by President Obama. See extra credit link for details.

b. Web assignment:  Due Wed. Sept. 1 at midnight. Political scientists have developed much more complex ideological schemes than the one presented in this chapter. Here’s a brief ideology quiz that looks at the two key dimensions of your views on how much government should do in regulating the economy and regulating people’s private lives. Take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and then write a paragraph where you indicate whether you fit where you thought you would or not, and why. Were you surprised at the results? This quiz is oversimplified, of course, so let me know what additional dimensions or types of questions you think would be helpful in determining people’s attitudes about politics and government. Email your results (if you do not wish to identify your ideology, summarize your findings) to – I will respond to you directly within a day or two, so let me know if you don’t hear back from me on a timely basis. And always save a copy of your work and my response, just in case there is a grading error!

c. Discussion question: Due Thurs. Sept. 2 at midnight. Respond on the class list at – The question of finding the right balance between security and privacy is a pressing one in democratic societies today. A terrorist incident highlights this for us. I am going to ask you to read the following New York Times newspaper article and comment. What is the right balance between privacy and security? Do you mind being searched or scanned? Suppose your scan was published on the Internet? Or is it worth it to be safer? “Debate Over Full Body Scans vs Invasion of Privacy Flares Anew After Incident.” Or read: “Annoyances Mount Over the Body Scanner” (July 19, 2010, New York Times). Note: I went through this process myself this summer when I was traveling – I’ll comment after all of your responses have come in!

Unit 2: The Constitution---Sept. 3-9 (Fri-Thurs)

Mon. Sept. 6—Labor Day holiday – university closed

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 2 by midnight on Tues. Sept. 7. Be sure to read chapter 2 before you answer these questions! (I will not make this point for the rest of the units! I’m sure you have figured it out!)

b. Newspaper assignment: Due Wed. Sept. 8 at midnight. (Note general instructions at top of this page for newspaper assignments). Find a current newspaper article, something that was in the newspaper, online or paper version, in the past two days before you submit the assignment or before it was due. This article should illustrate something you read about in chapter 2. This may involve some critical thinking on your part, as you probably won’t find a specific article that addresses the Constitution (don’t do a web search using the word “Constitution!”), but it will probably illustrate an idea or issue or principle of the Constitution. You will find lots of news stories that illustrate constitutional principles like the separation of powers, rule of law, checks and balances, limits on and powers of states, etc, if you read the news! Summarize the article in your own words, and indicate what it illustrates from the chapter. Be very specific. You should have two separate paragraphs here. Spelling and grammar do count! Give me the name of the newspaper, the title of the article, the date, and the url or page number.  Send this to . Note: be sure you are able to distinguish between articles that address state law and policy (and constitutions) and federal law and policy (and the US Constitution).

c. Discussion question: Due Thurs. Sept. 9 at midnight. Respond on the class list at : Suppose you could make one change in the Constitution? What would it be? And why? Caution: Before responding, remember why the Founders gave us a short and sometimes vague document! Be careful what you wish for! Also remember when you respond to be respectful of your classmates and their diversity and beliefs. Please read the comments of others before you make yours, and do not parrot their responses! Each of you must make a well thought out, individual response! You will not get credit for a response that just agrees with someone else or duplicates what they said! Early bird gets the worm!

Unit 3: The Legislative Branch---Sept. 10-16 (Fri-Thurs)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 3 by midnight on Tues. Sept. 14.

b. Web assignment: Due Wed. Sept. 15 at midnight.  A. Find the names of the current Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader (go to ). Then find the name of the current Speaker of the House and the Republican leader (go to ).   Third, look at the committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate. How many are there in the Senate and how many are there in the House? What committees and subcommittees would you want to serve on if you were in Congress, and why? Remember what you read about this in your text! Be specific, and if you are not sure, do some research so you can learn more about the needs and interests of your state and community. Your response should reflect what you read in the text, in terms of the reasons people want to serve on a particular committee and subcommittee. You should be able to pick one committee and one subcommittee, in either the House or the Senate. B. You Tube video – Schoolhouse Rock – on how a bill becomes a law – 3minutes long! Leaves out a few details, but gives you the overall picture. How accurate is this? What did they omit? Comment in a sentence or two. Email all of this to me at .

c. Discussion question: Due Thurs. Sept. 16 at midnight.  Respond on the class list at : If you could meet with your member of the House of Representatives or the US Senate and ask him or her just one question, what would that question be, and why?


Fri. Sept. 17 – Constitution Day – See the USCA home page for virtual Constitution Day information!

First Test:  Sept. 17-19 (Fri-Sun) - all tests must be received by midnight on Sun! This will be an essay exam. Remember to sign the honor pledge electronically.

Essay Exam Tips (from Academic Success Center)

Wed. Sept. 22 and Thurs. Sept. 23        Voter Registration drive from 11 am to 1 pm in SAC Quad. All SC residents over 18 can register to vote. Sponsored by Pacer Law and the Political Science Club. Or you can go to to register.

Unit 4: The Executive— Sept. 20-26 (Mon-Sun)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 4 by midnight on Thurs. Sept. 23.

b. Web assignment: Due Fri. Sept. 24 at midnight - go to and find two things there that illustrate something you read in the chapter. Explain.

c. Discussion question: Due Sun. Sept. 26 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : Although most texts will refer at least briefly to the roles played by the vice president and others appointed to the offices known as the “institutional presidency,” we hear very little about the First Lady’s role. This is an informal role since she has no official standing or salary, although she is assigned an office and a staff. First Ladies are also expected to be not only helpmates but to have some policy area they pursue – for Lady Bird Johnson, for example, it was beautification, and for Laura Bush, it was literacy. But the First Lady does far more, serving as an informal advisor to the president, and as a “surrogate” who represents him at home and abroad at many official events. So, what qualifications do you think are needed for a successful First Lady, however you define success? Suppose this was an elected office, instead of one that just occurs by happenstance? Think about her education, her work experience, and even her ability to bake cookies! What qualifications did Michelle Obama bring to the job, and how is she doing so far, after about a year and a half? What about our Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who is working part-time, as did her predecessor, Lynn Cheney? Should a First or Second Lady hold outside employment or just be a helpmate to the president? You don’t have to respond to each and every one of these questions, but you should respond to some of them. If you are not familiar with what any of these ladies has been doing, refer to some newspaper sources for more information!

Unit 5: The Bureaucracy—Sept. 27-Oct. 3 (Mon-Sun)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 5 by midnight on Thurs. Sept. 30.

b. Web assignment: Due Fri. Oct. 1 at midnight- We are going to take a look at e-gov, or electronic government here. Find the webpage for your local government, the city or county where you live, and see what kinds of services are offered entirely over the web, or what kind of information is provided. Cite at least two things, in a separate and detailed paragraph for each. You will have to do more than just look at the governmental entity’s home page for this! You should Google the name of the governmental unit, like “City of Aiken” or “Aiken County” to come up with a list of links – then click on the one for your local government’s web site.

c. Discussion question: Due Sun. Oct. 3 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : For this assignment, I am going to ask you to read the following newspaper article and book excerpt, and then comment – but don’t read these right before you eat a meal! You should think about what government does and what role it should play here. How much should it do? Should government regulate business? Or is that interfering with the individual rights of that business or corporation? Is there a happy medium? Remember that everything we do costs money, too! Excerpt from “The Jungle” by Upton SinclairThe Maggots in Your Mushrooms.” (New York Times).

Unit 6: The Judicial Branch—Oct. 4-10 (Mon-Sun)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 6 by midnight on Thurs. Oct. 7.

b. Web/newspaper assignment: Due Fri. Oct. 8 at midnight– You have a two part assignment this week. Double points, too!

I. Find out how state judges are chosen in your home state and how long they serve. Find also the qualifications to serve as a state judge in your home state (age, residency, education, anything else legally required). Finally, find out how the name, age, race, and gender of the chief justice of your state’s highest court (in most states this is called the Supreme Court, but in some states, like NY, that is not the case, so be careful!). You will have to either find the link for the judiciary on your state government’s home page, or Google or Bing it.

II. Read the following NY Times article from Oct. 2, 2010. Supreme Court Term Offers Hot Issues and Future Hints. Answer the following in few paragraphs – you can send it in with your response about state judges. Why did Justice Kagan recuse herself from several cases, and what difference will it make in the outcome of the cases? What does each of these cases tell you about judicial interpretation and the Constitution – be specific and refer briefly to each.

c. Discussion question: Due Sun. Oct. 10 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : Before responding, please read the following NY Times article from Sept. 23, 2010: “The Founding Fathers Versus the Tea Party.” We have been hearing a lot about the Tea Party in recent months. As recently as last July, observers were saying that they had peaked, but I think most of them would now agree that was a premature assessment! So, what have you heard about the Tea Party? And do you agree with their assessment of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution? Why or why not? How should the Supreme Court, which has just gone into session (always starts on the first Monday in October), and which certainly is aware of the political winds, address these concerns as it begins to hear new cases this fall?

Thurs. Oct. 7– Midpoint in semester

Tues. Oct. 12 at 4 pm. Speech by USCA graduate and DHS employee Kelvin Coleman. H and SS 116. Extra credit.

Unit 7: Federalism—Oct. 11-17 (Mon-Sun) - note that this overlaps fall break, which is Thurs. Oct. 14-Fri. Oct. 15. No face to face classes will be held then. If you are going away, please get your assignments in early! Due to fall break, all assignments are due on Sun. night Oct. 17 this week.

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 7 by midnight on Sun. Oct. 17.

b. Web assignment—Due Sun. Oct. 17 at midnight - click on the link for the American states at and then pick any two states, other than the one you reside in. Explore these two states and pick any one topic or service, like elections or recreation or health care or tourism or corrections, and compare. In what respects are these two states similar and in what respects are they different or unique, in terms of this one area? Be very specific. Think about what this illustrates about federalism! Remember the concept of states as “laboratories of democracy?”

c. Discussion question: Due Sun. Oct. 17 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : To a great extent, federalism centers on the role that states play and the role that the national government plays. Sometimes politicians suggest that the wrong one is in charge of some particular responsibility or service. Governments at some level provide us with police protection, build and repair roads and bridges, run libraries and schools, regulate air quality, run mass transit systems, and even build the infrastructure for broadband service. What they do or don’t do affects all of us! Who do you think should be responsible for each of these, and why? Is there any guiding rule we can use to decide which level of government should handle (and pay for) various services? How should we make these decisions? What would you change if you were the federalism czar?

Second Test: Oct. 18-20 (Mon-Wed) –I have posted your test early. All tests must be received by midnight on Wed! This test is essay format and covers units 4, 5, 6, and 7, as well as associated readings.

Wed. Oct. 20 from 2:30 to 3:45 pm in H and SS 103. Career panel – Careers in Government. Extra credit.

Unit 8: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights—Oct. 21-27 (Thurs-Wed)

Mon. Oct. 25 at 7 pm – Gubernatorial debate between state Rep. Nikki Haley (Republican) and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (Democrat) from 7 to 8 pm. Carried live by all SC ETV stations – see link at

Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 8 by midnight on Mon. Oct. 25; read the following articles: Student Suspended for Facebook Page Can Sue,” (New York Times, February 16, 2010); “Facebook Acknowledges Privacy Issue with Applications,” (New York Times, October 18, 2010) – find link at – please copy and paste.

Assignment: a. Chapter 8 test mastery questions on Blackboard; also write a paragraph commenting on each of the NY Times articles. 1. For the article on the suspended student: Do you see this as a legitimate first amendment issue? Why or why not? Who is in the right here? 2. For the second article: Do you feel that Facebook or other private companies are violating your right to privacy with these practices? How should they handle personal information that you provide to them? Incidentally, where do you find a right to privacy in the Constitution (my question – not discussed in the article!).

Email your response to by midnight on Mon. Oct. 25 at midnight. (Due to some Word problems that have messed up a number of the links, I will have to ask you to copy and paste much of this from now on).        

 b. Newspaper assignment— Due Tues. Oct. 26 at midnight: As noted in instructions above, select a current newspaper article (written no earlier than two days before you submit this) that illustrates something you read in the chapter. Summarize in your own words in a paragraph. In a second paragraph, explain what it illustrates from the chapter, being very specific. Give the date and url or page number, and author and title of article.

c. Discussion question: Due Wed. Oct. 27 at midnight- Respond on the class list at : Controversy has long swirled around the meaning of the Second Amendment, and you will recall that this was a “hot button” issue for some in the confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the summer of 2009 The June 2008 Supreme Court decision recognizing an individual right to bear arms and the more recent Chicago gun control case will certainly generate yet more controversy and many more court cases. Many states have been relaxing their gun laws in recent years. In late August of 2008 a school board in Texas went one step further than most communities have gone so far. The school board decided to let some teachers in Harrold, Texas, carry concealed guns, arguing that in an era where school shootings are no longer uncommon, it will provide needed security. Naturally, pro-gun groups think this is a good idea, and anti-gun groups (and also, the state's teachers' unions) think it is a bad idea. So, I'm asking you to comment here and let us know what you think. Should teachers be allowed to carry guns in school? Would you want your child to attend a school where the teachers were armed? What about college? How do you feel about having your professors "packing heat?" What about allowing college students to carry guns on campus or even to have them in their cars in the college parking lot? Good idea or bad idea? You should respond to at least some of these questions.

Unit 9: Interest Groups—Oct. 28-Nov. 3 (Thurs-Wed)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 9 by midnight on Mon. Nov. 1. There will be a couple of questions based on Federalist No. 10, which you should also read prior to completing this assignment.

Federalist No. 10 (read through this document – don’t be discouraged by the old fashioned language!). You will have a test question based in part on this essay. There are many links to this document on the web but here is one of them.

b. Web assignment—Due Tues. Nov. 2 at midnight – Search the web for the sites of two different citizen interest groups of your choice. Describe the incentives each group uses to attract members (see the discussion in your text!).  Which incentives are solidarity benefits? Which are material benefits? Which are informational benefits? Explain.

Wed. Nov. 3 at 2:30 pm in SAC mezzanine – Open Forum on Civil Discourse – extra credit (go to link –click on it from course home page) – cannot count for both ICE credit and extra credit as per usual.

b. Discussion question: Due Wed. Nov. 3 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : Interest groups certainly play a role in influencing policy and often even the outcome of elections. We hear a lot of bad things about them, but as your text points out, they can accomplish some good as well. What is an interest group that you would like to join, and why? Obviously, you will think this group can or is accomplishing some good. You can cite an economic, citizen, or government group in your answer, but be specific about your reasons. Be sure to cite a different interest group than the ones you used in your web assignment!

Tues. Nov. 2 – Election Day – no classes held – be sure to vote!

Unit 10: Political Parties and Elections—Nov. 4-10 (Thurs-Wed)

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 10 by midnight on Mon. Nov. 8.

b. Web assignment—Due Tues. Nov. 9 at midnight – Find a list of third or minor U.S. parties on the Web. Find two that interest you and look at their websites. Describe their issue positions on at least two key issues for each. Think about why these parties might make it or not make it as major parties, if the only factor in success was their issue positions. Remember that everyone presents themselves in the best light possible and as they say, “the devil is in the details” when it comes to policy!

c. Discussion question: Due Wed. Nov. 10 at midnight - Respond on the class list at : Does it really make a difference if people vote? Do elections change anything? Comment, citing some specific examples from past elections, or referring to candidates, parties and issues of the future. Remember to read the comments that others make first, so your response is not repetitious and I can give you credit for your answer!

Unit 11: Public Opinion, Socialization, and the Media—Nov. 11-17 (Thurs-Wed) – This covers chapter 11 in your text.

a. Complete the Blackboard test mastery questions for unit 11 by midnight on Mon. Nov. 15.

b. Web assignment—Due Tues. Nov. 16 at midnight – 1. A good poll can provide us with all kinds of information. Go to the website of one of the reliable polling organizations, like the PEW Research Center or Gallup at (Word is messing up so I am asking you to copy and paste these links). Pick a recent poll (in the past month) and read all about it. Then email me at by midnight on Sun. Nov. 15 with the following information. Begin with the url, the name of the polling organization, and the title of the poll. Then answer the following: What was the poll about? What were the findings? Be sure to answer each part in your own words. Then look carefully and see how many people were interviewed and what was the margin of error. Also, take a look at the questions. Are these good and neutral questions that do not bias the survey? Explain your answer. 2. Now I am going to ask you to try your hand at answering a poll! Most Americans describe themselves as religious, but how much do you think they really know about religion, whether their own faith or someone else’s? Go to the link for the PEW Center’s Poll on US Religious Knowledge and take the poll. Then write me a paragraph and tell me how you did!

c. Discussion question: Due Wed. Nov. 17 at midnight - Respond on the class list at In this unit you have read about how the media makes decisions about what is newsworthy. People often complain that nothing good appears in the news, whether in a paper newspaper, on the radio, on television, or on the internet. Think of the stories that have dominated the news in recent months, stories like the release of the female American hiker imprisoned for over a year by Iran, the Russian spy ring, the Gulf Oil Spill, the Fort Hood shootings, the “balloon boy” hoax, Tiger Woods’ Thanksgiving weekend accident and his love life, the divorce of Governor and Mrs. Sanford, the volcano in Iceland, and the fiasco over the Republican National Committee paying for staff and donors to go to a sex and bondage club. Before that, it was David Letterman’s affairs with staffers, and before that, the arrest of Roman Polanski, the director who fled the US many years ago to avoid prison for the rape of an underage girl. And before that, a story about Casey Dugan, who was kidnapped at age 11, and who was recovered from her captors, along with her two children by him, after 18 years. So I am asking you, what kind of stories capture your attention? What did you read or hear about today or in the last few days? Do you remember any stories about domestic or foreign policy issues? About the budget? What captured your attention, and why?

Wed. Nov. 17 at 6 pm in H and SS 103. Film, “The Other Side of Immigration.” Extra credit – see link.

Unit 12: We have finished the text. So I am asking you to complete the following assignments now that you have a better understanding of the American governmental system. We will finish up during the last couple of weeks by looking at several important policy areas that have been and will continue to be in the news.

Nov. 18- 23 (Thurs-Tues):There will be no Blackboard assignment for this unit, which addresses climate change and immigration policy, two important areas. Note: these articles will be updated closer to the time when we will cover the material, in early November. Check back!

Newspaper assignment – Due Mon. Nov. 22 at midnight. I am going to ask you to look at some articles on climate change. Summarize each of these briefly and draw some conclusions here. In your final two paragraphs, answer the following questions. How serious a problem is climate change? What are the obstacles to solving this problem? Based on what you have learned about our governmental system this semester, what can the US do and what is the likelihood that we will act?  In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy,” New York Times, October 18, 2010; “UK Panel Calls Climate Data Valid,” New York Times, March 30, 2010 (copy and paste link at ); “Among Weathercasters, Doubt on Warming,” New York Times, March 29, 2010 (copy and paste link at ) “CO2 and the Future: Q and A,” New York Times, March 26, 2010; “On Climate Change Efforts, China is Key,” New York Times, November 17, 2009; “ Obama Hobbled in Fight Against Global Warming,” New York Times, November 15, 2009: “Turtles are Casualties of Warming in Costa Rica,” New York Times, November 13, 2009.

Discussion question: Due Tues. Nov. 23 at midnight. Please respond to the class list at : There are millions of illegal immigrants in the US, and no doubt more will come after the recession ends. We usually hear about what we should do to stop this. But I am going to ask you a question with a different twist. There are also millions of legal immigrants here, people who live in the US, have homes, children in school, working legally, paying taxes. Some of you have professors who fall into that category! But these people cannot vote for the politicians who make the laws, and pass the policies that affect them and their families. Nor can they vote for the politicians who determine what taxes they will pay or for referenda addressing this and other issues. In part, we fought the Revolutionary War over taxation without representation, and we have passed several constitutional amendments to ensure more people the right to vote. In a few communities around the country, legal aliens now can vote in local elections. Good idea or bad idea? What about a constitutional amendment?

Nov. 24-26 (Wed-Fri)—Thanksgiving holiday – university closed – no face to face classes held.

Unit 13: Nov. 29-Dec. 3 (Mon-Fri) – You can do these assignments early if you wish, or over the Thanksgiving holiday, if you prefer. Or you can do them when you come back, during the final week of classes. You decide! There will be no Blackboard questions for this unit. We will discuss foreign policy here as we finish up.

a. Web/newspaper assignment: Read the following articles and summarize each in a paragraph. Comment on what this tells you about US foreign and defense policy and how we should approach the problems we face as a major player on the world scene.

“US Works to Ease China-Japan Conflict,” (New York Times, October 30, 2010) copy and paste link or type it in if it doesn’t work for you from clicking on this here:

“Bomb Plot Shows Key Role Played by Intelligence,” (New York Times, October 31, 2010):

These assignments may be updated prior to the Thanksgiving holidays, so check back!

b. Discussion question: Due Fri. Dec. 3 at midnight – We will finish this unit with a question that I have posed to several of my classes in previous semesters! You are all old enough to remember the horror of the 9/11 attacks. There is little doubt that a number of nations, such as North Korea, and non-governmental entities like Al Quaeda, wish us harm. Although the Iraq war will probably wind down eventually (although not as soon as Obama originally promised), there will continue to be “hot spots” in the world over time, and we may at some point suffer another attack on our soil. At the moment, the military is meeting its quotas because there are no civilian jobs, but in the recent past they have been so short of recruits that they had to lower standards and take people who normally would not be considered, like people without a high school degree and people with criminal backgrounds. We have had a volunteer military since the end of the Vietnam War a generation or more ago. So here is my question: if circumstances warrant, where the nation is at risk or we have an attack on US soil or simply are unable to recruit enough people voluntarily, should the US reinstitute a draft? How would you feel about a requirement that all young people serve two years in the military, or perhaps, some kind of alternate national service? As citizens, would you be willing to take your turn and serve? If not, why not? Please respond to the class list at .

Last day of classes: Dec. 3 (Fri) – all extra credit work is due by midnight today! After today, no extra credit will be accepted.

Reading Days: Dec. 4-5 (Sat-Sun) – Good luck with all of your tests!

Course and Professor Evaluation: Please complete this by Dec. 10, 2010 at 11:59 pm. I will not see your individual responses. I will receive only aggregate data well after the completion of the course. But please do wait until we get to that last week of classes, just like in your face to face classes, so you can give it a valid assessment. My colleague and I would be interested in hearing your comments about the online text, as it is still fairly new! And please let me know what we do that works or doesn’t work – your feedback is valuable and helps me improve the course each semester. Please be sure you click on the correct link, as there are other professors teaching online.

Third Test: Dec. 6-7 (Mon-Tues) - all tests must be received by midnight on Tues. Dec. 7! I will try to post your test early so you can work on it before you take your exams in your face to face classes (no promises, but check back!). Be sure you include the honor pledge on your test paper.