El Camino College

Political Science 1
Governments of the United States and California

Political Science
Laurie Houske

Class Information
Couse Policies
Course Material
Online Resources
Instructor Home

Contact information:


Phone: 310-660-3593 ext. 3741

Office Hours:
SOCS 109
M                         10:15-11:15am

T                          9:00-9:30am
                            9:00-10:00pm-online(Inbox me in Canvas)
W                         10:15-11:15am
                            1:00-2:00pm-online(Inbox me in Canvas)
Th                         9:00-9:30am

Please feel free to visit/call me in my office if those office hours are more convenient or you are on campus. 


Please review the below information, register in Revel, and email me with any questions regarding the course. You must be must be registered in Revel by February 23rd or you will be dropped.

This course will be taught entirely online. There will not be an on-campus orientation but I will post screenocast videos in the announcements on Canvas this week.  I will make Canvas available to you on Tuesday, February, 13th.              

Students agree to the following statement:

Through the entry of my username and password I affirm that I am the student who enrolled in this course.  Futhermore, I affirm that I understand and agree to follow the regulations regarding academic integrity and the use of student data as described in the ECC Board Policy 5500 Academic Honesty and Standards of Conduct that governs student rights and responsibilities.  Failure to abide by the regulations may result in disciplinary action up to expulsion form the college. 


Class Information:

Pol Sci 1-online, Section 4164, 4166 &  4168

This course will be taught completely online.  The course is administered through Canvas and Pearson's Revel.

Your primary entry point to the course will be in Canvas, the Revel platform has already been integrated into Canvas and you will see the link for that along with the other links in the opening page after you log in.  


To login to Canvas go to the Distance Education Page, see the link below. There you will click on the Canvas login link and it will give you step by step instructions on how to log in.




Once you have successfully logged in, you will see your course on the Dashboard, click on it and you will then see several links on that opening page including; Home, Pearson Revel, Announcements, Discussion, etc.


Now you will need to register into Pearson Revel, it is here that you will need the code that you will have to purchase at the ECC bookstore or online. See instructions below:


Student Registration Instructions


 To access Revel from your Canvas course:


1. Start from your Canvas course. 


2. Select Pearson Revel from the left navigation.


3. Select Open Revel.


4. Enter your Username and Password. Otherwise, select Create an Account.  Note: If you’re also using a Pearson MyLab or Mastering course, register for it first to use the same username and password for Revel.


5. When your accounts are linked, select an access option: 


-Purchase access using a credit card or PayPal.


-Redeem an access code purchased from the bookstore.


- If available, get temporary access.


*Revel is a digital version of the book that has all of the course work integrated in the book.  If you would also like a paper copy of the book you can purchase it for an additional $20.


6. Your Revel content appears.


To go back to Canvas, look for the Canvas tab or window in your browser. That’s it. Throughout the semester, please access your Revel content through Canvas. To upgrade temporary access to full access: You will see a page with payment options when you access Revel from Canvas. This page appears at regular intervals during your temporary access period. Or, you can select a payment option from the confirmation or reminder email for your temporary access.


Need help? If you have trouble getting access, make sure your laptop or other device is set up to work with Revel.


Visit Pearson Support at https://support.pearson.com/getsupport.


Dedicated Revel support line for students: (855) 875-1801 


Note: A strong word of advice, prior to deciding to take an online course access the Spring 2018 Online Student Handbook from the Distance Education Webpage, found at http://www.elcamino.edu/library/distance-ed The handbook will provide you with among other things; answers to frequently asked questions, a discussion of the skills you will need, and offer you tips for success as an online student. 


To top of page

Course Overview & Policies:

  • Welcome to Governments of the United States and California.  The goal of this course is to become familiar with the basics of government.  As part of this class we will evaluate the concepts, theories, and functions of the American political system.  This will include an analysis of the Constitution and the three branches of government.  By the end of the semester, you should have a basic understanding of our US Constitution, the Presidency, Congress, the Judiciary, elections, political parties and interest groups.  You should also have an understanding of political socialization and the role of mass media in the political process.
  • I will encourage everyone to stay up to date on current events as this will help in your understanding of the political process.  Additionally, you are required to maintain a political journal as one of your assignments.  You should look to a variety of news sources-TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.  Some suggested examples are: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, PBS, etc.
  • Quizzes & Exams:  There are 4-6 short quizzes in the chapter that you will need to complete in Revel. Additionally, there are chapter exams, a midterm and final that you will need to complete in Canvas.  
  • Papers:  You are required to complete both a paper and political journal for this class.  Both are due towards the end of the semester but you have the option of turning them in early.
  • Video Series:Each chapter has a several videos to watch related to the chapter.  Please watch each group of videos as they are very informative and help to put the chapter in context.  I also recommend that you take notes from these videos as they cover a significant amount of information in a concise fashion.  
  • Emails:  Please send me emails through the inbox in Canvas.  I will attempt to answer your emails within a day of receiving them. Please be aware that I teach a full schedule of classes so I will not always be able to respond as fast as you or I might like. Another thing to remember is not to panic. If something goes wrong, you do not need to send me frantic emails. There is no problem that we can not solve so no one needs to panic. I will not be checking emails on Sunday and will respond to weekend emails on Monday.
  • If you intend to drop the class, it is your responsibility to drop yourself.  I will not drop you.  If you do not drop yourself you will receive an “F” grade.  The last day to drop with a “W” is Friday, May 11, 2018.
  • In order to be successful in this class you need to have strong study skills and be a self-motivator.  You will need good reading and writing skills as well as being organized.  Finally, you will need minimal computer skills and it will be hard to "learn as you go." 
  • El Camino College is committed to providing educational accomodations for students with disabilities upon the timely request by the student to the instructor.  A student with a disability, who would like to request an academic accommodation, is responsible for identifying herself/himself to the instructor and to the Special Resources Center.  To make arrangements for academic accommodations, contact the Special Resources Center.
  • Helpful Links:

Special Resource Center


ECC Library Online

Course Objectives:


Upon completing this course, students will hopefully be able to describe the basic concepts, theories and functions of the American and California political systems, and meet the following objectives:


1. Identify the theoretical foundations and the applications of the American political system. 2. Analyze major political institutions: the presidency, bureaucracy, Congress, Judiciary, elections, political parties, and interest groups. 


3. Examine and assess the implementation of democracy, including the different perspectives of elitism, pluralism, and majoritarianism. 


4. Evaluate the role of the mass media in the political process. 


5. Identify and discuss political culture and the function of political socialization. 


6. Compare and contrast the relationship of federal and state governmental systems and processes with emphasis on California. 


7. Evaluate and analyze the interdependence of economics and politics. 


8. Distinguish between civil rights and civil liberties and their evolution in American society. 


9. Assess the federal and state judicial systems and their impact on public policy. 


10. Examine and discuss the process of public policy making in relation to international and domestic policy issues. 


11. Assess the concept and implementation of citizenship. 


12. Analyze issues of race, ethnicity, class, age, and gender as they relate to the distribution of power in the political process.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.  In a multiple choice test, students will demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of the United States Constitution including its Articles and Amendments, as well as those for the government of California.
2.  In a multiple choice or written essay exam, students will demonstrate  and understanding of how political parties and interest groups serve as channels for popular participation, and compare/contrast the techniques they use to do so.

3.  In a written essay or multiple choice exam, students will demonstrate an understanding of the various roles played by the President and California Governor, the political resources available to them to meet the expectations associated with those roles, and how those resources are limited.

To top of page 


Week 1   (February 12-18)          


Read Chapter 1-Introducing Government in America,

Watch videos for chapter 1, 
Simulation: The Policymaking System

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 1
Take Chapter 1 Exam

Participate in the Introduction Discussion Board

Week 2 (February 19-25)


Read Chapter 2-Constitution, 
The Constitution (Appendix) 
The Declaration of Independence (Appendix), 
Federalist Paper No. 10 & 51, (Appendix),
Watch vidoes for chapter 2, 
Simulation: The Constitution and the Electoral Process

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 2
Take Chapter 2 Exam


Week 3  (February 26-March 4)



Read Chapter 3-Federalism

Watch vidoes for chapter 3, 
Social Explorer:Should whether you live depend on where you live?

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 3

Take Chapter 3 Exam

Participate in Discussion Board #1


Week 4 (March 5-11)

Read Chapter 4-Civil Liberties

Watch vidoes for chapter 4, 
Simulation: The Abortion Debate

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 4

Take Chapter 4 Exam 

Participate in Discussion Board #2 

Week 5 (March 12-18)

Read Chapter 5-Civil Rights

Watch vidoes for chapter 5, 
Social Explorer: Percentage of Black students attending school with any Whites in Southern States

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 5

Take Chapter 5 Exam



Week 6 (March 19-25)


Read Chapter 6-Public Opinion & Political Action

Watch vidoes for chapter 6, 
Social Explorer: The Coming Minority Majority

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 6

Take Chapter 6 Exam


Week 7 (March 26-April 1)

Take Midterm exam 

Week 8  (April 2-8)                     


Read Chapter 7-Mass Media

Watch videos for chapter 7, 
Explore the data: What should be done about the digital divide

Participate in Discussion Board #3

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 7 

Take Chapter 7 Exam

Spring Break (April 9-15)


Enjoy your Spring Break !


Week 9  (April 16-22)


Read Chapter 8-Political Parties

Watch videos for chapter 8, 
Simulation: Should Political Parties Choose Their Nominees in open or Closed Primaries?

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 8

Take Chapter 8 Exam


Week 10  (April 23-29)                     


Read Chapter 9-Campaigns & Voting Behavior

Watch vidoes for chapter 9, 
Explore Education levels as a Predictor of Voter Turnout

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 9 

Take Chapter 9 Exam


Week 11 (April 30-May 6)                     


Read Chapter 10-Interest Groups

Watch videos for chapter 10, 
Explore Should PAC's be Eliminated?

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 10 

Take Chapter 10 Exam

Participate in Discussion Board #4


Week 12  (May 7-13)                    


Paper due (Sunday, May 13) 


Week 13  (May 14-20)                    


Read Chapter 11-Congress

Watch videos for chapter 11, 
Explore Should we impose term limits on Members of Congress?

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 11

Take Chapter 11 Exam


Journal due (Sunday, May 20)    

Week 14  (May 21-27)

Read Chapter 12-The Presidency 
Watch videos for chapter 12, 
Social Explorer: Should we increase the President's legislative powers?

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 12

Take Chapter 12 Exam

Week 15  (May 28-June 3)  


Read Chapter 15- The Federal Courts

Watch videos for chapter 15, 
Simulation: How cases reach the Supreme Court

Take Revel Quizzes Chapter 15 

Take Chapter 15 Exam

Week 16 (June 4-8)


Take Final exam                   

To top of page


Discussion Boards:
You are required to participate in 4 online discussions. Each discussion board is worth 10 points. A topic will be posted by me during that week.  You will be graded on the quality of your responses in the discussion. At a minimum, you are required to respond to my initial posting as well as respond to one of your classmates' postings. (You should make an original posting and a response posting, not two response postings.) Specific dates for these discussions are listed in the preceding syllabus section.      

Term Paper
Please write a 3-5 page paper on the topic described below.  Your paper should be well written and punctuation and grammar count so please proofread and spell check.  This is not a research paper but rather an analysis paper.  I will grade you on the quality and completeness of your analysis.

Your paper is due on Sunday, May 13 and must be sent to houskeonline@yahoo.com with subject of your email being titled "Movie Paper."  I will respond within 24 hours that I have received your paper.

Paper Description
People are fascinated by the political process and therefore it has been illustrated in film since the start of films.  Films present the political process in a variety of ways.  There have been cynical representations (Wag the Dog, Bulworth), patriotic representations (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), and idealistic representations (American President).  Please pick a movie(s) that represents the political process. Use the movie(s) to illustrate the public’s opinion of the government. Compare and contrast your movie(s) selection’s view of the political process to your own viewpoint. If you choose to use two movies, please make a comparison of these movies in your paper.  Remember, you are not writing a movie review but rather critically analyzing the movie.  

Political Journal:
Your political journal will consist of 5 journal entries covering a political event during the semester.  They can cover any level of government (federal, state or local) as well as international events.  Your journal is due on Sunday, May 20 and must be sent to houskeonline@yahoo.com with subject of your email being titled "Political Journal".  I will respond within 24 hours that I have received your paper.

You must use the following format (or points will be deducted) for your journal entries:

1. Electronic source: i.e., www.cnn.comwww.msnbc.comwww.news.yahoo.com, etc.

2. Specific Webpage: i.e., http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/Americas/7238214.stm

3. Date of the article:  March 26, 2018        

4. Summary of the article: here you should give the article’s title and provide a well-rounded summary, at least three to four  paragraphs. Then, in a fifth or sixth paragraph you should discuss how it relates to the course, and the political process. NOTE: Your five journal entries should be drawn from five different electronic sources, meaning five different websites. And they should all be submitted in one document, meaning send 1 attachment not 5 different attachments.

Chapter Quizzes & Exams:
There are a variety of quizzes for each chapter in Revel that you will need to take.  Each question is worth 1 point.  There are 13 Chapter exams that you must complete during this semester.  These exams can be found in Canvas.  Each chapter exam is worth 20 points and you will have two hours to take each exam.

Midterm Exam:
There will be one midterm in Week 7 covering Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6.  

Final Exam:
There will be one final in Week 16 covering Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 15.  

Online Chats:  
Throughout the semester we will have online chats in MyPoliSciLab.  We will likely have a chat before the midterm and final and may have other chats as needed.  I will email everyone regarding dates and times as well as make a post in the Announcements section.



Discussion Boards                           45 points
Term Paper                                   100 points
Political Journal                              100 points

Chapter Quizzes                             348 points
Chapter Exams                              260 points
Midterm Exam                               100 points
Final Exam                                    100 points
Total Points                                   1053 points

A      1053-943
B      942-838
C      837-733
D      732-628
F       627-523



To top of page 

Course Material:

Edwards, George C., Wattenberg, Howell, William, Government in America:People Politics, and Policy, 2018. 17th Ed. Pearson Longman Publishers, New York.


Revel is a digital version of the book that has all of the course work (videos, simulations, and quizzes) integrated in the book.  If you would also like a paper copy of the book you can purchase it for an additional $20.  You are given this option when you register with Revel.  If you are not comfortable using an e-book, seriously consider this option. 



To top of page

Online Resources: 



To top of page

El Camino College, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, California 90506
Phone: 310-532-3760 Toll Free: 1-866-ELCAMINO (1-866-352-2646)