texas government

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GOVT 2306: TEXAS STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT – SPRING 2013 – ONLINE SECTIONS

Professor Sylvia Manzano, PhD Office Hours: Academic Bldg 270H – Wed 9a-2p; TTh 12p-12:25p
Office Phone: 281.618.5598 Website: http://my.lonestar.edu/ use LSC username/password
Email: use direct link embedded in course website. Alternate address: sylvia.manzano@lonestar.edu

IMPORTANT ONLINE COURSE REQUIREMENTS
1. Basic computer skills, adequate equipment, and internet access are required.
2. All assignments will be submitted, evaluated, and returned online.
3. Contact tech support (not the instructor) to report and resolve technical problems:
http://lonestar.edu/lsc-online/student-support.htm
4. Regularly check the course website to remain current and complete all requirements.
5. Complete all assignments and follow course procedures as stipulated in the syllabus.

REQUIRED MATERIALS
• We The People, 8th TEXAS Edition 2011. Benjamin Ginsburg, Theodore Lowi, Margaret Weir.

ISBN-978-0-393-93525-7 Study site: www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/we-the-people8/texas/
Hardcopy or ebook is fine. If interested in ebook option, it is available at:
http://books.wwnorton.com/nortonebooks/BuyChoice.aspx?SiteId=wtp8_texas_ebook

• Texas Politics: The TxP Multimedia Book (online text and interactive source, not a physical
book) http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/index.html

OFFICIAL COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is an introduction to Texas state and local government. The
course evaluates the state constitution, institutions, policies and politics with attention to unique
demographic, geographic, and historical elements. Prerequisites: Must meet college level scores:
ENGL 305 or ENGL 316 and ENGL 307 or 326, OR higher level course, or placement by testing.

IMPORTANT AND USEFUL RESOURCES FOR ALL LSCS STUDENTS
• Tutoring Center: http://lonestar.edu/tutoring-nharris.htm
• Writing Center at North Harris: http://lonestar.edu/4074.htm
• Counseling Center: http://www.lonestar.edu/counseling-services.htm
• Disability Services: http://www.lonestar.edu/disability-services.htm If you have a disability

that requires accommodation to participate in this course, contact LSC-NH Disability Services
as soon as possible at 281-765-7940,Winship 120. Disability Services will provide you with
documentation I need to make accommodation(s). Failure to handle this in a timely manner
may delay accommodations.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

• Evaluate impact of political culture on state politics and policy.
• Identify the defining elements in the state constitution, institutions and their major functions.
• Explain how Texas demography, history and geography are unique relative to other states.
• Distinguish between various forms of local government and their duties.
• Specify how and why state politics and policy vary across states.

http://my.lonestar.edu/

http://lonestar.edu/lsc-online/student-support.htm

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/polisci/we-the-people8/texas/

http://books.wwnorton.com/nortonebooks/BuyChoice.aspx?SiteId=wtp8_texas_ebook

http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/index.html

http://lonestar.edu/tutoring-nharris.htm

http://lonestar.edu/4074.htm

http://www.lonestar.edu/counseling-services.htm

http://www.lonestar.edu/disability-services.htm

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GRADING AND EVALUATION

WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS 50%
• Ten short assignments vary in format including multiple choice, online simulation exercises,

short research projects, short answers and other kinds of work. You may use books and notes,
but some are time-sensitive assignments. All homework details will be posted online in the
appropriate Module folder. No extensions or make-ups. The average of all ten accounts for
50% of the class grade

PROJECTS 20%
• Two short research projects that mix of online research, data collection, and analysis. Details,

templates, and online sources will be posted two weeks prior to the due date. These are NOT
research papers. Rather, they are short projects (2-3 pages) where you demonstrate applied
understanding of course concepts using examples in Texas and other state institutions and
policies. Research projects will be submitted via ANGEL using a designated Drop Box. Each is
worth 10% of the course grade.

  • o Project 1: State policy; Project 2: Texas local governments
  • EXAMS 30%

    • Midterm and Final Exams are multiple-choice online assessments available only via ANGEL.
    The final is not cumulative. Tests are 60-70 minutes long and consist of 60-70 multiple-choice
    questions. Exams are not available outside of the designated time period. Once tests are
    submitted, they are graded. In the interest of preserving academic integrity, there is no option
    to save a partially complete exam, make multiple submissions, or “undo” the test. Just like in-
    person tests – students take tests all at one time and submit the test only once. No extensions
    or make-ups. Each test is worth 15% of the course grade.

    Grade Scale: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F<= 59

    Do NOT ask for an extension. I have very generously provided at least a week — sometimes more —
    for students to complete assignments . Because this is a very student-friendly and flexible schedule,
    there are absolutely no extensions beyond the set dates. Anyone who cannot complete the work by
    the deadlines should drop the class. It is best to submit work well before the deadline so that last-
    minute problems do not keep you from meeting your deadlines.

    3

    EIGHT ONLINE COURSE PROCEDURES TO KNOW AND FOLLOW

    If you are unable to comply with these requirements, drop the class immediately. LSC offers many sections of GOVT 2306
    (in person and online) each semester, students can easily schedule a class to fit personal time constraints.

    1. READ FIRST, THEN ASK
    Refer to this syllabus, memos, and other materials I post before emailing with questions. I am glad to
    clarify anything that is unclear, and answer questions about subject content. However, if I have
    already addressed the matter in writing (syllabus, course procedures, memos or otherwise posted to
    the class) I will not write it out again in response to individual emails.

    2. CONTACT
    Email is ALWAYS the best and quickest way to reach me. I will respond within 24 hours. If your
    email arrives on Friday night or Saturday, I will respond by Monday at noon. You are strongly
    encouraged to contact me to discuss academic performance and course related matters at any time of
    the year. You are always welcome to sit in any of my 2306 lectures at North Harris, Thursdays Rm 273
    at 9a, 10:20a or 12:30p. (Tuesdays are computer lab sessions, probably not as useful for a visit)

    3. MODULE FOLDER ORGANIZATION
    The class is organized in three folders aptly named: Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3. Each module
    folder corresponds with the topics, reading and assignments specified in the syllabus. Module
    Folders will post the day before the Module begins because this is not a course where students work
    at their own pace. There are set assignments that correspond with specific topics, and deadlines. Each
    module folder includes several folders that correspond to individual weeks. For example, Module 1
    Folder includes a folder named “Week 1, January 14 – Course Intro”. The weekly folders will have
    specific information, instructions and items that are relevant to that week.

    4. MEMOS
    A “REQUIRED READING MEMOS” is included in each week’s folder. The memo will include
    comments related to required reading, assignments, and feedback on submitted work. They are, as
    the title indicates, required reading.

    5. DROP BOXES
    Assignments must be uploaded to designated Drop Boxes. Emailed work and attachments NEVER
    count as completed work. Attachments sent via email frequently do not open properly and for that
    reason, Drop Box is the sole location for submitting work. (Note: Multiple-choice assignments
    automatically post to the grade book and do not require Drop Boxes.)

    6. DEADLINES
    All assignments are time sensitive; Drop Boxes, Quizzes and Exams will not accept work after
    designated deadlines. You will always have more than 24 hours to submit work. It is better to submit
    a bit early than to find you cannot meet the deadline at the last moment for whatever reason. In this
    class there are no extensions, extra credit or make up assignments.

    4

    7. INSTRUCTIONS AND GRAMMAR
    Work that does not follow instructions is, by definition, done incorrectly. Use correct grammar and
    spelling in all class work and correspondence with the instructor. Our online course format makes
    written communication especially important. I cannot overstate how important these very basic
    skills (spelling, use capital letters and punctuation correctly and correct word usage) are in college,
    the job market, and workplace. For the purposes of this class, your writing is evidence of your
    seriousness about the course. It is a presentation of who you are as a student. Email and class work
    writing should be befitting of the college environment in which we operate.

    8. ACADEMIC DISHONESTY
    The policy regarding academic dishonesty for this class is clearly described here, and non-negotiable.
    Academic dishonesty is unacceptable in any form. No exceptions. Students earn a grade of “F” when
    they engage in any academic dishonesty in this class. Copying text from online sources and pasting
    them into your assignments is cheating. More information about what constitutes cheating is here:
    http://www.lonestar.edu/documents/curriculuminstruction-cs/academic_integrity_brochure

    READING AND ASSIGNMENTS
    ALL ASSIGNMENTS DUE BY END OF WEEK – SATURDAY AT 7PM

    MODULE 1: POLITICAL CULTURE AND INSTITUTIONS
    Week 1: January 14th – Course Intro

    Read: Syllabus and Course Introduction Materials, TxP Online Intro
    Due: Homework/Quiz 1

    Week 2: January 21st – Political Culture
    Read: WTP 19 and TxP Online Political Culture
    Due: Homework/Quiz 2

    Week 3: January 28th – Texas Constitution
    Read: WTP 20 and TxP Online Constitution
    Due: Homework/Quiz 3

    Week 4: February 4th – State Executive Branch
    Read: WTP 24 and TxP Online Executive Branch
    Due: Homework/Quiz 4

    Week 5: February 11th – State Legislatures
    Read: WTP 23 and TxP Online Legislative Branch
    Due: Homework/Quiz 5

    Week 6: February 18th – Judicial Branch
    Read: WTP 25 and TxP Online Justice System
    Due: Homework/Quiz 6

    Week 7: February 25th – Midterm Exam
    Due: Midterm Exam

    http://www.lonestar.edu/documents/curriculuminstruction-cs/academic_integrity_brochure

    http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/pr/about.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/10_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/7_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/1_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/2_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/3_1_0.html

    5

    MODULE 2: ELECTIONS, INTEREST GROUPS, AND POLICY
    Week 8: March 4th – Political Parties

    Read: WTP 21 and TxP Online Political Parties
    Due: Homework/Quiz 7

    Week 9: March 18th – Campaigns, Voting and Elections
    Read: TxP Online Voting, Campaigns, Elections and WTP 21
    Due: Homework/Quiz 8

    Week 10: March 25th – Interest Groups
    Read: WTP 22 and TxP Online Interest Groups
    Due: Homework/Quiz 9

    Week 11 April 1st – State Policy
    Read: WTP 27

    Week 12 April 8th – Political Economy
    Read: TxP Online Political Economy and WTP 27
    Due: Project 1

    MODULE 3: BUREAUCRACY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

    Week 13: April 15th – Bureaucracy
    Read: TxP Online Bureaucracy
    Due: Homework/Quiz 10

    Week 14: April 22nd – Local Government
    Read: WTP 26
    Due: Project 2

    Week 15: April 29th – Catch Up and Final Review
    Due: Final Exam Closes May 9th, 7pm

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/4_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/6_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/5_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/9_1_0.html

    http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/8_1_0.html

    •  Two short research projects that mix of online research, data collection, and analysis. Details, templates, and online sources will be posted two weeks prior to the due date. These are NOT research papers. Rather, they are short projects (2-3 pages…
    • o Project 1: State policy; Project 2: Texas local governments

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