Political Science 100
American Government


Before deciding whether you would prefer to take POSC 100 in the traditional face-to-face mode or online please compare your assumptions, skills and needs with the information that follows.  Professor Balma can be reached at


According to college guidelines, a student should expect to spend at least two hours studying outside of class for every hour in class for a three unit class.  For a 17.5 week course a student is expected to spend 6 hours studying in addition to 3 hours in class.  Students should expect to spend at least 9 hours per week on this course. You need to expect to devote the same kind of time commitment to an online course.

Many people want to take an online course because they think it will be less work than a traditional face-to-face class. In an online course, you'll have a greater flexibility about when to "attend" class, but the amount of work will be the same.  In a face-to-face class there is a clear distinction between "class" time and "study" time. In an online course, that distinction blurs, which means good study habits and self-motivation become extra important to your success.

This is an online course.  Contrary to what many anticipate, this does not make it easier.  This course is designed for self-motivated students who wish to proceed through the subject matter at their own pace.  Keep in mind that independent study is not the best option for every student.  The lack of scheduled class meetings means you are responsible for your own schedule and keeping on task.  To succeed in this course, you must be independent, motivated and well organized, willing to learn in isolation, and your reading, studying, and analytical skills should be strong.  Please give careful consideration to whether this is a format that will work for you.  Marginal students just taking this class to avoid attending class or because they think it will be easy are strongly encouraged to drop now and enroll in a traditional version of this class. 

If you've never taken an online class, take this Study Skills Survey to help you determine if online learning is right for you.



There is only one in-person meeting for this class - an optional orientation on the first night of class. If you cannot attend the orientation, you should listen to the .mp3 audio file available on the course website. The date, time and place for the orientation session will be listed at the FC Distance Learning website and it is also printed in the regular class schedule.


You'll listen to lectures for each topic via .mp3 files (you must have sound capability for this class), view powerpoint slides that enhance (but not replace) your understanding of the lectures, read and understand the assigned chapters in the textbook, participate in class discussions on the discussion boards, submit a written paper, and take multiple-choice exams in this class.

This course is an introductory course to the American Political System. This course covers the political theories and practices of American Government at national, state, and local levels.  More specifically, we'll take a closer look at the "rules of the game" and what affect the electoral rules have on our political parties, elections, and government. My goal is for you to think critically about the political questions we will discuss.


The American Democracy (8th Edition- brief) by Thomas Patterson  (McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2007)

American Government Course Materials packet by Jodi Balma (McGraw-Hill Publishers 2007)



This means that the class is full and closed to additional students.  

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Your instructor is happy to help you with academic matters, but for technical assistance logging in to WebCT or setting up your computer so as to function properly within the WebCT program, you must contact FC's Distance Learning Department. First try the website where you will find both written instructions, help tips and even video tutorials. If you need personal assistance you may email ( or telephone during normal business hours (714) 992-7500. They are likely to be very busy during the first two weeks of school, so do try the website first. You will find helpful information under the big WebCT button.


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