Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

PADM 315: *American Public Policy

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  Course Description

The various ways the American political system decides what issues deserve attention, how it makes policy decisions, and the implementation of those decisions. Theoretical models for decision-making are discussed as are specific examples of public policy such as environmental policy, educational policy, health care policy and more. Cross listed as PADM 315 and POSC 315.
The various ways the American political system decides what issues deserve attention, how it makes policy decisions, and the implementation of those decisions. Theoretical models for decision-making are discussed as are specific examples of public policy such as environmental policy, educational policy, health care policy and more. Cross listed as PADM 315 and POSC 315.

Prerequisite: ENGL 112, POSC 111

Proctored Exams: Midterm



  • Dye, Thomas R. Understanding Public Policy. 15th ed. Pearson/Longman, Inc., 2017.  
    • ISBN-978-0-134-16997-2

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of; what governments do, models of politics, policy making process, policy evaluation, federalism and state policies, criminal justice public policy, welfare policy, health care transformation, educational policy, economic policy, tax policy, civil rights policy, defense policy and more.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Outline the steps in the policymaking process.
  2. Explain factors influencing the development and implementation of public policy.
  3. Identify and define key traits of theoretical decision-making models.
  4. Explain the policy process of American national policies, such as environmental or education policy.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 160 16%
Quizzes 450 45%
Policy Paper 100 10%
Midterm Exam - Proctored 190 19%
Final Exam 100 10%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2 10
Quiz 1 75 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10
Policy Paper Topic 0 Sunday
Quiz 2 75
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10
Quiz 3 75 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10
Midterm Exam - Proctored 190 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10
Quiz 4 75 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10
Quiz 5 75 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 14 10
Quiz 6 75 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Thursday/Saturday
Discussion 16 10
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Policy Paper 100
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Complete your assigned weekly readings prior to your other course assignments so that the concepts covered in the readings can inform your work.  You should strive to show knowledge and mastery of the concepts assigned.Replace this text with your 'Section Overview' text.


Each week you are responsible for two discussions (one per chapter), with a minimum of two postings in each: one original post and one reply post. The original posts are due by midnight Thursday of each week. In order to conduct a timely discussion it is important that students contribute postings to the weekly discussion in a timely manner. The replies to another student’s posting are due by midnight Sunday of each week. Reading all comments posted by other students and the instructor is required each week.  Note: Week 8 reply posts are due by midnight Saturday.


Each week, except for Weeks 4 & 8, there is a quiz which covers textbook and discussion topics pertaining to that week’s topic(s).  Each quiz contains 25 multiple-choice questions.  Quizzes are available in the Quizzes area of the course and have a strict time limit of 40 minutes.  Exceeding the time limit will result in a loss of points (10% reduction).  Even though the quizzes are open-book, collaboration is NOT allowed.

Policy Paper

You will write a 10-12 page (double-spaced) paper following APA or MLA guidelines.  The Policy Paper is due midnight Saturday of Week 8.  Your paper topic must be approved by me. A discussion thread titled “Policy Paper Topic” is available in Week 2. Post your selected topic to this area. Once a topic is selected by a student, no other student may select that topic.  I will reply to each posting as either “Confirmed”, or “Denied” (with an explanation).  This paper must, at a minimum, contain the following; introduction of the policy topic, events leading to the policy development, key components and policy makers involved in the policy, process by which policy was established, opposing viewpoints on the policy, effectiveness/impact of the policy since implementation, and a summary of your viewpoint on the current status and future of the policy.

Midterm Exam

The proctored midterm exam is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions.  The exam is available in the Quizzes area of the course and has a strict time limit of 2 hours (120 minutes). Exceeding the time limit will result in a loss of points (10% reduction).  The midterm will cover Chapters 1-8 and must be completed by midnight Sunday of Week 4.  You must submit Proctor information to the dropbox by Week 2. Review the Proctoring Module in the Content area before submitting.

Final Exam

The final exam is open-book, computerized and comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions 2 essay questions.  The exam is available in the Quizzes area of the course and has a strict time limit of 90 minutes. Exceeding the time limit will result in a loss of points (10% reduction).  Even though the exam is open-book, collaboration is NOT allowed.  The final will cover Chapters 9-16 and must be completed by midnight Saturday of Week 8.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Chapters 1–2
Discussion 1
Pertains to Policy Analysis
Discussion 2
Pertains to Models for Policy Analysis
Quiz 1
Complete Quiz 1 in the Quizzes area

Chapters 3-4

Discussion 3
Pertains to the American policy process
Discussion 4
Pertains to policy and program evaluation
Policy Paper Topic

Post your selected topic to the Policy Paper topic discussion board. Remember, once a topic is selected, no other student may us the topic so post early.

Quiz 2

Complete Quiz 2 in the Quizzes area

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.

Chapters 5–6

Discussion 5
Pertains to an examination of Federalism in America
Discussion 6
Pertains to an examination of crime and criminal/justice policy in America
Quiz 3

Complete Quiz 3 in the Quizzes area


Chapters 7–8

Discussion 7
Pertains to an examination and analysis of welfare policies
Discussion 8
Pertains to an understanding of current issues and policies with Health Care
Midterm Exam - Proctored

Complete the Proctored Midterm Exam, available in the Quizzes area, by midnight Sunday.  You will have 2 hours to answer 60 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions covering Chapters 1-8.  Exceeding this time limit will result in a loss of points.  No books or notes may be used on the exam.


Chapters 9–10

Discussion 9
Pertains to the role of the federal government in education
Discussion 10
Pertains to economic theories as a policy guideline
Quiz 4

Complete Quiz 4 in the Quizzes area


Chapters 11–12

Discussion 11
Pertains to tax policies involving special interests
Discussion 12
Pertains to the Elite Model of public policy
Quiz 5

Complete Quiz 5 in the Quizzes area

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Chapters 13–14

Discussion 13
Pertains to energy and environmental issues that impact policy decision-making
Discussion 14
Pertains to a historical and current examination of civil rights policies
Quiz 6

Complete Quiz 6 in the Quizzes area


Chapters 15–16

Discussion 15
Pertains to issues and policies of national defense and the military
Discussion 16
Pertains to dynamic policies on homeland security
Final Exam

Complete the Final Exam, available in the Quizzes area, by midnight Saturday.  You will have 90 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions covering Chapters 9-16.  Exceeding this time limit will result in a loss of points.

Policy Paper

Submit your completed Policy Paper to the Dropbox no later than midnight Saturday.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Due date extensions must be requested on or before the assignment’s due date and require instructor approval.  Approval will only be granted under significant extenuating circumstances, such as hospitalization, required travel for work or extreme personal/family emergencies. Maintaining access to the Internet is a requirement for this course.  No exceptions for lack of Internet access will be granted unless the loss of service is community-wide and due to weather.  Under no circumstances will an assignment or quiz be accepted after the last official day of class for the session.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.