Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2018/2019

POSC 331: European Politics

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  Course Description

Analysis of the government and politics of the major European powers, including Britain, France and Germany, as well as the European Union. Course meets multicultural graduation requirement.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



  • Crepaz, M., & Steiner, J. (2013). European Democracies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.  
    • [ISBN-978-0-205-85478-3]
  • Roskin, Michael G. (2015). Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, and Culture (Special Edition for Columbia College). Pearson.  
    • [ISBN-13: 978-1-269-83970-9]

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

The purpose of this course is to acquaint you with the study of European politics. We begin by studying the important historical developments, including the history of the European Union. Then we will discuss the political institutions and actors, both within countries and at the European Union level. Finally, we will look at various policy realms, assessing actions both of individual countries, as well as, the European Union as a whole.

Why study European Politics? Given its social and political history, Europe has been a primary laboratory of political innovation. The modern bureaucratic state, representative parliamentary institutions, various electoral systems, political parties and party systems, interest groups, specialized communications media, and the whole modern political apparatus, emerged first in Europe and its colonies. Most of the rest of the world has now incorporated these institutions and practices and has combined them with indigenous cultures and institutions. Europe is thus both the location of some of the greatest triumphs of democratic politics and some of the greatest horrors of totalitarian oppression. Europe’s global relevance continues. As the third wave of democracy seems to be reaching its peak, the 21 eastern European countries are now free to shape their own futures after more than half a century of suppression. They are a crucial battleground in the long human struggle for freedom and welfare. Nothing would affect the balance of this struggle more than rapid economic growth and consolidated democratization in such countries as the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Romania. Moreover, the consolidated democracies of Western Europe can still go further to make public policies more responsive to a participating and confident citizenry. The newly enlarged E.U., cutting across both Eastern and Western Europe, adds a dimension of the greatest relevance in an age of globalization. The challenge is how to make citizen democratic control visible and viable while reconciling different interests in an enormously complex institution that incorporates 27 economically and ethnically diverse national units.

  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 Objectives

  • To compare and contrast the politics of the industrialized countries of Europe, particularly the politics of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
  • To investigate contemporary political and economic challenges facing European societies.
  • To develop understanding of the evolution of European integration and the current role of the European Union in world politics.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the significant historical and cultural factors that shaped the political development of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and other selected European nations.
  • Compare and contrast the historical path of development of the countries studied.
  • Identify and explain the functioning of governmental institutions in the aforementioned countries and other European countries selected by the instructor.
  • Identify and explain the role of significant political actors in European countries, such as the role of political parties, organized interests, etc.
  • Describe and explain the process of economic development in the European countries selected for study.
  • Describe the evolution of European integration.
  • Explain and evaluate the functioning of the institutions of the European Union.
  • Recognize the international role played by the European Union.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 756-840 90-100%
B 672-755 80-89%
C 588-671 70-79%
D 504-587 60-69%
F 0-503 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion Questions (17) 170 20%
Internet Activities (6) 60 7%
Quizzes (6) 60 7%
Papers (2) 150 18%
Exams (2) 400 48%
Total 840 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 10
Discussion 2 10 Friday/Sunday
Internet Activity 1 10 Sunday
Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz 0
Quiz 1 10

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 10 Friday/Sunday
Internet Activity 2 10 Sunday
Quiz 2 10
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 10 Friday/Sunday
Paper 1 50 Sunday
Quiz 3 10

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10 Friday/Sunday
Internet Activity 3 10 Sunday
Midterm Exam 200

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 10 Friday/Sunday
Internet Activity 4 10 Sunday
Quiz 4 10

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 10 Friday/Sunday
Internet Activity 5 10 Sunday
Quiz 5 10

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 10 Friday/Sunday
Paper 2 100 Sunday
Quiz 6 10

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 16 10 Friday/Saturday
Internet Activity 6 10 Saturday
Final Exam 200
Total Points: 840

  Assignment Overview


Each week you will participate in online discussions with your classmates. You will respond to the discussion questions in an initial post and are also expected to comment on the original postings of at least two other students in order to receive full credit. Due dates for the initial posts and responses are provided in the Schedule of Due Dates table above and are in the initial post/response post format. All due dates are 11:59 pm Central Standard Time. You may be restricted to viewing other student’s posts until you have posted your initial post yourself. Credit will not be given for responses posted after the deadline unless you coordinate with your instructor ahead of time. Discussions should be posted to the appropriate topic in the Discussions area of the course.

Research Papers

There will be two research papers, one due in Week 3 and another due in Week 7. The first paper will be a research paper of 6-8 pages in length. It is worth 50 points. The second paper is a medium length paper of 8-10 pages in length. This paper is worth 100 points. You will select the topics for both papers from provided topic lists. Each paper should be submitted to the appropriate assignment dropbox of the course. Full assignment details are available in the Content area of the course.

Internet Activities

There are six internet activities worth 10 points each for a total of 60 points. The activities will require you to explore and review relevant websites and respond to a series of questions. Full assignment descriptions are located on the weekly assignments pages in the course Content area.

Quizzes and Exams

There is one quiz per week, except during weeks 4 and 8, for a total of 6 quizzes. Each quiz is worth 10 points each for a total of 60 points. The quizzes contain multiple choice and true/false questions. Quizzes must be completed prior to the assigned due dates and can be accessed through the Quizzes area of the course.

There are two exams, a Midterm and a Final, each worth 200 points. The exams are multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. These exams must be proctored and you are required to submit your choice of proctor by Sunday of week 2. Please see Proctor Policy below. The exams are closed notes, closed book, and you may not use the web or any other materials to assist you. The use of cell phones, pagers or flash drives are also prohibited. Access the exams through the Quizzes area of the course.

  Course Outline

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

• European Democracies: chapters 1 and 2
• The European Union: A Guide for Americans (PDF)
Introduction Discussion
Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic of our class discussion, our "virtual classroom.” Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interest in international politics and geography, and any other information that can help us get to know you.
Discussion 1
In most European countries, “equality” is considered to precede “freedom,” whereas the opposite is the case in the United States. Is it possible to have both a highly equalitarian and a highly free society? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 2
Why does the term liberal mean something very different in the European political context as compared to the American political context? Explain your answer fully.
Internet Activity 1
This activity will familiarize you with the European Union and its institutions. Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your assignment to the appropriate dropbox in the course.
Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz
View the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content area of the course and take the Plagiarism Quiz in the Quizzes area of the course. This assignment is not graded but will help you understand plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Quiz 1
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
• European Democracies: chapter 4
• Countries and Concepts: chapter 1
Discussion 3
In which system, parliamentary or presidential, do parties play a bigger role? Why? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 4
Can a British prime minister be more powerful than a U.S. president? Explain your answer fully.
Internet Activity 2
This activity will familiarize you with European Parliament. Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox in the course.
Quiz 2
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
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.
• European Democracies: chapter 3
• Countries and Concepts: chapter 2
Discussion 5
Which system, proportional representation (PR) or single-member district (SMD), contributes more to what you understand by “representation?” Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 6
France is a semi-presidential system. What does that mean? How does that compare to a presidential system? How does it compare to a parliamentary system? Explain your answer fully.
Paper 1
Select your paper topic from the list provided in the content are of the course in the week 3 section. Additional instructions are also available there. Submit your paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox of the course by 11:59 pm CT Sunday. The assignment is worth 50 points.
Quiz 3
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
• European Democracies: chapters 5, 6 and 7
Discussion 7
Since Great Britain does not have a written constitution, which body determines, in effect, whether a law is constitutional or not? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 8
Federalism appears to be a more democratic form of government, but is it a more effective form of government, that is, a government that can get things done at the national level? Explain your answer fully.
Internet Activity 3
This activity will familiarize you with the European Union policies. Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your paper to the assignment dropbox in the course.
Midterm Exam
This proctored exam will be available beginning Monday morning and must be completed by 11:59 pm Sunday. The mid-term exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, one short answer, and two essay questions. The mid-term is worth 200 points.
• European Democracies: chapters 8 and 9
• Countries and Concepts: chapter 3
Discussion 9
How are social movements different from political parties? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 10
How has Germany managed to become a stable democracy? Address specific institutional choices and explain your answer.
Internet Activity 4
This activity will familiarize you with NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox in the course.
Quiz 4
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
• European Democracies: chapters 10 and 11
• Countries and Concepts: chapter 4
Discussion 11
Why have some countries been more able to deal with the legacies of Communism than others? Discuss possible explanatory factors in detail.
Discussion 12
Compare and contrast Russian oligarchs with American capitalists. Explain your answer.
Internet Activity 5
This activity will familiarize you with the European Space Agency. Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox in the course.
Quiz 5
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
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.
• European Democracies: chapter 12 and 13
Discussion 13
Is there an alternative to consociational democracy in highly divided societies? Is competitive pluralism such an alternative? How can the rights of minorities best be protected in deeply divided societies? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 14
Immigration, particularly Muslim immigration into Europe, has caused serious confrontations with the native population. Why is it particularly Muslim immigration that seems to create serious tensions in Western countries? Does the United States face a similar problem with Muslim immigrants? Explain your answer fully.
Paper 2
Select your paper topic from the list provided in the week 7 section of the content area. Additional instructions are also located there. Submit the paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox. It is worth 100 points.
Quiz 6
This 10 point quiz covers the readings this week.
• European Democracies: chapters 14 and 15
Discussion 15
Why do immigrants in Europe seem to have more difficulty integrating into their host societies than in the United States? Explain your answer fully.
Discussion 16
Why might globalization affect Europe more than the United States? Explain your answer fully.
Internet Activity 6
This activity will familiarize you with the European Agenda on Migration. Complete the described Internet activities and compose written responses to all associated questions. Submit your paper to the appropriate assignment dropbox.
Final Exam
The proctored Final Exam must be completed between Monday morning and 11:59 pm Saturday, the last day of class. The final exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, one short answer, and two essay questions. This is a closed book and closed note exam worth 200 points.

  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.

Late assignments will not receive credit unless you coordinate with me ahead of time. Students are expected to submit classroom assignments by the posted due date and to complete the course according to the published class schedule. As adults, students, and working professionals I understand you must manage competing demands on your time. Should you need additional time to complete an assignment please contact me before the due date so we can discuss the situation and determine an acceptable resolution. Routine submission of late assignments is unacceptable and may result in points deducted from each assignment. No extensions on Exams are given unless you are on military orders or have a medical emergency. Documentation is required.

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.