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POLI 4350 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

POLI 4350 - International Law

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course introduces the student to the basic legal concepts and principles governing state behavior in the international order, the nature and sources of international law, international agreements, sovereignty of states, and recognition of statehood, jurisdiction, immunities, and responsibility. Current events in the international system are also examined with an international law perspective.

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course students should have completed the following learning goals: An understanding of the influences on the development of international law and their significance over time; knowledge on the evolution and structure of the international system; the ability to analyze international agreements and awareness on the development of international law; an awareness of the economic, political, social, and strategic implications of state sovereignty; and the development of an understanding of contemporary international events utilizing international law as a background.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

None. Background in international relations would be beneficial, but is not required. Students who have not taken any international relations classes should inform the instructor in order to receive a short list of supplemental reading materials.

Course Topics:


Specific Course Requirements:

Students must also be able to utilize either Word or WordPerfect software for their writing assignments. It would also be beneficial for students to be able to utilize PowerPoint to view some course materials. For further information on becoming familiar with the learning management system, visit the orientation page. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

In all of the assignments students are graded on their incorporation of factual information as well as they ability to interpret and draw logical conclusions on issues. Students should demonstrate that they have done the assigned readings and can interpret them utilizing both historical and contemporary examples to illustrate their points. Students should also try to challenge popular assumptions on the issues and be able to critique the assigned readings. Organization, grammar, and spelling will also be a factor in grading assignments.

Grading Procedures:
  • Midterm Exam: 100 Points
  • .Final Exam: 100 Points 
  •  Essay Assignments (2) 100 points each (Total 200 points) 
  • Discussion Participation (12): 120 points 
  • Response Postings (12):120 points 
  • Blog Facilitation (1) 55 points 
  • Blog Participation (9) 45 points 
  • Quizzes(12): 140 points. 
  • Weekly Assignments (5)125 points

The exams will consist of short answers and essays. These are drawn from the required readings and course lessons. Students will have to have a proctor to do this exam during the RODP exam period. Students should make appointments with testing centers at the state school that is most convenient to them. Once students click on the exam they will have two hours to complete it online. No books or other study aids should be used during the exam. Failure to submit the exams by the due date without prior approval from the instructor will result in a failing grade for the assignment. There will also be weekly quizzes given during the semester. These will be given on-line and students will have a limited period of time to take each quiz. A schedule of quizzes is on this syllabus. If there are any problems with scheduling please contact the instructor.

There will be two essay assignments on issues of International Law. Essay papers should be 6-8 pages typed conforming to the format for writing assignments provided by the instructor. (See Below) Topics and additional information will be provided by the instructor. The topics will be centered around the required readings with some outside research required. Students should incorporate at least three scholarly sources other than the required readings. These consist of journal articles and books. Online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia are not considered proper sources. Topics will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

Grading Scale:
A 900-1005 points
B800-899 points
C700-799 points
D 600-699 points
Fbelow 600 points


In order to be considered for an incomplete a student must request it as well as completing with a passing grade of at least 75% of the class and is only prevented by some unfortunate circumstance from completing the last few assignments. The incomplete must be made up in a timely manner subject to the rules of the student's home institution

Assignments and Projects:

All assignments must be submitted by the date indicated. Please note that D2L server is based on US Central Time. Failure to hand in assignments on time will result in the assignment being given a failing grade. If students are experiencing problems with meeting deadlines they should contact the instructor as soon as possible before the assignment is due.

Quizzes (12): These consist of matching, short answers, and multiple choice questions. Each should take between15-20 minutes and should be done over the course of the dates listed below. Please note you will only get one chance to do the quiz and then only for the proscribed time limits. So please be sure you will be able to devote your full attention to the quiz for the time allotted before you start.

Exams (2) Exams consist of short answer and essays and will be made available two weeks prior to the due date.

Essay Assignments (2)

Weekly Assignments (5): Pertaining to specific chapter(s) in Slomanson and in the course content. See course calendar and assignment listing for due dates.

Discussion Postings (12) Assigned each week there is a course lesson. See course calendar and assignment listing for due dates.

Response Postings (12): Students must comment on the postings of their classmates on a given topic in a meaningful way.

Blog Facilitation: 55 points

Blog Participation: 45 points

Each week during the semester students are expected to participate in commenting on a discussion question pertaining to that week's readings. Students will contribute to the discussion asynchronously on-line in a timely manner once the issue has been posted. In order to participate in the discussion students will have to do the required readings. It is hoped that this will stimulate discussion between members of the class and the instructor. Each discussion question carries a value of up to 10 points depending on the quality of participation. Failure to participate in a meaningful way in the discussion will result in no points awarded for that question. In attention students are also required to comment on other students postings on the discussion topics. Each of these is worth ten points each. Students need to make substantive comments and questions and engage in a dialogue on the issue being discussed in a civil and respectful manner. Simply saying "that is correct" or "I agree" is not enough. Students need to offer some of their own analysis. The Discussion Postings and Responses should be done in the discussion section of D2L in order to track and grade them more effectively. Also discussion and response postings will only be accepted during the weeks there are pertaining to or one to two weeks ahead of schedule. Late discussion and response postings will not be accepted and will be given a zero grade.

Students are also required to participate in a Blog discussion. Each student will be assigned a particular week, starting in week 3 of the course. The student will be responsible for finding an article in the media that complements that week’s course material. (Media sources should be from a national newspaper such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Washington Post. English language papers in other countries are also acceptable such as the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Manchester Guardian, or Toronto Globe and Mail. Periodicals such as US News and World Report, Time, and The Economist are also acceptable). Students will post a link to the article and summarize it linking it with that week’s readings. In addition they will be responsible for managing the discussion of this article by other students. Students will be assigned a week at the end of the first week of class. If a student misses an assignment there will be no credit given and the student may not be allowed to make it up. The blog facilitation is worth 55 points. A detailed discussion of this and a grading scheme will be posted at the beginning of the class. Students are expected to participate and comment on that week’s article. Participation in the blog is worth five points per week. Total is 100 points. (55 points for your role as facilitator, 45 points for participating in the other weeks). 

There will be a five short writing assignments pertaining to the course materials. The assignment should be done by the date indicated and be a 3-4 page submission via the D2L assignment tools on the question asked. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the issue and give examples to illustrate their points. Each of these assignments is worth up to 25 points. See the course schedule for specific dates.

Late Assignments

All weekly assignments, discussion postings, and quizzes are due by the dates and times listed in the course schedule. On weekly assignments students will have a two day grace period after the due date and time in which assignments maybe submitted with a late penalty. Once time expires for the assignment it will not be reopened and the student will be given a zero grade. In addition discussion postings, exams, and quizzes must be submitted by the dates indicated. There is no grace period for these assignments. I will not accept late assignments at the end of the course.

Note: All due dates for major papers/exams, as well as weekly assignments, discussion postings, and quizzes are listed on the course calendar as well as on the assignment itself. If you are unsure about a due date, have a problem with the due date, or have a question about the assignment please contact the instructor as soon as possible before the assignment is due. All assignments should be sent via the D2L assignment tools. These should be sent in files formatted in Word or WordPerfect.


Class Participation:


Students are expected to consult with the instructor frequently during the semester.

Students must check the course homepage and discussion board frequently for announcements and course updates

Students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.

Students are expected to hand in all assignments on time. If there are any problems with meeting deadlines they must contact the instructor prior to the due date.

Students are expected to take quizzes in the time frame given.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on January 16, 2018