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PS 4240 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PS 4240 - American Foreign Policy

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Foreign policies in the nuclear age from Kennan and Containment to the present with particular emphasis on contemporary problems and policies.

Course Outcomes:

Students will leave the course able to:

  • identify the major actors and institutions involved in US foreign policy making and explain what each does
  • analyze the combination of domestic and international factors that shape and limit America's current policies
  • evaluate policy alternatives for critical international issues
  • understand the development, challenges, and future prospect for American foreign policy.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Check with your campus advisor for requirements specific to your program of study.

Course Topics:
  • The Setting of American Foreign Policy
  • America's Rise to Global Power
  • The Role of the President and of Congress in Foreign Policymaking
  • The Power and Purpose of the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy
  • How Domestic Opinion and Interests Shape Foreign Policy
  • The Current National Security Environment
  • America in the Global Economy
  • The Rise of Human Rights and Other Transnational Issues
Specific Course Requirements:

None

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:

There are no supplementary materials beyond some videos nor websites you will be asked to visit.

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:

This course has two exams, each covering approximately one-half of the course material.  The exams are one-hour exercises that are entirely on-line. Each is a mix of multiple choice and short answer questions.  

Grading Procedures:

To successfully complete this course, students must take two exams, complete four written assignments (each of about five pages), and participate in class discussions.

Exam and assignment grades are based upon the student's accuracy of fact and sophistication of argument.  Students should be able to deploy the knowledge gained from the course text and supplemental materials to analyze real-world issues in determining the cause, consequences, and preferred outcome of those issues. The participation grade is based on the student's regular contributions to the class discussion.  

Grading Scale:
Point RangeAssigned Grade
450 - 500 PointsA
400 - 499 PointsB
350 - 399 PointsC
300 - 449 PointsD
under 300 PointsF
Assignments and Projects:

There are four written essay assignments for the course.  Each is an argument of about 1000 words in response to a posed question involving some aspect of current American foreign policy.

Essays will be graded based upon [1] mastery of course content used in the essay [2] the relevance of the argument to the question posed [3] the logic and development of the argument itself [3] consistency of the argument throughout the paper, and [4] style, including spelling and grammar.  As these are not research papers, citations are needed only if facts or support for the argument are drawn from sources outside of the course.  In that case, it will be necessary to cite the source with a footnote. Any commonly used form of citation is acceptable.

Graded Items

DescriptionPoints
2 Exams, @ 100 points each200
10 Discussion Grades @ 10 points each100
4 Essays @ 50 points each200
TOTAL POINTS500
Class Participation:

You are expected to be an active member of the course.  That means participating in class discussions regularly - to share your thoughts, opinions, and questions.

Late Policy:

While there are no specific times or places when students must be on-line or do their work, the course does have a timetable organized around its ten content modules.  The course calendar indicates the day at which the discussion will begin for each module. Students should complete their reading of the materials in a module by the date that this discussion begins, so that they can be prepared to participate in it.  Don't fall behind, it is very difficult to catch up!

The four essays each have a due date. Papers submitted within 24 hours after that date will lose 10 points. After 24 hours, a submitted paper will lose 30 points. Exams must be taken during the exam periods. If you know you will be unable to take the exam during an exam period (or if some reason you cannot complete an essay on time), contact the instructor IN ADVANCE so that an alternative can be found.

Course Ground Rules

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

RULES OF THE TENNESSEE BOARD OF REGENTS STATE UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM OF TENNESSEE SYSTEMWIDE STUDENT RULES CHAPTER 0240-02-03 STUDENT CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

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

Email:

  • 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

Discussions:

  • 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.

Library

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.

Disclaimer

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 August 17, 2017