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SPAN 3550 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SPAN 3550 - Latin America: Countries and Peoples

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to Spanish-speaking Latin America. It will examine the commonalities as well the unique national experiences of the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. The course will address the cultural, social, political and economic factors that have shaped Latin America. Initial modules will provide general information on the regions of Latin America and its early history.  Subsequent modules will examine some of the individual countries.  No knowledge of Spanish is required. The course is taught entirely in English.

Course Outcomes:

After completing the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify the countries of Latin America and provide basic information about their geography, topography, and history.  Discuss the influence of geography and topography on the political and social institutions of Latin American countries (i.e. regionalism and caudillismo). 
  2. Describe the different forces that have brought about political and social change in Latin America. Discuss their positive and/or negative impact.  Compare and contrast these tendencies with the forces for change in the United States.
  3. Describe some of the unique cultural products (art, music, literature) of the countries of Latin America and discuss their connection to social and political movements in Latin America.
  4. Define syncretism and explain why and how it occurs. Identify examples from religion, art, literature and music in Latin America.  Consider and discuss other examples of syncretism in Latin American, US or other cultures.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

There are no prerequisites for this course. No knowledge of Spanish is required.

Course Topics:

Geography, history, politics, economic development, arts, music, literature, and social practices of representative Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.

Specific Course Requirements:

A basic knowledge of the Internet and computer navigation is necessary. 

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:

Web-based material available through links within the course units and web-based research for discussion topics.

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

Grading Procedures:

Grades are based on quiz scores, participation in discussions, and an assignment. All of these should reflect students understanding of the readings in the text and on-line materials. There will be three timed quizzes; the quizzes are not proctored. Students will also be required to post discussions based on questions provided in the course content units or in response to assigned web activities.

Assigned Grade

Percentage RangeAssigned Grade
90 - 100%A
80 - 89%B
70 - 79%C
60 - 69%D
under 60%F

Graded Items

Discussions (5)30%
Quizzes (3)60%
Assignment (1)10%
Total 100%


Grading Scale:
Assignments and Projects:

The assignment topic is described in the "Assignment" link.  Students must submit their assignment in the Assignment link by the due date.  The rubric used for grading the assignment is visible on this link so students have a clear idea of how they will be assessed.

Class Participation:

Interaction with other students is an important component of the course. Students must participate by posting discussions on the topics assigned in a timely manner. The topics for each of the 5 discussions are available in the "Discussion" link, on the Overview page for each module and in the individual discussion links in the Table of Contents. Students should respond at least once to another student's posting in a meaningful way.  Students are also expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource and to check the course frequently for announcements and other information.

Late Policy:

Students need to consult the course calendar for due dates for discussion postings and quizzes. Discussions and the Assignment will close on announced dates and no further work will be accepted. Quizzes will be available only on the announced dates. No late or makeup exams will be given.

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 November 11, 2020