Assignments and Grading

Helpful Documents


In Class Attendance & Reading Quiz (25 points - 2 points available per week for 15 weeks):

At the beginning of each class index cards will be handed out. Writing your name to indicate your attendance is worth 1 point; correctly answering a question about the week's readings will be worth 1 point. There are 15 weeks, so it is possible to attain 30 points. This allows you some flexibility if you need to miss class, or if you answer the questions incorrectly. If you have an excused absence (for standard University policy reasons), you will receive both points for the week.

Online Participation (20 points - 1.5 points available per week for 13 weeks):

Each week (defined as Tuesday - Sunday at 11:59pm) you should contribute to the online discussion on the course blog by completing at least two of the following items.
o Reaction post
o Response to posted discussion questions about the readings or videos
o An insightful comment on another student's post during the same week
Reaction Posts (15 points - 5 points per post):

Each student will write 3 short reactions to the readings; these posts should be no longer than 400 words. If you would like to write 1 additional reaction post to replace a low grade, you may do so. Do not write more than 4 reaction posts. Once you have reached your maximum, I encourage you to comment on another student's reaction posts in order to increase discussion.
The purpose of the post is to help you focus on the critical issues in the week's readings, practice your writing skills, and form a basis for online discussion. The posts should: (a) very briefly summarize the readings, (b) relate the readings to previously assigned work, and (c) raise at least one question that will stimulate discussion. The deadline for submitting these is Saturday at 11:59pm.

In-Class Presentation (10 points):

For this assignment, you will work in groups to create a media piece (Prezi, slideshow, PowerPoint, video, etc.) in response to a topic related to the week's readings. The purpose of this project is to engage in analysis of contemporary challenges in public affairs. You will need to use and cite at least two of the assigned readings or videos and one outside source as evidence to support your answer to the assigned question; very little of the project should summarize these readings. A sign-up sheet will be distributed during the second class. You will have 15 minutes during class to present your project; you should upload your media piece to the course blog before class begins.

Political Feasibility Memo (30 points):

Students will write a 5-7 page political feasibility memorandum that applies the core concepts reviewed in the course to analyzing the passage of a historical piece of legislation and identifying its prospects for passing today. A list of topics will be made available, but you may propose alternatives for instructor approval.
A two page summary or expanded outline is due in class on Tuesday, March 12. The final paper is due in class on Tuesday, May 7. For each class session, bring 3 copies to be distributed for evaluation and feedback from your peers.


A total of 100 points are available. Final grades will be determined as follows:

Points Grade
94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
83-86 B
80-82 B-
77-79 C+
73-76 C
70-72 C-
67-69 D+
60-66 D

A score of 0 to 59 points will result in a failing grade for the course.

Late / Make-up Work Policy

Make sure to submit your assignments on time.

o Political feasibility memo papers submitted after the deadline, but within the following 24 hours will receive a 25% deduction. These items will not be accepted after 24 hours have passed.

o Reaction posts and online discussion activity will not be accepted after the deadline.

o Missing your scheduled in-class presentation will result in 0 points for that assignment unless you have a documented, University excused absence which is defined as:

o Illness of the student or his or her dependent.

o Participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, or religious observances.

University Policies

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity:

Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expect to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else's work as your own, can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows:

Scholastic Dishonesty: Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonesty grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis.
Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an "F" or "N" for the course. If you have questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.
Disability Services:
The Humphrey Institute and the University of Minnesota are committed to ensuring all qualified students equal access to academic and extra-curricular activities. Please contact the instructor if you qualify for disability services. If you are unsure whether you qualify or have questions concerning these services, consult the following website and/or call Disability Services at 612-626-1333 or Their website is available at

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