Introduction to Politics
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 42.0
Credit Value: 3.0
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Fall 2019
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): General Education
Program Coordinator(s): Sarah Sinclair
Course Leader or Contact: Marcel Nelson
Version: 20190903_00
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: N/A

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
Students explore basic concepts in political science and how politics impact aspects of our everyday lives and experiences. Students examine how politics influence our individuality, society, the world, and the future. Specifically, students assess what it means to be an active citizen in a world marked by a combination of ever-evolving political dynamics, and more permanent institutional and legal structures. To that end, students engage central themes in politics such as power and ideology, democracy and political parties, the state and its institutions, and international relations. Finally, students appraise the limits of their political environments and, accordingly, propose reforms to the manner in which we govern ourselves. Through class discussions, assigned readings, engaging in structured debates, written analysis and reflection, and completing evaluations, students analyze their experience as citizens in relation to political structures.

Program Context

General Education Program Coordinator(s): Sarah Sinclair
This course is part of the General Education curriculum which is designed to contribute to the development of the students' consciousness of the diversity, complexity, and richness of the human experience; their ability to establish meaning through this consciousness; and, as a result, their ability to contribute thoughtfully, creatively, and positively to the society in which they live and work. General Education courses strengthen students' generic skills, such as critical analysis, problem solving, and communication, in the context of an exploration of topics with broad-based personal and/or societal importance.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
By the end of this course students will have demonstrated the ability to articulate the role played by institutions and political dynamics in the lives of the everyday citizen.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Create a definition of citizenship informed by personal experience and legal frameworks.
  2. Describe the role of power in politics.
  3. Evaluate how different ideologies shape our understanding of politics.
  4. Differentiate between democratic and authoritarian models of government.
  5. Interpret the functions played by political parties.
  6. Classify the major institutions that make up the contemporary state.
  7. Assess the increasing interrelationship between domestic politics and international politics.
  8. Propose solutions to improve governance at the local, national, and international levels.
  9. Predict political transformations based on historical and contemporary trends.

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Evaluation Plan: IN-CLASS
 Quizzes (3 x 5%)15.0%
 Case Study Analysis20.0%
 Final Test25.0%

Evaluation Notes and Academic Missed Work Procedure:
TEST AND ASSIGNMENT PROTOCOL To encourage behaviours that will help students to be successful in the workplace and to ensure that students receive credit for their individual work, the following rules apply to every course offered within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 1. Students are responsible for staying abreast of test dates and times, as well as due dates and any special instructions for submitting assignments and projects as supplied to the class by the professor. 2. Students must write all tests at the specified times. Missed tests, in-class activities, assignments and presentations are awarded a mark of zero. If an extension or make-up opportunity is approved by the professor as outlined below, the mark of zero may be revised by subsequent performance. The penalty for late submission of written assignments is a loss of 10% per day for up to five business days (excluding weekends and statutory holidays), after which, a grade of zero is assigned. Business days include any day that the college is open for business, whether the student has scheduled classes that day or not. 3. Students, who miss a test or in-class activity or assignment or fail to submit an assignment on time due to exceptional circumstances, are required to notify their professor in advance of the class whenever possible. A make-up test may be supplied for students who provide an acceptable explanation of their absence and/or acceptable documentation explaining their absence (e.g., a medical certificate). All make-up tests are to be written at a time and place specified by the professor upon the student's return. Alternately, students may be given an opportunity to earn the associated marks by having a subsequent test count for the additional marks. Exceptional circumstances may result in a modification of due dates for assignments. 4. Unless otherwise specified, assignments and projects must be submitted at the beginning of class. 5. Students must complete every assignment as an individual effort unless, the professor specifies otherwise. 6. Since there may be instances of grade appeal or questions regarding the timely completion of assignments and/or extent of individual effort, etc., students are strongly advised to keep, and make available to their professor, if requested, a copy of all assignments and working notes until the course grade has been finalized. 7. There will be no resubmission of work unless this has been previously agreed to or suggested by the professor. 8. Students must submit all assignments in courses with practical lab and field components in order to pass the course.

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Essential Employability Skills
Essential Employability Skills emphasized in the course:

  • Communication Skills - Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken, visual form that fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.
  • Communication Skills - Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Skills - Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving - Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.
  • Information Management Skills - Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.
  • Information Management - Locate, select, organize and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.
  • Interpersonal Skills - Show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.
  • Interpersonal Skills - Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.
  • Personal Skills - Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.
  • Personal Skills - Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

General Education
This General Education course relates to the following themes as specified by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

  • Civic Life

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar
Students may apply to receive credit by demonstrating achievement of the course learning outcomes through previous relevant work/life experience, service, self-study and training on the job. This course is eligible for challenge through the following method(s):

  • Interview
  • Other

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: In-Class
Professor: Multiple Professors
RequiredTextbookIntroduction to Politics, Garner, R, Oxford University Press, Second Canadian Edition, 2017
OptionalOtherMclean, I. & McMillan, A. (Eds.) (2009). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Third Edition. New York : Oxford University Press
OptionalOtherDyck, R. (Ed.) (2012). Studying Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Fourth Edition. Toronto: Nelson

Applicable student group(s): Cross College General Education elective
Course Details:
Module 1: Power and Ideology
Unit 1: Power and politics
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 2 (pp. 46-59)
Unit 2: Political ideologies Part 1
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 5 (pp.89-99)
Unit 3: Political ideologies Part 2
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 6(pp.102-105)
-Reflection (15%)
Module 2: Democracy and Voting
Unit 4: Introduction to democracy
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 3(pp.55-69)
-Quiz 1 (5%)
Unit 5: Political parties and elections 
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 11(pp.219-236)
Unit 6: Civil society
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 12(pp.238-260)
-Quiz 2
-Midterm (25%)
Module 3: The State and its Institutions
Unit 7: Constitutions and the law
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 8(pp.161-180)
Unit 8: The legislative branch 
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 9(pp.183-203)
- Case study analysis (20%)
Module 4: International Relations
Unit 9: Theories of international relations
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 15(pp.303-320)
Unit 10: International Politics of Climate Change
-International Panel on Climate Change (2018). Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC (Summary for Policymakers). Retrieved from https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/summary-for-policy-makers/, (Introduction – to B.6.3)
-Quiz 3 (5%)
Unit 11: Conflict and security
-Introduction to Politics, Chapter 17(pp.342-360)
-Final test (25%)


Sheridan Policies

All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Academic Integrity: The principle of academic integrity requires that all work submitted for evaluation and course credit be the original, unassisted work of the student. Cheating or plagiarism including borrowing, copying, purchasing or collaborating on work, except for group projects arranged and approved by the professor, or otherwise submitting work that is not the student's own, violates this principle and will not be tolerated. Students who have any questions regarding whether or not specific circumstances involve a breach of academic integrity are advised to review the Academic Integrity Policy and procedure and/or discuss them with the professor.

Copyright: A majority of the course lectures and materials provided in class and posted in SLATE are protected by copyright. Use of these materials must comply with the Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Students may use, copy and share these materials for learning and/or research purposes provided that the use complies with fair dealing or an exception in the Copyright Act. Permission from the rights holder would be necessary otherwise. Please note that it is prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote. It is also prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own or your own work with the intent to assist others in cheating on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote.

Intellectual Property: Sheridan's Intellectual Property Policy generally applies such that students own their own work. Please be advised that students working with external research and/or industry collaborators may be asked to sign agreements that waive or modify their IP rights. Please refer to Sheridan's IP Policy and Procedure.

Respectful Behaviour: Sheridan is committed to provide a learning environment that supports academic achievement by respecting the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of every person engaged in the learning process. Behaviour which is inconsistent with this principle will not be tolerated. Details of Sheridan's policy on Harassment and Discrimination, Academic Integrity and other academic policies are available on the Sheridan policy website.

Accessible Learning: Accessible Learning coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. For more information or to register, please see the Accessible Learning website (Statement added September 2016)

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Any changes to course curriculum and/or assessment shall adhere to approved Sheridan protocol. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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