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Introduction to Political Science

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSC 103

       Course Name: Introduction to Political Science

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

None

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines the primary fields within political science. Content includes political philosophy; empirical political theory; American politics; comparative politics; international relations; research techniques; general concepts used in the study of politics, such as socialization, groups, etc. IAI S5 903

IV.   Learning Objectives

A.    Identify and describe the scope of the discipline as well as the scope of the primary fields within the discipline.
B.    Describe and explain the concepts and terminology of the discipline.
C.    Analyze the basic research techniques of the discipline.
D.    Evaluate and interpret articles which result from that research.

V.    Academic Integrity

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Details of the Code of Academic Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.

VI.   Sequence of Topics

A.    Overview: Politics as the Management of Public Conflict
        1.    Sources of conflict in a society
        2.    How conflict becomes a part of the public agenda
        3.    Elements of political strength

B.    Political Science: The Study of Politics
        1.    The nature of the study
        2.    The terminology
        3.    The fields of study
        4.    The method: research techniques

C.    Origins of Public Conflict: Political Socialization
        1.    Development of political attitudes
        2.    Agents of socialization

D.    Origins of Public Conflict: Interest Group Politics
        1.    "Interest Group" theory
        2.    Class and interest group politics
        3.    Political tactics

E.    Origins of Public Policy: Defining the Issues
        1.    Initiating the process: pressure of a problem
        2.    Continuing the process: from problems to issues
        3.    Participants in the process: who defines the issues?

F.    Decision Making: Formulating of Public Policy
        1.    Who makes the policy decisions
        2.    Factors influencing decisions

G.    Policy Implementation
        1.    Bureaucrats and bureaucracy
        2.    Administrative Organization
        3.    Problems of bureaucracy
H.    Models of the Policy Process
        1.    Conciliation
        2.    Command

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
A.    Read a standard textbook and research materials.
B.    Write outside of class the equivalent of 12 - 14 double spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other  kinds of writing.
C.    Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of- class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.