Welcome and Orientation letter- Summer POLI 1 at De Anza- PLEASE READ THIS NOW

Dear Summer Students!

Welcome!As promised a couple of days ago, I am now sending youa longer, detailed letter to explain the structure and requirements of my summer POLI 1 class. Please read this email carefully and fully and then feel free to write to me directly . I love teaching American Politics and I hope you will share my engagement and excitement about this material.

Orientation Session:This coming Monday June 27 I will hold an on-campus, in-person orientation for students from 6 to 9 PM. This will be optional, but I will offer extra credit to those who come. We will be in De Anza's MLC 110.

Waitlisted Students:FYI, on the first day of the summer term I will add all students who are on my official class wait list.

Setting Expectations and Aligning Styles:Please make sure that your expectations and style of learning is consistent with my teaching philosophy and the requirements of this class.If you are looking for a class where you only read material and take tests anonymously, or if you are looking for a “soft” class where you don’t invest much time and energy into your learning, you should opt to take someone else’s class now.

Participation is Key to Your Learning:I want you to know right off, that while this is an online class, it is also a hands-on and participatory version of POLI 1.I strongly believe that student learning of this topic will be much more successful with a lot of public interaction, both on-line and ALSO in your community.You will be able to flexibly schedule almost all of this work into your own schedule but public and hands-on learning and engagement will be a core part of your learning experience.

Class Facebook Page: As an example of the public engagement I expect, please join the class facebook page now. You can post questions and get to know your fellow students and the class TAs. And yes, this will be a requirement for the class. You can find the facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1590484791248822/

Summer College Classes Go Really Fast:I really want all of my students to be successful. In this class we will provide you with a lot of support. But please also be aware thatthe summer session literally goes twice as fast as the normal school year.Some students think that taking a summer class is not serious and that taking a summer class on line will be easier than taking it on campus. Neither of these is true.A 4-unit summer class requires EIGHT hours per week of class time, and then homework like reading, writing, etc ON TOP OF THIS. Things move REALLY fast. In this class there is a lot of reading, videos to watch, two weekly quizzes, class participation in the form of a weekly chat dialogue with a class partner and one additional writing assignment each week. Please make sure you have time for the summer session and, again, that your expectations are in line with the requirements of this class.

I’m eager to get to know you and to introduce you to American politics. I truly hope you can come to the orientation so we can meet face-to-face and you can get to know some of the class TAs and your class mates.

Nicky Gonzalez Yuen, Ph.D, JD

Instructor, DeAnza College Political Science Dept

Again, Welcome! In the rest of this letter I explain the structure and details of my summer POLI 1 class.

How to Understand the Structure of the Class:

All of the details of this class are explained on the class website on my personal teaching webpage at www.nypolisci.org. If you go directly to this URL you will see that there are several tabs at the top of the page for different classes I teach. You should focus your attention on the tab for the class labeled Online POLI 1 Summer (Dist Lrning).


Once you have clicked on this tab you will then notice three major sub-tabs for

I) Syllabus

II) How to Succeed

III) Class Calendar

We’ll examine each of these below.


If you hover over the Syllabus link itself you will see the following drop down menus:

□  Overview and Learning Goals

□  Required Reading

□  Grading & Assignments

□  Turning In Work

□  Hands-on Learning

□  Extra Credit

Let's focus on each of these in turn.

1.  Overview and Learning Goals. This page describes the central class learning goals. You can also find a chart that provides an overall summary of the class topics and work due for the summer quarter. You should understand these learning goals because ALL other assignments in the class are aimed at accomplishing these learning goals.

2.  Required Texts: This explains what books, subscriptions and articles you will need and how to get them. Most of these are on-line and free, but there is one book you will have to buy, The Politics of Power, 7th Edition as well as one on-line magazine subscription for The Nation magazine. The Nation website allows you to access the first several articles free, but then you will need to pay about $10 for access for 6 months. At this point, all other online text and video resources are free.

3.  Grading and Assignments: This sub-tab explains how you earn points in the class and what you need to do to earn a given grade. You will see that we offer a variety of modes of learning and ways of demonstrating your learning. For the summer class there are 1000 possible points in the class and to earn an "A" grade you need just 934. If you are taking the class on a pass/fail basis,you need just 700 points. There are also 100 points of possible extra credit.

Various types of Assignments: On the Grading and Assignments sub-tab, you can also click on various links for directions for each type of assignment. The assignments for this class include traditional multiple choice quizzes, short homework questions, a variety of hands-on learning assignments, class participation chat dialogues, and a final exam.

o  Plan: Please come up with a plan for yourself at the beginning of the summer term to earn the grade you want, being careful to note that the summer session moves twice as fast as the regular term. In addition, note that you should pace your work each week. After the first week (when there is some work due by Friday and then again on Sunday), all assignments are due on Sunday at 10 PM.

o  Pace yourself: By Sunday of each week you will complete: Assigned readings and videos, 2 Unit Quizzes, 1 Chat Dialogue participation assignment, and 1 other piece of written work—either a homework question or a practicing democracy assignment. Note, during week #1, you also have a variety of orientation assignments due by Friday at 10 PM. Also, in the last week of the summer term (week #6) you will ALSO turn in a final exam. Start early in the week getting to your reading and other homework so you are not stuck trying to fit it all in at the last minute!!!

4.  Turning in Work: This sub-tab explains how and where to turn in your assignments. All of your work will be turned in and graded on-line using two methods:

o  Catalystis De Anza's on-line learning tool. This is where you will take your 2 Unit quizzes each week. If you are new to Catalyst, go to the"First Time Users Guide" at the bottom of the splash page for help.All other work is turned in on turnitin.com.

o  Turnitin.com is a service that allows me to evaluate and provide feedback for your work quickly and efficiently.You will use turnitin.com to submit all week other than your quizzes.

o  Photos and Cover Sheets: all written assignments must include a photo of you with a close-up that clearly shows your face. You must also use the assignment coversheets that includes grading rubrics, etc.

o  Double the Pace: Start early in the week and chip away at the reading and assignments so you do not leave them to the end of the week. Summer school is a 6-week session and so you will complete TWO units of work each week. The normal standard for a college-level class is 2-3 hours of homework for each credit unit of class. This is a 4 credit-unit class, which during the summer calls for EIGHT hours of actual class time each week. So do the math: 8 hours of class + 8 to 16+ hours of homework = 24+ hours each week. While some students can certainly get away with doing significantly less, many students find they must spend far more time than they initially planned for in order to keep up with the class.

o  Due Dates: for summer students, your first assignments for Unit 1 are due by Friday of the first week of the term. Unit 2 homework is then due on Sunday of the first week. Thereafter, all of your homework is due on Sundays by 10 PM at the end of the week. Keep track of your own pace. Again, I STRONGLY encourage you to start early in the week getting to your reading and other homework so you are not stuck trying to fit it all in at the last minute!!!

5.  Hands-On Learning: With this sub-tab you are provided with opportunities to learn using "hands-on" learning techniques. Summer students are provided over 15 "Practicing Democracy Assignments" where you can earn up to 120 points. Some of these assignments allow you to complete your activity on your own schedule from your home. Others offer you the opportunity to get out into the community and interact with others face-to-face. Most call for some kind of on-line political engagement. Read over the options and pick the three options that best suit you. One Practicing Democracy assignment each is due during week #2, #4 and #6.Be sure to include the assignment template including a photo of yourself.

6.  Extra Credit Options: The contents of this tab are pretty self-explanatory. You may earn up to 100 points of extra credit total. You will turn in any extra credit assignments using an assignment template providing information about yourself, a close-up photo showing your face, and an explanation of what you did for extra credit. This template is available via a link on the Extra Credit tab.


The second main tab I would like to focus on is the Class Calendar.

If you hover over the calendar you will see a drop-down list showing Unit #1, Unit #2, etc. up to Unit #12. Click on any of these to see the readings, videos and homework assignments due for that week. You will complete TWO units of work each week of the summer term, again, twice the pace of the normal school term.

Unit #1: The assignments for the first unit mostly have to do with setting up the logistics of the class, setting up your Catalyst and Turnitin.com accounts, Facebook page, taking the syllabus quiz, finding a chat dialogue participation partner, etc… Please complete these assignments by Friday of Week #1 and, where called for, upload them to www.turnitin.com. If you do not complete the Unit #1 work, you may be dropped for non-participation and your place in the class may be given to someone on the waitlist. There is also some reading you should do for Unit 1 on the class website, especially reading the syllabus itself, but most of your substantive class reading and regular assignments will start in Unit 2.

Unit #2 to Unit #12: Again, during the summer students complete TWO units of work each week. At the top of each Unit page you will see a list of Assigned Readings and Video Resources. Do these. You can also click on the audio links next to most reading assignments to listen to the assignments rather than reading them, if this is a more convenient mode of engaging the assigned readings. You can also do the optional reading for deeper learning but this is totally optional and no class credit is offered for these assignments. Students should also view the video resources.

You will have regular assignments to turn in for each week: 2 Unit Quizzes; 1 Chat Dialogue with a partner from class; and either a Practicing Democracy Assignments or a short Homework Assignment.

□  Weekly Quizzes: Quizzes are taken on Catalyst. In the summer you have one at the end of Week 1 and then TWO each week after that. Each Unit Quiz will have 10 questions and you will be given 15 minutes. Each quiz is worth 30 points. For first few quizzes you will have multiple attempts at the quiz and you will be given credit for your high score. Later in the term, I reduce the number of attempts you are given for each quiz. Quizzes (like all your other regular work) should be completed by 10:00 PM on Sunday. You have 11 Reading Quizzes over the term and I will throw out your lowest score over the term. Please do not procrastinate and leave the quizzes until the last minute. I strongly suggest taking 1 of your 2 weekly quizzes by Wednesday or Thursday and then the other by the Sunday deadline.

□  Homework Assignments: Over the summer you will also complete THREE Homework Assignments, during weeks 1, 3 and 5. Each is worth 50 points for a total of 150 points. You can find a link with the homework assignment and assignment coversheet/template on the Calendar pages for Units 2, 6, and 9. Thus you will have one of these short assignments due during weeks 1, 3 and 5. Download the assignment, complete your response in about 300 words for both parts, fill out the template (including a photo of yourself) and then upload your completed assignment to turnitin.com. Be sure to use the cover sheet, providing a word count, a close-up photo showing your face, etc.