Interactive, Video-based course
26 half-hour videos
Video Preview / Course Demonstration
Preview Video Voices in Democracy: United States Government
explores contemporary issues as examples of our government in action. As the title suggests, it is citizen-activist oriented in its approach to the study of political science—
focusing on interviews with national experts and a variety of political figures, and; using actual documentary footage to bring the action to the student, the course achieves what the traditional classroom sometimes cannot. Course Objectives
- Acquire a general knowledge of the nature and scope of the purpose, the structure, and the organization of the national government
- Understand the significance and importance of the U.S. Constitution as it reflects the culture, values, and expectations of the people in changing times
- Acquire an understanding of problems solved through intergovernmental relations in the system of federalism
- Develop knowledge about the potential for individual involvement in the political community to affect policy
- Develop a basic knowledge of political parties and interest groups and how they impact policymaking
- Appreciate the responsibilities of the Congress, the presidency, the federal courts, and the bureaucracy in policy development and implementation
- Understand the relationship between government and individual liberties
- Democratic Voices in a Changing Society - Explains how people in a representative democracy can affect change in the government to address current and future societal needs.
- The Living Constitution - Illustrates the constitution as a living document as it is interpreted and changed to reflect the conditions of the times.
- The Constitution in Crisis - Describes how the constitution has weathered varied crises such as the Civil War, presidential assassinations, and Watergate.
- Federalism - Illustrates the complexity of the balance of power between the state and national governments as experienced over the life of the country.
- Intergovernmental Relations - Implementation of the welfare program is used to illustrate how intergovernmental relations are necessary in solving problems which cross-governmental jurisdictions.
- Public Opinion and Political Socialization - Illustrates how social and demographic characteristics are linked to political values and public opinions.
- Participation in Democracy - Shows a wide variety of political activities which can be used to provide a voice for the participants.
- Mass Media and Government - Illustrates the interdependent and sometimes adversarial relationship between media and government.
- Interest Groups - Describes the different types of interest groups and illustrates the techniques they use to influence the branches of government.
- Political Parties - Illustrates how individuals can get involved in political party activities and how continued involvement creates increasing personal political power over time.
- Media and Elections - Describes why media are so important to political campaigning and analyzes how candidates control and respond to the media as the media carry out their responsibilities in providing election news.
- Presidential Elections - Summarizes the various strategies used by candidates in the 1996 presidential election including media, polling, and fund raising.
- Congressional Elections - Examines the major aspects of congressional campaigns including funding, media, polling, and use of volunteers and media consultants.
- Congress - Illustrates the characteristic make-up of the membership in Congress and analyzes how committee positions, seniority, officers and staff support relate to power in Congress.
- Legislative Process - Illustrates the relationship between the committee system and the lawmaking process and shows when and how an individual or group can affect the legislative process.
- Congress and the President - Examines the cooperative relationship and potential conflict between the President and Congress as each branch carries out its constitutional responsibilities.
- The Presidency - Examines how presidential management style influences the structure and power of the office and how the relationship between the President, Vice President, Cabinet, and White House Staff can affect policy.
- Bureaucracy - Explains the roles bureaucrats play as politicians, policymakers, and non-political public servants and examines the difficulties of presidential reform and control of the bureaucracy.
- Domestic Policy - Illustrates the processes, factors and influences that shape domestic policy and their impact on people in the United States.
- Foreign Policy - Documents the roles of the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the intelligence communities and Congress as they advise the President on foreign policy decision making.
- Global Politics - Illustrates the interconnectedness of United States foreign policy with events and institutions around the world.
- Federal Courts - Examines the federal courts as political institutions that interpret the law and make policy within the political and social environment of the times. Examines how the philosophical composition of the Supreme Court impacts judicial decisions.
- Criminal Justice - Examines the interrelationship between the perception of the rate of serious crime and the "tough on crime" political response. Analyzes the effectiveness of current solutions to crime including the death penalty, life with no parole, and rehabilitation.
- Due Process of Law - Compares and contrasts the decisions of the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist courts in dealing with the rights of the accused and the procedural safeguards of due process.
- First Amendment Freedoms - Illustrates the importance of freedom of speech, press and assembly in order for full participation in a democracy.
- Struggle for Equal Rights - Examines the impact of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination on everyone in the United States and stresses the need to continually strive for full equality.
The aim of the course is to provide knowledge and insights to empower students for political involvement for the rest of their lives.
Design and Production Team
Government Content Specialist - Eileen Lynch has a PhD in Political Science and College Teaching, an MA and BA in Political Science from the University of North Texas. She has been named teacher of the year at Brookhaven College and has taught for 30 years. She has been involved in content development for several United States Government telecourses during the past 25 years with the Dallas County Community College District.
Project Director - Linda Condos' experience spans two continents, coming to the United States having served in a management position with Education Television in New Zealand. Her background in education includes roles as programmer, program manager, executive producer of telecourses, project manager, and producer of local and national programs.
Senior Instructional Designer - Nora Coto Busby has been involved in instructional design since 1978, designing training programs for business and working with faculty on curriculum development projects. Her recent focus involves telecourses, interactive multimedia and Web (Internet) based courses. She received her MS degree in Instructional Design and Development/Educational Media from Florida State University and is currently completing her doctorate in Adult Education with a specialization in Educational Technology.
Producer - Julia Dyer has produced film and television for a wide range of uses, from pure entertainment to corporate motivation to criminal rehabilitation. She first turned her hand to telecourses as supervising producer on It's Strictly Business, released in the fall of 1997.
Co-Producer - John Sparks has spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism. His work has been recognized with many awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award and the DuPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.
Telecommunications Information Specialist - Evelyn Wong has a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Advertising from the Philippines. She has worked in the Dallas County Community College District for over 10 years in an administrative capacity. She was a staff writer for Manila Women's Wear magazine for two years prior to coming to the United States. She has been involved in the production of several telecourse guides.
Production Assistant - Debra Brown has a BA in Broadcast Journalism from the University of North Texas. She came to the LeCroy Center after interning at WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas. She has been involved in telecourse production for four years.
Co-author of the Telecourse Guide for Voices in Democracy - Linda Camp Keith is a professor of political science in the Collin County Community College District. She has taught political science in the Dallas County Community College District, at the University of North Texas, and at the University of Texas at Dallas. She earned a bachelors degree in government and politics at the University of Texas at Dallas and a masters degree in political science at the University of North Texas. Currently she is a PhD candidate at University of North Texas. She has co-authored articles on the US Supreme Court justices and has co-authored a chapter on the International Monetary Fund and human rights.
Co-author of the Telecourse Guide for Voices in Democracy - Sue Lee has taught college-level government courses since 1981. In 1987-1988, she served as the Content Specialist for the DCCCD telecourse Government by Consent. Sue Lee has numerous national publications, the latest being the Test Item File for Politics in States And Communities by Thomas Dye. Ms. Lee received her BA and BS degrees in Government from Texas Woman's University and her MA from the University of Texas at Arlington; she has done doctoral studies at Texas Woman's University and the University of North Texas.
Executive-in-Charge - Pamela K. Quinn is Assistant Chancellor for the R. Jan LeCroy Center for Educational Telecommunications of the Dallas County Community College District. With a BS from the University of Kansas and a MS from Texas A&M University-Commerce, she has over 25 years of experience in education and television, in teaching, public broadcasting, and administration. She has served as a board member and consultant on numerous national organizations promoting educational telecommunications.
Voices in Democracy: United States Government was developed through the efforts of a number of outstanding individuals. Among those who made a significant contribution to the project are the members of the national and local advisory committees.
- Professor Frank McComb, DeKalb College - Central Campus, Government Professor, Clarkston, Georgia
- Professor Russell Ross, University of Iowa, Professor of Government, Iowa City, Iowa
- Donald Jansiewicz, Carroll Community College, Professor of Government, Westminster, Maryland
- Dr. Neil Sapper, Amarillo College, Telecourse Coordinator, Amarillo, Texas
- Bettie Baker, Cuyahoga Community College - Metropolitan Campus, Government Professor, Albany, Oregon
- Douglas E. Clark, Linn-Benton Community College, Professor of Government, Cleveland, Ohio
- Dr. Larry Edwards, Rose State College, Dean of Social Sciences and Government Professor, Midwest City, Oklahoma
- Dr. Ronald Stocker, Tarrant County Junior College District, Government Professor, Fort Worth, Texas
- Rudy Rountree, Government Professor, Brookhaven College Robert Little, Government Professor, Brookhaven College
- Gerald Stanglin, Government Professor, Cedar Valley College Lincoln Rolling, Government Professor, Cedar Valley College
- Bob Trotter, Government Professor, El Centro College
- Ray Hill, Government Professor, Eastfield College
- Jimmie Strain, Government Professor, Mountain View College
- Lynn Brink, Government Professor, North Lake College
- Jim Duke, Government Professor, Richland College
- Kathy Yates, Government Professor, Richland College