Syllabus for MSP-674
Welcome to Municipal Finance. This course examines the budget function and process of county, municipal, and state finance systems, the methods used to determine the needs of the community and individual agency and resource allocation to meet those needs, measuring the capability and benchmarking of the agency, preparation and presentation of the budget, and selling the budget and needs to the county or city administration.
Advisory: You should have knowledge in a course equivalent to ACC-101: Principles of Financial Accounting with a grade of C or better. You are responsible for making sure that you have the necessary knowledge.
After completing this course, you should be able to:
CO 1 Discuss the role of government in providing for goods and services to citizens.
CO 2 Evaluate how such goods and services are funded through taxation, grants, and other sources.
CO 3 Evaluate the impact of alternative financing methods to a specific activity or program.
CO 4 Develop a budget for a governmental entity, including relevant accounting statements.
CO 5 Review and analyze municipal financial statements, using ratios and other forms of metric evaluation.
CO 6 Analyze nonfinancial activities through appropriate evaluation methods.
You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.
Municipal Finance is a three-credit, online course consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 2, CO 4
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 2, CO 4, CO 5, CO 6
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 2, CO 3, CO 5
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 2, CO 3, CO 4
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 3, CO 4
Course objectives covered in this module: CO 1, CO 5, CO 6
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, complete a midterm project, and complete a final project. See below for more details.
Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.
One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in About SafeAssign.
In addition to an ungraded but required Introductions Forum in Module 1, Municipal Finance features six graded online discussions. Each module contains one discussion forum.
Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.
You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
Municipal Finance requires you to submit a written assignment to your mentor for evaluation and grading in each module. The six written assignments consist of problems from the text and other assignments as directed.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the written assignment questions before you begin each module. Conversely, be sure to complete all relevant readings before answering the questions. Before you begin to write, you might find it helpful to outline your answers, listing points you wish to make and the examples that support your ideas.
Do not copy answers from the textbook. Creative thinking and your own wording are important aspects of an effective answer. When you have completed an assignment, proofread your answers for correct grammar and spelling and be certain you have answered the questions completely.
Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.
Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.
You are required to complete a Midterm Project that consists of two parts. The first part of the project is designed to assess your ability to review financial information contained within the statements for a specific city. The second part of the project requires the creation of a budget with an understanding of the organizational behavior that occurs with budgetary planning and review.
Be sure to reference the Midterm Project section of the course website for full details, requirements, and instructions. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.
At the end of the semester you are required to submit a Final Project that consists of two parts. In the first part you will review the financial information for a specific city, and in the second part you will answer a series of questions designed to assess your general knowledge of the course material.
Be sure to reference the Final Project section of the course website for full details, requirements, and instructions. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
Consider the following study tips for success:
Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.
Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.
All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at Thomas Edison State University.
Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:
Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.
If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)
Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.
Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.
Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.
If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.
If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.
Possible sanctions include:
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