Syllabus for SOS-425



Deliberative Democracy and Social Action offers students a comprehensive inquiry into the process of deliberative democracy and the practice of civic action. It provides a critical overview of the theoretical basis for democracy as well as a historical-evolutionary perspective on the topic. Students gain insight into how democratic theories withstand contemporary institutional challenges as they apply governance theory to current events and seek viable solutions. Students also investigate how deliberative democracy and civic action work at the local, state, national, and international levels, examining the challenges that emanate from a rapidly globalizing international environment. Deliberative Democracy and Social Action also encourages students to apply their knowledge in order to become more responsible citizens of their nation and their world.



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Analyze the primary concepts of democratic governance from historical and current perspectives.

CO2        Differentiate among the forms of democratic governance.

CO3        Discuss the processes of deliberative democracy and the means of civic action.

CO4        Apply principles of deliberative democracy to local, state, and international settings.

CO5        Analyze and discuss the challenges to civic action.

CO6        Apply theoretical elements of global democracies to real-life situations to arrive at viable solutions.

CO7        Develop a strategic plan for becoming a more responsible citizen.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0230252165


Deliberative Democracy and Social Action is a six-credit online course, consisting of five modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum, you are required to participate in eight graded online class discussions.

Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

All of these responses must be substantial. 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 or your mentor, state and support your position.

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view, and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions: responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, mature, and respectful.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete eight written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Specific directions for content and length are included in the Module Details page for each module. Because this is a 6-credit course, the reading and writing assignments will be more extensive than in many other courses.

Your response must follow APA format guidelines and should be submitted as a Microsoft Word document file. (If you cannot submit your file in in Word, please discuss other options with your mentor before submitting your first assignment.)

Final Project

You will be required to submit a final project, a paper of  between 2000 and 2500 words. This paper will allow you to synthesize the material you learned over the duration of this course and to apply it to the production of a strategic plan for a form of civic action you could personally take regarding a specific issue-area.

See the Final Project area of the course site for a full description of this assignment.

Turnitin Requirement for Final Project

You are required to submit the final project in this course to, an academic plagiarism prevention site, prior to submitting the project within your course space. You will receive immediate written feedback from Turnitin regarding writing style as well as a plagiarism gauge with tips for proper citations. You then have the opportunity to edit your assignment with this feedback in mind and resubmit it to Turnitin for additional checking. Once you are satisfied with the project, you are required to submit the Turnitin feedback (also known as the originality report)  for the final version along with the project itself within the course space.

Read carefully the information found at the following link, as it will provide instructions for this requirement: 

Turnitin FAQ Web Page

Details on accessing and using Turnitin may be found at the following link: Turnitin Details

This information can also be found within Using Turnitin for Assignments. You can locate this document in the topic list area of your course space.


Students please note: You have the option of submitting any of your assignments to Submit any additional assignments through the slots with the optional label. However, submitting other assignments is NOT a requirement and you should not submit originality reports for these assignments to your mentor.


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:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

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

Academic Dishonesty

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 and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

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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