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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Explore elements that contribute to the unique character of America.
  2. Discuss the freedoms and principles that are incorporated in the character of America and how they have been expanded and refined throughout the years.
  3. Gain an appreciation of the legacy of freedom and justice established by the Founding Fathers.
  4. Identify individuals who have made significant contributions to building the character of America.
  5. Utilize what you have learned about the character of America as you make decisions that reflect positively on you, your family, and society.

Course Materials

No textbook is required for this course. The course content is self contained within the online course.

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This course focuses on understanding the character of America through examining the people who have contributed to its unique character. There are nine units, and as you work through each lesson, you will find Self Check questions on important facts about the reading. These questions do not count toward your grade but will help you to prepare for the unit quizzes and final exam.

Unit quizzes

The computer-graded unit quizzes are more comprehensive, asking you to apply what you have learned so far in the unit and to interpret the meanings found in the reading selections. These assignments are graded and will count for 54 percent of your total course grade, so try to do your best on them.

Portfolio Assignments

You will also be completing portfolio assignments that are found at the end of each unit. The portfolio assignment will help you apply what you have learned in the unit. The portfolios should be a fun way to express your learning. However, you will need to pay special attention to the rubric for each of the portfolio assignments to identify how each entry will be graded. There are 10 assignments, and each one is worth 2 percent of your grade. The rubrics for most of the portfolio assignments will be different, so make sure you read and understand the rubric (and the assignment) before you start. Keep these portfolio assignments together but do not submit them until you complete Unit 9. You will electronically submit them together as a complete portfolio.

A NOTE ABOUT PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is a form of cheating. It is taking the work of someone else and claiming it as your own. To simply copy and paste ideas, words, or stories from the Internet is stealing. This will NOT be tolerated.

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The final exam consists of 72 multiple-choice questions taken from all nine units. It is closed book and closed notes, but there is no time limit. The exam covers reading selections and discussion material that you will study in the course. You must recieve a 60% or higher in order to pass the final exam.

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Your grade in this course is composed of three parts: your unit quiz scores, your course portfolio grade, and the final exam grade.

Assignment Percentage
Unit 1 Quiz 6%
Unit 2 Quiz 6%
Unit 3 Quiz 6%
Unit 4 Quiz 6%
Unit 5 Quiz 6%
Unit 6 Quiz 6%
Unit 7 Quiz 6%
Unit 8 Quiz 6%
Unit 9 Quiz 6%
Portfolio Assignment 20%
Final Exam 26%
Grading Scale
A 100–93
A− 92–90
B+ 89–87
B 86–83
B− 82–80
C+ 79–77
C 76–73
C− 72–70
D+ 69–67
D 66–63
D− 62–60
E (fail) 59–0


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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Copyright © 2014 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


Summary: 9 computer-graded assignments; 1 portfolio submission; may be resubmitted once for a fee.

NOTE ON PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism will result in an incomplete on the portfolio, and you'll need to pay a $10 fee to resubmit your assignment. A second offense will result in failing the course AND possibly being disallowed to use BYU Independent Study in the future.

Final Exam

Summary: 1 proctored, computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass with a sixty percent or higher in order to pass the course.

Course Duration

You have 1 year to complete this course. You may purchase one 3-month extension if you need more than a year to complete the course. Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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