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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

This course does not have any prerequisites, but you will be required to look up and document information on current events from the radio, television, Internet, and/or newspaper. You should know where to find these resources. Public libraries are always a good place to do a search. You should also be familiar with geography, and this course provides maps to study. This knowledge will help you understand what happens in the world around you—and how you can learn to make your mark in the world.

Course Learning Outcomes

After you have successfully completed this course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and define terms that you read and hear in the news. In addition, be able to identify their significance as related to current events.
  2. Locate states (in the United States) and nations in the news on maps.
  3. Discuss knowledgeably the role of economics in shaping current events.
  4. Explain and defend your opinion on current national and international affairs (such as OPEC, NATO, United Nations, and so forth).
  5. Describe examples of current events occurring in government on a national, state (or province), and local level.
  6. Demonstrate familiarity with Internet sites, periodicals, newspapers, and radio and television programs that report current events.

Course Materials

You will find it beneficial to have access to a globe or atlas, a public library for newspaper and magazine articles, and a dictionary.

There is no formal textbook for this course. Your “text” will be comprised of various articles (from newspapers, magazines, or the Internet) and broadcasts (on television, radio, or the Internet) dealing with current events. You are to choose at least one of these each day to read, watch, and/or hear.

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The amount of time you spend on each unit will vary depending on your previous knowledge of the area being studied, but you should plan to spend about 3–4 hours on each unit.

Self Checks

In units 1–6, there are some Self Check questions at the end of the reading material for each lesson.  These questions are not graded but will help you to prepare for the Unit quizzes.

Unit Quizzes

The computer-graded Unit quiz questions are the assignments that you will complete at the end of each unit. You will receive feedback on each incorrect answer to help you understand the correct response. These assignments do count toward your grade.

Portfolio Assignments

Units 1–6 each contain a portfolio assignment. Complete each assignment as you complete the unit, but submit them in two groups–Portfolio 1 and Portfolio 2. You will submit the unit 1 and 2 assignments in Portfolio 1 and the remaining assignments in Portfolio 2, along with your final project. For your final project, you will create your own newspaper, video, or audio news broadcast.

Important note about the portfolio assignments: As you read or listen to the news on a daily basis, it is not likely that the stories you hear will be in the same order as the kinds of news classifications asked for in the units. Unit 3 requires economics items; unit 4 requires world environmental and humanitarian items; unit 5 requires U.S. federal government items; and unit 6 requires local government items. However, you do not have to include the completed bibliography for units 3-6 until you submit your final project at the end of the course. Throughout the course, when you find a report that would fit into a unit, you can enter it into the appropriate portfolio assignment.

The format of your assignments is important. Bibliography items must be typed in a word-processing program; final project items must be in .PDF format for the newspaper or in an acceptable media format for the audio or video news broadcast. Acceptable media formats are .WAV, .MP3, .MP4, .MOV, or .WMF files, or links to online websites where you uploaded your presentation.

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It is important for you to read and study the material thoroughly. There are about 50 questions on the final exam, and they are similar to those on both the Self Check exercises and the Unit quizzes. Be sure to review each of your units before you take the final exam.

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There are six Unit quizzes, two portfolio submissions, and a final exam. Assignment and exam weights are shown on the following chart.

Assignment Percentage
Unit 1 Quiz 10%
Unit 2 Quiz 10%
Portfolio 1 Submission 5%
Unit 3 Quiz 10%
Unit 4 Quiz 10%
Unit 5 Quiz 10%
Unit 6 Quiz 10%
Final Project/Portfolio 2 Submission 15%
Final Exam (Comprehensive) 20%
Grading Scale
A 100–95%
A− 94–90%
B+ 89–86%
B 85–83%
B− 82–80%
C+ 79–76%
C 75–73%
C− 72–70%
D+ 69–66%
D 65–63%
D− 62–60%
E (fail) 59% or below

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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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Course Policies

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


6 computer-graded assignments; 2 portfolio submissions; may be resubmitted once for a fee.


1 proctored, computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass in order to pass the course.

Course Duration

You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension. 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.

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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