Latin America: The Countries and the Peoples
SPAN 3550
3 Credit Hours

Course Information
Course Description: This course is an introduction to Spanish-speaking Latin America. In this course, we will examine the commonalities as well the unique national experiences of the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. The course will address the social, politica,l and economic factors that have shaped modern Latin America. Initial units will provide general information on the region and its history. Subsequent units will examine individual countries with a focus on Mexico, Cuba, Central America, and Argentina. No knowledge of Spanish is required. The course is taught entirely in English.
Course Objectives: After completing the course students should be able to:
  1. Identify the individual countries of Latin America and provide basic information about their geography, political systems, history and culture.
  2. Discuss the geographical, social, political and economic factors that have shaped the Latin America of today.
  3. Describe some of the unique cultural products of the countries under consideration.
  4. Explain the importance of understanding Latin America.
Prerequisites and Corequisites: There are no pre-requisites for this course.
No knowledge of Spanish is required.
Course Topics: Geography, history, politics, economic development, arts, music, literature, and social practices of representative Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America
Specific Course Requirements: A basic knowledge of the World Wide Web and computer navigation is necessary.
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:

Supplementary Materials: Web-based material available through links within the course units
Hardware Requirements:

See hardware requirements at

Software Requirements: Microsoft Word is recommended. Some of the web sites are enhanced by software for sound such as Real Player.
Assessment and Grading
Testing Procedures: Testing will be on-line.
Grading Procedure: Grades are based on quiz and exam scores, a written assignment, and participation in discussions. All of these should reflect students’ understanding of the readings in the text and on-line materials. There will be one quiz, a midterm, and a final exam. Students will also be required to post discussions based on questions provided in the course content units or in response to assigned web activities. There will be one written assignment.
Grading Scale:

Quiz: 10%
Discussions postings: 20% (each set of two discussions = 5 points)
Written Assignment: 10%
Midterm Exam: 30%
Final Exam: 30%

The course grade will be based on the cumulative points as follows:
A = 450 – 500
B = 400 – 449
C = 350 – 399
D = 300 – 349
F = Less than 300

Assignments and Participation
Assignments and Projects: Students will read assigned pages in the text and on-line material for each unit. Each unit contains a list of learning objectives to guide students through the readings as well as a list of terms and names that students must know. Discussion topics and written assignment topic are included in the course content units and on the calendar.
Class Participation: Interaction with other students is an important component of the course. Students must participate by posting discussions on the topics assigned in a timely manner. Deadlines for discussion postings are included in the units. Students are also expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource and to check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements.
Punctuality: Students need to consult the course calendar for due dates for the written assignment and discussion postings. Discussions will close on announced dates and no further discussion will be accepted. Grade for the written assignment will be lowered if late. Exams will be available only on the announced dates.
Course Ground Rules


Academic honesty: Discussion postings, quizzes and exams, and the written assignment must be your own work. Books and notes are not to be used during quizzes or exams. Be sure that you fully document your sources in the written assignment. Not doing may be considered plagiarism, which would result in an F grade.

Students are expected to:

- Read all assigned material for each unit before continuing on to the next one.
- Learn how to navigate in WebCT.
- Keep current on all course announcements.
- Use the assigned college or university e-mail address as opposed to a personal e-mail address.
- Address technical problems immediately.
- Observe course etiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications
Email: 1.) Always include a subject line.

2.) Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.

3.) Use standard fonts.

4.) Do not send large attachments without permission.

5.) Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.

6.) Respect the privacy of other class members.
Discussion Groups: 1.) Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion.

2.) Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather than starting a new topic.

3.) Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.

4.) Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.

5.) Be positive and constructive in discussions.

6.) Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.
Chat: The Chat tool will not be used in this class.


The Tennessee Board of Regents Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. The WebCT version of the syllabus is the official version. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

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