Virtual Integration in U.S. Senate Campaigns: An Active Learning Tool for Teaching American Government

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The learning objectives of the introductory American Government course, one of the most common entry-level political science classes in American universities, span both content knowledge and civic education. Much research has shown the pedagogical value of integrated learning—taking part in active and authentic experiences with democracy at the local, state, and national level—which links content to real-world experiences and solidifies these learning objectives. But what if it is difficult or impossible (due to resources, logistics, or location) to immerse a college classroom in a political process? In this article, I present a classroom exercise that brings content to life through a virtual integration in real-life American politics. Built around the biennial U.S. election cycle, this exercise assigns each student a candidate for a Senate race to follow throughout the course of the semester. This virtual integration engages the students in active learning by involving them in a real-time investigation of democracy in action, bringing classroom concepts to life and emphasizing the institutionalized uncertainty of electoral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Political Science Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Active learning
  • American government
  • civic engagement
  • international students
  • undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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