I strongly believe in the pedagogical value of active learning in the college classroom. In order to facilitate this goal, I have developed an extensive list of hands-on activities, assignments, and multi-day simulations for most of my classes. Below is a brief description of two “assignment collections” that I have published with my colleague Sarah Fisher.

 

Collection 1: Active Learning in Political Science Research Methods

At the University of Idaho, I have taught “Introduction to Research Methods” on numerous occasions. In that context, my colleague Sarah Fisher and I have developed a bank of hands-on activities and assignments. These elements are described in detail in a published article in the Journal of Political Science Education and they include activities on how to teach content analysis and Most-Similar/Different Systems Designs to undergraduate students. A link to the article can be found here.

 

Collection 2: Multi-Day Simulation of a Constitutional Convention

Central Premise: a country just overthrew an authoritarian leader. The four major ethnic groups of the country convene in the capital in order to write a new democratic constitution.

Learning goals for students: understand the advantages and disadvantages of various constitutional elements such as federalism/unitarism, presidentialism/parliamentarism and the electoral system.

The background materials for this simulation have been published in Social Studies Research and Practice. A link to the article can be found here. If you are interested in the powerpoint-version of the materials, please send me an email. This simulation does not only work in the college classroom. Sarah Fisher has used this activity successfully when working with Indian middle school students.

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