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Course Redesign ePortfolio Showcase

Political Science

Explore the open teaching ePortfolios that capture faculty’s course redesign experiences and accomplishments. Each ePortfolio opens the faculty’s and institution’s practices for others to learn, adopt, and adapt for their own instructional needs.

e-Portfolio Title Author Campus
Flipping POLS 421: Methods of Political Inquiry

The redesign of POLS 421: Methods of Political Inquiry will be crucial in meeting the upcoming needs for an upper division social science statistics course. Currently the course is able to meet the needs of the approximate 25 Public Administration students in the fall semester who need the course for their major, but beginning in AY 2014-15 all Criminal Justice students (approx. 500 majors) will be required to take POLS 421 as well. POLS 421 will be redesigned using a 'flipped' model (e.g., primary instruction occurs online prior to class attendance).

Weber, Lori CSU Chico
Redesigning POSC 100 with Active Learning

This program is part of a national American Democracy Project (ADP) initiative incorporating public sphere pedagogy to improve academic success for students enrolled in POSC 100, Introduction to American Politics. Students work in teams of 6-7, researching public affairs issues during the semester, culminating in a Town Hall Meeting event each semester. The THM will be led by the student teams, involving other students, university faculty and administrators, and government, non-profit, and business leaders. By engaging students in active learning, focused on an exciting cumulative event, the THM is aimed at increasing student success in the POSC 100 course: reducing repeatable grades, and increasing overall interest in public affairs and civic engagement.

Spitzer, Scott CSU Fullerton
Online American Political Institutions

In this project we redesigned the online Title 5 course to allow multiple sections to share online content, freeing faculty to work more closely with students. The class was built on the Moodle 2 platform, utilizing publisher course packages (online textbook and ancillaries), individualized faculty lectures using the TED format of multiple talks under 18 minutes each -- maximizing viewer receptiveness and cognition, posted lecture outlines, and iterative assignments and exams allowing students to lay a meaningful theoretic foundation upon which they can scaffold layers of content knowledge.
Because the course content is developed and posted prior to the semester and shared between multiple sections, faculty are freed to engage students directly in discussion forums and through individualized interventions as appropriate to individual student performance. The resulting learning environment leverages individualized faculty engagement and encourages differentiated learning. The net effect will be to reduce the number of sections needed while increasing the capacity of faculty to work closely with students at risk. All materials and interactions are ADA compliant.

Michaud, Kristy CSU Northridge
PSCI 110 Online Course-ReDesign

The course re-design was initiated in 2010 to transition a semester-long three-meetings-a-week for 50-minutes course of 150 students to a semester-long hour-and-twenty- minute face-to-face meeting once a week hybrid course with 150 students. Following the initial course re-design, in 2013, a fully on-line course was developed as an eight-week summer class with 45 students. The course will be taught as a semester-long fully on-line course in Spring 2016 with 60 students. This is a high-demand course that is critical to efficient progress-to-degree. The College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CAHSS) encouraged the Department of Politics to transform the course so that multiple formats of the same course (e.g., fully face-to-face and fully on-line) are taught in the same semester to accommodate different learning styles and student needs.

Burkhalter, Stephanie Humboldt State
Redesigning the Intro to American Government Experience
By challening the traditional American Government classroom experience, student engagement and participation in the course can significantly increase. By enhancing the learning experienve students perform better and earn higher marks in the class.
Etheridge-Darnell, Karalee CSU Fullerton
Active Political Engagement through Adaptive Learning Assignments

POLS 150 is a required General Education (GE) course for all students to graduate, and has proven to be a difficult course to pass for many students. In teaching this course, I have found that many students general are not intrinsically interested in the subject. The biggest challenge is getting them to accept the idea that government matters to them and belongs to them. Indeed, what goes on in Washington seems relatively abstract to them and I want to find ways for them to relate to what goes on there. I have, in the past, made efforts and tried to create assignments, that help them understand that this material is important not just for the exams, but also to increase their cultural and civic literacy. However, I do not feel that I have been as successful as I would like in these endeavors. A program that more actively engages students in contemporary discussions of the political could help them overcome their disinterest in government, which should help them relate better to the vocabulary of the course, and therefore increase their success rates.

Culbert, Gar CSU Los Angeles
Creating Engaged Learning Communities via U-Courses for Political Science 155

In this active, project-based course, teams of students work intensively to apply course concepts to addressing issues, problems, and policies in various communities. By working with each other, mentors, faculty and community activists, we explore the challenges of fostering innovations in government policy on the issues we uncover and research.

We examine government, enabling us to see how social and political values shape public policy. As students research, write and act on issues they come to care about, they have the opportunity to explore the context of critical issues of concern to our campus and community. We work with a diverse set of interests, think outside of the box, breach boundaries, and get our hands dirty doing this authentic work.

The U-Course provides credit for students' required writing course and for the required American Government course (English 130 and Political Science 155). Within the U-course students are treated as emerging professionals and innovators. Their work is project-based and is supported by student mentors who act as "more capable peers". Projects may include blogs, mock political campaigns, community projects, simulations, films, interactive exhibits, and much more. Students improve on creative thinking and writing abilities in order to create a social and political policy future that reflects their values.

Ertle, Ellie CSU Chico
Simulation of Political Meetings in Intro to American Politics Redesign

The student will be able to place him/herself within the context of the American political system, and identify how his/her own life chances are shaped by political institutions. The student will engage in self-reflection on her/his own political orientation, its origins, and its consequences. The student will demonstrate his/her ability to critically assess political writing, past and present political conditions, and the role of citizenship in America's representative democracy.

DeWitt, Darin CSU Long Beach
Politics as Performance Art: Interpreting Hamilton, The Musical, in an American Institutions Course

In this redesigned course each of 7 student Groups selected as their focus 3 of the 46 hip-hop/rap songs from the musical Hamilton, all of which are grounded in historical documents. Students analyzed and interpreted their selected songs, reworking the material to be reflective of their own lives/POV in a flipped classroom environment throughout the quarter. The course was framed by the question: How can art help us understand American government?

Bergman, Elizabeth CSU East Bay
Flipping Political Science Course with Supplemental Instruction and Active Learning

POLS 281 is a required course for all Political Science majors at CSULA. It is also a course that has proven particularly difficult course to pass for many students. In teaching this course, I have found that many students general are not intrinsically interested in learning the quantitative side fo the field. Indeed, they might have chosen the major in order to avoid working with numbers in the first place and believe that they do not have the requisite skills to pass the course. More to the point, there is a lot of fear surrounding this course. Moreover, there it is difficult generating buy-in as students do not intrinsically understand how numbers are an essential part of the discipline. This redesign is meant to help students a) overcome this fear, b) adapt to the individual learning styles of each student, and c) learn how to be critical consumers of quantitative data.

Culbert, Gar CSU Los Angeles
Enhancing Student Engagement in a Large Lecture Lower-Division GE Course

POLS 1000 is a lower-division GE course that fulfills the CSU's American Institutions requirement. Every undergraduate student is required to complete this requirement, and most will take this particular course offered by the Department of Political Science. Class size ranges from about 40 students to as many as 200 students. My course redesign is mean for a large lecture course of between 125 and 200 students. Typically, large-lecture courses revolve around the "sage-on-a-stage" format; attendance can be low, and student engagement both in class and outside of class is often minimal or sporadic. My course redesign will be based on two major elements: (1) integration of course material with Moodle primarily through greater use of online assessments and ungraded online assignments (essays, forum discussions, and practice tests); and (2) an in-class polling program (REEF Polling).

Lim, Timothy CSU Los Angeles