What is the real motivation for students to earnestly strive to engage difficult course material if they know full well that the next time their class meets their instructor will clarify all that they should have gained from the readings, and will identify what they should know for the exam? All too often the undergraduate experience suffers a perpetual cycle of teachers anticipating that their students simply “won’t get it”—or worse, that their students won’t even try to engage the material—and of students expecting that their mere presence in class will sufficiently earn them a respectable grade: cementing the false belief that loose understandings and marginal efforts are the hallmark of a successful college career.
As part of a broader effort to break this vicious circle, these discussion boards require students to engage in critical dialogue with their classmates about various contemporary political and moral issues that they study. And in having them scrutinize each other’s arguments—which requires that they reconstruct the arguments advanced by the authors they have been assigned to read—students are pressed to think for themselves and to refine their abilities to write clear, concise, and convincing position papers.
|PSCI 3171: Gov’t./Capitalism in the U.S. (2015)||PSCI 3064: EPT (2014)|