Teaching, Learning, Technology, Classroom Instructors, Political Science


Students of the pedagogy of teaching have found that cooperative/problem-based learning activities engage the learner, promote ownership of the material, advance the development of higher-level cognitive skills and increase retention better than more passive learning activities. Despite broad recognition within the political science discipline that classroom activities can and should facilitate better student learning outcomes, political science classes (both large and small) frequently have characteristics that make cooperative/problem-based learning activities more difficult to employ and less likely to succeed. Anonymity in large sections, a steep learning curve of complex concepts, and students who see passivity as the least costly approach to success combine to produce these subpar learning outcomes. Recent developments in classroom technology, however, facilitate the use of cooperative learning techniques in a wide variety of political science classroom settings. In this article, we first explore the challenges associated with promoting student engagement in political science classes. Second, we review solutions to these challenges in the instructional psychology and technology literature. Finally, we describe specific tools and techniques professors can use to promote greater student engagement in their courses. In doing so, we draw on our own recent experiences with interactive voting technology in introductory political science courses at Brigham Young University. We also make suggestions about other class venues where similar technology could be employed.

Original Publication Citation

Danny Damron & Jonathan D. Mott. 25. “Creating an Interactive Classroom: Enhancing Student Engagement & Learning in Political Science Courses,” Journal of Political Science Education, Fall Issue.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Political Science