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The Solution Down the Hall: How Introductory Courses in American Government Can Engage Students
Unformatted Document Text:  “process of government” and 28 percent gave answers related to institutional components. The third most frequent response was to help students understand the importance of their role in the system (12 %). Of those that in this third group – the respondents who place student engagement as the core objective of the class--37 percent were very interested in innovation. This compares to 29 percent for those mentioning an institutional approach and 31 percent for those noting process components. Table 5 about here and Table 6 about here As for which innovations seem to engage students, the picture is a bit unclear. Using an open-ended question, respondents were asked about the innovations they have tried. “Simulations” was the lead response (17%) followed by “unique assignments (15%), group projects (14%), novel was of conducting class discussions (14%), and on-line projects (12%). A second question looked at specific technologies. Some 60 percent reports often using an overhead, 66 percent often use PowerPoint, 70 percent use Black Board or Web CT, 76 percent use films, and 80 often use the Internet. A final item queried about technologies in the future. We asked, “What aspect of technology would you suggest publishers pursue in the years ahead?” The most frequently noted technology was “simulations” (24%), followed by on-line technologies (16 percent) and improved PowerPoints (15%). Discussion Preliminary data from 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses buttress the claim that young Americans are increasingly engaged in electoral politics. Certainly Barack Obama’s connection to college students has made a difference in his campaign. Just four percent of voters 18-25 turned out for the Iowa caucuses in 2004, but in 2008 that figure more than tripled to 13

Authors: Shea, Daniel.
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“process of government” and 28 percent gave answers related to institutional components. The
third most frequent response was to help students understand the importance of their role in the
system (12 %). Of those that in this third group – the respondents who place student engagement
as the core objective of the class--37 percent were very interested in innovation. This compares
to 29 percent for those mentioning an institutional approach and 31 percent for those noting
process components.
Table 5 about here and Table 6 about here
As for which innovations seem to engage students, the picture is a bit unclear. Using an
open-ended question, respondents were asked about the innovations they have tried.
“Simulations” was the lead response (17%) followed by “unique assignments (15%), group
projects (14%), novel was of conducting class discussions (14%), and on-line projects (12%). A
second question looked at specific technologies. Some 60 percent reports often using an
overhead, 66 percent often use PowerPoint, 70 percent use Black Board or Web CT, 76 percent
use films, and 80 often use the Internet. A final item queried about technologies in the future.
We asked, “What aspect of technology would you suggest publishers pursue in the years ahead?”
The most frequently noted technology was “simulations” (24%), followed by on-line
technologies (16 percent) and improved PowerPoints (15%).
Discussion
Preliminary data from 2008 presidential primaries and caucuses buttress the claim that
young Americans are increasingly engaged in electoral politics. Certainly Barack Obama’s
connection to college students has made a difference in his campaign. Just four percent of voters
18-25 turned out for the Iowa caucuses in 2004, but in 2008 that figure more than tripled to 13


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