Educate Editor’s Review: How Political Science is Teaching the 2020 Election’s Aftermath

by Bennett Grubbs 

Amid a tumultuous election season and presidential transition, political science faculty face unique challenges in the classroom. How are faculty organizing their post-election classes? What materials are best-suited to help undergraduates understand the 2020 election? In this Educate Editor’s Review, I provide a few examples sourced from social media, scholarly journals, popular blogs such as The Monkey Cage & Educate’s own library.

As always: Educate invites you to share your expertise. If you have teaching materials related to today’s post, please upload them via Educate’s quick submission portal. If you are interested in writing a short blog post about your approach to teaching the election, please contact us at Educate@apsanet.org.

 

How faculty are handling post-election?

Last week Syracuse University’s political science assistant professor Jenn M. Jackson led a twitter discussion asking how faculty plan to manage their classes immediately following the election. While you can read through the entire thread here, a couple trends are worth noting. First, most of the faculty who participated in the discussion are finding their students in similar places – distracted, anxious, frustrated, and unsure of key election processes. Suggestions to help included strategies to lighten student’s workload. Some recommended removing readings from the syllabus, others suggested extending due dates for assignments and exams. Many faculty members said they are dedicating entire class discussions to the election. In a separate social media post, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside, Kim Yi Dionneshared that she was going to use her virtual class time to conduct an open “Ask a Political Scientist” forum for her students, opening the floor to all questions related to election rules, process and analysis.

Media Literacy

Chelsea Kaufman, assistant professor of political science at Wingate University, touches here on a persistent problem: helping students confront disinformation. She describes asking her students to complete an assignment identifying multiple news sources to confirm media’s authenticity. Educate’s own library also features University of Southern California professor Steve Posner’s “News Facts and Analysis” teaching resource. His tool provides reading lists and questions for your students during and after the 2020 election.

Election Analysis

Jennifer N. Victor, Professor of Political Science at George Mason University, asked her social media followers for the best nonpartisan election analysis to share with undergraduate students. You can see the replies here. Replies include analysis of intra-Democratic Party conflict, demographic maps of the state of Georgia and more.

I also want to highlight a couple other high-quality political science resources. One of the best sites for easily accessible political science public scholarship continues to be the The Monkey Cage Topic Guides. They have curated a 2020 election topic guide here. Another great place to send students is to PS: Political Science & Politics special collection: Forecasting the 2020 presidential election. All 12 of its articles are ungated and free to view. Of course, stay turned for more Election Analysis as APSA publishes in 2020 Election Reflection Series soon! Finally, if your undergraduate students were Election Poll workers, have them share their essay’s to APSA Democracy 2020 election contest.

 

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