ASU political science course utilizes applied learning


Matt Oxford

Applied learning translates classroom knowledge to real-world situations. Being in an applied learning course could impact a student’s abilities in teamwork, communication and problem solving.

In the midst of the presidential primaries, Kim Fridkin, a professor in Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies, asked her students to take on the role of politician, reporter, campaign strategist and voter in her Campaigns and Elections course. Student groups were assigned presidential candidates to focus on.

“After learning how psychology and the media dictate political behavior,” said Celeste Delaune who was assigned into the Hilary Clinton group, “it made me look deeper and more thoroughly into each candidate so I could form my own opinions.”

The first major project involved students utilizing survey tools to poll the public on their respective candidate. Students used these tools to gain insight on the favorability of their candidate as well as to get a sense on where their candidate succeeds and fails.

Each group would take their findings and the knowledge they’ve gained from class, to produce a campaign ad for their respective candidate. Whereas the Donald Trump group used their findings to create an ad to embrace their candidate’s negativity, the Ted Cruz group highlighted their candidates’ positive attributes.

The class was able to vote on which candidates would be participating in the mock debate. One member of the two winning groups were selected to speak in the debate as their respective candidates. They did so in front of School of Politics and Global Studies professor Gina Woodall’s Government and Politics class.

“What I enjoyed the most from this class was that since I was working for a specific candidate, I was forced to sit down and watch both Democratic and Republican debates, rallies, and campaign speeches for class discussion and my own candidate’s positions,” said Caitlyn Hendricks-Costello who was assigned the Trump group. “I had to remove my personal opinion for the duration of the class so I learned so much about both parties and all the candidates without a bias lens.”

See a listing of some of the other courses that the School of Politics and Global Studies has geared around the election.