Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Political Science Education

Publisher Name

Taylor & Francis


Experiential learning has been shown to help cultivate habits of effective democratic citizens, but it is often seen as infeasible for large classes. This need not be the case. In this paper, we describe a group project designed to introduce students in a 70-person Introduction to Politics course to the basic political processes of local government. In addition to guidance on how to implement the project, we also discuss survey data from students in the class to compare pre- and post-tests for each semester as well as comparing post-tests across two semesters. We explore how students who were enrolled in the course responded to the experiential learning component of the course on three separate dimensions: cognitive development, community awareness, and self-understanding. Ultimately, students reported that they felt civically engaged because they worked directly with community partners who they felt benefited from their involvement (community awareness) and they developed their skills for teamwork and collaboration (self-understanding). Our evaluation suggests that this group-level experiential learning project in a large course can be an effective tool for political science education as well as student development and implementing these kinds of experiential learning interventions can improve with each iteration of the project. Additionally, in light of student feedback, we provide suggestions on how other faculty members teaching large courses could incorporate this project into their own pedagogical practice.


Author Posting © Taylor & Francis, 2020. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Political Science Education, February 2020.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.