Having created a pre- and post-test for my introductory course on international relations, it’s time to do the same for comparative politics. As regular readers of this blog know, I have an unusual approach to teaching this subject — themes and competitive presentations rather than lectures on government institutions.
My primary objective of the course — which I state in the syllabus — is to provide students with an opportunity to acquire some sense of what they do and do not know about the world. In other words, I want them to recognize that not everyone in the world has the same experiences and perspectives they do — because of cultural, historical, geographic, and economic differences. I focus more on getting students curious about why political institutions and patterns of political behavior vary from one part of the world to another than getting them to memorize exactly what those differences are.
This approach makes it difficult to reduce course content to a series of multiple choice test questions, but the questions that I came up with are listed below. As before, this process of created a pre-test/post-test has caused me to think harder than I usually do about what specific learning outcomes I want to structure the course around.
- Modernization is . . .
- A revolution results in . . .
- A person’s political identity is often based on . . .
- Genocide is . . .
- The speed or success of democratization can be affected by . . .
- Liberal democracy is usually defined as including . . .
- A state is . . .
- A nation is . . .
- Nationalism is the belief that . . .
- Power is . . .
- Authority is . . .
- Legitimacy is . . .
- Political economy is the study of . . .
- In a parliamentary system of democratic government . . .
- In a presidential system of democratic government . . .