Polisci Lounge

What we're talking about in PoliSci

Same-Sex Marriage Timelines

With the recent SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, I've been keeping my eye out for new resources to use when teaching about issues in American Government through the case of same-sex marriage. Pew Research Center's State by State Interactive Timeline does a nice job of efficiently capturing the issue's history, showing changes in policies state by state, over the last 20 years. It serves as a nice primer for discussion of the impact of the SCOTUS ruling on states.

Continue to the full post for more resources.

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Survey Says


As we mentioned earlier in April, we conducted our spring student survey and asked students about their experiences using Soomo's webtext, Central Ideas in American Government . Students who completed the survey were automatically entered in a drawing for an iPad! We stick by our word, and this semester's winner was a student at Wells College in New York, whose survey comment read, 

"This webtext has been amazing. Clear information, easy navigating and interesting assignments."
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Presidential Viability of Superheroes

superheroIn Soomo's American government webtext, Central Ideas in American Government , there is a poll in the presidency chapter that asks students, "Which superhero do you think would make the best president?"  The options students select from include:  Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and the Incredible Hulk. 

Recently, a student emailed us to let us know that actually, only one of the superheroes listed could legally become president. 

Continue to the full post for his explanation. 

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Infographic: How Laws Are Made

Laws_InfograhpicProfessor Jocelyn Evans recently shared this infographic about the legislative process. Titled, "How Our Laws Are Made," the infographic looks like a colorful board game that walks students through the ins and outs of every legislative step (and obstacle) in a bill's journey to becoming law. The infographic won the 2010 Design for America Award, sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation

Be sure and check out other 2010 design winners including the County Sin Rankings. (I don't even know what to think about that.) 

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Foreign Policy's 2013 Failed States Index

FailedstatesForeign Policy's annual Failed State Index has just been released. The interactive, color coded map offers a visual way for polisci students to explore the failed state status of countries.  Click on a country, and a whole slew of stats and data appear below the map, including ranking by year (from 2013 to 2010 is included) and scores in categories (ranging from Uneven Development to Human Rights.)    

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Central Ideas in American Government 4e

cia4We are so very pleased to announce the publication of the fourth edition of Central Ideas in American Government. Authored by Dr. Jocelyn Evans (University of West Florida) and Dr. Kristy Michaud (California State University-Northridge), the edition includes the same great features as previous editions such as polls, Get the Gist study questions, Your Turn questions, and our engaging assignments. 

And because the webtext is completely online, a picture of student learning emerges as students work through the content, which can be viewed using Course Analytics. Continue to the full post for a list of new and updated assignments (with links).

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Spotlight: New American Government Assignments

howtheyruleimageWe are pleased to announce the release of some new and updated American government assignments, which are available for both Central Ideas in American Government and Americans Governing

Click the assignment titles below (in bold) to take a peek. These assignments are available in multiple choice or short answer formats.

  • Old MacDonald Had An Agency  - In recent decades there has been amazing growth in the organic food movement. This assignment looks at the federal standards governing accreditation for organic farmers and the role of the USDA as a clientele agency. (Special thanks to Jocelyn Evans for her help creating this assignment.)
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Survey Time!

Next week we'll begin surveying students about their experiences using Soomo's webtexs. And as a bonus, students who complete the survey are automatically entered in a drawing for an iPad! Last semester's winner was a student at Monroe County Community College, so let your students know that we really do give away an iPad.

Fall 2012 Survey Responses

Student and professor feedback is very important to us because it helps us prioritize new content and feature development. Below are a few highlights from last semester's survey.
  • 77% of students indicated that subscribing and accessing their webtext was a "piece of cake," but 6% had to get help. (We've recently updated our subscription pages to make this process work more smoothly for students.)
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