Virtual Integration in U.S. Senate Campaigns: An Active Learning Tool for Teaching American Government

Jocelyn S Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The learning objectives of the introductory American Government course, one of the most common entry-level political science classes in American universities, span both content knowledge and civic education. Much research has shown the pedagogical value of integrated learning—taking part in active and authentic experiences with democracy at the local, state, and national level—which links content to real-world experiences and solidifies these learning objectives. But what if it is difficult or impossible (due to resources, logistics, or location) to immerse a college classroom in a political process? In this article, I present a classroom exercise that brings content to life through a virtual integration in real-life American politics. Built around the biennial U.S. election cycle, this exercise assigns each student a candidate for a Senate race to follow throughout the course of the semester. This virtual integration engages the students in active learning by involving them in a real-time investigation of democracy in action, bringing classroom concepts to life and emphasizing the institutionalized uncertainty of electoral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-217
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Political Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Active learning
  • American government
  • civic engagement
  • international students
  • undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Virtual Integration in U.S. Senate Campaigns: An Active Learning Tool for Teaching American Government'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this