A new course is coming to town: Poly sci’s Problems in American Government

A new course is coming to town: Poly sci’s Problems in American Government

Photo by C.J. Eldridge

C.J. Eldridge, News and Features Editor

In fall 2024, North Greenville University’s political science department is introducing a new elective class titled Problems in American Government.

It will be taught by Nicholas Higgins, whose goal with creating the class is to keep students up to date with news surrounding the upcoming presidential election. They will do that by producing a weekly podcast and uploading it online to view.

Higgins noticed that students even in his own classes had not been hearing about current events; he wants to use other students to rectify this problem.

“The sources of information are hard for current students to find. Given that and given there’s an election – and as a political science teacher I want students to know, I want them to vote informatively – I thought, ‘well what can I do to help them do that?’” he said.

Those thoughts turned to action, and the class is now available for students to select as they register. Its course code is PLSC 4310.

The class will be a three-hour block once per week. The first part of the class will be a newsroom, where students pitch stories and discuss the goings-on. They will then outline the topics for the day and end with recording an episode.

Higgins said, “The goal is at the end of every class to have a 30 minute podcast recorded . . . Basically I want it to be kind of like a ‘what happened the previous week?’ news roundup.”

The first week will consist of figuring out what skills the students coming into the class already have and then assigning out roles. Higgins ideal setup is to have one student following the happenings in congress, one focusing on what’s going on in South Carolina, another watching presidential news and one watching the courts.

Their jobs coming into class are to have researched two or three of the biggest topics in their areas.

Another student will have the role of interviewer. They will be the host of the podcast, asking the “topic people” questions. Lastly, someone will adopt the role of audio engineer, working behind the scenes with technology and publishing the episodes.

But these jobs aren’t concrete. Everyone will be there to help each other out.

“I would love to have at least five [students]. More is great because you can have more people doing it and then you can trade it [roles] off and things like that,” Higgins said.

The class will begin in a traditional classroom and then shift to a different location for recording later in the period. The most likely location right now for recording will be in the communication department’s news room.

All of the work that will go into producing the podcast won’t be for nothing. There are many benefits to be had from signing up for the class.

“If you want to know what’s going on in the political realm this year and get class credit for keeping up with it, this is a great opportunity,” Higgins said. “Even if you’re not political and you want to just learn the process of how things are done and made, there’s a lot of use here.”

He explained that people start podcasts for every type of business now. Taking the class will provide students with a piece of work that has been published they can refer back to when trying to get a job in the future.

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