Political Science Professor Uses Blogging to Teach Critical Thinking Skills

College of Charleston’s Jordan Ragusa, Assistant Professor of Political Science, has turned his political blog into a learning tool, teaching his students how they can have a civil voice in conversations surrounding national politics. Numerous class discussions have centered on his blog topics, and most recently, Ragusa’s post, “Jim DeMint’s Retirement: Good News or Bad News for Lindsey Graham?” was mentioned by The Washington Post, The Post and Courier and the influential political science blog, The Monkey Cage.

In addition, students in Ragusa’s Congress course are required to contribute to a class blog, which focuses on current political events as they relate to Congress and national elections. “I’m proud of the class blog and I know my students enjoy it,” Ragusa says. “Seeing my blog get pulled into a larger conversation in the national press shows my students that writing is important and that their blogging is more than a simple class exercise.”

At a basic level they’re learning about the U.S. Congress, how to become better writers, and what’s going on in current events, but on a deeper level, Ragusa’s students are learning critical thinking skills and how to analyze those current events and apply what they have discussed in class. “This forces students to do more than just memorize facts for an exam,” says Ragusa.

Ragusa’s curriculum supports the College’s emphasis on high impact learning. “Though blogging isn’t going to make them go out and run for office, the dialogue and social interaction among students on the blog may increase their engagement with the democratic process.”

For more information, contact Jordan Ragusa at 843.953.5219 or RagusaJM@cofc.edu. To read his political blog, Rule 22, visit http://rule22.wordpress.com.