I’m not going to lie; I wasn’t too thrilled to be taking an online AP course during my final semester of high school. My second semester was a time I had saved for repairing my extreme case of senioritis. For this reason, I pledged to do the least possible and “sit in the back of the class” for as long as I could. After three days of being in AP Government I knew my slacker approach to the class would not get me very far. This was made especially clear when the first assignments included making an introductory video to tell the class more about yourself and participating in a post State of the Union Address Skype session. I had my doubts, but each assignment enhanced the information I learned from the readings. I’d love to reflect on the pros and cons of this AP Government class, but I haven’t run into anything that would be considered a con. The class is extremely organized and you can easily review the different subjects we’ve covered because they are all on the website, even after they have been turned in. The course work is dense, but the assignments make the readings relevant and give examples of how the subject has been tested in real life situations. For example, an assignment was to discuss who was to blame for the response to Hurricane Katrina. This class solves the main issues I have with a majority of the classes I am taking at my school this year: lack of time, irregular schedule, and busy work.
My favorite parts of the class would definitely be the discussion posts and (don’t judge me) the Wilson textbook. For discussions, our teacher, Mr. Gwaltney, poses open-ended questions for us to reflect about. Each student posts a personal response and then we are able to respond to everyone’s discussion posts. This method gives the feel of a classroom, minus the excess conversations. Recently, we had a discussion assignment that required us to create an amendment. I posted a proposition to repeal the second amendment and had my mind made up about this decision, but a girl in my class, Amber, responded to my post with a different outlook. This made me reconsider my views on this issue and reexamine the reasons it is so difficult to repeal or add additional amendments to the Constitution.
Another reason I’ve enjoyed this class so far has been the American Government textbook by Wilson. This book is very modern, but extremely factual. It even made me laugh at certain points in the various descriptions of Benjamin Franklin. One of the main questions I encountered while reading was why Madison felt so strongly about having large republics. The textbook explained his position perfectly, “If Madison’s argument seems strange or abstract, ask yourself the following question: if I have an unpopular opinion, an exotic lifestyle, or an unconventional interest, will I find greater security living in a small town or a big city?” (Wilson 34). The class would be different for me if this book were not used because Wilson provides the necessary information and allows the reader to make their own conclusions about the content and the questions the information raises. That being said, I’m looking forward to the new and exciting material we will be learning in this class, even if it means I have to ignore my growing case of senioritis.