An Interactive Understanding of the Government with an Emphasis on Learning Through Modern Example

When a discussion on the comparative aspects of the new Chinese system of government was interrupted by an impromptu discussion of the situation with Syria, it was clear that my Online AP Comparative Government and Politics would be unlike any other class I had previously experienced. The class began with a debate and interactive dialogue between the students that equipped us to understand the issue and then discuss the relative benefits and flaws to our democratic system of engaging in war. The class was able argue out the issue using the ‘online discussion’ format that allows commentary from students on stated views. This project allowed the class to take an initial deeper glance at the various stipulations of the constitution, in this case particularly those regarding the United State’s ability to wage war on another country.

As reading assignments in the required textbooks were assigned, the class was challenged to understand the breakdown of the Declaration of Independence in a more complex and in-depth way. We were encouraged to see the rights affirmed to us as American citizens in a more modern context.  What I enjoy most about the class is Mr. Gwaltney’s continued questioning of our beliefs on the issues we are studying in today’s world. A modern contextual understanding allows a more all-encompassing comprehension of the historical and legislative subjects we are studying in class, especially given the 17-18 year old age range of the students.

What has been most stimulating about the class so far has been discussions in which Mr. Gwaltney prompts us to use our imagination to put our own twist on legislation. For instance, during our unit covering Federalism we were asked to create our own laws and amendments to the constitution. The assignment forced us to look at pivotal issues that are facing society at present. Being able to see what other students across the country thought were of the upmost importance was an intriguing quality of the discussion. The ‘Federalism Case Study’ illustrated the efforts and shortcomings of the federalist system using the disastrous and disorganized response to Hurricane Katrina, as a twenty-first century national example of its failings to incorporate all branches of government in disaster relief. Such contemporary examples were juxtaposed directly with early Federalists and Anti-Federalist debates, in which our forefathers seemed to foreshadow the potential imperfections of a democratic federalist system.

 (Me and my best pal Barack Obama), online AP Comparative Government and Politics; inspiring a generation of more greatly informed citizens and future leaders

Mr. Gwaltney uses a myriad of court case examples to allow students to understand the issues being discussed. For instance, during our civil rights and liberties unit, students were paired with partners in the class to cover a particular court case that demonstrated the Supreme Court deciding upon modern legislation through constitutional evidence.

I’ve never enrolled in an Online School for Girls course before, and though this class is perhaps the most challenging of all the courses I’m taking this year, I’ve become truly stimulated by the topics discussed as well as the overall structure of the class. The wide geographic range of the students allows for a wealth of perspective I would not have thought possible for just one class. Perhaps an indication of this newfound interest in modern news affairs has been the transition of my ‘home screen’ from Facebook to I find myself really interested in staying on top of what’s going on in the world around me, especially when we are directly discussing an issue that relates to the topic in class. I am sure many of my classmates have become as electrified by the class and have become inspired to stay more on top of the current events around them, as I have. The class has inspired me to look into government, economics, and international relations as a possible major next year at college.



  1. Hello there! My name is Lauren Bradley. I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama, majoring in Education. As part of the class, we are assigned weekly blogs ran by students across the globe. This post is truly inspiring. I have never heard of an online school for girls before. It seems quite interesting to only have female views. With a topic such as politics, it is nice to always get a females insight. Typically and throughout history men have taken up a majority of our wordily politics and I encourage women strongly to take a stand and make a change in our governemnt. Even though women are often considered as “passive”; I believe a more passive way of running government would be more effective rather than the 10,000 years of violence led by males in political power.

    What I took away the most from this blog post is project learning and the examples from your classroom and the information you posted and discussed. You said the most stimulating parts of the classroom was when he assigned you the task of being creative and imaging up some new laws or what you would do in this situation. We are actually studying project learning is great depth in my EDM 310 class. It is one of the most effective ways of learning and I am very glad to see that it has such a great affect on you and your class. Good luck to you and the rest of your educational career!


  2. Hi, My name is Tracy and I am also a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. I just want to thank you for inspiring me to become more politically aware. I have often thought of writing my own laws because there are so many out of date laws on the books. I can also relate to you when you commented about that class being the most challenging because I am experiencing that right now in EDM 310. You have inspired me to keep moving toward that light that is as the end of the tunnel. I to am stimulated by the topics discussed and the projects we do in out class. We also are learning through modern example. Since I am majoring in Elementary Education, I want to be apart of the of the team that is responsible of molding generations of more greatly informed citizens and future leaders. Do you see ted talks in your future? I think you would be perfect for it.



  3. Hi, my name is Shakeya Andrews and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. You said that your class started with a interactive discussion dealing with a current issue in our democratic society. Engaging students in discussions gives them the opportunity to get outside of their comfort zone and actually think about and understand what they are learning. It is good that your class is allowed to express their opinions even if they may sometimes cause heated discussions not many classes that I have been enrolled in do that. This is the type of environment I want for my students. I want each and every one of them to be eager to learn more about the things we learn in the classroom and for them to use their imaginations if or when we have a discussion. Would you introduce government and politics in a 3rd or 4th grade class? Good Luck in the future.

    Shakeya Andrews


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