Promoting Global Citizenship through Project-Based Learning: Evidence from a Large-Enrollment Political Science Course
Proceedings of the American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference, February 10 - 13, 2014
14 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2016
Date Written: February 10, 2014
A large and growing body of research has recently turned its attention to the promotion of global citizenship as an essential component of undergraduate education. Although there is considerable consensus on the value of this goal, there is less agreement as to how it is best achieved or assessed. Are some pedagogical interventions or approaches more effective than others? Recent studies have made advances in more concretely defining and operationalizing the concept of global citizenship, but few have rigorously assessed substantive learning gains in this area, and fewer still have assessed changes in global values or political efficacy as the consequence of specific pedagogical interventions. This study contributes to efforts to address this gap by examining the impact of project-based learning in a large (136 student) upper-division political science course. Building on a global citizenship survey developed by Levintova, Johnson, Scheberle and Vonck (2011), adapting sections of the Carnegie Foundation Political Engagement Survey, and generating additional questions based on global citizenship research, we develop a 33-question survey to assess three dimensions of global citizenship: (1) global knowledge, (2) global values, and (3) global efficacy. We find statistically significant change in the predicted direction on 17 of 33 survey questions (52%), and on two of three indices created. Where statistically significant change is not found, in almost all cases (14 of 16 questions) pre-project mean scores were exceptionally high (4.0 or greater), which decreased the likelihood of significant change post-project. Qualitative analysis of student responses to four open-ended end-of-term survey questions is also conducted to assess students’ perception of the value of project-based learning to their development of global citizenship skills. Ultimately the study finds compelling quantitative and qualitative evidence that project-based learning, if carefully designed and implemented, may, indeed, provide a unique learning experience that enables students to develop the knowledge and skills required for effective global citizenship.
JEL Classification: I120, I121, I123
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation