PSCI 496 Civic Engagement in Political Science

Course description

PSCI 496 Civic Engagement

In PSCI 496 Civic Engagement students will learn how politics is integrated in our daily lives by engaging with our community through a 40-hour placement as a volunteer or a paid employee (you must be enrolled in this course in the same semester as your placement).

Civic engagement involves voluntary participation in a community activity that contributes to a public concern. For example, students may work at for a non-profit organization, or participate in an electoral campaign or intern at their local MPs office.

During the course of the semester, students will reflect on their civic engagement experience and demonstrate independent skills-based learning.  In addition, students will share their experience by completing a final project that bridges their civic engagement experience and political science learning in the classroom. The final project can be, but is not limited to a standard written report.  We encourage students to work on a creative final output such as a blog, website, video, podcast, poster board etc.

What are the course expectations?

PSCI 496 is designed as a SLICC course (student-led, independently-created course).  Students are required to plan, propose, carry out, reflect on and evaluate on their learning experience as they conduct research on their chosen current issue/topic. The timeline below provides an overview of course assignments and when they are due.

Weeks 1 to 3: Define your project

  • Attend workshops to familiarize yourself with the course and how to write your course proposal.
  • Meet online with the instructor to discuss your proposal.
  • Complete the course proposal an submit it by end of week 3.

Weeks 4 to 8: Research and Reflection

  • Attend the reflection writing workshop.
  • Work towards completing your project as outlined in your proposal.
  • Document your progress through weekly reflections in your e-portfolio on Pebblepad.

Week 8: Interim Report

  • Submit and receive feedback from the course instructor on a mid-term report of your progress.
  • Reflect on your progress.

Week 12: Final Reflective Report and Final Project

  • Submit a final reflection report (1000 words) that reflects on your learning experience, incorporating any feedback you have received.
  • Complete a self-assessment of your learning experience by evaluating your performance.
  • Submit your final project as specified in the proposal.

How does grading work in this course?

Grading in this course is a combination of student self-assessment and instructor assessment.

Students are responsible for assessing their progress towards the learning outcomes defined in their proposal. To do this, students will review their reflection e-portfolio on Pebblepad, the interim report and the final reflective report and justify the numerical grade they assign to themselves based on a self-assessment rubric (provided). This will be 30% of the total grade in the course.

The remaining 70% of the grade will be assessed by the course instructor and will comprise of the proposal (20%) and the final project (50%)

What is the role of the course instructor?

The course instructor’s involvement in this course is minimal. They will advise, provide timely feedback and support students in the achievement of the learning outcomes they define for themselves. The course instructor will also grade the proposal and final project (70%). Students are required to meet online (MS Teams) with the instructor at least once during weeks 1 to 3 to discuss their proposal.

How should I enroll in this course?

Students are blocked from self-enrollment in this course and will instead be redirected to complete the PSCI 496 Civic Engagement Enrollment Application.  The deadline to submit this application is the first day of classes of the semester in which you wish to take the course. If your application is approved, you will be admitted into the course in the first week of classes. Students who are not selected will have the remainder of the add-drop period to find an alternative class. 

If you have any questions, please contact