Social Studies

Comparative Politics

In this 12-week course, we will learn about political systems and cultures around the world, using the comparative method.
Completed by 1 learner
  There are no upcoming classes.

45 minutes

per class

Once per week

over 12 weeks


year olds


learners per class

per learner - per class

How does aMulti-Daycourse work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

Students will learn:
To introduce basic concepts, theories and approaches of Comparative Politics.
To apply these to current events, using critical thinking skills.
To analyze the major characteristics of regime types and the respective formal and informal institutions.
To understand the sources of disparity in levels of modernization, development, and underdevelopment in States by examining the roles of various geographic, historical, political, economic, institutional, and social factors.
To apply a cross-national approach to studying political behavior such as political participation, electoral politics, and political violence.
To have students develop an understanding of the analytical tools used to explain political stability and change.
I have taught comparative politics for several years to university undergraduate students. I know how to navigate sensitive topics in a way that allows for robust but respectful discussion.
There will be weekly reading assignments, generally just one chapter of the textbook. 
There will be two in-class quizzes, two in-class one-page papers, and one final exam. I will provide a letter grade as well as a one-page written report. 
45 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 1 - 2 hours per week outside of class.
Because this is a politics class, we will be covering concepts and topics that people have strong feelings about. I present the basics of the issues and concepts without taking sides. So, for example, we will be defining and discussing the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative'. We will learn the different ways these terms get used, historically and currently what they mean in different situations, and how they affect politics around the globe. I will not, however, be taking sides on any topics or beliefs. Students are expected to be respectful of their fellow learners at all times, even when they disagree strongly. Students should avoid inflammatory language as well as personal comments. I will remind students every class. I will step in immediately if any discussion becomes disrespectful or confrontational and will, as needed, mute microphones or remove students. 

Additionally, one week concerns political violence -- revolutions and terrorism. I use photos of historical and current terrorists. I briefly describe, without going into detail, what the acts committed by the individuals. I do not show any grisly or disturbing images or describe any details.

In the non-democracy chapter, there is a brief discussion of totalitarian states, that includes estimates of death tolls under those regimes. 
We will be using one textbook -- Patrick O'Neil's Essentials of Comparative Politics, which is readily available online. Learners may use any edition of the text beginning with the 5th.

Since we will also be doing comparisons, we will be using a wide variety of online thematical databases, like the World Bank (, Freedom House (, Transparency International (, etc.
Note: Learners can access these databases on their own but I will be demonstrating navigation of the sites via screensharing. 


Dr. Matthew Hall
Lives in the United States
Lifelong Educator
2 completed classes

About Me

Hi there!! I have been teaching most of my adult life in one form or another. I taught political science courses to undergrads for several years at Old Dominion University here in Norfolk, Virginia. My classes here are intended to help provide... 
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