Thomas E. Patterson (HKS)

Online American Government Course with Thomas Patterson Begins September 8, 2015

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September 3, 2015, 4:37 pm

September 3, 2015 — Thomas Patterson, acting director of the Shorenstein Center and Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, is teaching a HarvardX online course, “American Government,” which is free and open to the public. The class is a comprehensive introduction to American government and politics – its foundations, institutions, organizations, and policies – and will draw on scholarship and cases, such as the Iraq invasion and health care reform, to explain how the U.S. government system works.

“My course has benefited from how we teach many of our Kennedy School courses,” said Patterson. “American government courses have traditionally not used cases to illustrate and explain major tendencies in the U.S. system. I think that’s a shortcoming of the traditional approach. Key points stand out clearly, and are more likely to be remembered, when reinforced with case examples. The Bush Administration’s actions in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, for example, show clearly how much power presidents have over the decision to take the nation to war.”

Enrollment in the course, which began on September 8 and runs into December, exceeded 10,000. The final number of enrollees will likely be higher, as students can start the course at a time of their choosing and access all previous lectures. Learn more and register.