Political Science Faculty Publications


Pedagogy is the architecture of a learning environment. The discipline of philosophy has often operated according to a pedagogy of conversation, clarity, and reflection, certainly since the era of Socratic dialogue in the streets of Athens. We argue that The Good Place occupies that space, re-setting this pedagogy as an architecture of learning through entertainment associated with ultimate matters of eternal disposition. A critical character driving conversation, clarity, and reflection across four seasons of the story’s arc is a philosopher – doomed by their own indecisive flaws – who teaches deep understanding of ethical development through a variety of relevant philosophic problems originating from intellectual history. Confronted with the complexities of an intricately connected world and highly motivated by the weight of ultimate choices, the protagonists bring a sense of how a well-constructed “classroom” can prepare students to meet ordinary challenges, extraordinary obstacles, and even existential crises. The Good Place is a classroom with a purposeful syllabus and highly motivated participants, structured for viewers to extract ethical insights of the highest consequence — if they are willing to keep trying to get it right. By comparison, this article unpacks how the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Global Challenges blended model course is a valuable example of high impact teaching practices which, like The Good Place, engage students through content connected to issues that confront them personally and professionally, providing them with opportunities for repetition and mastery.

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Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
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