Wherever you turn in the media, you hear that refrain: American Government is broken. Not so!

Well…it was. But we fixed it!

Here’s what happened: large gaps appeared when the “checkpoint” widgets in POLSC232 went down; most browsers were issuing a security warning and refusing to display the content. We learned of this from several alert and perhaps mildly alarmed students.

Upon investigation, we found out that the host/provider of the course’s checkpoint widgets, a startup company with whom we piloted these embeddable quizzes, had not only let their security certificate lapse but, worse, has announced that they will be ceasing operation and discontinuing the service as of mid-March.

In response, we have turned the old checkpoints into regular ungraded activities.

Here are our main takeaways from all this:

  • relying on third parties to keep our stuff up and running, while usually a Good Thing and, in fact, utterly necessary, comes with downsides — such as losing a bunch of content all in one fell swoop;
  • our students are the front line of defense against problems that crop up with our courses — your frustration, when reported, is someone else’s salvation!

In sum, we have solved the problems in American Government. As for the 2016 presidential election? That’s another thing altogether, but there has never been a better time to delve into our course on what makes the US government tick.

Image: Author. US Capitol dome with scaffolding.