Module Overview

By the end of this module, you will:
– become familiar with the spectrum of political ideology in American society
– have a basic working knowledge of fundamental political concepts, such as: liberal, conservative, economics, socialist, anarchist
– Identify key ideas across several readings and assigned materials
– have practiced text annotation of the assigned reading
– critically analyze assigned text and video material


Lesson 3.1: What is Ideology?

Ideology is a word that we often hear in everyday life, especially when connected to political questions, events, practices. But what does it mean? This module will attempt to arrive at some clear answers to this question.

WATCH – Intro video

To begin this lesson, watch the following video, where I present an overview of the material we’re studying in this lesson. NOTE: ignore the part about Hypothesis, at the last minute, I had to disable that part of our site:

Video – What is ideology: a basic answer

Watch this video, paying particular attention to how it defines differences between Conservative and Liberal ideology. We will engage with these differences in our discussion forum below.


Click the button below for a self-assessment quiz that will allow you to review some of the key ideas in the video:

What is ideology?: a more complicated (and interesting) answer

Watch this second video on ideology. It introduces a number of key political ideas, which give us a more nuanced, interesting, and realistic understanding of what ideology is:

READ – Reading 3.1: What is ideology?

Read the following excerpt. You will be asked to participate in a discussion group, and answer questions about this reading in the quiz that ends this module.

COMPLETE – Discussion forum 3: making sense of the Parenti reading

Now let’s begin our discussion of the ideas presented in this module on our discussion boards:

And here is Part 2 of the discussion for this module:

NOTE: there is no reading response paper this week, for Module 3.