:: Spotlight: Dr. Eric McDaniel

Dr. Eric McDaniel
Prof. Eric McDaniel encourages
students to look for multiple
view points in any political
Video Content Icon Meet Dr. McDaniel.

Posted: June 16, 2014

Professor Utilizes New Online Course Format to Reach More Students

Dr. Eric McDaniel came of age in the early 1990s. He remembers the Rodney King beating, the end of apartheid in South Africa and Spike Lee’s movie adaptation of The Autobiography of Malcolm X as important moments in the national discussion of racial politics. These politically charged experiences inspired McDaniel to pursue a career as a political science professor passionate about elucidating real-world political perspectives to his students.

“I want my students to understand what is really going on,” he explains. “Many news and media channels report politics from just one side of the political spectrum, leaving out alternative view points and giving viewers the option to see only the news that confirms their previously held beliefs.”

As a professor in the Department of Government at The University of Texas at Austin, McDaniel has taught countless students the basics of American Government in a traditional classroom setting. Now he is embarking on a new teaching challenge: the online classroom. This fall, he will team up with fellow faculty member Dr. Bethany Albertson to teach an online version of GOV 310L - American Government, a core curriculum course that is required of every undergraduate student at the university.

Offered through University Extension, the course is open to the public. Students will not be required to come to campus to attend lectures. The course is designed so that it can be taken from anywhere a student has an Internet connection, and recorded lectures can be watched “on demand” by students at home, in the office or at a favorite coffee shop later.

McDaniel specializes in the study of political behavior, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic politics and religion and politics. One of his goals is to help his students become more engaged with their government, and he feels that the first step toward engagement is developing a better sense of understanding.

Read More UEX Spotlights