Posts Tagged 'eCitizenship'

Want more democracy in your life? There’s an app for that!

By Stephanie South, Program Associate, AASCU

American Legacy AppIn the 2004 film National Treasure, the hero Ben Gates waxes nostalgic about the Declaration of Independence (as he well should):

Of all the words written here about freedom, there’s a line here that’s at the heart of all the others: ‘But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security.’

The heroine of the film and Gates’ soon-to-be-something-or-other, Abigail, assures him that people don’t really talk like that anymore, and Ben comes back with this: “I know, but they think like it.”

However, thanks to the Center for Civic Education and iTunes, those of us who do think like that but a need a little help remembering our lines can give patriotic monologues just like Gates. As with everything else these days…there’s an app for that!

The American Legacy app available via iTunes gives users more than the Declaration of Independence at a tap of their finger; it presents an entire collection of documents that encompass essential ideas of American democracy. These foundational pieces are arranged chronologically beginning with the Mayflower Compact.

American Legacy includes the full text of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and features excerpts from The Federalist Papers, Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison, George Washington’s “Farewell Address”, Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?,” Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among many others. Also included is an extensive index to the U.S. Constitution.

Priced at only $1.99, I couldn’t resist the chance to offer my own rendition of the Founding Fathers at a moment’s notice or be able to prove myself right during an argument about America without Google.

Install, please!

ADP Research: IUSB’s Elizabeth Bennion on effect of E-Mail Outreach on Voter Registration

Elizabeth Bennion, faculty member and ADP Campus Coordinator from Indiana University South Bend and her co-author David Nickerson, have published an article in Political Research Quarterly. The article is based on an research study involving 26 American Democracy Project campuses.

“The Cost of Conviencence: An Experiment Showing E-Mail Outreach Decreases Voter Registration” suggests that classroom-based registration is much more effective than email-based outreach. Although e-mail registration appeals proved ineffective (see article), student registration rates rose by 10% following professor-led presentations and by 9% following peer-led presentations on 16 AASCU campuses following a fully-randomized experimental protocol for classroom-based voter registration. Another article on their classroom findings is forthcoming.

The Cost of Convenience: An Experiment Showing E-Mail Outreach Decreases Voter Registration
By Elizabeth A. Bennion & David W. Nickerson


Lower transaction costs have shifted voter registration activities online and away from traditional modes of outreach. Downloading forms may impose higher transaction costs than traditional outreach for some people and thereby decrease electoral participation. A randomized, controlled experiment tested this hypothesis by encouraging treatment participants via e-mail to use online voter registration tools. The treatment group was 0.3 percentage points less likely to be registered to vote after the election. A follow-up experiment sent reminders via text message to randomly selected people who had downloaded registration forms. The treatment increased rates of registration by 4 percentage points, suggesting that reminders can ameliorate many of the negative effects of directing people to downloadable online registration forms.

voter registration, e-mail, online, mobilization, civic participation, experiment, procrastination

Published online before print September 24, 2010, doi: 10.1177/1065912910382304 Political Research Quarterly December 2011 vol. 64 no. 4 858-869

Informed Citizen Project Survey on Media Literacy

The Informed Citizen Project, a special venture of ADP’s eCitizenship Initiative, is collecting information on campus media and information literacy efforts across the country.  We want to know your opinion of the role media and information literacy play in building student civic engagement and what efforts your campus is engaged in.  Please contact faculty and staff at your institution who may be engaged in media and information literacy efforts before completing this survey and ask them about any efforts they are involved with.  The survey will take you no more than 10 minutes to complete.  We ask you to complete the survey by August 20, 2012.

Here’s the link to the online survey:

For the purposes of our survey, we utilize the Center for Media Literacy’s definition of media literacy as: “Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.”

We define information literacy according to the standards of the American Library Association: “Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the survey’s primary investigator, Chapman Rackaway of Fort Hays State University, at

Take the survey here.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this important survey which will help guide ADP’s efforts to prepare informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.


About the Informed Citizen Project

In the pursuit of greater student engagement, the American Democracy Project has tried to encourage civic participation among students.  The eCitizenship initiative focuses ADP’s efforts in the online world.   To help build the skills that college students need, the Informed Citizen Project brings campuses together to develop and share efforts towards one of civic engagement’s most important foundational skills: media and information literacy.

Media and information literacy are more important than ever.  The fragmented media environment requires that we are more critical of the information we consume than ever.  Online text, audio, and video tools all make for new ways to communicate and engage in civic leadership.  Web 2.0 tools mean that content consumers are now creators and must be cautious about what we communicate to the whole world.  The prevalence of polls mean that today’s voter must understand how survey research works to ensure they maximize the informational value of polls.

The Informed Citizen Project Areas of focus:

1)      News consumption

2)      Recall of news

3)      Print and online media

4)      Web 2.0 and students as content producers

5)      Source differentiation

6)      Critical thinking

7)      Polling and data criticism

The Informed Citizen Project is beginning to add member schools who are currently engaged in or interested in creating media and information literacy programs to join.  Project member schools share best practices in college-level media and information literacy and innovate new programs to ensure the next generation of graduates have the critical thinking skills necessary to be leaders in today’s society.

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