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eCitizenship at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

By Cecilia M. Orphan, National Manager, American Democracy Project

Facebook, wikis, blogs and a host of other social networking tools are transforming the ways that citizens interact with one another and with the government. Indeed, technology is transforming our democracy. In light of these changes, higher education must develop strategies for incorporating these tools and transformations into the civic engagement movement.

The eCitizenship initiative was created to address these technological changes. The participating institutions are working together to study how emerging technologies, particularly social networking tools, support, transform, and shape citizenship behaviors. The primary goal of the initiative is to provide insights into and strategies for engaging undergraduates using social networking tools for civic purposes. Those strategies will then be broadly employed to prepare undergraduates for lives of engagement and participation.

Since launching eCitizenship, I have spent much of my time encouraging ADP participants to ponder the following two questions:  “How am I preparing my students to be citizens for our democracy?”  and, “How am I reaching them online?” Fortunately, we have university leaders within the American Democracy Project who are developing innovative strategies for engaging students online. Notable among these leaders is Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. See below for a description of their activities.

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

By Kristin J. Jacobson, Associate Professor of American Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In addition to using social networking and other electronic media to promote
our campus Political Engagement Project, Stockton is moving ahead with the development of a student group related to eCitizenship. We are also developing stronger partnerships with Computer Services on campus. These partnerships are helping us develop and move forward with several initiatives, including the creation of an eCitizenship logo for our campus and a redesigned eCitizenship webpage. We are also developing a workshop, primarily targeted to students, on how to use technology to organize their academic, social and civic engagement. Should the Spring 2011 pilot workshop prove successful, we will seek partnerships with the College’s first-year experience and/or other campus organizations so we can offer this training on a regular basis.

We hope you will “like” Stockton’s eCitizenship Facebook page, Take Action!

For more information about the eCitizenship, please visit this website.

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