What We’re Reading: eCitizenship Special Issue of the eJournal of Public Affairs
Volume 2, Issue 1 of the eJournal of Public Affairs — a collaborative effort between Missouri State University and AASCU’s American Democracy Project was just released. This is a special issue dedicated to ADP’s eCitizenship Initiative and is guest edited by the Faculty Chair of eCitizenship, Mike Stout who is an associate professor of sociology at Missouri State.
This special issue contains a Guest Editor’s Introduction and three peer-reviewed articles that consider ways in which social media is being used to further civic learning goals. You’ll find abstracts of the introduction and the articles below and more information about ADP’s eCitizenship Initiative here.
On occasion the eJournal of Public Affairs publishes special issues highlighting research and best practices related to American Democracy Project (ADP) initiatives. This special issue is organized around the ADP eCitizenship initiative and it highlights three projects that relate to ways social media technologies are being used to teach students civic skills on four college campuses in the United States.
This manuscript describes two models for promoting civil dialogue around important social and political issues on a college campus—Democracy Plaza at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and The Civil Debate Wall at the University of Florida (UF)— and examines the differing types of expression fostered by each platform, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. By doing so, it offers important insights for institutions of higher learning that seek to promote not just civil dialogue, but also a culture of civility and engagement, on their respective campuses. Whether armed with a budget of one million dollars or just one thousand dollars, campuses can and should create spaces for meaningful dialogue surrounding important issues.
William J. Miller, Ph.D.
Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
In 2008, Mark Bauerlein sent a shot across the bow of the Millennial generation, suggesting in The Dumbest Generation that no one in our country under the age of 30 could be trusted. Bauerlein warned that: Millennials “care about what occurred last week in the cafeteria, not what took place during the Great Depression…they heed the words of Facebook, not the Gettysburg Address.” Yet this should not be the case since the constant communication amongst their peer groups has made it so that “equipped with a Blackberry and laptop, sporting a flashy profile page and a blog…teenagers pass words and images back and forth 24/7.” In this article, I conduct a survey of Millennial college students to test their political knowledge and awareness in comparison to their understanding of pop culture. I then see how they respond to the unspoken challenge issued to them by Bauerlein.
Carlton A. Usher II, Ph.D.
Apr 29, 2013 • Vol 2, Issue 1
This research examines the use of Facebook as an instructional tool in two first-year seminar courses during two consecutive years. The convergence of social media and in-class instruction throughout the semesters was examined to identify whether Facebook has positive utility in teaching and learning. The areas of convergence focused on two learning outcomes, global learning and civic awareness and engagement. In order to assess learning effectiveness and participation, student perception of the efficacy of convergence was collected using an automated response and data collection system. Additionally, pre- and post-course surveys, real-time assessment of learning goals, and a questionnaire on Facebook were used to assess Facebook utility. This research found a significant level of viability for Facebook in a first-year seminar course for students in transition. Accordingly this research offers the foundation for the use of Facebook as a pedagogical technique and how to best execute these learning opportunities. While research concerning Facebook utility appears to offer mixed assessment of value, these results are consistent with the ever-increasing evaluation that tends to offer a positive assessment of Facebook’s viability and effectiveness.