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Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Creating a Learning Environment for Civic Engagement in an Online Course

Dr. Megan Osterbur

by Dr. Megan Osterbur

The Introduction to Political Science course serves as both a foundation course to the Political Science curriculum as well as an option for students seeking to fulfill their Social Science Essential Core requirements. This project seeks to restructure the existing Introduction to Political Science course to an online format whilst maintaining a commitment to fostering civic engagement and global citizenship. Oliver (2001) demonstrated that online teaching and learning diverges significantly from conventional classroom-based instruction, thus to achieve the same course objectives one's teaching pedagogy must take into account both the challenges and opporutunities afforded by this format. This course has traditionally relied on clasroom discussion and small group interation to facilitate civic engagement and political knowledge, thus one challenge of this project is the creation of an online learning environment that can provide comparable levels of engagement. As global citizenship requires that one keep abreast of current global phenomenon, a consistent challenge of this course has been for students to increase their knowledge of global events through news media consumption. The online course format may provide unique opportunities for encouraging students' political awareness as well as challenges in assessing the extent to which students are engaging in the media available to them, thus a second goal of this project is to develop an effective means for directing student attention to global political phenomenon through active reading. This will be achieved through regular reflections on peer assessments of current events.

Start date: Monday, May 13, 2013
Finish date: Tuesday, May 13, 2014