5 January 2004 MEMORANDUM TO: American Democracy Project participants FROM: George L. Mehaffy SUBJECT: American Democracy Project - Democracy Lab Happy New Year! As we begin another year with the American Democracy Project, I wanted to remind everyone of a very innovative opportunity for your students. In Spring 2004, there will be three on-line, moderated forums for students about contemporary issues in American society. This program offers opportunities for students from many different campuses to meet together electronically, exchanging ideas and discussing perspectives. The cost to participate is $ 25 per student for this 10 week experience. The program can be used by students in a variety of classes as an enrichment activity or as part of a course. Campuses participating could also increase the robustness of this project by providing companion, supportive activities on campus, such as a campus forum or other event focusing on the same issues. Some specific ideas about this program: 1) Course-based online forums are designed for integration into a course as a requirement for all students in the course, with students required to purchase Democracy Lab just as they would be required to purchase a supplemental book. Instructions for online purchase will be sent to participating instructors. Online forums begin February 2 and conclude April 16. 2) Instructors may enroll large classes or multiple sections. 3) While many classes will focus on the subject matter of the forum, other classes (speech/communication, for example) will also (or primarily) focus on the process of deliberation and deliberative learning. This diversity of perspectives is not only acceptable but desirable. Jim Knauer will be happy to talk or correspond with anyone having additional questions. email@example.com or 814-238-3307. Reservations can be made online at www.teachingdemocracy.org. Click on Democracy Lab. I think this is an imaginative and creative idea, and hope that a number of the American Democracy Project campuses will want to be involved. I'm excited about the possibilities that this kind of project might have to provide a model for increased engagement by our students. I urge you to consider participating in this initiative. George The attachment has all of the contact information but I also wanted to provide it here as well. James T. Knauer Director, Center for Civic Life Professor of Political Science Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania Lock Haven, PA 17745 Voice: 570-893-2491 Fax:570-893-2711 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.lhup.edu/~jknauer Honors Program: www.lhup.edu/honors Teaching Democracy: www.teachingdemocracy.org Democracy Lab A Web Resource for Teaching and Learning about Democracy A vibrant democracy requires engaged citizens. The Center for Civic Life at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania presents Democracy Lab, an exciting new resource that promotes civic engagement, develops student civic leadership and helps transform campus climate. We are pleased to announce our online public issue forums for spring 2004 classes. Easily integrated into courses in a wide range of disciplines and at all undergraduate levels, Democracy Lab forums may be adopted by instructors for student purchase at the reasonable price of $25. Using a 10-week agenda based on our successful fall 2002 pilot, Students and the World, Democracy Lab brings a powerful civic education experience into your existing courses. From dialogue to inquiry to action: In Democracy Lab forums, small deliberation groups bring together 15-20 students from across the country, providing a much greater diversity of voices than in any classroom. Moderator announcements guide students through a dialogue agenda – making personal introductions, deliberating the pros and cons of different approaches, posing questions for research, sharing and discussing the results of inquiry, identifying common ground for action and considering action possibilities. Dialogue occurs on discussions boards available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Three Online Forums are available for spring 2004: By the People: Americans’ Role in the World (A National Issues Forum book) Terrorism, the war in Iraq, free trade and global warming are just a few of the issues considered as students deliberate the pros and cons of four perspectives, each with its own set of priorities: 1. Maintaining military strength and using it unilaterally if necessary, 2. Spreading democracy, 3. Expanding global free trade, 4. Attacking global environmental and health problems multilaterally. Racial and Ethnic Tensions: What Should We Do? (A National Issues Forum book) The merits of immigration restrictions, affirmative action and English-language instruction are considered as students weigh the pros and cons of three approaches: 1. Our society should be color-blind and focus on what unites us rather than on differences. 2. First we must build racial and cultural identity and pride within the many groups that comprise American society. 3. We must complete the job of integration which is the only way to end prejudice. Three American Futures: What Direction Should We Take? Considering competing conceptions of three traditional American values, freedom, equality and democracy, students weigh the relative merits of three paths toward an American democracy for the 21st century: 1. Reducing the power of government to increase individual freedom, 2. Using the power of government to equalize the life chances of all individuals, 3. Reinvigorating democracy by increasing the power of average people in their communities and workplaces. Democracy Lab is a convenient and flexible way to engage students in public affairs and to help them acquire active citizenship skills while enhancing their capacity to meet rigorous academic standards. To maximize campus impact, consider involving courses in two or three disciplines and holding a campus or community forum on the issue. Democracy Lab also provides training and mentoring for Student Civic Leadership Teams which can play a key role in conducting such events. Democracy Lab is an ideal curricular tool for universities participating in the AASCU American Democracy Project and for all colleges and universities seeking to integrate civic education into their curriculum. Space is limited; reservations are required. Preference will be given to courses that add disciplinary variety and to schools that increase demographic diversity. For additional information visit the Center for Civic Life website at www.teachingdemocracy.org and click on Democracy Lab. Reserve now online. Direct inquiries to Dr. James Knauer at The Center for Civic Life: email@example.com or 570-893-2491.
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