Political Science Education and the Profession

“How to Use Democracy” Videos as a Tool to Engage General Education Students

Tara Parsons James Madison University

Abstract

Political Science classrooms often treat justice as a natural outcome of democratic political institutions and processes. This paper highlights an assignment that asks students to produce a video explaining how-to use democracy to achieve justice. Students are required to identify an injustice, research causes and solutions, and present the information in a how-to video publicly available on YouTube. While doing the assignment, students explore the multiple options available to produce social change. This paper presents the scaffolded assignment components and assesses civic engagement outcomes using a pre and post survey administered to two sections of the course taught by the same instructor with only one section completing the video assignment. Results suggest that the video assignment required students to examine more closely the structural explanations for injustice as well as increased their sense of personal responsibility when witnessing injustice.

Content

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