Effectively Using Facebook to Foster Civic Engagement
In the early nineteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that America’s democracy was one of interconnectivity, as Americans were joiners (Tocqueville 1990); what made American democracy work was people being engaged with each other in groups. This group participation has been waning for the last few decades and scholars have lamented its decline since as early as the 1980s (Coleman 1994; Galston and Levine 1998; Putnam 1993, 1995, 2000; Skocpol and Fiorina 1999). In response, higher education has worked on connecting the work students do in the community to the content learned in the classroom in an effort to reboot our participatory nature (Colby et al. 2007; Jacoby and Ehrlich 2009). As the most recent round of published Carnegie classifications indicates with its 361 competitive designations, many universities are embracing this effort in the nature of high-quality civic engagement curricula. Pedagogical research for best practices advise faculty to use the world that students live in as a textbook as they teach civic engagement (Battistoni 2002; Damon 1998; Eyler et al. 2003). Students should accomplish their civic learning in their communities as citizens, not in their classrooms.
KeywordsCivic Engagement Online Social Network Discussion Board Political Engagement Civic Life
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