Posting on Politics: Can we teach civic deliberation on Facebook?

ID: 52695 Type: Brief Paper
  1. Daniel Krutka, University of North Texas, United States

Thursday, March 29 11:50 AM-12:10 PM Location: Edison E View on map

Presider: Renesha Hendrix, United States

Abstract: Social studies educators and researchers have long sought to teach the civic skill of deliberation, which consists of the ability to engage in civil and fair discourse on controversial public issues and use credible evidence to make reasoned decisions (Hess, 2014; National Council for the Social Studies, 2013). Deliberation is considered fundamental to strong democracy (Barber, 1984). Research suggests that effective teachers utilize strategies such as focusing on interpretable text and participants and facilitator ask authentic questions and refer to previous points made in the discussion (Hess, 2004, p. 154). A number of researchers have attempted to investigate online deliberation. For example, Min (2007) studied differences between face-to-face and online deliberation for a group of 81 students on a campus proposal for concealed carry of guns. This experimental study suggested that the randomly assigned participants were more likely to strengthen their pre-existing position and engage in “more heated debates” (p. 1381), but both forms of deliberation increased knowledge, efficacy, and willingness to engage in discourse. However, there have been few studies that investigate how educators might teach civic online deliberation. Session attendees will learn about the initial protocol and engage in theoretical and methodological discussions about how civic deliberation on Facebook might be taught.

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