Public awareness of analyzing and solving social problems
In an article recently published in the Great Lakes College Association/Global Liberal Arts Alliance Consortium for Teaching and Learning, Assistant Professor Karen Powell Sears addressed a question: How can students’ demonstrate and share their learning about social problems beyond the classroom setting?
In my Sex and Gender in Society course, students were asked to identify a social issue related to gender, and create a digital audio-visual campaign aimed at promoting greater social awareness of this issue among a target audience.
The digital toolkit assignment objective was to inform community members about the social relevance of the problem, and recommend practical and institutional solutions. Students worked in assigned groups to 1) identify, define and describe the gender issue of concern; 2) define the audience and objective of the public awareness campaign; 3) develop concepts and learning tools that inform the target audience about the social problem in the form of a short documentary; 4) create an original artistic element that illustrates the problem; 5) develop solutions for the social problem that are informed by current research and best practice evidence; and 6) integrate these learning tools into a digital platform that is available to the Denison community.
Students created elements or “pages” to their digital tool kit at assigned dates throughout the semester, adding topic information to the social media platform of their choice. In order to prepare students for this project they received instruction about 1) the available technology and utilities that can be used to support varied project objectives and designs, and 2) methods of effective peer review/feedback expectations and strategies for critiquing the digital tool-kits.
Each group presented its digital tool-kit to the class three weeks prior to the end of the semester and received peer feedback for each presentation. Groups then revised their digital project based upon professor and peer feedback and made their final public service campaigns available to the Denison community on a shared digital platform.