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Online Student Publishing in the Classroom: The Experience of the Michigan Policy Network
PS: Political Science and Politics
Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 2011), pp. 634-640
Published by: American Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41319783
Page Count: 7
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In this article, I describe my work with Michigan State University undergraduates to produce the Michigan Policy Network, a web-based public service and research program that reports news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. The program empowers undergraduates to oversee website sections devoted to policy issue areas, each of which features background information, research, and current updates on government action, as well as regular blog posts, that aim to make the information accessible to a public audience. I explain how to inexpensively set up such a program and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach. I evaluate the four different methods that I have used to integrate the policy network with traditional teaching: (1) working with students as an extracurricular activity, (2) organizing a summer program for government interns acting as researchers, (3) integrating network assignments with traditional homework in topical classes, and (4) teaching a separate class for freshman honors students. My experience suggests that students are motivated to complete work intended for a public audience and are well-equipped to translate government information for public readers. Working on the policy network improves student employment prospects and helps build connections between state government and the university. I recommend that similar programs be developed elsewhere.
PS: Political Science and Politics © 2011 American Political Science Association