Co-Creation of Content to promote Learning, Activism and Advocacy

by June Kaminski, RN MSN PhD Candidate (UBC); and Dr. Amandah Hoogbruin

This is a chapter draft for the Collaborative Book Innovations in Education related to co-creation of online educational content involving educators and students.

Chapter Abstracts (entire directory)



In the 21st century, a blatant mandate has arisen that affects teachers and students from around the globe. This mandate encourages educators to teach students to become active agents of advocacy for global issues including environmental health, ecology, and the responsible use of new technologies.

In order to meet this mandate, teachers must think outside of the box, and move beyond theory and class discussions. Theory and discussion are not enough to spark genuine activism – praxis and action are needed as well. The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide a rich medium to promote praxis, or reflection-on-action and social action will be a central tenet of this chapter.

Mere regurgitation of social justice and policy reform theory is not enough to spark activism in students: instead it often becomes mere rhetoric. To make a real impression, actual praxis is needed. Praxis refers to reflection applied to action: meaningful and intentional activity grounded in theory and knowledge yet expressed through activity and purpose.

The Advantage of Mass Media

As most people are aware, mass media can be used as a vehicle for both social change AND for maintaining the status quo. Mass media is any method of communication that reaches large groups of people quickly and effectively, thus many means of communication can be considered “mass media”.

Television, radio, print media (magazines, bulletins, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, flyers, books, letters, etc.), the world wide web, email, chat rooms, advertising, marketing, publicity, photography, documentaries, video, – even theatre, movies, songs, dance, art, storytelling, and so on can all be categorized as media that can be used as a medium for social change and justice. The central criteria is that any of these mediums can be used to get messages out to thousands, even millions of people.

One of the key distinctions of mass media is that it can affect people's perceptions of social norms. The media play a significant role in forming and influencing people's attitudes and behaviour. Media has a central role in mediating information and forming public opinion. The media casts an eye on events that few people directly experience and renders remote happenings observable and meaningful.

ICT use in the Online Educational Environment

It is important that education applies the examination and the creative design of media that can influence the health and wellbeing of the world's population, to prepare students to become active change agents and social justice initiators

Many social action initiatives incorporate ICT to engage, inform, petition participation, lobby, campaign, and form coalitions. This chapter uses a focus on students as Active Inspirational Change Agents who address critical societal issues to foster learning, activism and advocacy within the learning milieu.

This use of ICTs to both teach and assess change leadership skills and capabilities and cultivate social justice skills is a time consuming process, but well worth the effort. It is important to spend the time and energy necessary in the development and planning of the learning activities and environment to afford a supportive, pedagogically sound atmosphere for activist digital design and media application within education.

This chapter will introduce educators to the use of a variety of ICTs to promote activism and advocacy, and in the process – learning, using a co-creation of usable content approach within the online learning environment. A key question that will be addressed in this chapter is: How can communicative and creative technologies be used to stimulate meaningful engagement with ecological, sustainability, environmental and quality of life dialogue and praxis in education and society at large?

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Use of ICTs in coursework can include a number of software and processes including:

  • Research Activities – survey development and implementation, narrative studies, literature reviews

  • Web Development – creating web textual content, visual images and diagrams, multimedia, pdf documents

  • Group Work – can collaborate with student peers on projects as well as with educators

  • Presentations – can develop shareable overviews using MS PowerPoint, VUE, Open Office, etc.

Examples that will be examined:

Further work is underway to involve students in focused social activist work, such as the development of a comprehensive web environment intended to help nursing students and practitioners to develop keen meaningful ecological knowledge, skills and voice.

This site also includes student contributions and research assistance, intended to provide an online repository of resources and theory to support Nurses in honing activist abilities.


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Created: Jul 31, 2009 10:25 pm
Last revised by: junekaminski on: Aug 29, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.