By Eleanor Morris, Tamra Ortgies-Young
This paper presents the findings of a joint project in two very different political science classrooms. In both cases, traditional writing assignments were transformed to digital stories in order to increase student engagement, critical reflection, and media literacy, while still maintaining an overall emphasis on critical thinking and analysis, always important in the social sciences. The paper details the transformation of the two assignments to digital formats, presents survey data on the reception of the new assignments among students, and also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of these assignments in the college classroom. Overall, the assignments were well-received by students, and both professors felt the assignments realized all of the learning objectives. Critically, the assignments also contributed to an increase in digital literacy skills and a high level of student enthusiasm and satisfaction. Data indicates that the assignments were useful in generating early student engagement with political science and international relations majors and should be viewed as a possible tool to promote long-term student success and retention across diverse learning environments.