Origins Pt. 2

One of our missions in life is to raise the level of dialog in the public sphere.  Like most people, we are disappointed in the level of civility in our public dialog.  Way too much emotion, not enough understanding.  Our public education system – generally speaking – avoids controversial topics. This contributes to a boring education: if all you are learning is “settled science” and generally accepted views, where is the problem solving? How do we advance?

Our view is that schools are where controversial topics SHOULD be addressed: with curated information reflecting various perspectives about a topic, managed by a moderator who can keep the conversation on track, ensure broad participation (asynchronous communications really enables this!), and leads participants to healthy, constructive understandings (or at least learn to come to healthy disagreements), if possible produce actionable outcomes, and maybe even career or civic aspirations.
So, the proposal we are floating here uses our model: a word press entry site as a marketing path into Canvas, and a mentored group model for the dialog. The academic theory behind this practical academics application is called Deliberative Democracy, a model championed by James Fishkin, a Stanford Prof. in his book “”When The People Speak”.

Come on in, the water is fine!

The Public Square: Origins Pt. 1

Hey Kevin – this one’s up your alley…
Development Plan
1) Do some research on public square, history, practices, current status (build expertise).
2) Dig into work of James Fishkin for research basis on model (make the pint that educating yourself improves your position, duh!)
3) Explore how best ideals / practices can be manifest within Canvas
4) Develop opportunities for how we can make this viable and valuable
5) Generate issues road map, ID upcoming elections / votes, with target audiences and dialog structure
6) Write up background, collateral, and guidelines for public square
7) Publish and roll-out
Operating Model – 2-4 week cycles? Deploy to subscribing groups or by geography / interest?
1) Select topic, schedule, promote programs
2) Recruit moderators keyed to audiences and topics; moderator assumes lead role
3) Promote program, enroll participants and groups in Canvas Course
4) Survey participants on positions prior to program; post results
5) Pre-reading / viewing on topic, issues presented from a variety of perspectives
6) Engage in organized discussions to clarify issues, positions
7) Convene / conduct time-bounded debate
8) Survey participants on post-debate positions
9) Continue discussions as long as there is ‘meat on the bone’
10) Moderator looks for follow up projects; coordinates these