Participatory Citizenship

Introductory Note

Through support from the Language, Arts, and Media Program, Aria Chernik (LAMP Fellow and Associate Director for the LAMP Lab) has been building an infrastructure at Duke University to address some of the gaps in participatory citizenship education. Below is a summary of that work.

Please contact Aria Chernik if you would like to learn more about her work or talk about how some of the principles of participatory citizenship may be relevant to your own endeavors. Her email is and she is on Twitter @ariachernik.


Participatory citizenship encompasses a constellation of competencies, practices, and habits of mind pertaining to how, where, and why an individual engages with his or her local and global community. Within a 21st century learning context in particular, teaching participatory citizenship includes ensuring that students understand how to:

  • access and analyze the source and content of knowledge across established and emergent media;
  • assess a particular rhetorical situation and contribute knowledge effectively within that rhetorical framework;
  • work together using a model of deep, open, and transparent collaboration;
  • and identify connections between democracy and media and digital fluency.


Ethics of Open Innovation | Students compose multimedia projects that articulate the ethical and humanitarian underpinnings of open innovation and free culture, namely, the ethos that understands the human condition as a public commons. (Thompson Writing Program)

Digital Communications for Technology Innovation Policy (co-taught with Jason Cross) | Examines how 21st century information technology is radically transforming public policy communications and offers students experience composing across various media; includes critical reflection on the technical and social platforms that enable and limit new kinds of participation in public policy by focusing on how open source theories and practices (e.g., maker movement, remixing, tinkering, open government, creative play) affect 21st century knowledge, communication, and policy. (Sanford School of Public Policy)

Hacking Knowledge: Breaking and Making What and How We Know | Asks students to interrogate how 21st century knowledge is organized, managed, and distributed and to produce and communicate new knowledge in public forums. (Thompson Writing Program)

Law in the Age of Twitter | Critiques the connection between social media networks and social justice movements and asks students to compose arguments across media. (Thompson Writing Program)

Writing & Interviews

Teaching Open and the Beauty of Remix | The urgency of teaching open, both in content and form.

Critical Pedagogy + Open Educational Resources | From my interview at #OpenEd14 by the Open Knowledge Cast, my thoughts on the human dimension of teaching with open educational resources.

How Can We Hack Knowledge? | A conversation about finding, making, and breaking knowledge in the 21st century.

Why I Teach Digital Literacy in Writing 101 | Why educators should reimagine the purpose and form of “academic writing.”

The Phenomenology of Participation: Derrida and the Future of Pedagogy | How critical digital pedagogy answers Derrida’s call for ethical hospitality.

Embedded Collaboration: Hacking the System of One-Off Library Instruction (with Hannah Rozear) | Curriculum redesign for integrating library instruction into today’s teaching and learning environments.


Hacking Pedagogy: Critical Making Across Borders | How to structure hybrid pedagogical models and collaborative inquiry around critical problems rather than according to institutional affiliations or silos of knowledge. (Duke University)

Critical Digital Pedagogy and the Reorientation of Knowledge | The urgency of pushing back against the narrative that technology in humanities classrooms is mechanizing the learning process and making teachers secondary; redefining what it means to co-learn and reorient knowledge not as a deposited, locked down, and proprietary asset, but as a contribution to the commons. (North Carolina English Teachers Association annual conference)

Reimagining Academic Writing | How 21st century communication education can bolster critical interrogation of sources of knowledge, encourages participatory culture and public knowledge, position composing as authentic and personally relevant, redefine scholarship as joyfully rigorous, collaborative, generous, and materialize argument as design and knowledge as network. (Emory University, Domain of One’s Own Incubator)

Teaching 21st Century Literacies + Digital Citizenship