Kassidy Aiken's Portfolio Page


Navigation links: ETAP 623 Fall 2023 | Kassidy Aiken's mini-course

About Me

Kassidy Aiken

  • University of Albany CDIT MS
  • Niagara University 5-12 Social Studies Education 2022 Graduate
  • NU Senior Captain Women's Golf Team
  • 11th Grade US History Teacher
  • 12th Grade Government/Economics Teacher
  • Varsity Soccer Coach, Varsity Softball Coach

My Topic and Purpose


This mini-course, titled "Fostering Civic Engagement Through Social Studies," is designed to provide educators with a comprehensive understanding of methods to inspire active civic participation and a sense of responsibility among students. In today's increasingly complex and interconnected world, nurturing engaged and informed citizens is vital. This course explores innovative pedagogical approaches, such as service learning projects, mock government simulations, and voter education initiatives, to equip educators with the tools and knowledge needed to cultivate an informed and active citizenry.


The choice of this topic stems from a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of Social Studies education. Informed and engaged citizens are the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy, and it is crucial to instill these values at an early stage in a student's academic journey. Additionally, the challenges facing society today, from environmental issues to social justice concerns, require active and informed citizens who can contribute to meaningful change. By empowering educators with effective strategies to promote civic engagement, we aim to play a part in shaping future generations of responsible and proactive citizens who are ready to address the pressing issues of our time. This course, therefore, reflects a commitment to enhancing civic education and contributing to a more just and participatory society.

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content

The "Fostering Civic Engagement Through Social Studies" mini-course aims to cultivate a well-rounded set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in both educators and students. These elements are essential for nurturing informed and engaged citizens who can actively participate in their communities and contribute to the betterment of society. Here's an initial analysis of the types of knowledge, skills, and attitudes this course intends to develop:

1. Knowledge:

  •   Civic Literacy: Participants will gain a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of democracy, government structures, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Current Affairs Awareness: Stay informed about current events, issues, and challenges facing society to make informed decisions and engage in meaningful discussions.
  • Pedagogical Knowledge: Educators will learn effective teaching methods and strategies for imparting civic education to students.

2. Skills:

  • Critical Thinking: Develop the ability to analyze and evaluate information critically, discerning facts from opinions, and making informed judgments.
  • Communication: Enhance skills in articulating thoughts, engaging in constructive dialogue, and advocating for one's beliefs effectively.
  • Problem Solving: Cultivate the capacity to identify and address community and societal issues through collaborative problem-solving approaches.
  • Leadership: Foster leadership skills that empower individuals to take initiative and drive positive change within their communities.
  • Digital Literacy: Equip participants with the skills to navigate the digital landscape responsibly, discerning credible sources and engaging in online civic discourse constructively.

3. Attitudes:

  • Civic Responsibility: Encourage a sense of duty and responsibility toward one's community and society as a whole.
  • Empathy and Inclusivity: Promote empathy, tolerance, and inclusivity, emphasizing the importance of respecting diverse perspectives and backgrounds.
  • Open-mindedness: Foster a willingness to consider different viewpoints and engage in civil discourse, even when faced with conflicting opinions.
  • Active Engagement: Inspire a proactive approach to civic participation, motivating individuals to take an active role in shaping their communities.

By developing this multifaceted set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, our mini-course aims to empower both educators and students to become active, informed, and responsible citizens who can contribute positively to their communities and the broader society. These competencies are essential for addressing the complex challenges of the modern world and ensuring the continued vitality of democratic principles.

Needs Assessment

The Educational Problem or Opportunity:

The educational problem at the heart of this mini-course is the need to enhance civic engagement and responsibility among both educators and individuals. The opportunity lies in equipping them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to actively participate in civic life and address the challenges facing contemporary society. Civic education has often been sidelined or insufficiently emphasized in traditional curricula, leading to gaps in understanding and engagement.

The Learners/Participants Involved:

Educators: This group encompasses teachers from various educational levels, including K-12 and higher education. They seek to improve their pedagogical techniques in civic education and empower their students to become more engaged citizens.

Analysis of Gaps (Reality vs. Ideal):

Knowledge Gap:

- Reality: Many educators and individuals lack a comprehensive understanding of civic concepts, government structures, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Civic education is often fragmented or outdated.

- Ideal: Learners should have a strong grasp of civic principles, current affairs, and effective teaching strategies, as well as the ability to critically analyze issues and engage in meaningful civic activities.

Skills Gap:

- Reality: Critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills related to civic engagement are often underdeveloped or not effectively utilized.

- Ideal: Participants should possess robust skills in these areas, enabling them to address real-world challenges, advocate for their beliefs, and lead initiatives within their communities.

Attitudes Gap:

- Reality: Apathy, disengagement, or polarization can hinder civic participation, and inclusivity and empathy are sometimes lacking.

- Ideal: Learners should exhibit a strong sense of civic responsibility, empathy, open-mindedness, and active engagement in civic matters.

Existing Efforts to Address the Gap:

Civic Education Initiatives:

Some schools and organizations offer civic education programs, but these efforts may be inconsistent and lack depth.

- Community-Based Activism: Various community organizations and advocacy groups promote civic engagement, but access and awareness may be limited.

- Online Resources: There are online resources and courses related to civic engagement, but their quality and accessibility vary.

Intent Statement: How Will This Mini-Course Help Participants Address Their Needs?

This mini-course is designed to bridge the existing gaps in knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to civic engagement. It provides learners with a comprehensive understanding of civic principles, current affairs, and effective teaching strategies. Through interactive modules, it hones critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills. Moreover, it fosters attitudes of civic responsibility, empathy, open-mindedness, and active engagement.

By addressing these gaps, the mini-course empowers educators to inspire their students and equips individuals to become active, informed, and responsible citizens. It prepares them to make meaningful contributions to their communities and society, thereby fostering a more engaged and inclusive democracy.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Educators: Individuals are primarily classroom teachers, curriculum developers, or education professionals responsible for teaching social studies or related subjects. They may vary in experience, ranging from novice teachers to seasoned educators.

Prior Experiences, Knowledge, and Skills:

Educators bring prior experience in teaching, classroom management, and curriculum development. Their level of expertise in civic education may vary, from limited exposure to more advanced knowledge.

Interests and Motivations:

Educators primary motivation is to enhance their teaching skills and empower students to become active and responsible citizens. They have a passion for education and a desire to make a positive impact on their students' lives.

Learning Context and Settings:

Educators are likely to engage with this mini-course in professional development contexts, such as workshops, online courses, or teacher training sessions. The course can be integrated into existing educational programs or accessed independently.

Time Commitment:

Educators time commitment may vary but typically ranges from 2 to 4 hours per week, ranging from 10-20 hours spread over several weeks or months, depending on the format and depth of engagement.

Resources Needed:

- Access to Technology : Both groups require access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection to access course materials, videos, and online discussions.

- Course Materials : Participants will need access to course materials, which may include readings, videos, assignments, and interactive learning tools.

Performance-Based Objectives

(MOD 6) Define course-level target objective (not the learning units yet). The objectives need to describe what the learner will be able to perform/do as the result of learning with this course. Consider the important learning gains and consider how the participants may demonstrate it or use it to do something authentic. Communicate the objectives using clear, performance-based terms, such as:

After completing this mini-course, learners will be able to:

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Task and Content Analysis

(MOD 7-8) For each course-level target objective, consider 1) what the participants need to know in order to achieve this objective (e.g. the prerequisites that enable or support the objective); 2) what specific learning content and activities may address the prerequisites and target objectives. Then consider how the learning contents and activities will be organized into a process of learning through several learning units (e.g. 3-5). See example Task Analysis).

Curriculum Map

(MOD 7-8) Upload a visual map to show the sequence of learning units, each with its own objectives and activities. The units should work coherently to support the achievement of the ultimate objectives of the whole mini-course. Use this map to guide the creation of the actual learning units while adapting it when needed. The key idea is to fine-tune the objective-content/process-assessment alignment.

References and Resources

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