COMM 551: Grassroots Digital Advocacy

This course examines how a range of advocacy organizations, including national and international non-profits, NGOs, political campaigns, and activist networks, can harness the power of digital media to activate, mobilize, and organize supporters. Students discuss the impact of technology on grassroots advocacy and explore the potential of social media, mobile technologies, apps and activist platforms in successful advocacy campaigns.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, you will:

  • Discuss key political mobilization mechanisms in the digital age.
  • Critically evaluate a broad range of e-advocacy strategies.
  • Explain the “slacktivist” critique of social media campaigns and provide examples.
  • Determine the potential for the success of digital advocacy initiatives and online campaigns.
  • Show an understanding of the local and global factors that influence the use of internet-based media for political action.
  • Provide reasoned and factually supported arguments on these topics in both written and oral formats.

Sample Topics:

  • Social movements structure, networks and collective action
  • Group membership and mobilization online
  • Leadership in the digital age
  • Building group identities online
  • Voices of the movement: Storytelling and counter-narratives
  • E-advocacy success: Is anyone listening?
  • Games for social advocacy
  • Online petitions and the others: Just clicktivism?
  • Digital election campaigns
  • Opportunities and constraints: Protesters, advocates, and the news media
  • Global e-advocacy and international contexts
  • Online privacy, surveillance, and “sousveillance”

Sample Assignments:

  • Blog post: Organizing in the Trump era
  • Workshop: Digital Strategy Organizing Challenge

Click here for the official course description from the American University Catalog.

Note: The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as courses and student needs change over time.

Learn more today about the grassroots digital advocacy concentration course: Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions adviser, or request more information here.