About this course
Today, you are the law.
What does it mean to be a citizen? It means to participate in your society, to connect with others, and to decide, with them, the issues that you face.
It starts with you.
We need to learn to talk civilly with each other about the issues of consequence, but are we capable of learning how to speak together, listen together, and decide together?
In JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change, an experiment in online civic discourse, you are invited to engage with Professor Nesson and others with an understanding that each of us starts from a place of anonymity. Through a series of asynchronous and synchronous online group activities, you will explore a deliberative system by which emotionally charged issues can be discussed.
Although you will learn a bit about the history of jury and even serve as a member of a virtual jury for a mock criminal case, this experiment is about active participation in the deliberative process and how you might use that framework to facilitate dialogue within your own affinity group or community.
The program consists of six modules. Each week, you will learn and apply a new step in a system designed to foster meaningful dialogue. Starting with an introduction to the course’s deliberative framework, you will move from a traditional jury-based application to a live social issue unfolding in real time: the Massachusetts referendum for the “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana.” As citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts deliberate on this issue, so will you and your JuryX peers. What arguments will shape this debate, and what will the final outcome be?
Can we, civilly, discuss an issue like marijuana regulation?
Two synchronous small-group online deliberations will be held using Google Hangout. Participation is optional, but highly recommended.
JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change is, ultimately, about the most fundamental of human interactions: communication. By listening, speaking, persuading, and being persuaded, you will learn about yourself and others.
If you have faith, faith will be given to you.
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected] and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.
What you'll learn
- How to deliberate for social change using a process designed to move a community or affinity group from difference to consensus
- How to reflect upon your participation in the deliberative process
- How to use web-based tools to discuss emotionally charged issues
- A high-level history of the jury
Week 1: Deliberations for Social Change
Explore a system for deliberating emotionally charged issues. Explain the origins of jury. Introduce yourself and discuss challenges related to online identity. Share feedback.
Week 2: The Trilemma of the Maroons
Explore the pre-deliberation stage. Discuss the “Trilemma of the Maroons” question using an asynchronous pseudonymous discussion tool. Share feedback.
Week 3: The Art of Deliberation – Part I
Consider a system for deliberation within a jury-based context. Prepare for the deliberation stage by reviewing a stimulus for Commonwealth v. Hebert. Identify best practices for engaging in thoughtful deliberation. Participate in a pre-deliberation activity. Share feedback.
Week 4: The Art of Deliberation – Part II
Deliberate Commonwealth v. Hebert as a member of a virtual jury. Share your verdict. Reflect upon your deliberation experience.
Week 5: The Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana – Part I
Consider how a system for deliberation can facilitate the discussion of a real and emotionally charged social issue. Prepare for the deliberation stage by reviewing a stimulus for the “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana” initiative in Massachusetts. Participate in a pre-deliberation activity. Share feedback.
Week 6: The Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana – Part II
Deliberate the “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana” initiative as a small group. Share your outcome. Reflect upon your deliberation experience.
Epilogue and Final Thoughts
Compare your decision to what citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chose. Share feedback.
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