The Class

The First Amendment and Higher Education, will:

  1. Explore the history and ideas behind the concepts of freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition;
  2. Survey major First Amendment doctrines and court decisions with a particular focus on those concerning higher education;
  3. Build an understanding of Constitutional and civil law processes and key cases among students and as a resource for the university;
  4. Encourage public debate about First Amendment issues within the class and as a service of the class to the university.
    Other deliverables include:
  5. Creation of a low or no-cost e-book to be published by the instructor(s);
  6. Focus group discussions about methods for expanding creative communications at Virginia universities; and
  7. Creation of a parallel online class to allow the broadest possible participation.

Service Learning Project

Students who take this course will be expected to participate in some external learning or service activity.  The might include:

  1.  Design and maintenance of a “democracy wall” or large scale  informational structure devoted to Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and James Madison’s ideals of freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition;
  2. Participation in organizing and publicizing debates about Free Speech issues facing Radford University students and faculty;
  3. Participation in organizing visits by scholars at the forefront of communications law in the US;
  4. Developing unique and  creative ways to model democratic debate, for example, in game design, documentary videos,  digital information structures, moot court competitions, or other approaches to the marketplace of ideas.

Quizzes and tests (online)

  1. Create quizzes about First Amendment issues
  2. Create a test to follow the reading of this book