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Campbellsville University's Modern Presidency course seeks to improve voter education

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Samantha Stevenson

Campbellsville University

Students enrolled in Dr. Shawn Williams' Modern Presidency course at Campbellsville University are gaining a new perspective of this year's presidential election. Instead of the traditional course, students are actively researching and creating an informative campaign website. Their website is exclusively student-run and features the platforms of both candidates and their running mates.

Their website includes this mission statement: "In an unbiased way, our purpose is to educate the young adults of our generation about the 2012 presidential candidates, their campaigns and the issues."

The goal of the website is to inform voters about the candidates before the November election so voters can feel assured they are making an educated decision.

Issues presented on the website include press and public relations, Congress, economics, foreign affairs and the role of the vice president. Each one provides a link to both President Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's stance on the listed issue.

After the election, the class plans to keep the website active by shifting the focus on how the elected president interacts with the American people. The students creating the website will also include the "what if" factor where they will examine and analyze what the losing candidate would have done if they had won the election.

Students enrolled in the Modern Presidency course hope their website will create analytical voters who can "identify what a president should do rather than what they say they can do," Williams said.

In addition to creating this website, students also are responsible for taking quizzes about assigned readings. Their quiz grades are used to determine leaders of projects and presentations. Leaders are responsible for providing objective and persuasive content to be used on the website.

"Completing assignments has required students to not only master course content and educate themselves on the positions of the current candidates, but also to teach themselves web layout and design, video construction and editing and how to effectively use music in a campaign," Williams said.

Dr. Jason Garrett, associate professor of communications, helped with video and Matt Hodge, instructor in theater and fine arts recruiter, helped with music.

Williams, assistant professor of political science, also teaches American government, comparative government and a political science seminar.

For more information, contact Williams at shwilliams@campbellsville.edu.