Sonya Rahders, JD, instructor, Policy in Human Sexuality: The most interesting and exciting thing, frankly, is the breadth of students that have access to the course. That makes for a really interesting, really unique engagement and discussion around the subjects. We do for example a module on Sex Ed and a module on health care access, and those laws are different in California and in Arizona and in Minnesota.

The way that I structure the final project for my course is that I ask each of the students to make some sort of a policy advocacy tool. I give the students a really broad scope of what they can work on, because I'd like folks to work on laws that actually impact them where they live and their communities. And then we have fantastic online discussions about the difference between those laws in a much more organic way than would happen if I was just lecturing to everybody about what the law is in different places.

Text on screen: What are some benefits of the fully online course format?

The course is going to bring up subjects that are personal for people. Being able to write things out on, say, a discussion board or record a video or think about this in a way that gives students a little bit more time and a little bit more ability to consider how they might frame something makes it easier for them to share those sorts of stories in a way that you might not, say, if you're just raising your hand in class. I also tend to be fairly open myself, and I like to record videos and have one-on-one meetings, when possible, and just give the students that sense of myself as a respectful, receptive audience for them.

Text on screen: Why get involved in public policy?

Public policy is actually a process that every single one of us can participate in. And it seems really scary to go and talk to your state legislator, but the fact is that the way that they learn about what actually needs to happen, needs to change in medical practice or in education, is by hearing from the folks who work in those fields.


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