Wednesday, March 25, 2009

debate and "Open for Questions"?

Greetings from Lil Rhody!

While thinking about curriculum for my fall 09 debate class (in which I am trying to critically integrate new media) I started thinking about the new "Open for Questions" virtual townhall the Obama administration has set up. You can check out the resulting blog post over at my new venture The Doxophiliac, but I thought this was a uniquely interesting question for the DAWG--that is, how can we take insight from competitive debate and apply it to the design of public forums like "Open for Questions." In the post, I suggests that these attempts to directly communicate with the public should be designed to help the questioner frame their concern in a way that encourages constructive deliberation, and that engaging in the process of question-formation is intrinsically valuable as well as instrumentally valuable (the process, in other words, is as important as the product). My thoughts at the moment are just preliminary sketches, but they seem to be pointing towards an interesting collective endeavor. What do you think?


Steve the Weave said...

I sometimes use a few pages from an old book I have called "Developing Questioning Techniques" for such a purpose. But recently I haven't been teaching much of that in my classes.

I think the idea of a competitive format based on question quality is an interesting one, but how can competitive debate help in the era where cross examination is a synonym for prep time?

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