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Transforming Citizen Participation

Discover the best techniques to encourage citizen participation and learn how to engage at all levels of the public sector.

850 enrolled on this course

students reading and socialising

Transforming Citizen Participation

850 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore innovative ways to communicate within the public sector

Citizen participation is an important part of democracy. It requires citizen involvement in public decisions as well as communication at all levels of the public sector.

On this four-week course, you’ll discover effective techniques to engage with stakeholders, manage new ideas, co-create solutions, and investigate opportunities across the public sector.

Get ahead in the ever-changing field of public service as you’ll explore the latest citizen participation practices. This understanding will help you analyse the new forms of deliberative, collaborative, and participatory decision-making that are evolving globally.

Discover the power of using social media and clicktivism

How people consume news has changed radically in recent years, fuelled largely by the emergence of social media platforms.

You’ll explore how these platforms could be used as a force for good and the techniques you can apply to harness social media.

Within this, you’ll unpack the concept of ‘clicktivism’ and how social media has made it possible for electronic, lower-cost activism.

Understand the concept of social listening

Delving into social listening, you’ll learn how to monitor the views of citizens and how to extract valuable insights from this.

You’ll also explore the presence of public servants of social media, and the opportunity of a ‘digital frontline’.

Study real-world social media strategies

Some social media strategies have been highly effective at disseminating information or fostering a sense of community, but others have been less so. You’ll explore both to understand the best practices in social media strategies.

This course gives you the opportunity to hone your skills and boost your CV as you learn from the experts at the University of Birmingham.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds Explore innovative ways to engage with stakeholders. Manage new ideas. Co-create solutions. And investigate new opportunities at all levels of the public sector with the University of Birmingham’s MOOC on transforming citizen participation. Study at a world top 100 university wherever you are. And to use this MOOC to promote your application to the online MPA, or short micro-credentials in public administration.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds Lasting just four weeks, this MOOC has been specifically designed to fit around you.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds You can fit the two hour weekly study requirements around work and life commitments.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds And at the end of your studies, you can even add this credential to your CV or LinkedIn profile.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds Sign up to find out more.


  • Week 1

    Can social media be a force for good?

    • Welcome to Transforming Citizen Participation

      Social media offers greater connectivity and, in theory, greater transparency. But there are costs. In this course, we’ll look at how the rise of social media has transformed the way public servants and governments operate.

    • Welcome to Week 1

      This week, we'll explore three questions: 1. What are the main motivations for the use of social media? 2. How is it changing the nature of policy and the way we consume news? 3. How is it disrupting governments behaviour?

    • Harnessing social media

      The way people consume news and current affairs has changed radically in recent years, fuelled in large part by the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

    • Citizen Power

      Whereas once activism was defined by vigorous campaigning, social media has made it possible for an electronic, lower-cost form of participation that has become known as 'clicktivism'.

    • Week 1 Summary

      Let's recap what we have covered this week.

  • Week 2

    Is anybody there?

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Have you ever created or signed a petition for change? Did your petition get the outcome you wanted? This week we're exploring the power that citizens have in an increasingly digital world.

    • #sociallistening

      Combining social media with the ten-yearly census and traditional household surveys offers the government new opportunities to monitor the views of its citizens.

    • Frontline delivery

      The presence of public servants on social media sites has introduced a kind of 'digital frontline'.

    • Improved relationships?

      The use of social media accounts by frontline public servants offers an opportunity to give a “behind the badge” perspective. Is this a good thing?

    • Week 2 Summary

      Let's recap what we have covered this week.

  • Week 3

    Push, pull or collaborate?

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome to Week 3! This week we turn our attention to the ways in which social media is used by leaders and public servants.

    • Real-world social media strategies

      Some strategies have been highly effective at disseminating information or fostering a sense of community, but others have been less so. We’ll explore both in more detail this week.

    • Maijer and Thaen’s Strategy

      Maijer and Thaens (2013) suggest there are four types of strategy that large public organisations might focus their resources on.

    • Implementation

      Examples of how we use social media monitoring software to help us.

    • Week 3 Summary

      Let's recap what we have covered this week.

  • Week 4

    Trust them to tweet?

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Welcome to Week 4! This week we'll be examining a deceptively simple question. Should public officials be allowed to use social media?

    • Social media ownership

      Should public servants and leaders be free to express their personal opinions on social media?

    • Case Study: Advocates for agents using social media

      In the next few steps we will look at a Case Study with Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman.

    • Social Media and Senior Leadership

      Here we'll take a closer look at world leaders' use of the social media platform Twitter.

    • Week 4 Summary

      Let's recap what we have covered this week.

    • Wrapping up

      Congratulations on reaching the end of Transforming Citizen Participation. Here we'll summarise the course with your course leader.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess the extent of social media usage and the motivation of the users
  • Explore different ways in which social media has transformed citizen participation
  • Critically evaluate the digital "front line" that has been created by social media where citizens can upload crime and incident reports
  • Assess the notion of "sousveillance" and its value in improving relationships with citizens
  • Assess the benefits and dangers of engaging with the public through social media
  • Assess the social media and networking strategies of different organisations
  • Identify and resolve different types of social media implementation failure
  • Critique the benefits and challenges that come from live streaming front-line public service work such as police work
  • Evaluate the reach of different forms of social media posts made by public servants to members of the public

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for professionals who want to make an impact in the public sector at local, national, or international levels.

It will be of particular interest for those in key industries including local council and government, emergency services, or civil service.

Who will you learn with?

Max is an INLOGOV Associate and has a PhD in political science from the University of Birmingham. He has taught for a number of years on many aspects of politics, public administration, research metho

Who developed the course?

University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 17 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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