How-To for Participants

These are instructions for getting started with participating in Our Democracy.

Getting Started

Check out the prompts and responses from others around the country; use these to spark ideas as well as to explore diverse perspectives.

When you are ready to work within the Our Democracy publishing site, you must first Sign Up and then Log In with a code provided by a registered 18+ teacher/librarian/educator.

How to register, log in, and create your first post.

Sign Up and Log In

When you are ready to work on your response, you must first Sign Up with the code you receive from your registered teacher/librarian. Once you Sign Up you can then come back and Log In when needed.

Once you log in, you can create or edit an existing response. Responses are automatically saved as you go. If you would like to create more than one response, click the Add Your Response button in the right-hand navigation to start a second one.

Composing and Editing

Participants are welcome to compose their responses using text, images, sound, and video. The site also supports embedded video and most things in an iframe, and you can upload a range of multimedia within each post.

Each post begins with a Title and a Summary (280 character maximum). The summary will show up on the map and homepage along with any images you include. Upon publishing, Tags are required. Tags that are already in the system will display as you type and you can choose from those, or propose tags of your own. Your Display Name is also required and your first name and last initial will be the default.

Response fields you add can be reordered by dragging/dropping so that they appear in the order you decide. Whether you are working on a piece of writing and/or composing with multimedia, it helps to work through a process of feedback, revision, and editing. You can remove a published response or edit and then re-submit an already published piece.

As you draft, ask for feedback on your work-in-progress from a diverse range of people. Feedback from others is key, as your published post will be viewed by a diverse national and even international audience. Attributing the sources of any graphics, music, or other digital assets that you use honors the creative work of others while helping your readers learn about your sources.

Publishing and Sharing

Once your piece is finished, you will follow 4 steps to publish it.

  1. Click the Submit for Review button.
  2. You will be asked, “Ready to publish your response?” If so, select Tags for your response.
  3. Next, enter your public Display Name.
  4. Click Submit for Review.

Your response will be submitted to your registered teacher/educator who will do a final review and then post your responses to the public map and website.

We encourage you to share your work beyond Our Democracy, and social media share links are included on the website to make it easy for you to do so. As you prepare to publish and share, give some thought to the privacy considerations of peers and others in your community. See our Privacy Policy.

Finally, educators and participants should review our Terms of Use. In order to provide participants with a positive and inclusive platform, violations such as hate speech or imagery will not be tolerated and will be removed by administrators. Community members and readers should report problems or concerns to administrators by flagging content on the site using the Report a Problem feature or emailing us at writingourfuture@nwp.org.

Our Democracy

The Our Democracy Education Project is a partnership with the National Writing Project and PhotoWings. PhotoWings' mission is to help photography to be better understood, created, utilized, seen, and saved. The project is also supported by the National Geographic Society and Catchlight, and explores the question, “What does democracy look like?” through the creation of a multimedia record of the state of local, everyday democracy today.