In Session 6, I asked you to consider problems on the broadest possible scale: grand challenges. In every case you identified in your blogs and discussed in the series of excellent comments, there was not just a single problem but a network of them that contributed to the current situation, and resisted fundamental change. The rewards of meeting a grand challenge are obvious in some cases: better education, higher standard of living worldwide, more equality, new knowledge that can then be used to solve other challenges, both grand and more mundane.
The goal of this final session is to make you aware of what one or a few people can do to address large problems like these, by understanding and navigating this complex infrastructure we’ve been considering all semester, to get information to the right place at the right time. Last session I asked you to identify a grand challenge, but not solve it. This session I’m going to ask you to identify a problem at a smaller scale, and to outline a solution that takes explicit advantage of the social information infrastructure.
In parallel, your GOMC campaigns should either be running now or starting very soon. This will be the last checkpoint before your Post-Campaign reports are due both to me and uploaded to Google. Since this constitutes your final project grade, plus some of you have asked for an extra credit opportunity, we will address both this session.
By Sunday, April 15, 11:59pm
Every student should email me individually with a report on the current status of your GOMC project, and your role in it. Focus on the work you have done individually, your interactions with your group and organization, and how you have divided the work so far. Identify any obstacles or roadblocks that you have encountered. Confirm the beginning and end dates of your campaign, your group’s plan for completing the Post-Campaign report, and any other comments. This email is a first draft of your required Individual Reflective Assessment that’s worth 5% of your grade, but by sending this working draft to me by the deadline, you can earn up to 2 points of extra credit (2% of your grade).
Read: Paul Graham (2012). Frighteningly ambitious startup ideas. http://www.paulgraham.com/ambitious.html
On your blog: address the following questions/points:
- Who is Paul Graham, and why should you listen to him?
- Critique and/or extend one of Graham’s startup ideas.
- Propose a “frighteningly ambitious” startup idea of your own. Spend at least a paragraph or two describing it. What problems would it solve? What problems would it create?
- This is the part of your post that I will evaluate most heavily when it comes to your grade for this session: which two specific aspects of the social information infrastructure would help make your idea happen, and why? Choose aspects from readings or other students’ blogs throughout the course that demonstrate your understanding of what the social information infrastructure is, and its potential to translate ideas into reality.
By Friday, April 20, 11:59pm
Comment substantively on at least five other students’ blogs. Those of who you haven’t consistently commented at this level throughout the course may post more comments to earn up to 2 points of extra credit (3 additional substantive comments beyond the 5 required = 1 extra credit point).
By Sunday, April 22, 11:59pm
Conclude your conversations.
By Sunday, May 6, 11:59pm
Your Post-Campaign Report (one per team) and individual reflective assessments are due via email to me, though earlier submissions are appreciated.
I will be in contact with you over the coming weeks for GOMC, but since this is our last session, I’d like to thank you for giving this online course a chance, and I hope you’ve found it informative, interesting and a refreshing change from the standard lecture/lab format. I look forward to reading your suggestions on the course evaluations, and I’ll send out the instructions for those when the eCafe site opens.