SEGL ONLINE: Integrity 101 Unit Four

INTRODUCTION

In Unit Four, you will complete SEGL’s three famous capstone projects: the collaborative policy document, and the social venture business plan, and the ethical credo.  You should be prepared to work even harder in this unit than before, and to be even more efficient with your time.  By the end, you will have three incredible products of which you can be very proud.

WEEKS THIRTeen and fourteen ASSIGNMENT:
the collaborative policy document

DIRECTIONS:
1. Read the prompt.
2. Participate in the online session.
3. Follow the group work protocol.
4. Research and draft your document!

PROMPT:
Your challenge in the next two weeks is to research and author a collaborative, scholarly-written document that presents an in-depth ethical understanding of and practical solutions to one current or imminent international conflict or policy issue.  You will choose your topic during our first online session.  Following this session, we will divide you into groups, with each group writing a different section of the document in accordance with the group work protocol (see below).  Your group will present its recommendations of your section, together with a rough draft, before a “review committee” during our second online session.  Your final draft is due at the end of the second week.  All dates/times are subject to adjustment.

Why do we do this?  SEGL takes as a core premise the idea that education’s foremost purpose is to study and offer practical solutions for the urgent challenges facing the world today.  With that principle in mind, each year the program seeks to gather together gifted educators, students, and leading guest lecturers for collaborative, intellectually challenging sessions that explore problems facing our world.  One key goal of each session is a collaborative written document that proposes a practical solution to an international challenge, to be shared with leading academic institutions, media outlets, and political leaders at the end of the session.  Make sense?

Before the first online session, think of two or three international conflicts that really interest you.  Make sure your topic is focused (“global warming” is too broad, but “child labor in the Ivory Coast cocoa trade” is just right); you might also want to choose a topic that you think deserves more attention.  We will ask you to list these topics in class so that we have a good list from which to choose.

The second online session will be challenging.  You can expect detailed questions from our panelists.  They will play the part of officials who are relying on your expertise and will demand your very best. Make sure you prep thoroughly with your group beforehand and keep your cool during the session!

GROUP WORK PROTOCOL:
The document will be written in sections by small groups (3-4 each), each of which will deal with a different aspect of the chosen conflict.  Possible topics might include:

1. Historical background and current status
2. Political overview and recommendations
3. Economic overview and recommendations
4. International community overview and recommendations
5. The role of the United States overview and recommendations

Each group is expected to draw on the knowledge it has gained from our previous academic activities, from scholarly research online and in local academic libraries, from personal interviews with experts, and from earlier exercises designed to improve the collaborative process.

Each group’s rough draft should be an estimated 4-6 pages (double-spaced) in length.  Writing should be succinct, clear, and reflect current scholarly research.  Each group (with the exception of the Historical background and current status group) should end its section with 3-5 succinct recommendations in bullet-point form.

A few big tips:
1) Your performance and evaluation on this task will largely depend on your ability to stay focused and to work collaboratively.
2) Always keep track of your sources; academic dishonesty is unacceptable and affects everyone.  Click here for lots of information from Princeton on what this means.  When in doubt, ask!  When in doubt, credit your source/collaborator!
3) Communicate often with your group, and check in occasionally with groups that have overlapping issues.
4) Instant messaging/Facebook/etc. is a great way to keep in contact with group members in different locations, but, please do not use it to catch up with friends at home, etc. while you are working.
5) Ask for help when you need it!

A few small (but very important) tips:
Click here for more!

FIRST ONLINE SESSION:
Topic choice and process overview

SECOND ONLINE SESSION:
Rough draft presentations

WEEK FIFTEEN ASSIGNMENT:
THE SOCIAL VENTURE BUSINESS PLAN

DIRECTIONS:
1. Read the prompt.
2. Complete the preliminary inventory.
3. Schedule a one-on-one.
4. Fill out the business plan template.
5. Present your plan in the online session.

PROMPT:
How do you want to change the world?  This week you get to make your plan.

The first step in this process is to make two lists.  Your first list should include things that you love to do.  Perhaps you love to play the oboe, work with stray animals, and ice skate, for example.  Make the list as long as possible.  These should be things you will be doing in the next few months regardless of how much work you will have.  Your second list should include things that you want to change in your community (define “community” however you would like–school, town, faith group, international organization, etc.)  Perhaps you think there is a problem with homelessness in your town that really bothers you, or that the food in your lunchroom is not nutritious enough, or that there is too much gang activity in your neighborhood.  Make this list as long as you can as well.

The next stage is to think creatively about how you can combine these two lists.  For example, can you combine your love of ice skating with the need for alternatives to gangs?  Can you combine your love of stray animals with the need to find homeless people employment?  Think outside the box and have fun.  If you can do this, new and exciting ideas will emerge.

Once you have done this, you should be ready for your one-on-one.  We will help you focus your idea and ask you some key questions to get you on your way.

Once this happens, you should turn to your business plan.  Every entrepreneur has a business plan, and thinking these items through will help you not only with this project, but any similar project you launch in the future.

BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE:

Click here (note that we use Ashoka’s Youth Venture Action Plan for our template)

ONLINE SESSION:
Social Venture plan presentations!
(Click here to see the grading rubric we will use)

Week sixteen:

The ethical credo

DIRECTIONS:
1. Read the prompt.
2. Schedule a one-on-one session.
3. Write your Credo.
4. Present your Credo in our online session.

PROMPT:
Your challenge is to write and present a brilliant, insightful, and true response to the following two questions:

  • Given everything you have learned as a result of this semester, where do you stand on the ethical questions that matter most to you?
  • Given your answer to the question above, how are you going to live your life?

In order to be satisfying to you and to those who read it, your Credo must follow these guidelines:

  • It must be brilliant
  • It must be insightful
  • It must be true

Practical Information
Your Credo should be typed.  There is no page requirement, and there are no right answers.  However, papers that do not demonstrate serious deliberation and depth of thought will be penalized significantly, as will papers that do not demonstrate a mastery of the subject matter—the assignment is not “write a rambling final reflection,” nor is it “B.S. a few pages for us about life,” nor is it therapy.  It is definitely OK to include references to things we haven’t talked about in Integrity 101, in your paper, but a paper that neglects substantive consideration of what you’ve learned in the SEGL academic program will not complete the assignment adequately.  What you are doing is part of your final evaluation.

Your Credo must also be presented to the class during this week’s online session.  You will have no more than ten minutes to present the substance of your paper to your classmates in whatever reasonable way you choose (if you have a particularly creative idea, please see us first).  Most of your final exam grade will depend on what you write, but some of it will depend on this presentation.  You will turn in your written Credo after your presentation.  You are welcome to share a rough draft with us, so long as that draft is completed 48 hours before the online session.

ONE WAY TO WRITE YOUR CREDO
1. Go get your books, your readings, your journal, and your notebook.
2. Go over what you have learned this semester.  Jot down some thoughts, using the following questions as a prompt: What issues/guest speakers/readings/questions have moved you in some way? Why have they moved you?  Which assignments/case studies connect best to the issues you feel are important to your life?  Is there one “theme” that has triggered your interest (war, size of government, oppression of minorities, etc.)?  Which discussions/ assignments/ readings have been hardest for you—not because they were boring, but because they made you question your assumptions?  Talk with others if you would like.
3. Once you have thought for a while about #2, consider and respond to the following set of questions:  How have your answers to the principal ethical questions we have addressed developed over the last four months? What are you sure of now, and what are you unsure of?  What questions linger in your mind, frustrating you every time you think of them?  What does all of this have to do with the sort of person you want to be when you return home?  Is your understanding of history, of the United States government, of human nature, different than before?  How?
4. Once you have thought for a while about #2 and #3, ask yourself this: SO WHAT? What are you going to do differently given your answers?  Have you been inspired?  Are you going to read differently?  How are you going to vote?  What organizations will you get involved in?  How will you interact with other people?  How will you spend your money?
5. Hopefully #2, #3, and #4 will help you realize what you want to say in your Credo.  Now you can start to write it.  As you write, remember that we are most interested here in your application of what you’ve learned at SEGL to your life and the depth of your thinking, not your ability to write a five-paragraph essay.  You might also think about “themes”—are there any that develop that you can use to tie your thought together?
6.  After you have finished a rough draft, look over the assignment again.  Is your Credo essentially “fluff,” or is it thoughtful?  Does it grapple with key issues, or simply list them as asides in order to make us happy?  Are you being honest with yourself, or simply going through the motions (it will show!).
7. Avoid “Midnight Credo Syndrome.”  That is, do not procrastinate!  You want this Credo to be something you will remember and keep with you for a long time.
8.  See us for more help if you need it!  Sooner than later is best.

END OF UNIT FOUR

Congratulations!
Click here for information about our closing ceremony, and click here to learn more about our summer program (it would be great to see you in DC!).

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