Pre-seminar preparations

Introduction to pre-seminar session (15 May  – 5 June)

You will understand that we are looking at three basically very different but deeply complex and asymmetrically interrelated areas of human activity and environment, namely (1) Sustainable Development, (2) Business & (3) Society. (You may wish to think of our approach as an example of the classic: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis, but more on that later.) Each of these subject areas is extremely dense and if you are going to work in the world of international business, you really do need to have more than a passing understanding of how these three different worlds work together. That truly is something that we cannot reasonably expect to deal with sufficiently for your career purposes in three short days. How to do it?

So, believing that this is important and worth the candle, I have designed a little reading and thinking exercise using the net in order to give you a running start on our issues. (Think of it as an ad hoc example of e-learning.) You will find the e-project briefly introduced here, and if you have any questions at all on its workings or the role that it will take in your final grading, please get in touch.

* Satisfactory completion of the preparatory program counts for 10% of final grade.

This is not, we can be sure, the first time that you have read or discussed the issues that are the core of this seminar, something which should make our time together all the more interesting. This is, after all, a collaborative dialogue, so the more you have already thought about it the better our shared knowledge building process will be. (In fact you will have plenty of opportunities to show off your knowledge, since each session opens with a 5×5 Round Table (five students asking their selected key question, and then answering it in exactly 5 minutes, including getting answers to it, discussion from the class. In each case the student will be responsible for keeping the discussions on exact time track – 300 seconds!)

Workload: I am aware that you all have a heavy workload in your other courses and in many cases jobs, and I have thus tried to make this preparatory week something that you can do with interest and within the limits of your available time. It does require that you are able to read fast, assimilate the materials and then act fast to demonstrate your understanding(in the presentations and discussions). But that is exactly what you are going to find in the highly competitive world of international business.

Quick report: On the morning of the following day each student will present a one page memo reporting on the discussion in a way that will grab the attention of the reader. These memos will be distributed to the class and posted to the Dashboard, under the Student Discussions section.

 

This preparatory stage is organized in four main parts as follows:

1. Signing in:
Registered students are asked to sign in, on or before 1 June: (a) to the Dashboard (top right, subscribe) and (b) to the Facebook Group Page

At that time please prepare and submit (a) a short (one page max) bio note with (b) a small photo , and (c) together with a short statement of your expectations, hopes for the course.

2. WORKPAD: Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the project Workpad
Please spend some time working your way through the material and tools that have been brought together in the main working site at https://sustainabiltyseminar.wordpress.com/, including the menu items (top menu) under the About and Tools rubrics. You are also invited to review and understand the uses of:
(a) COURSE PORTFOLIO (our small documentation depot) at http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3016684 and
(b) CONTACT GROUP (Facebook) site at http://www.facebook.com/SDES.MasterClass

Bear in mind that this seminar does not have a textbook to guide us, so you much be familiar both with the organization and content of the Dashboard and the other tool sets if you are to succeed in the course.

3. Preparatory reading:
You are asked to read or at least to scan over the course of the first week, the dozen documents that you will find here on the site under this heading; https://sustainabiltyseminar.wordpress.com/about/some-case-study-materials/more-on-class-organization/#rr . Between them they constitute a kind of short history of all that is to be covered in the course. Once you are familiar with the core concepts, you will begin to have the basic vocabulary with which to start to consider the issues.

Sustainable Development Timeline:
A good starting place to set the stage for our understanding of the processes we are examining here is the Sustainable Development Timeline: 1962 – 2012 that you will find here .

Megatrends:
Different analysts will have their own lists, but this is one you will do well to get a feel for early in your learning process. Here is a good one to get us thinking about this as we get started:

Prominent Figures:
This is my list based on my reading of the situation as I see it and my professional experience, However if you ask ten people working in the field you will get ten possibly quite different lists. But there are central figures, and I hope that I am providing you with fair in of course incomplete coverage.

Please make sure you read at least five of these brief bios in the preparatory week, and before the end of the seminar I would ask that you have a good understanding of all of those names which are marked by asterisks. These are some of the main players in the process that was and is sustainable development. (And be sure you let me know if there are important actors who I may have missed. Surely there are).

You will also be given short reading assignments during the course itself, but more on that later.

4. Speed Presentations – Short Report Presentation( Day 1)
All students are asked to take advantage of the time in the preceding week to prepare a five minute speed research presentation on a topic of their choice taken from the Link and Sources repertory found in the lower half of each page. The objective is to see how they handle the task of “speed research” on any one on the topics identified in the lower half of the Dashboard.

We want to hear from you not only to tell us about what this particular report/event/strategy might mean, but also to share your first remarks with us as to the main message you get from it when it come to the sustainability/business/society interface. Both problems, constraints and opportunities. (Of course you will not be able to dig very far into that, but you will have more time for the longer presentation that will take place on Saturday. This will however give you some first feedback from the discussions which hopefully will help you as you take your idea the next stage.

Short written report of no more than two pages consisting of (a) short methodological note (how you did it), (b) citation of at least three independent sources consulted for presentation; and (3) your presentation notes (perhaps in the form of bullet points)

Note: You may chose to make this first short report as a trial run for the full 30 presentation on 8 June. And possibly beyond that your main course paper. The idea for those who chose to take this course is that you can get iterations of feedback from the class.

If you have  are not sure about any of the above, I invite you to get in touch with me directly: eric.britton@ecoplan.org of Skype: newmobility.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s