The Term Project

Now that we’ve dedicated the first few weeks to instructor-led class sessions, it’s time for some new voices! This week, our students will lead the way with descriptions of their term projects.

We will also pursue our goal of upgrading our technology. Thus, no later than Monday evening at 11:59 pm, please accept your invitation to access the Top Hat software platform. Of course, please let us know immediately if you are unable to do so.

Then, as we discussed last week, please send Mike Kraten a group email message no later than Tuesday evening at 11:59 pm, stating: (1) the names of your project group members, (2) a description of a community, and (3) a problem or challenge that threatens the long-term viability (or sustainability) of the community. The threat may be environmental, social, and/or economic in nature.

Then, on Wednesday during our class session, please be prepared to briefly describe your project choices. We will try to hear from all of the groups on Wednesday, though it is possible that time constraints may “bump” a group or two to Thursday.

Furthermore, please bring your mobile phone to class on Wednesday and Thursday, or sign up for a free Google Voice account and bring your laptop.

As we discussed last week, we will pilot test the Top Hat platform on Wednesday. If it appears to be functioning reliably, we will begin to use it for all of our quizzes. Incidentally, please keep in mind that each quiz will continue to cover both the advance reading assignment for the current session and the classroom discussion content of the immediate prior session.

This week, building upon our recent classroom discussion about the Jefferson Bible, we will discuss a pair of speeches that were given by George Washington.

1. In advance of Wednesday’s session, please read General George Washington’s Farewell Orders to the troops of the Continental Army on February 2, 1783. As you read this text, please identify the passages that implicitly refer to themes of sustainability.

2. Then, in advance of Thursday’s session, please read President George Washington’s Farewell Address to the Nation on September 19, 1796. Once again, as you read this text, please identify the passages that implicitly refer to themes of sustainability.

Whereas Thomas Jefferson is believed to have been a deist, George Washington is believed to have followed a hybrid theology of deism and Christianity. Next week, if time permits, we’ll compare the key concepts of the philosophy of existentialism to the theologies of deism and Christianity. Nevertheless, there is no advance reading assignment about existentialism this week.

However, as you read the Washington texts, please keep in mind that he was endeavoring to persuade individuals with very different rational and moral belief systems to follow his recommendations. Today, individuals who care deeply about issues of sustainability face the same challenge. And you will face it, too, as you complete your term project.