Options in Phase III

A look at what the Course Mentors are up to…showing yet again that there’s more than one way to tackle the learning objectives and prepare students for the academic poster conference!


In the last week, my classes have gone from sharing possible Guiding Questions in pairs to various students writing their questions on the white board so that the questioners can get feedback from their peers, P.Cs, and instructors. I have met individually  with the students who are having issues with creating their question (that will continue over the next week, if needed). Their assignment over the past weekend was to investigate the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipients, pick one, and, from the description, accompanying video, and, if possible, a look at the recipient’s personal website, create a Guiding Question for that “Genius.”  They will share that with me in a short paragraph via email and post on the class’s GroupMe chat. This week, students will take turns putting Guiding Questions on the board and creating Issue Maps with the help of their peers.. Hopefully, this will serve, at least, three purposes: 1) – to continue refining the Question (if need be); 2) – to begin the Poster process; and 3) – to begin to make their research visible (in preparation for the Phase III paper and see where they need to expand upon said research).  


Phase III essays due on Friday 11/2.

Individual meetings are done. The students have their guiding questions and are currently researching existing knowledge. They will be given the digital poster template tomorrow and be trained on how to use it.  Class poster chat sessions will begin sometime next week. Students who are ready will be able to talk about their guiding question poster as a reversal of sorts for the FYS poster sessions scheduled for after the break.


There is no distinct beginning for Phase III, we have been transitioning out of Phase II.  Students are now acquainted with the idea that Critical Inquiry, Thinking and Systems thinking are linked.  They have drafted their guiding questions, and begun drafting their Issue Maps for their questions.  As systems thinkers, they are now ready to systematically approach their messy problems.  We will be working toward constructing their posters section by section.  They have started their issue maps, but I have also asked them to make a disciplinary grid – a simple four square grid of what disciplines their problems represent.  They will incorporate this into their posters, in addition to their issue map to reinforce the idea that there are different sets of lenses with which they can explore a chewy question.


We are a just wrapping up the essay on the group issue map for phase three (I had made a variation on the assignment in order to include more of their own experiences into issue mapping so that delayed the process), but  they are also in Phase Three, working on individual Guiding Questions, still fine-tuning them with each other. Poster discussions will occur this week as well….


This week we will focus on guiding questions and start poster prep.

  • The students have used scaffolding to their GQ’s using several ways:
    • 30,000 days video & discussion
    • Conversation about ‘Character’ 
    • MacArthur Foundation ‘reverse engineering whereby they search 3 recipients; select one; then create 2-3 guiding questions for their choice; class discussion of their work
  • Small groups discussing their individual GQ’s; critique and constructive input from their peers
  • Last few one-on-ones with the students & PC & me
  • Speaking technique review and a couple of activities/exercises including Speed Dating
  • Human Node connections activity (a la Sig) focusing on the inter-connectivity, deeper, root causes, question between nodes 

…and candy on Wednesday.


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