Syllabus 391 Fall 2019

Syllabus: UNIV-391 / HNRS-391 / PSC-391 / UNIV-491 / PSC-491 Fall 2017
Appropriate Technology the World’s People: Development class website
M, W, 2-4, Room 34-227
Final Presentations: Monday, December 10, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Instructor: Pete Schwartz, Pete’s Webpage,, 180-608, x6-1220
Diversity, Inclusivity, Sustainability: Cal Poly’s mission statement includes “…Cal Poly values free inquiry, cultural and intellectual diversity, mutual respect, civic engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.” Issues of diversity, inclusivity, and environmental responsibility have recently taken on great importance, globally as well as at Cal Poly. As an instructor, I wish to nurture awareness of how our actions affect others, near and far. I strive to maintain a classroom environment in which meaningful dialogue and debate is encouraged. I welcome individuals of all ages, backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, national origins, religious affiliations, abilities—and any other visible and non-visible differences. In any decision-making process, we will remind ourselves that our knowledge is not complete and that we can benefit from other perspectives that contrast our own. I believe that good problem solving is inclusive, requiring application of empathy, critical thinking, and ethics to all aspects of the problem-solving process. Lastly, I think it’s our responsibility to make the world a happier place – all of us, all the time.
Catalog Description:
A broad overview of international development, partnerships for development and appropriate design for sustainability. Besides academic work, students will work in teams to address problems with social and technical solutions. Collaboration with mentors from the university, private sector, and nonprofits will serve to provide diverse background and project mentorship.
The class has three educational facets:
a) Lectures, reading/videos, case studies, and guest presentations
b) Class Discussions (Especially relating to reading) on reading and HW assignments
c) Focus projects and class presentations.
Focus projects: Students will work in groups of 3-5 on a particular challenge faced by a participant community. This project will be the subject of the final group presentation, website, and “KickStarter” video. It is important to understand we may not achieve what we set out to do in the beginning. We remember that there are “experts” in development (Like the World Bank), who have many “failures” in their history. Much of the “failures” could be attributed to not understanding the lives of the people the experts seek to help. I ask that we don’t try to help as much as to learn from the people we collaborate with in our community of interest. You will be graded on the quality of your research and presentations.
There are no required textbooks. We will read from a variety of documents and each student picks a book to present and write a summary for the other students.
491 credit. If you are taking 400 level credit, you must write a final paper summarizing your experience and how it ties into your life plans. Format is flexible, aim for 1000 words.

Class Presentation / Website: We will have 2-3 project presentations every class period at the beginning of the class. We will start on Monday of Week #2 with group #1 and work down the list until we are at the bottom, and then start at the top again until the last day of class. Presentations later in the quarter may be longer, but should also just focus on the most recent progress. These don’t count toward your grade, but serve to prepare you for your final presentation. Additionally, there will be two website evaluations during the quarter in order to shape expectations for the final website review at the end of finals week.

“KickStarter” Video: Produce a video to inspire, teach, and convince the listeners to take action – it shouldn’t be about fundraising. This video, posted on YouTube, will be referenced or shown in your final presentation and be considered in the grade.

Final Class Presentation: During exam week, each student group will make a 10-15 minute presentation to the class on their appropriate technology innovation for the focus community. This is also a potluck dinner, and you are encouraged to bring food and friends.

Assessments: We will have a short assessment at the beginning of class each Wednesday that covers all previous information including preparation for that class, but focuses mostly on the previous week. Assessments will assess what you have learned in the class readings, discussions, and presentations (including presentations by other focus groups). They are closed book with no notes or access to internet or anything other than your memory. We drop the two lowest assessment scores, so if you botch one or miss one, there is no opportunity to make up… because there’s no problem, right?

Class Preparation: To maximally benefit from the class, please do the readings and come to class ready to talk about them. Readings and other resources are available via the course timeline (link on main class website). I reserve the right to update the assignment as late as 24 hours before class, so if you read ahead, please check the assignment again the evening before each class. Don’t read more than a week ahead.

Website: Each group is responsible for setting up a website updating it after each presentation. For examples of websites, please see (and put appropriate links to) pages from past classes.

Self-Intervention: We will study how people respond to change by looking at our own response to change. You may do a personal intervention on your own or together with your group. We may do one as a class as well. An intervention should test your ability to adapt to change. It should be something that at first you say, “I can’t do that because I must (or can’t) ….”, and then are able to reformat the statement to, “what would have to change for this to happen?”.

Is your group working well together?: Within two days after each presentation, each you will submit to me an Email stating if everyone in your group is doing their fair share, or if there’s problems, or if you’ve overcome some interesting challenge, or if you would like some help communicating, etc.

The Quest for Excellence, and Determination of a Grade
Rather than emphasizing the pursuit of “excellence”, I will emphasize that we pursue “goodness”, and that our level of achievement be “good enough”. This class will require a considerable amount of teamwork, reading, class participation, and designing. Lack of technical background is not a handicap. Effort and enthusiasm will serve you well.

You will be graded on your class/activity participation, performance on assessments, your final presentation, your website, and your video., I anticipate the majority of the grades will be “A”s. However, your final grade is not an average of these five achievements. Consequently, inadequate achievement in one category will result in a grade lower than an “A”.