Category Archives: PAST Featured Posts

Strategos: Kautilya Plan

May 10, 2012, by

The purpose of learning about Kautilya in Endurance is to formulate a strategy for ourselves to realize our missions. Back in 300 BC, Kautilya created a structure for administration, economic policy, and military strategy that continues to hold its influence in political science. Kautilya left us with a template and questions to consider the importance of what we want to achieve. The questions are simple: Why? How? How much/many? When/where? What if? Using Kautilya’s guide, we investigate what drives our mission and how to achieve it.

As we are in the “Stratego” unit of Endurance, it is a time to focus on what you can do (emphasis on the do). We learned in Morpheus that it is important to be able to visualize what you want, and now it is about action. My personal mission is about having a more positive outlook. It is a common goal to have, but there are many methods that people go about improving their outlook. When we presented our missions as lessons to the Endurance class, I wrote a second Kautilya plan for the lesson. I wanted to involve classmates in the lesson, so I had to think of a way to get them to the answer I had sought before. The question was: What are some methods of assessing internal feelings to change outlook? My lesson plan (that I’ve detailed below) was to introduce them to behavioral modification. To involve everyone as a participant, I brought in a zen sandbox. The sandbox only served as an example of a way people contemplate their feelings and clear them away like debris to feel refreshed. The rest of my lesson plan answers Kautilya’s prompts. Kautilya, zen sandbox, strategos — they may all sound disconnected, but in our Endurance class we always find ways to make connections.

Lesson Plan
Question What are some methods of assessing internal feelings to change our outlook?
Why The purpose of this lesson is to introduce behavioral modification therapy, a way to find the source of negative feelings and replace them with positive feelings.
How At the end of the lesson, the participants will experience replacing feelings. The presentation will start with EP stating the purpose of the lesson. Then, she will go through the steps of behavioral modification therapy (what happened? what did you think? how did you feel? what could have you thought?). Next, she will ask each participant to recall an event which prompted a negative mood. The participants are not expected to share what they are thinking. The presenter will pass around the zen sandbox to have each person go through step 4 as a collective — through clearing the debris of sand they are thinking about the act of replacing negative feelings with positive ones. As a wrap-up to be sure that the participants understood the activity, the presenter will ask the participants what the purpose of using the zen sandbox was.
How much/many 1 presenter (EP) and 11 participants will be involved with the presentation. The presenter must bring her zen garden sandbox and rake accessory. The participants do not need any materials of their own. The presenter will pass the zen garden sandbox around to involve each participant.
Where/when GCE Room C; Thursday, May 3rd, 2012. Time limit: 6 minutes
What if If the presenter is running out of time, there will be someone monitoring time. When there is 1 minute left, it is important to let participants use the sandbox to refresh their minds with positive thoughts.


Understanding Medicine with frogs

May 9, 2012, by

For our global health cure course, we are examining frog organs to better understand treatments. Frog organs are very similar to human organs. For example, human and frog livers are similar. Researchers study the liver to see how humans respond to various drugs and to find cures for liver disease (Brown Med, 2012 Dissecting frogs, I learned that frogs have thick skin, three lobes on the liver, and the pancreas and spleen help to digest its food.





Catalysts at Orbit Media

May 4, 2012, by

For a field experience, the GCE Catalysts went to Orbit Media Studios. We went to direct questions to professionals on what web design and development entails. We met the CEO, Todd Gettelfinger, whose responsibilities include ensuring customer satisfaction and financial management. He wants clients to find value in every dollar they spend with Orbit. Our class wanted to get his outlook on the web design and development industry. It is a field that changes as technology changes. Orbit Media’s history reflects their ability to keep up with the innovation. The group started with comic design, flash (a multimedia platform), and games. The next phase was when they started to work with a variety of media: print, video, and web development.

Orbit Media now works to provide web services to start-up or existing businesses. They have been active for 11 years now. With 30 people working in the studio, they have completed 700 projects. They work with a diversity of clients from General Aviation Mobile to the Independent Publishers Group. To satisfy their clients, they maintain direct contact to understand their mission. Knowing what the business wants to do informs the look and feel of the website Orbit Media will create. They work in higher-end web design, meaning that they can provide services such as e-commerce and custom applications. Todd Gettelfinger explained that Orbit Media focuses on serving Chicago-based businesses because they want to be known as Chicago’s number one website creators. Orbit is currently in a “manage growth” phase, meaning that they have to plan a way to grow at a pace they can handle. Our class benefited from learning about the experience of being involved with web design and development.

We also met other members of the Orbit Media team. Amanda Gant, the marketing and relationships manager, provided insight on the importance of getting information from clients. Meeting and constant communication has to happen to ensure that clients feel their message being expressed on a website. Mary Fran Wiley, a web designer, introduced us to her process of creating a unique look for clients. “Discover, design, develop, and deploy” are the steps she takes to make sure the design is attractive to clients and users. We learned that the most important thing for a designer to do is ask about the client’s brand book. The answers they provide inform the images and styles designers set for the website. The design isn’t the only thing clients ask Orbit to individualize. Function is another feature that needs special attention. For this job, Sam Ward, a web developer, uses coding to make the function of the website match the client’s need. An important phrase mentioned in the meeting was that in website creation there must be mutual respect for each other’s jobs. Then, the function and design will synchronize to make an enjoyable web experience.

Meeting with Orbit Media had a positive impact on our learning as beginning designers and developers. Recently, we have been discussing how our website should look and function. Learning from the expertise of Orbit gave us guidance to focus our vision. As our website aims to raise awareness for environmental sustainability, we see that there many opportunities to create a unique look. We definitely look forward to incorporating what we learned into our website.

9/11 Memorial Reflection

March 13, 2012, by


For our second Forbidden Books Milestone, we were asked to create a memorial of sorts to go in the site of the Twin Towers that would help to facilitate peace, especially between Christians and Muslims.

When I first got this assignment, I was so overwhelmed. I drew for an hour trying to figure out what I wanted and I kept coming back to this idea of a circular glass building with a dome ceiling surrounded by lush green trees, so I decided I had to stick with it.

I wanted my building to be somewhere where people of all walks of life come together and talk about 9/11 and interfaith relationships and how we have become almost more segregated in our communities because of this. The trust we have lost deserves conversation and needs to be rebuilt. It could be held by anyone really, I just think that they need to have a goal for peace, love and understanding, just like Elvis Costello.

My collage took ages and so many times I almost gave up, but on Sunday night when I was finishing up the outline of the building I thought that this would be the process of these conversations. They would be hard and require a ton of work and effort, but the united, diverse and peaceful result is worth the struggles to get there.

How dare you burn this book!!

March 12, 2012, by

People should read the book The Golden Compass because it is a book that can put you in whole new worlds of imaginations; I wrote “imaginations” in the plural, because the main character adventures herself between world worlds, full of fantasy.

From this podcast, I learned that this book’s idea of how the daemons (animal souls) are portrayed goes against the Catholic religion — and that is why the book was censored.

It was important to include different voices in this podcast because they bring many diversified thoughts; each person I interviewed had a different story to tell, the same way that people had different daemons in the book.

These different voices made me question:

— Are you ready to discover what your daemon is?

Org. Systems and Models NASA Milestone

March 7, 2012, by

 Please take a moment to view my video!

For my Org. Systems and Models class, we built a NASA-funded robot to develop a better understanding of systems and models, how parts fit in to a whole, and why we use models to understand larger and more complex systems. Robot technology inspires systems and models because the system itself has so many components, and without a model to refer to, it is incredibly difficult to understand and create the system.
Org. Systems and Models is aligned with the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals. I believe this project can be focused on the “Global Partnership for Development” goal, because robot technology can be used as a platform for developing leadership and communication skills. Robot technology can help in advanced communication tools such as the iPhone, or other smart technology.
Electric board picture shown above
  • Describe your experiences with the NASA robot project: I loved the NASA robot project! I got the opportunity to express myself artistically while also stepping outside of my comfort zone. I had virtually no experience with video production or editing, but I was assigned as the project coordinator/video editor. I took this task on with apprehension, but with tons of enthusiasm (as did my fellow video developers!), which made it all work out.
  • What did you learn? What did you learn about yourself?: I learned the large variety of talents my peers have, it was incredible. Everyone was very well-rounded. The artists of the class were working on robot building, and the tech-oriented kids were painting the robot at certain points. We all welcomed the project as an opportunity to hone skills, or develop new ones. It was a blast!
  • What was the greatest challenge?: The greatest challenge for me was keeping everyone on the video team to be on the same page. It’s easy to underestimate all of the different components and roles that go in to one project.
  • What could you have done differently?: I would have definitely focused much more on time management and improve my communication skills.
  • What did you enjoy the most?: I loved it all, but I would have to say that editing the video was so much fun. I was learning as I was going along, but I think it all turned out pretty well.

On College/University Education

March 4, 2012, by

Our ‘Education in 8 Movements’ (Integrated English-History) class studied “Colleges & Universities” as post-secondary learning options. We looked at various iterations of the classical route to better jobs through higher education, and used effective research and analysis to achieve a fact-based understanding of the broad array of intelligent, post-secondary schooling options. Below are a few of my thoughts on our subject of inquiry.

In this unit, I achieved a deep understanding of the things that motivate the design of functional, meaningful architecture in college/university environments. I imagined a campus facility that reflected some of my values. Here is my creation.

Many films have parodied the college experience. Far fewer have presented the noble, scholarly side of higher education. Here are a few things about college/university life that I admire and may get involved in in the near future.

In a New Yorker (June 6, 2011) article by Louis Menand, a student asks his college professor, “Why did we have to buy this book?” Menand declares this a great question. Here’s why I agree/disagree.

In an effort to become more “college-ready,” we deconstructed some historical fiction. We studied Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Of particular interest was Dickens’ opening-line use of anaphora, the repetition of a phrase in consecutive clauses (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”). We used anaphora to comment on our own contemporary, seesawing society (*for every yin, we offered a yang!). Finally, we used this literary device to predict the future. The following report conveys some of my excitement and reservations, hopes and fears, etc. about college/university life.

For more of my thoughts on College/University Education and beyond, please follow me on Twitter @GCEstudent_EP and join our learning community in conversation at #GCEeducation and #GCEcollegeEDU.

GCE “Citi Zens” are Louder than a Bomb!

February 24, 2012, by

Yesterday, the GCE “Citi Zens” had their 1st bout on the Louder than a Bomb event in Chicago, the biggest poetry slam in the world.

It is the first time GCE joins the event and we are so inspired and thrilled about it! By the way, we got a few TENS! 🙂

Watch our group poem performance below and come root for us on Saturday, 3/3, from 10am to 12pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph Café.

Bring your claps and snaps and raps.

Welcome to the “Freedom of Mind” center

February 15, 2012, by

Here is my proposal to rebuild Ground Zero:

  1. it has a lot of space for everyone to play, to think, to congregate…
  2. the plan shows the tower on only one side of “ground zero” and trees around the building;
  3. the trees make the place look beautiful, because it looks green instead of gray;
  4. this shows peace in the world, because it is for everybody; not for a single culture or religion…

RJ's "Ground Zero" Design

You know you arrived at this building, because……
you see one beautiful building surrounded by open air.
You will also see the big playground for  over 2,000 kids to play different games.
We need kids to grow up in a place of freedom.
In the building, you will see offices and clinics.
You will see different signs written in different languages, saying welcome to this place.
You can compare the building to the beautiful Eideard building, that looks like an iceberg.

When you enter this building,
You smell roses
you can touch the walls
you see the beautiful decoration around
You hear no noise, the place is so quiet…
You can taste the air; it feels not too hot, nor too cold…
You remember all the fear and sadness for 9/11,

To walk through this building, you need
To have your I.D and sign in, so we know who you are.
There are computers to check your bags.

Once you reach the center of this building, you may remember how people are suffering in your country. Also, you will see something on the side of the building: the names of the people who died on 9/11/2001; you may put some flowers around. There will be a computer for visitors to leave messages for those who died in 9/11: you can say “I miss you, because…” To write a message, you need a special pen, to write on the computer screen.

When you leave this building, you are transformed, because somebody will remind you again about what happened… But not only for 9/11, think about the future too. Peace is the powerful thing we need, as they say in the Qur’an: “And their Lord responded to them, ‘I certainly don’t overlook the work of any worker among you male or female: You come from one another'” and in the Bible: “And above all things have fervent love for one another for love will cover a multitude of sins”.

Who will do this building, if not you?

How Do We Define Systems and Models? (by LT)

January 17, 2012, by

In order to understand how to think about scientific processes and theories, we need to be able to know how to organize. In my Organizational Systems and Models, we created examples of how organization tactics work as a flow chart system and model. These flow charts define Models and Systems which use examples, definitions, and uses for each term recognized in the flow chart. Systems and models as a whole will be ale to help me develop further understanding of how to approach applying real systems and models for scientific studies.

( Click to View : LINK )

( Click to View : LINK )