The past sprint has been slightly hectic. We began by finalizing our prototype and fleshing out our research procedure. This involved a lot of administrative work, including applying for IRB exemption, emailing, coordinating, etc. Because we had to do all of this busy work and make various small decisions as a group, we were forced to commit to a set of goals as well as a plan to achieve them. I think this series of menial tasks also forced us to understand our prototype more in depth. For instance, articulating a title and a one sentence description of our research project for the IRB form helped us to gain a firm understanding of our mission. We often talk so much on the “meta” level, and I think we get lost when trying to morph those ideas into a reasonable-to-achieve-in-a-single-semester prototype. So, even though we may have not made significant headway in our prototype phase, I think we created a reliable and strong platform off of which we will build all of our research in the next sprint.
As this semester winds down and stress levels soar, I have been reflecting on how valuable this independent study has been. Last night Andrew was talking about which classes he got for the spring and I heard him say to Annie, about taking a class with a challenging professor, “Yea I just need someone to tell me what to do and when to do it.” After completing the majority of this design-thinking process, I see where he is coming from. We have had to set our deadlines, make sure we are getting things down during and outside of our meetings, hold each other accountable, and continuously look ahead to the end of the semester. It’s been stressful. It is much easier when someone else writes the syllabus. But that notion kinda answers the core question of our study: what would happen if a group of students ran their own course? Would it work? I think it has. The fact that I’ve found it demanding and difficult tells me that I got more out of this course than any other course I’ve taken. I got more out because I had to put more in: I had to be more a more active and engaged student because I was talking on the role as the professor as well–we all were.