Yeah, not just one, but two! YEYYY :’D. The weather is being fantastic these days, tempting all of us to avoid our computers and visit the lake for a swim. A short swim, I suppose, because water must be freezing. Still, it is very tempting.
Home exams are good anyways… I would say that the upside is that you know that it all depends on you, on how you manage and invest your time in reading and writing. This takes quite a lot of pressure away, and somehow you are sure that you’ve written what you knew, wanted and needed. However, you have to be very good at structuring your argument within a limited space, and this blows away the possibility of “just write that, and let’s see”, which I used quite a lot in past written exams when having to memorize. So, I would say there is more pressure on your knowledge, comprehension and discussion skills.
If you haven’t done home exams before and feel weak on those skills like me, then seek support on your classmates as we were advised to do in the introduction course… yep, and now we’ve finished… Time flies! …It is time to go home now 🙂
Have a good SUMMER, and do not hesitate to study here… just do it!
The process of carrying out our new project is quite similar from the ones we did before, which makes the process smooth and organized because we all know that we need to contact interviewees in advance, coordinate with other groups, book a meeting time, carry out the interview and then analyze their answers to our questions applying theories. In this project, we all applied three theoretical frameworks: the mentor perspective, which allowed us to consider the lessons which could be learned for future projects, the meta-theory perspective, whichlooks at engagementand highlights the discourses and assumptions shown by different actors, and the critical perspective, which has allowed us to look more closely at different theoretical perspectives in social science and how these may apply to the data.
However, I must say that the process of carrying out another of these projects is as engaging as it was the first time. In my view, having the opportunity to meet up with professionals is just unique and valuable in many ways:
First, interviewees are generally open to talk and willing to help you because you are a student, thus almost anything they say comes with years of experience and goodwill, which is great to listen to.
Second, how many times would you have the opportunity to be curious and freely ask questions that come up when the interviewee is talking about challenges they face? and, what a better excuse to ask than “having to” because it is the topic you are doing research on?
And third, the interview is a memory that you make along with your groupmates, and the act of questioning and finding answers, even if little, may also have an impact on the interviewee.
Yesterday we went to Biotopia, an educational center focused on raising interest for species and promoting visits to nature areas in the region. The place is quite well located within the city, and they were open to the general public, school visits and… us!
What I take with me from the visit is seeing the size of a “real life” moose, the dedicated guide and the ending discussion we had with him about methods on how to raise interest for nature, engage the public and its difficulties such as:
– The age of the participants: Aimed visitors were kids from 6 to 12, but 2 years old kids also went there. The center had to adapt the facilities for kids and their parents. However, many visitors are also retired, thus how to cope with all ranged of age is a challenge.
– Outdoor activities: A mismatch between school time and nature, thus when nature is at its best (now in May), students may not be able to experience it.
– The team and its resources: They are a small team who work together to design activities, and have to establish priorities and manage their resources wisely.
– Improvement and feedback: how to formulate the questions was a challenge for them. A classmate proposed the idea of organizing a birthday there, which could combine the interest for a person’s birthday with the interest for nature.
About a month ago we finished the Communication Theory part of the course based on readings from “Craig & Muller (2007). Theorizing Communication: Readings Across Traditions.” book, and formed groups for a new group project.
The groups were created according to our interests, meaning with this that some of us proposed an idea and had to carry an improvised campaign for a theme we wanted to do research on, whereas others chose a theme among those which had been proposed. I almost happen to work with two old groupmates, and we kind of repealed each other just for the fun of working with new people! haha
Corporate Engagement is the theme my group and I did research on, focusing specifically on the work NGOs do on this matter, and trying to find out in what ways they approach companies and what sort of barriers they may encounter.
After spending time with the reading group preparing a presentation for the class on “Community-based social marketing” (Mckenzie, 2009), presenting a synthesis of the main messages and attending to the other group presentations on different strategies, I could say that my knowledge has expanded quite a lot.
There are communication strategies suitable for different purposes, such as Interpretation described as“the mission-based approach to communication aimed at provoking audiences the discovery of personal meaning and forging of personal connections with things, places, people and concepts” (Ham, 2013), which could be applied for environmental education. There were also other readings on communication strategies focused on advocacy campaigns and message construction, and on environmental communication for civic engagement.
Luckily for you, our reading is partly available on the internet, so take a look:
Mckenzie-Mohr, D. 2009. Fostering Sustainable Behaviour. The entire book can be found at: http://www.cbsm.com
Ham, S. 2013. Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose. Fulcrum Publishing.
Since the beginning of the semester we all have been looking forward to Valborg, the last day of April which represents the beginning of the spring. Many people have visited Uppsala these last few days, and gathered by the river to watch uniquely decorated boats and crew sailing down the river, sometimes even sinking!
To finish the celebration, there were several bonfires around the town to which people visited after partying all day and welcomed spring singing songs around them.
Hello to you all! I’ve received a few messages from people who are a bit lost, and here are the answers I can provide:
Timing: The academic year generally starts late in August and ends by May.
Practical matters: Go to the course web, click course schedule and select the previous year (2017/2018). I recommend you to do this because 2018 info is not ready yet, thus literature, schedule and other info of the courses from 2017 may give you some idea of what to expect. Course page: https://bit.ly/2qwIqH9
Environmental or Social Sciences?: I want to make clear that you will not make calculations, measurements of the use of natural resources, or study the environmental processes and its management. That’s all about technical skills that you may have, or your colleagues may already have acquired. However, the first year you will learn about the social sphere, and the methods and theories to study it, such as interviewing or observation. Specifically, you will learn about how to make people come together to find solutions, about decision-making, and what social barriers are in place preventing actions by understanding the context and possibilities, how knowledge is developed, framed, and its possible effects on people. Lectures are quite participative, and there are reading groups, role plays and other group activities during the year. Of course, all group assignments, research, and work are focused on environmental issues, thus you will learn about environmental matters through them. Therefore, the practical skills you will master are how to use social research methods such as interviewing, designing stakeholders workshops, facilitation of discussions, understanding conflicts, and designing campaigns to achieve environmental goals.
Former students: There is a Facebook group for almost every year, and also a group of graduate students. Here is the link: https://bit.ly/2vbiYfZ
Living in Sweden: I am sure there is plenty of information out there, and you may be overwhelmed after reading all day long. My little input to your overload of information is that 99% people here speak English, and they do it very very well. There are also many international students, activities in town, and going out is cheaper at the nations in Uppsala. Biking to SLU is rewarding because of the views and forests all around, and the cold is not that bad if you wear a warm coat (second hand if necessary)… Just ask for advice once here.
The SLU: Nice environment, facilities, and people. Much more here: https://www.facebook.com/studysustainably/
All this said, please do not hesitate in sending emails and asking questions. Invest some time and good luck!
In my reading group, we discussed about The Phenomenological tradition today. Phenomenology is considered to be the experience of a phenomena and how this is interpreted. Some of the authors who contributed to this tradition are Edmund Husserl, Martin Buber…
The discussion in the group was about abstract stuff, as usual. During the discussion, it seems we enter in our own bubble using those new words and concepts which we just came across in the literature. Sometimes it gets difficult to follow, and adding up that English is not our mother tongue… well, let’s say it gets ironic to discuss about communication in this setting.
However, today I wanted to write about how we all relate some concepts to
examples when reading the text in order to understand it better. One of the readings talked about the understanding you create about someone through experiencing them (I-Thou), and how this may differ from the understanding which a person has about themselves. I personally related this part of the text to when old friends tell you “truths” about yourself that you might not recognise at the first sight. Because you trust them, then you may realise that your friends can know even the unconscious ways of being you may have, and that these are clearly visible to them and not to you. I’ve experience this many times, and I treasure those moments and the questions they bring… Of course, I am not sure if this is the right example for everyone, or if it is the correct way of understanding it, but we will have the opportunity to ask for clarification during the seminar tomorrow morning.
We just started a new course: Communication Theory and Strategy. The main course book is: Craig, R. T. & Muller, H. L. 2007. Theorizing Communication: Readings Across Traditions. Sage Publications. This book goes through communication traditions, and each chapter covers one.
The course aims to introduce classical communication theories, such as the rethorical tradition, and to raise awareness on how communication affect us consciously and unconsciously. These theories may be used as models to design a communication situation, to analyze practice (what you are doing) and to inform practice. The purpose would be to change a component for improvig a situation, and using theories to achieve what you have thought about.
There is a planned lecture and seminar for each of these traditions, and students are divided in discussion groups in order to cover all the material, exchange summaries and send questions to the lecturers before the seminar. Also, there will be presentations and a final assigment.
If any questions, just comment below! (it will not be directly published)