Course:LFS350/Week 08

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Overview

  • In this session, we will continue our deconstruction of Gibb and Wittman's (2013) paper to examine how to analyze, present, and discuss your project findings and create strategies for being adaptable and managing unexpected change in community project work.
  • In tutorial, your TA will guide you through the process of mapping Moments of Significance in your project work this term in order to recognize the multiple pathways and experiences in the group and articulate your vision for successful project completion (i.e. approaching a Graceful Dismount)

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Collaboratively discuss strategies for analyzing, presenting, and discussing your project's key findings.
  • Explain the importance of experiencing and resolving issues of uncertainty as a key process in developing professional competencies.
  • Articulate personal and group moments of significance in your CBEL project.
  • Collaboratively design strategies for successfully completing your project based on the discussion of personal moments of significant change.

Key Terms + Concepts

  • Data analysis, presenting findings, and crafting a discussion
  • Uncertainty
  • Project Scope Change
  • Moments of Significant Change

Required Readings + Resources

  • Gibb, N., & Wittman, H. (2013). Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement. Local Environment, 18(1), 1–19. 'Retrieved through the UBC Library Website.
  • Kodish, S., & Gittelsohn, J. (2011). Systematic Data Analysis in Qualitative Health Research: Building Credible and Clear Findings. Sight and Life, 25(2), 52–56. Retrieved through the UBC Library Website.

As we approach the final sessions of the course, it is time to prepare for completing your final report. We will do this in two stages today. In lecture, we will continue our analysis of Gibb and Wittman's (2013) article, focusing on the items listed below. And, in tutorial, your TA will facilitate an individual and collaborative process of identifying and discussing significant moments that have occurred in your project so far.

In lecture, we will deconstruct Gibb and Wittman's (2013) article to reveal the connections between the following:

  • Data analysis
  • Reporting findings
  • Connecting finding to current literature in your discussion.

Uncertainty in the Learning Environment

"Without a certain amount of anxiety and risk, there’s a limit to how much learning occurs" (Shulman, 2005, p. 18)

Over the years of LFS 350, a pattern of student experience has emerged. The pattern revolves around cycles of uncertainty and resolution. The first iteration of the cycle begins when you meet your group and find out which community project you have been assigned. This round of uncertainty is resolved (slightly) once you meet with your community partner, prepare your proposal and receive feedback on your plans. Your group then has a few weeks of carrying out the steps identified in your proposal. This is where the next cycle of "uncertainty + resolution" emerges. Now that you have had the opportunity to engage with your community, you realize that elements of your proposal do not coincide with aspects of reality, that is, the context in which your project is meant to unfold. Don't worry, this is perfectly natural and expected. As future professionals in the food system, your career will be defined and "characterized by conditions of inherent and un-avoidable uncertainty" (Shulman, 2005, p. 18). The challenge now is how your group responds to the rising tensions between best laid schemes, group dynamics, university course work-loads, and community expectations. How you resolve theses challenges and emerge with a final product that satisfies the interests and objectives of your group members and community partner is the topic of this session. As stated in Shulman's opening quote, learning occurs when you experience certain amounts of anxiety and risk. Our goal is to help you develop the skills necessary to address these anxieties so that you are confident to rise to the challenges you will face as a professional.

Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ697350.pdf

Project Scope Change

Scope Change refers to the common reality of all projects - previously designed plans turnout to be lacking in certain ways, or new opportunities emerge once a project is unfolding, and the group must answer the following questions:

  • Is this within the scope of our project?
  • Is this opportunity worth pursuing? If so, how will it impact other aspects of the project?
  • Who do we need to include in this conversation to make an informed decision on project change?

Proposals are absolute necessities for having a successful project, but they are written in a state of high uncertainty. It is nearly impossible to predict what we will experience as a project unfolds and project members need to be prepared to continuously reflect on and question initial premises. In today's lecture, members of the teaching team will describe their past experiences with scope change and uncertainty in collaborative projects to frame the nature of what you are most likely experiencing in LFS 350 right now. In tutorial, your TA will guide you through a process of identifying moments of significance in your project so far and strategies for successfully carrying out the remainder of your project activities.

Tutorial Session

Moments of Significant Change

  • Your TA will facilitate an individual and collaborative process of identifying and discussing significant moments that have occurred in your project so far.

The most significant change (MSC) technique (we are referring to it in LFS 350 as Moments of Significant Change) is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. It is participatory because all group members are involved both in deciding the sorts of change to be recorded and in analyzing the data. It is a form of monitoring because it occurs throughout the project cycle and provides information to help people manage the project. It contributes to evaluation because it provides data on impact and outcomes that can be used to help assess the performance of a group, or team as a whole. This methodology uses a ‘storied approach’ to collecting and analyzing data. It takes responses to the central question that sounds like ‘During the last month/project so far, in your opinion, what were the most significant changes that took place for you?’, which are often in the form of stories of who did what, when and why – and the reasons why the event was important.

This methodology provide groups an opportunity to reflect on initial goals and expectations about a program/project, share those with other members of the group to draw connections and/or comparisons and then begin to map out a collective story that is comprised of each individual’s story. Facilitating this process at multiple points throughout a program/project provides an opportunity for individual group members, as well as the collective group to check-in and potentially revise goals and expectations.

Additional Material

An article in the Georgia Straight by an LFS alumni which raises interesting questions about whose voices are being heard in the conversation about the alternative food movement in Metro Vancouver.