What are the goals (i.e. student learning objectives)? There are two primary goals for this course: (1) For you to become more educated about a variety of sustainability issues (energy, food, water, waste, recycling, etc.) and the way these issues impact upon Hawaii; and (2) For you to design ways to effectively communicate your learnings to the residents of Hale Aloha.
Satisfying the first goal is relatively easy: you pick a topic and do research individually or in a small group to become more educated. For example, say you are interested in sustainable food production in Hawaii. You can start by reading source material such as the chapter on agriculture by Charlie Reppun in The Value of Hawaii. (Note: we went to the Reppun Farm in Waihole Valley as part of both the 2011 and 2012 Kukui Cup.) Then you can meet with individuals and organizations with expertise in sustainable food production (such as the Student Organic Farm Training group or people at Kokua Market). They can lead you to more source material and more people to contact. Generally it should take no more than two weeks worth of effort to do this initial research. Your findings should be made available online through a blog posting (see below) providing links to all online sources you discovered as well as notes from books and interviews with subject matter experts.
Once you are educated in a particular topic, you must next design a way to communicate your findings to those in Hale Aloha, typically by using the mechanisms of the Kukui Cup. There are a wide variety of possibilities: from designing videos, to designing workshops, to designing games (either online or offline). You can work with Kukui Cup staff to figure out the best way to communicate your findings. You might decide to combine Kukui Cup mechanisms with other UH events (such as Earth Day) in order to widen your audience.
Once you have designed your communication mechanism, you must execute it. This involves promotion (so that students are aware of it), planning (to determine what resources are required and getting necessary approvals), event management (to make sure that the designed communication is occurring as planned), and evaluation (how many people did you successfully communicate your message to?)
As you can now see, the goals of this course are ambitious. I do not expect all of you to be successful on all counts for every single sustainability issue that you take on. Thus, I expect each of you to take on 3-4 different sustainability issues during the course of the semester, so that you have time to learn from each experience and design the next one in a more successful fashion.
When will it meet? You will meet with me and/or with other Kukui Cup project staff regularly once a week at a time to be determined. A Doodle poll will be made available the first week of January in order to determine a compatible time. In addition to the regular weekly meeting, you will be expected to meet with group members on an informal basis as the need arises.
How much time will this class require? The University of Hawaii academic guidelines state that students are expected to do an average of three hours a week of work for each credit hour. As this course is worth three credit hours, you will be expected to work an average of 9 hours a week on this course.
How do we communicate with each other? A mailing list will be created for this course. You are required to check your email every day for messages relating to this course. There are other communication media that can be used (Aina Agents facebook page, etc) but you must also check email.
How will I be graded? There are no quizzes or tests in this class. Instead, you will create a free blog site at http://wordpress.com and post every Monday to this blog with a summary of what you accomplished during the previous week. 50% of your grade will be based upon this blog and the evidence it provides that you devoted an average of 9 hours a week of work to this course throughout the semester. The other 50% of your grade will be based upon the quality of the 3-4 sustainability activities you design during the semester, and your efforts to communicate them to a broader audience.
Note: you must register for a letter grade in this course: no pass/fail, credit/no credit allowed. This is to ensure that everyone enrolling is committed to the course and working hard. In a small class, morale suffers if some people are only minimally committed.
What does “independent study” mean? It means that there will be no lectures, no assigned readings, and no instructor-assigned homework. These are all replaced by the expectation that you are passionate about the goals of the course and self-motivated to spend the time to create something interesting and useful.
Can I work alone or in groups? You can do either, and might do some projects by yourself and some with others. Generally, I discourage working in groups of more than 2 or 3; small groups usually get more done than larger groups.
Can I get Kukui Cup points for this course? Once you’ve registered for this class, find the smart grid game entry regarding the sustainability class for 2013, and submit it referencing this class. You’ll receive 100 points for enrolling! Of course, you will be eligible for even more points when you design sustainability activities that go into the challenge next semester. (Note: if you drop the class next semester, we’ll have to take the 100 points away. Sorry.)