Truth in Society

November 22, 1994

Prompt #40

Work groups work . . . again

Last time all the work groups got responses from their focus groups. Since then, we expect that people have been continuing to work on their individual research, and that work groups have been discussing the shape of their revised report to the focus groups. The schedule in Prompt #35 lists today at 8:00 am as the due date for the completed work group reports.

We expect that everyone has lots to do. Some of the focus groups have restructured work groups -- all of them will probably have more individual work to do, and perhaps more group organizing as well. Given the likelihood that different individuals, work groups and focus groups have different things to attend to today, it makes sense to keep our schedule flexible. We will put the times we are available on the board. Any work or focus groups which would like to have one of us attend a meeting should sign up.

As we noted, the schedule for today says: "working groups submit completed reports of findings; using these completed reports, focus groups begin work on their contribution to the course book [to do this the completed reports will have to be on shared drive q: by 8:00 am Nov. 22]."

We don't know as we write this how many focus groups will be in a position to begin working with a set of completed reports from work groups (and we know that at least some groups are interested in finding elements of previous reports and discussion papers that will be appropriate to include in the focus group's report to the rest of the class). It's well to remember that the schedule went on to say:

November 24:
focus groups continue work on their course book contribution

November 29:
focus groups complete publication of their text in class; [this means a publishable, laser-printed copy by 5:00 pm]

What this means is that your focus group has the rest of this week to complete a draft of your publication. Take a deep breath to calm yourself, then read on.

Each focus group should begin attending to a new set of questions for each part of its report -- the audience for the final report will be people from other groups, and people outside our course altogether, who are going to need context for many of the ideas and assertions you've probably been taking for granted. It's worth reading everything you've got with that in mind -- and going to the library to get the pieces of information you might need to provide that context, if necessary.

In most cases one of the things we imagine happening on Thursday is the creation of a section of the report in which the groups reflect on what the research we've done has to tell us about how people come to believe things, and change their beliefs. You should be thinking about this as you read the current drafts.

Lastly, this is the time you will want to think carefully about divvying up the work among your focus group members. There are all kinds of details that will need attending to--consider the "bibliography" ("references cited") section of the focus group's report as just one example. Think about what needs to happen to produce a publishable text by next Tuesday at 5:00 pm, then think about the resources in your focus group. How you share the work is, of course, up to you all, but doing that smoothly and efficiently will benefit all of us who need to learn from you.

More on outside events . . .

There have been a number of recent outside events, but the number of people who have participated has dropped off. We'd like to remind folks that there are going to be a minimum number of these, and you wouldn't want to miss too many.

Here is one that is certainly going to "count" if we can get at least eight people to go to it:

Theatre St. Thomas' Evening of Ionesco, this week at the Black Box Theatre (Thursday - Saturday, 8:00).

Remember that you not only have to write something reflective about it, you have to participate in a written discussion around it by reading what other people wrote and commenting on that.

If you saw Jewel, get your reflections in, either on email or in the appropriate directory in Q: -- and if you haven't seen the reflections on some of the things you already wrote, we're going to get them published this week.

An offer you can't refuse . . .

Russ is looking for a half dozen volunteers to spend some time in the library on Wednesday and put together a "Playgoer's Guide" for Ionesco. Learn about literary research, unreasonable publication deadlines, quick-and-dirty desk-top publishing and brutal editing, all in one day's work. See Russ to sign up; he says if he can get five or six desperate folks they might have a chance to make publishing history.

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