Guidelines for MY BIG IDEA

Guidelines for My Big Idea
— On Oct 25, you will be making a 5 minute presentation.  Optional:  could be a powerpoint point, Prezi, or PechaKucha.  Note:  you must have a one page summary handed in to us by Nov 1. 
Your presentation should be extremely clear on:
a.  goal:  what problem in higher ed are you addressing?  what specific policy are you recommending?  what is your big idea? is it new?  a variation on a theme?
b.  methodology:  how will you go about this?  what are your sources:  research, interviews, polls, other.  Are you collaborating with other class members?  If so, who is doing what?
c.  expected outcome: video?  written policy recommendation?  new product?  TED-style talk?  what resources would be required?
d.  what worries you?  what would you like the advice of the class about?
The class will have 5 minutes to question you.  Class, please listen carefully and help your colleagues!
At 10 minutes apiece, we will need all of Oct 25 and part of Nov 1 to hear from everyone.  However, you need to be ready by Oct 25 in case these go faster.  We will select in random order.

More how to: lightning rounds from A Kirschner

About those lightning rounds:

We have had two splendid weeks  — thanks to Group A and Group B, one and all!

I’d like to restate their purpose and how to make your next ones as effective as possible.

Let me first take a step back and tell you where the idea came from.

I stole it from a Macaulay professor in a public policy class.  He asked each student to choose a part of the world that would then become their lightning round topic.

Each week, a group of students would do their lightning rounds…and present an update on their country or region.  It had the effect of deeper engagement with a single node of issues, with a narrative thread as the semester progressed.

Our challenge here was to modify this idea to higher ed themes. OK, so that’s not exactly the same thing!  However, each of you can put one consistent issue out in front of the class.

At the beginning of your lightning round, you should restate your general topic, and proceed to update or deepen our understanding.

Your lightning round doesn’t have to be ripped from the week’s headlines. Some of you have gone back into the literature to present seminal pieces from your topic of interest.  But as much as possible, I’d like to keep you also focused on what is happening in that arena today, always looking ahead to how things can be changed for the future.  And always thinking about what higher ed policies are needed into order to support that progress.

To pick on Michelle’s great example:  your topic was teacher education (I hope my notes are right!).  I’d expect your next round to go deeper on that.  Tell us more about comparative methods of teacher education around the world, or trends in the US teacher colleges, or anything that interests you relative to that subject.

Let’s also keep to our time schedule, so we can get through each group in 45 min tops.  You have three minutes to present.  Respondents:  your questions or comments should be sharply defined, keeping to the specific topic, and short!  Your own responses should be pithy as well.

Of course, we are not automatons and will sometimes stray and forget the punch the clock….but let’s make those the guardrails of the discussion.

To summarize:

1.   Start with your topic headline:  what is the key challenge you are following.

2.  Let’s keep the energy flowing with disciplined presentations and follow-up.

Doing great so far!

What is a policy paper?

What is a “policy paper?”  A policy paper takes up a specific challenge, examines the background, issues and opportunities associated with that challenge, and presents a fact-based argument and recommends a course of action, not an ideology.

An example from this week:  I was struck by Harold Levy’s opinion piece in the New York Post on the importance of affordable public higher education.  Check it out.

also see useful summary of Effective Policy Paper Writing here.