To Do for Class Day 13 (Tuesday 10/06/2016)

You have several tasks to complete before the next class.

The most difficult challenge is the unstructured task of pursuing your investigation of your chosen topic. My recommendation: don’t leave it all for Monday, but take time now to schedule your work, distributing it over several days.

On Tuesday, I’ll ask you to discuss your progress preparing for S2. This won’t be a formal presentation– you don’t need to prepare anything. However, you should plan on in-class writing and  talking to classmates about your progress.

Additionally, before Tuesday’s class, you’ll need to:


Gather appropriate evidence (see the Module 2 description for more information). This may involve any combination of field research, library research, and… what other kinds of research are there?


Watch one of 5 TED talks about bicycles. Pay close attention not only to the content of the talk, but also how the speaker presents evidence.

screen shot of linked page
Screenshot of TED site


A response to the talk you choose.

Response posts are an important way to deepen and to share your understanding of course material. An “A-game” post should:

  1. include a summary of the talk, from your perspective
    (don’t cut and paste)
  2. say something about the use of evidence in the talk
    (include a specific example)
  3. use visual rhetoric
    (add a relevant picture, image, chart, etc.)

To Do for Class Day 12 (Thurs 9/29/16)

You have three main tasks to complete for Thursday: read, write, prepare.

Warning: these will take longer than just a few minutes, so plan ahead & don’t do everything at the last minute.


Read a selection on “Using Field Research” from Envision: Writing and Researching Arguments (Alfano and O’Brien, 2014).


Post to your blog a Write-Out for your 2-minute talk (see below).


Prepare: 2-minute topic proposal for S2, using the two points below as a guide:

  1. “I’d like to find out more about…”
    describe area or topic of interest
  2. “My plan for gathering information is…”
    describe research methods

Use 1 or 2 slides, as appropriate.


Class Report for Day 11 (Tues 9/27/16)

Today we worked on group presentations to demonstrate knowledge of course materials and share new knowledge with others.

Teams of three were assembled on the spot to discuss field observations in relation to two assigned readings, Chris Carlsson’s “I’m in a Hurry, so Slow Down!” (blog post/essay), and John Zimmer’s “The Third Transportation Revolution” (blog post/essay).

Sample slides from presentations:



A “Sustainability Hackathon” will be held at USF on October 8th. Information sessions tomorrow, Wednesday 9/28.

More info below (from Hana Mori Böttger);

What is a hackathon?
You are presented with a problem, and you work in a team to find a solution.
What’s the problem/theme?
Propose a solution that will help promote good habits of environmental sustainability here on our campus.
What kind of solution?
The format of your solution is up to your team. Maybe it’s a physical thing that is placed around campus with info or actions for people to take. Maybe it’s a smartphone app that everyone can use to access info about resources available to them. Maybe it’s an educational campaign that can be launched on campus. No limit to the form your solution can take!
How is it judged?
Your team’s proposal will be judged on feasibility, impact, and innovation. There will be a panel of judges including experts in the fields of sustainability, design and social impact.
Who’s on a team?
Teams will be mixed majors, mixed by area of study: arts/humanities, business/social science, and sciences.
How do I start?
Come to the orientation/kick-off meeting for more info and to form teams. Bring potential teammates with you, or meet someone new and form a team that night.
ORIENTATION MEETING is Wednesday, 28 September 2016, 7:00-8:30pm in McLaren 251.
Is there food?
Is there ever. Pizza at the orientation/kick off, and food all day at the main event/competition day, Saturday 8 October.
Are there prizes?
Yes! Each member of a winning team will go home with a prize, plus there is a strong possibility of your concept being developed and implemented on campus.
Come help make a lasting difference at your beloved school.
Any questions? Email Hana at

To Do for Class Day 11 (Tuesday 9/27/16)

You have three main tasks to complete before Tuesday: explore, read, write.

Warning: these will take longer than just a few minutes, so plan ahead & don’t do everything at the last minute.


Your task is a “space observation.” Walk, bike, or otherwise transport yourself to an outdoor location off-campus and carefully observe the space.

Here are some questions to get you started. You don’t need to answer each of these — they are suggestions to get you thinking:

  • What takes up space (objects, sound, contour)? Both moving and stationary objects take up space; also, sound can take up space. 
  • How is space shaped?
  • How are subspaces marked? Example: in the Panhandle, the shared path is paved, which marks it off from the grassy part. Also, the path itself is divided into two lanes by a painted stripe.
  • How do people (and other creatures) use space(s)?
  • What speeds happen in space?
  • What are you not seeing? What’s missing?

Places you could go (again, just suggestions… I invite you to explore on your own):

  • John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park — a big section of JFK is closed to auto traffic on Sundays, could be an interesting thing to see (and participate in)
  • Geary St. is one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors — early plans for the BART system imagined a line under Geary St, that would tunnel under the Golden Gate and connect to Marin
  • Fell St. or Oak St. east of Baker —  between Baker and Scott on Fell and Oak are some of SFs flagship separated bike lanes
  • the world-famous San Francisco “Wiggle” (Wikipedia page) (on Yelp)– the seven or eight blocks of the Wiggle are a great place to observe pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists obeying and not obeying traffic laws
  • Turk Street — on a clear day, you can stand in the middle of Turk St. at its crest and see the Farallon Islands to the west, 27 miles offshore, and Mt. Diablo, more than 30 miles to the east. But don’t stand there too long, because Turk St. traffic moves pretty quickly.
map showing Farallon islands to the west and Mt. Diablo to the east
From the Farallons to Mt. Diablo


Chris Carlsson, “I’m in a Hurry, so Slow Down!” (blog post/essay)

John Zimmer, “The Third Transportation Revolution” (blog post/essay)


Write a blog post discussing the arguments of Zimmer & Carlsson. Zimmer, as I mentioned in class, is a co-founder of Lyft. Carlsson is a San Francisco writer, activist, and co-founder of Critical Mass.

Your post should show that you are thinking about what ideas and positions these two authors share, and also where they differ.  You can also evaluate their points.

Your post should also include information about your spatial observation expedition.

If it makes sense to connect your observation to bicycles, please do.

Include a relevant image (photo, graph, chart…).

Due before class Tuesday September 27th.

Class Report for Day 10 (Thursday 9/22/16)



three students standing before a powerpoint slide with information about interview subjects
Interview team presents results

In class, we saw some great presentations. Teams of 3 presented findings from our expedition to the Panhandle last week. The teams looked at:

  • the Panhandle soundscape
  • the Panhandle landscape
  • the shared-use path (north side) and its users
  • the pedestrian path (south side) and its users
  • people in the Panhandle (interviews)
slide showing photos of the path and users, indicating unauthorized use and poor pavement conditions
Slide presenting evidence about the pedestrian path in San Francisco’s Panhandle.


We discussed a couple of key issues in public speaking, mainly focusing on the pros and cons of working in groups.


Following the system of Carl Kwan, we practiced transitions between speakers in a group presentation.

Areas for Improvement

A key area for future attention is the conclusion or ending of presentations. Conclusions are weird: it’s not a move we usually make in our everyday conversations. But to make an impact on an audience, a public speaker really needs to nail the conclusion.

This involves at least two aspects:

  1. bringing the energy back up for the closing moments, rather than tapering steadily toward a low-energy closure
  2. ending with a clear, strong statement of key ideas or “take-aways”

Check your post and approve comments

… That is, if you want to approve them.

Comments must be approved by blog administrator.
Comments must be approved by blog administrator.

It’s true that comments on the Internet can be a snake pit of evil. The respected magazine Scientific American did an article on this: “Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry?

However, comments are also a valuable way to exchange ideas and get feedback on your posts.

As administrator of your blog, you have the power to approve comments on your posts (or not). You can use your dashboard to check for comments (and read them before approving). You can also respond to comments.