Activity 2: Research Your Issue


Hi change-makers,

Your work last week brought you closer to clarifying a social issue that you are uniquely positioned to impact because of who you are and the things that drive you.

This week you will continue to explore how your issue plays out in the communities you engage with and explore what others are doing about it.

This Week: Research Your Issue

Please post your research by Friday.

“I’m lost. Discourse is confusing. I’m afraid I’ll post in the wrong place.”

We hear you--it takes a while to get used to new tools. And you may have noticed that Writing for Change is less ordered and direct than other online courses you may be used to.

That’s because we’re building it with you. Peer 2 Peer University + College Unbound (and Adam, Dirk and Vanessa) know that learning is messy and that we can’t *tell* you what to do. We can help each other. We can share blog posts and give feedback on Discourse. We can tell you what has worked for us in the past.

But we’d ask you to unlearn some of what you know about online courses. We’re making this one together.

We welcome you to the Writing for Change Meetup on Mondays at 7pm EST if you have additional questions or want to connect with P2PU + College Unbound folks. We’re a friendly crew:

Best, Adam, Dirk and Vanessa


Change is possible we most first open people minds to not only think about money.

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I appreciate the way you explained things on Monday you made me understand it fully thanks.

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I agree. It’s been a little confusing to wrap my head around which threads to read and which ones that I can basically ignore, but I realized that anything with instructions in it, even though I’ve read it and know it, will stick around (because everything sticks around). So I’ve just told myself - no need to read the things I already know! So now when I enter P2P, I just skim for threads and responses that I haven’t read yet.

Hey Squeakie - I noticed that I can’t comment on your googledoc - do you think you can change the share settings so I can and so other people can, too?

And don’t forget to manually add the address!

Hi folks, here’s my blog post about my issue on gender / race / class disparity on Wikipedia:

“Now I love Wikipedia (who doesn’t?) but for the longest time it felt like a really distant community from mine. Though I believe in being transparent and making things together (hence, you know, Peer 2 Peer University) for some reason whenever I read articles about the gender / race / class gaps on Wikipedia, I guess I passively thought that was someone else’s problem.”

I agree Monday was a big help! I love how Vanessa explained that this writing course…let’s get messy!

Thanks for helping me on Wednesday. You were a great teacher! I really enjoyed reading the articles…once I had a paper copy :slight_smile:

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Great post. After reading Elbow’s article I realized that what I considered ‘writer’s block’ really wasn’t . My approach to writing was all wrong. I am going to try Elbow’s suggestions and just write without worrying about my paper being in chronological order from the very beginning. I am going to take Vanessa’s advice and “get messy!”

Below is my post. Sorry it’s not in a Google doc, but I wanted to post this ASAP before I headed off to work. I will attach resources later today.
Have a great day!
My passion is working with children with special needs. I advocate for those without a voice on a daily basis and one of the big challenges is the education system. School districts across the State of Rhode Island continue to struggle with financial issues, overcrowded schools, reduced staff, etc. For some parents, it’s a struggle to get their child the most appropriate services because money is always an underlying factor. Unfortunately, many parents struggle with the complex educational system and give up.
Herbert Kohl’s article I Won’t Learn From You! was absolutely wonderful in my opinion. Kohl states “Learning how to not-learn is an intellectual and social challenge; sometimes you have to work very hard at it.” I read this sentence several times and thought long and hard about this statement. I couldn’t agree more with Kohl.
Kohl’s article reminded me of the NECAP requirement imposed on high school students in the State of Rhode Island. It should be noted that I am opposed to such requirements. In my opinion, the test is flawed and bias. A student who lives in an affluent area has a better chance of success vs a student from an urban area. Why…schools are funded from city and town tax dollars.
Additionally, learning takes place in a wide variety of settings, other than the classroom. We need to stop taking a cookie cutter approach to education and think outside the box! Thank God for people like Dennis!

I was so happy to help @Sandy. It gave me a better understanding of my own workflow, too! I think we should try to take this to the rest of our cohort mates now.

Hey @Sandy thanks for your post! Could you post it as a reply to @vanessa’s first post? I think that’s the way to do it. (Vanessa–let us know? Would it be better to reply as a new topic?) Also, when you get the chance to put it into a Googledoc, then we’ll be able to leave more specific comments. But for now, here’s what I can offer:

  • You are clear about your opinions and what those are founded on
  • You brought one of the readings in by mentioning the title, quoting it, and explaining how you responded to it (reading it over and over, thinking about it, agreeing with it)
  • You began with your personal knowledge, which is also powerful data
  • You finished with your own conclusions, suggesting that something should change
  • There are a just a few places where a different word, or a missing punctuation mark, or some other very small thing could be changed that could make your argument even more powerful, but this is a great start
  • Finally, what is NECAP?

Great job!

Hey @Vanessa - I can’t edit your document, either. When I pull it up, it is “Read Only” and there is no button to edit. I’m not sure if it’s from my end or yours.

Thanks for your feedback Tyler. OOPS! Never assume people know what NECAP is New England Common Assessment Program…standardized testing. In order to graduate from high school, seniors have to score at least partially proficient to obtain their diploma, otherwise they get a certificate of completion.

ack @squeakie + @Tyler: I was able to change it to “anyone with the link can comment” (which is the correct setting). Thanks for catching.

@Tyler: great feedback!

Hello friends
My writing goal is to create my own manifesto for adult education that follows a democratic process in creating a learner centered opportunity for all. I believe as Michelle Cox states in her manifesto that this is a public health issue. We have too long tolerated the boundaries established by traditional institutions of higher learning as the only pathway to education. We have too long limited the access to information to a select group of participants. We have too long been unresponsive to the real needs of the lifelong learner that is alive and well in all of us. As for profit “schools” and online programs suck us dry of resources it is time to take back our human right to an education that meets our needs. The time is right to move in a different direction and create an educational opportunity that is for the people.
Sources of inspiration The CHE manifesto (written by Michelle Cox) my model for my writing to create something like this for adult learners Jerry Mintz Ted talk about democratic education all over the world Jerry Mintz Democratic process in schools Summerhill my orginal inspiration when I was a kid
What are possible sources—in-person experts to talk with, and print and other media resources—to help your exploration of what has worked and what hasn’t? a series of classes at Providence Public Library all free semi-traditional instructor lead structure RI lifelong learnig collaborative charges $50 dollar fee for most classes semi-traditional instructor lead link to liberated learners links to educational choices all over the world Leaving to learn of course because it is an inspirational read The Met school just because it inspires me every day College Unbound because they helped me believe anything you can dream you can do looks like they stoppped in 2012 but it might be worth exploring what their challenges were
Key Data points increasing cost of education one trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt data gathered by the US Department of Education in 2000 on lifelong learning traditional stuff like skills for job etc nothing inspiring or earth shattering here

Hey Folks, here you go. I hope it helps/you enjoy

This is an awesome collection of resources, and I appreciate that you gave us a little blurb about each one. Did you craft a response to your research process in a googledoc? If you did, could you post the link?