The Backpack

This space is dedicated to our collective intelligence; focused on identifying and utilizing resources for our intellectual growth; looking for opportunities to generalize (transfer) insights and skills; taking command over our growth.

The goal is to aggregate intellectual moves and examples. An Intellectual Move, as conceived here, is a move of the mind that can be used in multiple contexts because I’m conscious of my thinking, I’m systematic in my approach to thinking, I’m consistent in my thinking, I’m fair-minded in my thinking.

For example, an intellectual move might be: “I’m going to ask a few clarifying questions: Can you give me an accurate definition? Can you elaborate on that? Can you give me an example or counter example? Can you tell me what it looks like: a metaphor or analogy perhaps? or draw a chart or graph.” In our backpack, we now have a tool that may look like this:

Concepts Moves Sources/Links/Resources
Clarifying Questions Can you define that?
Can you elaborate?
Can I have an example?
Will you give me a metaphor or analogy?
 Nosich, G. Learning to Think Things Through

We’ll create a fancy form to collectively build this. Here’s the catch, once we write it down we hold ourselves to practice it because we have a resource. I’ll help us identify the moves. I’ll help you practice them. I’ll even help you figure out how to transfer them to other areas of your academic (and maybe even personal) life. Ultimately, you’ll use this list to show how your work practiced them as you work to take ownership of intellectual skills and attitudes.

This is a life resource, that, I’ll claim, you will be able to use to become a lifelong learner and blow employers and supervisors away (in a good way).

Let’s build it!

 

(9.9.14)
How are we using the term intellectual?

  • Intellectual:
    • Conscious: To what extent am I aware of the thinking I am doing?
    • Systematic: Do I have a clear intent and plan/approach to addressing this problem or issue?
    • Consistent:
      • Are the ideas that inform my work consistently interpreted and used?
      • Do my inferences logically follow from the evidence?
      • Am I consistent in the intellectual moves I engage?
    • Fair-minded:
      • Am I applying the same standards to the evaluation of my thinking that I am applying to the evaluation of others’ thinking?
      • To what extent am I projecting my biases and agendas on the issue?
      • Have I given fair voice to alternative interpretations and conclusions?

(9.2.14)
On Motivation

“Attitude”

  • Have I displayed the proper attitude to engage in the discussion during class to maximize the benefits of this course?
  • Am I just in this class to achieve a grade or to become a better thinker to help make the world a better place?
  • Is there something I could learn from others’ experiences and approaches to inform the way we handle tasks?

“Effort”

  • Did I dedicate myself enough to the whole assignment?
  • Did the results of my attempt to an assignment reflect the effort I put into it?
  • Did I contribute my effort more than the last person?
  • Was that worth my effort? How can I measure or assess what is worth the effort?

On Being Proactive (self-directed learner)

  • What does one do to be efficiently proactive?
  • Is being proactive that same for everyone?
  • What are others doing to be more proactive?
  • When do I work best and when do I need a break to get the most out of my time?
  • Everyone comes to class, but it’s the time in-between one class and the next where I need to be more proactive?

(9.9.11)
What do you have to do to write your next paper? What resources are you aware of that you need to write a good paper?

  • Give yourself time to brainstorm
    • if you wait until last minute, you don’t give yourself enough time to do the proper research and preparation
  • Use your peers to have discussions about your topic and to review your research and finished product and test your ideas.
  • Use the writing center!
  • Use the librarians.

(9.11.14)
What does it mean to be prepared for class?

  • To be prepared, an ‘A’ thinker:
    • comes to class with questions that explore unknowns and/or contradictions/problems with the content.
    • comes to class with connections that links a key idea or example to other domains of thought (subjects, examples, concepts, perspectives).
    • comes to class with questions that explores clarity (definitions & examples/counter examples), accuracy (truth & validity), breadth (relevant alternative perspectives) and depth (looking for the complexities, following out implications, making deep connections).
    • comes to class with some product (writing or illustration that demonstrates one’s understanding).
    • comes to class ready to dialogue with everyone, not just the instructor.

17 thoughts on “The Backpack

  1. In the backpack, it talks about the intellectual moves. The ideas for it is purposely used to benefit many people in ways that can help a person(s) open their mind and change one’s way of thinking for the better. A thinking strategy that might be of use would be the notion to question everything. Everything is based off of perspective, influence, motives, and therefore information is manipulated for cause. On a more narrower note towards studies, make sure you look at as much angles as possible during research to make a good solid claim, find the details to get the full picture, and never assume anything, as many things you see and hear are not as they appear.

    1. I agree with you Stephen especially on the point you made on questioning. Questioning is one of the most intellectual ways to derive knowledge.

  2. “Attitude” Have I displayed the proper attitude to engage in the discussion during class to maximize the benefits of this course? Am I just in this class to achieve a grade or to become a better thinker to help make the world a better place? Is there something I could learn from others experiences and approaches to the way we handle tasks?

  3. “Proactive” What does one do to be efficiently proactive? Is being proactive that same for everyone? what are others doing to be more proactive? When do I work best and when do I need a break to get the most out of my time? Everyone comes to class but its the time in-between that class and next class where I need to be more proactive.

  4. “Effort” Did i dedicate myself enough to the whole assignment? Did the result’s of my attempt to an assignment reflect the effort i put into it? did i contribute my effort more than the last person? Was that worth my effort?

  5. For my approach to how I came about my essay was at first difficult, due to the fact that my topic was not an attention grabbing subject. After some thinking, I managed to upgrade to a new one, where I believe I could write a good paper on. After changing my topic, I had to think about whether the argumentative essay should be written traditionally or in Rogerian formality. I decided to stick with Rogerian. I created a small outline of premises to write about in each paragraph regarding why people, including myself, think the way we do. I then proceeded to research the premises and the details behind them to better understand the situation. During the process of my essay I had to try to make it as neutral as possible, as I am speaking from two points of views. It was sometimes difficult because I had to balance being unbiased yet aggressive in my viewpoints. in-text citations were simple to do, it was just dealing with the concept of inputting them in a grammatically correct structure in align with the other sentences. Overall, the essay, with the help on the writing center and the extended timeframe for when it was due, was good.

    1. In further continuation of my process, I applied some of the backpack’s clarifying questions to my essay. I used many examples, for instance, for one to understand where I was coming from. An example I used was when I was referencing a counter-argument for why the government should not fund space exploration. I used the ocean, saying how “we like to think we have already discovered everything on our planet, but this is not the case….’The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earths surface and contains 97 percent of the planets water,yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored’.” This gave a more convincing counter-argument because we still haven’t even uncovered most of our world yet. There are many other examples you will find in my essay both for and against government funding if you read it.

  6. In our group we discussed how credibility is largely related to: validity, integrity, credit, and intent. Validity is important because we need to establish if the source is relevant to what we are trying to research and if it is based in sound reasoning. Integrity is important because we need to understand the angle that our sources are coming from and any potential biases they may contain. Credit is important because we want to make sure our sources are complete and that they themselves use reasonable sources. And finally, we must analyze the intent of our sources; what did they want to accomplish in juxtaposition to what we would like to achieve? What was their intent or purpose in creating their work?

    The questions are as follows:
    1. What was the purpose of the author in creating their work?
    2. What sources did they use?
    3. What is their reasoning? Do we find it sound?
    4. Who else gives this author credit for well-done work? Do we value the consensus’ feelings on the source?
    5. Does this source have anything to do with our own research?
    And lastly:
    6. Are we using this because we want it to work (i.e.”making it work”), or because it genuinely fits with our research?

  7. Framework of questions for Credibility:

    How can we test credibility?
    How do you determine if something is of worth to receive credit?
    Why do we give credit?
    What is the true fundamental purpose of credit? For historical claim? money? Being famous?
    What makes a person/object have credibility?
    Does perception play a huge role in who credit is given to?
    Does propaganda influence what we view as credible?
    Why is word of mouth more credible than evidence-based research articles?
    Is everyone credible until proven otherwise? or do you earn your credibility?

  8. I wasn’t sure how to start my essay. My topic, (do grades determine your level of intellect?) related to everyone, so I believed it would be a simple topic that I could go in-depth with. I was wrong. I created three or four different outlines to try to pick subtopics for my body paragraphs and it was a lot more difficult than I presumed. Although I completed my paper on time, I was not satisfied with it. Usually I can write papers with ease but the topic was so broad that it was hard for me to sum up my personal opinion in five pages. I felt like I needed to dig deeper, and I plan on continuing this topic for our next paper.

    .

  9. Credibility Questions:

    If a more popular source is lying and we have no way of knowing, are they still credible?
    Why are large sources aloud to lie?
    Is it a good or bad thing?
    Should they be lying to us for our own good?
    If a source like Wikipedia has the same information as a “credible” organization’s website, does that make Wikipedia credible?
    How does a source build their way up to having the reputation of credible?
    If you have experienced situations first hand several times, but your outcome is different than the conclusion of a college textbook, which one is more reliable?

  10. Credibility questions

    1. can the source be trusted
    2. Does the source have a reason to show bias
    3. Is the information credible and reliable
    4. can the information be proven authentic without reasonable doubt
    5. Is the source considered to be genuine

  11. Credibility Questions

    1. Are websites with .org more credible than websites with .com? And why is that? Is it because of who has access to edit the information or who created the page?
    2. Can credibility be biased depending on the topic?
    3. Does it make something more credible if they have more sources? What if those source themselves weren’t credible but piled up made it look very concrete?
    4. Is credit properly given to the researcher or the writer of such information?

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