Interactivity Foundation's Newsletter 1.1
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New Year's Thoughts About Food and the Food Report

 - Pete Shively
Among the most common of the New Year’s resolutions that a good many of us make with all good intentions and then eventually, almost inevitably break are resolutions involving our food choices, our diet. As I wince at the bathroom scale and at my waistline, both of which reveal somewhat more than years gone by and certainly more than good health would dictate, I resolve (yet again) to eat less, eat healthier, and generally try to develop some taste for “lite”—or at least lighter—beer, a resolution that would be far more palatable if “great taste, less filling” wasn’t just a truly oxymoronic advertising slogan.
But as we make these and other resolutions this year, I’d like to suggest some other, complementary resolutions for food.  That is—and not to suggest that most of us shouldn’t continue to work at eating less, eating healthier, and exercising more—but that as we do so we also consider how our many individual food choices (what we produce, how we package and market it, what we buy, prepare, eat, and discard) interact with broader issues and concerns that affect us all.  What are, and what should be, our public policies concerning the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food? (read more) 

IF Collaborates with Wesleyan to Create First Year Programming -

- Jeff Prudhomme
What if college freshman learned how to lead class discussion teams to develop diverse perspectives on the course material?
That’s what freshmen at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia did in WISe 101, a seminar reinvented through a partnership with the Interactivity Foundation. This past August marked the start of the second-run of this innovative course at the small liberal arts women’s college. (read more)
Featured Article:

Communication: The "Soft Skill" in Demand

- Jack Byrd, Jr.
What are the communication skills needed for this generation of students to succeed in a 21st Century world? How might students learn these skills in our colleges and universities? How can we integrate the development of these skills throughout diverse curricula of a modern university? (read more)

IF Conducts Training Workshop at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting.

- Suzanne Goodney-Lea, Ph.D.

In August, 2013, the Interactivity Foundation conducted a workshop at the annual American Sociological Association meeting.  More than 35 people attended.  They had a chance to learn the IF classroom model by participating in brief versions of the discussions which characterize an IF classroom.  In an IF classroom, students take turns facilitating a series of discussions over the course of a semester, working with a consistent team of 6 - 8 fellow students.  They begin by listing concerns they have about their topic of discussion, and then move to articulating policy-related questions extending from that list of concerns.  The group responds to those questions by developing at least four conceptual policy possibilities that address the group's key concerns.  Once each group has a set of policy possibilities, they consider the potential consequences of implementing those policies.  The course concludes with each student group presenting their sets of concerns, policies, and consequences to the rest of the class so that the groups can explore what the other groups developed within their discussions.  The IF approach tends to work best in classrooms with 40 or fewer students and can be adapted to meet a wide range of disciplines and teaching styles.  We regularly conduct trainings throughout the country-- at conferences and for individual schools and programs.  If you would like to talk with us about how we might help to train faculty at your institution (including those working within online classroom settings), please contact Suzanne Goodney Lea, Ph.D., a Fellow and our Education Coordinator.

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New Reports Have Been Released

Three new reports have been released for public discussion. Please feel free to follow the links listed below:
  1. The Future of Arts in Society
  2. The Future of Family
  3. Crime and Punishment

February's newsletter will feature:

  • Excerpts of our Online Discussion and Teaching Guide
  • Highlights about our discussion Groups in Wisconsin that are building on civility
  • Fresh insights on Black History and the Civil Rights Report. IF will be host ing a discussion of this report LIVE in Washington, DC and on Twitter
IF will be conducting a workshop at the American Political Science Association's Annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA February 7 - 9, 2014
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