Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice has really taught me so much more than I ever expected it to. We were always encouraged (and almost forced) to interact with the learning community in class. This brought me so much more knowledge about many things. Firstly, I was able to see multiple perspectives on every single issue discussed. Everybody in our class seemed so smart and knowledgeable about topics and this really enhanced my learning experience. The professor could just put her PowerPoint up, ramble on for an hour and a half, and leave me learning nothing. But instead, she guided a conversation of many issues throughout the whole duration of the class. This not only made me pay attention, but also helped engrain the thoughts of others and content into my head. On the first day of class, it was explained to us that we would have to participate and half to talk in front of the whole class. I am not going to lie, I wanted to drop the course then and there and I dreaded going back to the class the next week. But as time went on, I really started to understand how beneficial this was and started to hate it less and less. I also was really dreading the breakout rooms because I knew I would be paired up with people that I did not know and have to talk to them about what I thought, which wasn’t much in the beginning. I started to enjoy these breakout rooms more throughout the eight weeks because we started to get place in groups that were specific to our major. This made me more comfortable and actually made me feel like my input was worthy. Things I learned from the forced interaction that were more specific to the course content were different views on climate change, global markets, poverty, fashion, and the economy. I found it very helpful that when it came to our pre class readings, half of the class would read the “yes” argument and half would read the “no”. We would go into class with formed opinions due to the article we read, but hearing the other side speak on their opinions helped me to see more than my side to the problem. I believe that this is a major skill that everyone in society needs to pick up. There are obviously many different views in society, but if you can educate yourself on what you believe and then engage in an educated discussion with people of opposing views, you are really able to see both sides to an issue and be less biased. When it comes to things that I wish that we had gotten more time to explore with the learning community, I would say those would be the movie we watched, The 11th Hour and major focused topics. In our last class meeting, we heard from every single classmate about what we enjoyed and took away from the movie. I wish that this had been a more in-depth conversation because I enjoyed hearing everyone’s different perspectives. We heard about the town of Perry, Oklahoma and their struggle with opposing views on electricity. This helped me apply the movie to real world issues. I also wish that we had engaged in more major focused activities or breakout rooms. We started to do this towards the end and with the activity on the Paris Climate Agreement in relation to fashion and I feel that this also helped me engage more in the activity. Overall, I enjoyed the learning community atmosphere of the class and believe that it truly helped me learn something.
My first takeaway from this course would come from watching The 11th Hour. I was very unaware of the world around us and quickly became very anxious of the fact that the problem of climate change is much bigger than I could ever imagine. The film honestly made me scared while watching it. I was never aware that consumers, the industry, and the government were all such a driving force of climate change. My favorite things from the film were when they talked about taxes and the consumer “vote”. It never once crossed my mind to lower income tax and raise tax on renewable resources. This is really cool to me because it all evens out, there are no taxes being added, they are just being allocated towards more efficient goals. The consumer “vote” stuck in my head because I had never thought about this before. They talked about how anytime you pay for anything, you are basically saying that you support everything the company stands for and are enabling them to do these things. When you buy from unsustainable companies, you are just further encouraging unsustainable goals. Another takeaway I have from the class is how my field, the fashion industry, furthers the problem of climate change. There is so much waste being produced from materials and I never really thought about this. For the final infographic assignment, we were paired with a group from our majors. My group chose to focus on the problem of sweatshops. I learned that this not only adds to climate change, but also encourages unethical work practices. I soon figured out that this is a wicked problem for many reasons that I had never realized before.
Problems that I am taking away from this course that I want to learn more about is the governments effect on climate change, how poverty affects global degradation, and fashion and sustainability. I really enjoyed learning about how the government plays such a large role in climate change and want to learn more about this because I believe that that is where change really happens. Once you can get the government on your side, things start to happen. I also want to learn more about how poverty affects global degradation because I never realized that this was really an issue. We got to learn more about it in class, but I want to know more. I also want to learn more about fashion and sustainability because that is related to what I want to do in the future and I believe that if enough students in fashion right now can get a grasp on this issue, we will begin to see change in the future.
I believe that I am fully capable of impacting positive change in my circle of influence. I think that after this class I have become much more aware of the world around us and much more educated on many issues. I have already began talking to my peers about what I have learned because I feel truly passionate about it. Once you get people talking, change will happen.