Weekly Objectives and Achievements
Objective: Research housing and food sites commonly used by vulnerable people to determine what is being accessed.
Achievement: Preliminary research has been completed through online resources, however we are continuing this objective in case other organizations become known to us.
Objective: Gather our data
Achievement: The majority of our data gathering was completed through online research. We stayed focused by only answering our previously determined questions. If there were gaps or discrepancies in the information we made note of them so they can be addressed before our project is finalized.
Objective: Improve group deadlines
Achievement: In staying with our plan from last week, we were able to discuss and successfully meet deadlines this week. We ensured to check with group members about each individual deadline before it was set and made a concerted effort to respond promptly to any questions or communication.
Objective: Maintain flexibility
Achievement: While flexibility will be an ongoing process, we did achieve this in response to our ethical challenges. We adapted our project research to ensure that the majority would be publicly accessible information and those questions that will be asked are approved. In completing our Moments of Significance chart (refer to chart below), our flexibility is apparent. We have faced many ups and downs but continue to persevere.
Objective: Verify prior research completed
Plan: In order to verify the information that is currently accessible to the public about the food assets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, we will visit the websites of the organizations listed. To address the information that cannot be found online, we will call the proprietors of those organizations with pre-approved questions about the functioning of their facility. The deadline set for verification is March 21st.
Objective: Visually confirm that the organizations are still in existence
Plan: As a group we plan to physically walk around the Downtown Eastside, within our set boundaries, and see what organizations are visible from the street and confirm their addresses. To clarify, we will not be entering or observing the functioning of these organizations to ensure we do not cross ethical boundaries. We plan to complete the footwork on March 22nd.
Objective: Begin compiling the food asset map
Plan: Our first step after verification of the data is to compile what we have found. From that point, we will address any gaps in the information and look for any trends that persist. Once the information is compiled, we will begin to look into the technical aspects of creating a physical and digital map for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside food assets. Our deadlines are somewhat flexible for this objective as it’s possible information will change after our physical walk through is complete.
Moments of Significant Change Workshop
The workshop was an important time for reflection of our progress and also allowed us to check-in with each other’s mental states. Our group found graphing our experiences of the project to be an enlightening activity. It was interesting to find that we had all gone through similar mood changes based on common landmarks in the term. Although a surprisingly large part of our “happiness scale” fell below the halfway mark, it was comforting to know that we were all in the same boat and were able to recover from our setbacks through collaborating to come up with solutions.
Our group sometimes encountered a problem marking the points on our graph as positive or negative because our “moments of significant change” lasted longer than a mere moment, and were often associated with fluctuating levels of emotion for each of us. In an attempt to accommodate this we added standard error bars to our graph representing our individual spreads of happiness/unhappiness at each point in time. In Figure 1, the average of our collective mindsets are shown without error bars to display the average happiness level of all of us together.
Collectively our highest point in the term so far was our first landmark, the very beginning of the course, when we were all relatively optimistic about the coming term and the project possibilities. In contrast, we experienced a particularly low period when we encountered ethical problems in the components of our original plans. We overcame this difficulty by meeting with Adrienne, who provided guidance with revising certain aspects of our project to help us stay within ethical boundaries.
Whether or not we have already experienced our highest or lowest points for the duration of our project, we shall not yet know. However, our levels of uncertainty have been decreasing overall throughout the project as we gained confidence in overcoming difficulties and forming specific step-by-step plans. For the time being it seems that our group’s emotions as a whole are gradually stabilizing. The next phase of our project is to compile and construct our asset map. We expect to encounter further moments of significant change as we begin to create our asset map using the research information that we have collected and our experiences with community visits. As a group we understand that the last steps of our project still contain room for unknown possibilities, which may lead to situations where uncertainty could rise again. As Lee S. Shulman describes in his article “Pedagogies of Uncertainty,” these situations of risk and anxiety are the real life circumstances we would work with in the field. They are opportunities which allow us to exercise judgement and deepen our learning experience to help us develop as strong professionals (Shulman, 2005). Our group is prepared for these circumstances and this workshop has served as a good reminder of our ability to overcome hurdles and adapt to changes.
A Graceful Dismount
As a group we came to the conclusion that we need to have a concrete strategy in order to reach our final goal; providing accurate and detailed information about the areas in the current food system that have been identified in a way that vulnerable people will benefit from. Our strategies include multiple steps which we have to go through carefully and gradually in order to gather accurate information and not cross any ethical boundaries. The strategies that our group agree on include: continuing to verify information through online resources and phone calls by asking ethically approved questions, deciding on strict physical boundaries and learning about the technical aspects of building an asset map. We have also decided to gather information through observation by visiting downtown eastside in person, as a group or subgroups. We look forward to visiting the potential sites that will be featured in our resource, and we hope that these first hand observations of our environment will lend us further insight into our community’s food system. Our next step is to organize and interpret all the quantitative and qualitative data that we gather. We will then identify and finalize the relevant types of data to be included in our resource, and present the information in a convenient asset map for users.
It is worth noting that none of these steps would be possible without our weekly meetings. During our meetings we clarify any concerns or questions that arise We also go over what we have accomplished so far and discuss if improvements can be made; furthermore we always talk about our next step and divide tasks so that things are done efficiently. This is how we keep each other updated and on track. We believe by following a well-designed strategy for our project and within our group we will be able to succeed at reaching our goal.
City of Vancouver. (2015). Low-cost-food. [PDF]. Retrieved from http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/low-cost-food.pdf.
Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of Uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ697350.pdf