Civic Hacking

Hacking usually has a negative connotation–criminals trying to steal people’s money or identities, or political subversives trying to access classified government documents. However, as Catherine Bracy describes in this TED talk, “hacking” can also describe the ways in which people work together to improve their world.

As we move toward our final project this semester, you will be thinking of ways that you can hack your world to make it a better place and to spread the Wisconsin Idea. How will you change the world?

Announcements from 9/24

Hi all! Thanks for your participation in our book discussion this week; I hope that Kevin’s journey into Liberty has been interesting for you so far and that you are able to feel some connection with his story!

We also loved checking out your selfie videos! It was fun to hear a bit more about everyone’s families, past involvements, major interests, etc. I heard a few connections there as well; y’all should talk! It’s amazing how many different activities people were involved with in high school, and I imagine that those interests will only get more diverse as you move forward and learn more about the opportunities available at UW-Madison!

A Passport Assignment Idea

The Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) will be hosting a Study Skills Workshop specifically for interested students in CP 125. The workshop is Tuesday, October 6th (6:00-7:00 pm MSC Lounge). You can use this event for your UW Passport assignment (academic category).

Coming Attractions/Homework…

  • This week’s Twitter topic is to find a new study spot on campus and take a selfie there. Remember to use our class hashtags, #wiexp and #wiexp014
  • We will discuss pages 132-199 of The Unlikely Disciple in class on 10/8.
  • Start working on your Response Paper prompt; Heather would be happy to touch base with you if you have more questions or want to make sure you’re on the right track. Biggest tip: be reflective on this one. The topics of values, priorities, and vulnerability are pretty significant if you let them be, so take your time and think about these things before you write. The full prompt and assignment description are on the site. Make sure to check out the rubric ahead of time (in the assignment description) so you know what you are being graded on. Hint: content is the most heavily weighted category! Submit your paper to the correct Learn@UW Dropbox NO LATER THAN 11:59 p.m. on 10/7.
  • Next week, the Career Exploration Center will be visiting our class. The CEC works with students who are undecided or exploring multiple majors (we know from your selfie videos that many of you are!), so it’s a great office to connect with in your first semester. They’ll let us know more about what their office does and why you would want to visit them, so come prepared with any questions you have for them about their services.

When Class = Real Life

Did you know that Bernie Sanders spoke at Liberty University this week? Here’s a link to the article and to the video:

Habits of Successful People

In class, we talked about the growth vs. fixed mindset (link includes a quiz to find out which type you are), and the ways that your mindset can impact your success. What it boils down to is whether or not you are able to constantly grow and change. Think about it: there are all kinds of things you will learn and explore throughout your life, and various skills you will gain during your time in college. Yet the world is an ever-changing place; just think of all these jobs that didn’t exist even 10 years ago! The truth is that none of us know what opportunities might exist down the road; the key is to learn how to learn and constantly improve.

The good news is that if you have a fixed mindset, that is something you can work on–and college is the perfect environment to do just that! Some of the ideas in the graphic below are things you can implement in your life right away; others are things you can learn over time if you set your mind to do so.

One note about the below-listed graphic: to me, “don’t know what they want to be” is not a catchall category. This does not refer to not knowing what you want to do as a career (as we just noted, what you might want to do in the future may not even exist today!). It does, however, mean not expanding your world and your boundaries. In college, there are many ways you can start to figure out what you want to be, including: joining student organizations, taking classes in new subject areas, studying abroad, participating in jobs and internships, and much more! These experiences will help give you a better sense of what you do and do not like, and they can help you to learn more about where you want to go from here. Similarly, “keep a journal” is more about reflecting on your experiences and evaluating how those experiences will shape future goals.

So how are you going to be successful?

The Three Hardest Words in the English Language

What are the three hardest words in the English language?  No, it’s not “I love you” (challenging as that can be). The three hardest words are:


In this Freakonomics podcast, hear some examples of how the desire to be all-knowing can limit what we can accomplish.

College is a great time to embrace the “I don’t know” and explore new subjects and perspectives.

What could you learn if you didn’t have to know?