Thursday, October 11, 2012

Extended deadline for home exam

We finished the course yesterday by spending the last 45 minutes on a "gripe session" (≈course evaluation). I'm happy so many turned up for the summary/wrap-up despite the fact that you could have stayed home and worked on the home exam.

It seemed several persons were unhappy with the (short) deadline for the home exam and would have wanted to have longer time. Despite my personal doubts, I couldn't really hear anyone who thought it was good to have 3, rather than say 5 or 7 days to write the home exam. So perhaps my personal doubts were wrong.

Fortunately this can easily be amended so I hereby extend the deadline for handling in the home exam until Tuesday Oct 16 at 19.00 - also proving that it was a wise investment of your time to show up at the summary/wrap-up yesterday (yes, I'm talking about you Pedro!).

Do note that this does not necessarily mean that you should spend more time (absolute hours) on the exam, but the time you spend will be more spaced out.

This should also partially fix the problem of some people wanting the the home exam to actually lie in the exam period/week, rather than the week preceding the exam period.

Also note that you can post questions about the exam in the form a comment to this blog posts. There were a few questions about how to interpret the home exam questions yesterday, but they for some reasons only turned up during the break.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home exam grading info

Grading of the home exam depends on several different factors (for example if/how course literature is used in an appropriate and relevant way).

Points will furthermore be handed out depending on learning objectives that have been achieved according to Bloom's taxonomy (the further down in the list below, the better).

1, 2 - Remembering and Understanding:
Remember previously learned information and demonstrating an understanding of the facts.
Verbs that appropriately describes your answers on this level are: naming, outlining, selecting, giving examples, summarizing.

3- Applying:
Apply knowledge to actual situations.
Verbs that appropriately describes your answers on this level are; illustrating interpreting, relating, demonstrating, applying.

3 - Analyzing:
Break down objects or ideas into simpler parts and find evidence to support generalizations.
Verbs that appropriately describes your answers on this level are; comparing, contrasting, criticizing, infering, differentiating.

5 - Evaluating: 
Make and defend judgments based on internal evidence or external criteria.
Verbs that appropriately describes your answers on this level are; assess, argue, justify, contrast, value, defend.

6 - Creating:
Compile component ideas into a new whole or propose alternative solutions.
Verbs that appropriately describes your answers on this level are; construct, synthesize, combine, develop, create.

Other factors that are taken into account in relation to grading are:
- Content (most important)
- Language (not unimportant, but less important - unless it is difficult to understand your answers)
- Typographic/graphic form (not so important - unless it is difficult to read your paper)

Content: The content should be adapted to the scope of the text (please don't exceed the limitations set on the length of your answer(s)). Clearly indicate delimitations ["gjorda avgränsningar"]. Complex reasoning should be explained and put into context. Sources that you make use of in your answers should be in the list of references at the end of the exam. You should show that you have understood and can utilize basic theories and concepts concerning sustainability, or better yet, that you show that you understand how these theories and concepts are interrelated, or better yet, that you can carry out abstract reasoning about theories and concepts concerning sustainability

Language: Your answers should be written in English or Swedish and be well formulated, correct and proofread before you hand them in. Your answers should furthermore be coherent and logical. Terminology and technical terms should briefly be explained where needed. Use terms and concept in a uniform and unambiguous manner and stick to the point you are trying to make (avoid verbiage). Be reasoning and reflective, evaluate and discuss sources you make use of. 

Typographic/graphic form: The text should be easily accessible, clear, correct and follow typographic conventions. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Home exam available in Bilda

The home exam is now available for downloading from Bilda. In you have any questions, please pose them here in the form of a comment.

Do remember that there is one last activity in the course; the summary/wrap-up tomorrow after lunch (13-15 in D3). You will get one bonus point for just showing up tomorrow!

This blog post will be complemented tomorrow with some information about how we will grade the answers to the exam.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lecture 11 (Thu Oct 4 at 8-10) cancelled!

There was supposed to be a lecture about "social sustainability" tomorrow. That lecture is hereby cancelled. Another lecturer was supposed to give it, but he couldn't make it and so it fell on me to give "his" lecture.

Unfortunately and due to high work load in this and my other course, I have not been able to prepare adequately and will therefor unfortunately have to cancel tomorrow's lecture (lecture 11).

We will instead meet at the seminars on Thursday and Friday (groups A/B tomorrow after lunch and groups C/D on Friday after lunch).

Lecture 12 - panel discussion Mon Oct 8 (15-17)


Time and place: Monday Oct 8, 15-17 in lecture hall E3

Title: "Images of the future"
Moderator: Daniel Pargman, KTH/School for Computer Science and Communication/Media Technology and Interaction Design group

  • Mattias Höjer, KTH/Environmental Strategies Research (FMS) and the Centre for Sustainable Commuication (CESC)
  • David Webb, Retired financial analyst, investment banker and hedge fund manager
  • Peter Nöu, Senior Program Manager at The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (Vinnova)
  • Ambjörn Næve, KTH/Knowledge Management Research group 

Talk: Course participants have been presented with a variety of images of the future. The very last lecture won't be a lecture at all, but rather a discussion between invited guests who are expected to have widely differing ideas and opinions about the future and about the future of sustainability. Can we imagine a future sustainable society? What would it look like? What are our chances and what is our best course of action in attempting to reach that future? And, what is the role of ICT and media in relation to these questions and issues? 

About the panelists:

Mattias Höjer is a professor in Environmental Strategic Analysis and Futures studies at FMS/KTH and director of the Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC/KTH. He has mainly been working with so-called "backcasting approaches" in futures studies, developing target-fulfilling images of the future. As director of CESC, he is responsible for a research group working on a broad range of topics related to ICT and sustainability, focusing mainly on environmental sustainability, in cooperation with a group of partner organisations.

David Webb is the founder of Origin Investments AB, which has applied to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) for permission to manage a market neutral long/short equity strategy designed to serve as a core holding for institutional investors. Mr. Webb was the founder of Verus Investments, where he managed long/short equity hedge funds with AUM in excess of $600 million. Previously, Mr. Webb was a Senior Managing Member of Shaker Investments where he was the sole manager of long/short equity hedge funds with AUM in excess of $1.3 billion. Mr. Webb has served as an Associate with the venture investment arm of E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co., Inc., and as an Associate with the Mergers and Acquisitions Department of Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. Mr. Webb moved with his family to Sweden a few years ago to escape the impeding collapse of the US banking sector.

Peter Nõu is Senior Program Manager with The Swedish Government Agency of Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). He is central in defining and administering sectors of 'Information Society' and 'Sustainable Cities' within the 'Vinnova Grand Challenges Program'. Open data, crowd sourcing and intensive prizes are other initiatives he’s been driving since joining Vinnova in late 2008, as a senior expert in the ICT and services sectors. Prior to joining Vinnova, Peter worked 15+ years in CTO and CIO roles in various industries and startups, always engaged in implementing strategic advantages of Internet technologies. This became a passion of his already 20 years ago, when as employed by the Swedish Government, he saw the birth of the Internet economy in Silicon Valley during the years 1992-94. He later joined Telia Research and helped launch Passagen, the Swedish 'First Wave Large Portal'. Peter has also worked in the strategic management consulting firm SMG. His degree is in engineering Physics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Ambjörn Naeve has a background in mathematics and computer science and he presently heads the Knowledge Management Research group at KTH. The KRM group specializes in communicative modeling, unplanned collaboration and disagreement management. In 1976 Ambjörn discovered a cheap and efficient way to concentrate solar radiation, which started his thinking about "the big switch" that is necessary if human civilization is to become sustainable: Switching from globalized production, supported by localized (and proprietary) information, towards more of localized production, supported by globalized (and publically accessible) information.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Instructions for seminar 7 (Oct 9)

Seminar 7 will be held on Tuesday Oct 9 (10-12 for groups A/B and 13-15 for groups C/D).

This is the last seminar - a possibility to wrap up and discuss all the issues that we have touched upon in this course. You will have heard the panelists' discussions on Oct 8, and their proposed images of the future. For this seminar, you are supposed to read one text (see below) and think about the following question:
- What is your image(s) of the future and has it changed during the course? Furthermore you should prepare for the seminar by handing in two questions for the seminar, see instructions below.

Read the paper
Hoffman, A. (2012) , "Climate Science as Culture War",

Formulate one question based on the panel on Oct 8, and one question based on the Hoffman paper and hand it in by using this form:
If you did not hear the panel discussion,  then instead please formulate two questions based on the content of the paper.

Deadline for handing in these questions: Wednesday TUESDAY Oct 9 at 09.00.

Do note that not preparing adequately for the seminar entails the risk of not receiving top points (2 p) for the seminar (which might naturally have adverse effects on your grades).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Instructions for seminar 6 (Oct 4-5)

Seminar 6 will be held on Thursday Oct 4 (groups A/B) and Friday Oct 5 (groups C/D)

You should prepare for seminar 6 by reading a short paper (4 pages), listening to a podcast (60 minutes) and thinking about the seminar question (see further below):

The short paper you should read is:
- Baumer, E. and Silberman, M. S. (2011), "When the implication is not to design (technology)" (pdf file here). The paper was presented at the CHI conference last year (the largest and most prestigious conference in the field of Human-Computer Interaction).

The podcast you should listen to is: 
- This American Life #441 (July 2011), When patents attack! about "patent trolls" (read about the podcast here).
Note: The mp3 file is available in Bilda (Documents/Literature).

Background to the seminar question

You have read the literature and (soon) heard lecture 10 about "rebound effects". That lecture and the readings raise a host of uncomfortable questions about technological development, efficiency gains and rebound effects. 

Planned technological obsolescence, i.e. that things are constructed in order not to be durable, is of course very bad from an environmental point of view. Even worse is that what we regard as technological innovation partly resembles technological churn (or product churn) - we buy new products even before the old products wear out. But what can be done about it? Some of the suggestions are perhaps not very appealing:
- AT&T (monopolistic telephony service) renting out durable, boring, expensive telephones to relatively powerless consumers (as suggested by Owen, p.230-)
- Refrain from developing/using new technologies - or at least think about it twice or even three times (Baumer & Silberman)

When I originally listened to the podcast "When patents attack!" I was absolutely furious about patent trolls - and so will you be too. But later I explored a mental flip-flop. Are patent trolls not doing what every true environmentalist would want; decreasing the speed of innovation and increasing the price of the finished products? I have still not made my mind up about how to think about patent trolls. Are they despicable and should be chased away? What then would the effects be of a world without patent trolls? Or are patent trolls environmental heroes (in relation to the lecture 10 and seminar 6 literature) - decreasing "technological churn" without hardly using any physical resources at all? Are patent trolls clogging the legal system (and is that good or bad)? Are patent trolls modern-age Luddites - but fighting the system "from within" - with the tools and rules of the system itself? Your task is to help me grapple with these questions and to frame patent trolls ("non-practicing entities") and patent trolling in the context of environmental sustainability, technological innovation, efficiency gains and rebound effects.

The question you should think about is thus:
If we value innovations and economic growth, patent trolls are obviously (?) despicable. But are patent trolls villains or heroes from an environmental point of view? Or are they a little of both? How? Why?

It is assumed that you will be adequately prepared for the seminar. It is not primarily up to the teachers to in detail query and make sure that you have prepared - it is your job to convince us that you have. In relation to seminar 6, that more specifically means:

1 Read/listen to the materials for the seminar (above) as well as the texts for lecture 10.

Write a short "position paper" (around 1 page or 400 words - where you take a position on these issues) based on the question above. Please make sure that you in some way(s) refer to and make use of course materials in your paper. You should in your paper also 1) propose a question that you would like to discuss at the seminar or 2) propose an example of a rebound effect in the context of ICT and media (production, distribution, use/behavior). Please either use of seminar assignment template available in Bilda (/Documents) or otherwise look at the template and make sure you include the same information in your own position paper.

3 Upload your position paper to Google docs (or write your position paper directly as a Google document).The deadline for finishing your paper is Wednesday Oct 3 at 13.00. Post the link to your position paper in Bilda so other group members can find it (it worked ok for 15 out of 16 groups two weeks ago). Finally, read the other group members' mini-papers and leave at least two comments/questions on each paper! IMPORTANT: watch this instruction video to learn how to do these things if you are the least bit uncertain about these instructions.

Each seminar group (A-D) has been divided into three smaller groups (4-5 persons/group), see this previous blog post. You should thus only read and comment on 3-4 other person's position papers.

Do note that not preparing adequately for the seminar entails the risk of not receiving top points (2 p) for the seminar (which might naturally have adverse effects on your grades).