I learned many things about the constitutional convention. The overall theme, as Mike mentions, was compromise, but the compromise was specifically between the educated, white, men of different states with often-conflicting interests. The issue of slaves was one issue that required compromise, as demonstrated by the three-fifths compromise. These compromises were achieved by lots of head-butting and posturing, but eventually by the realization that all states had a vested interest in creating a functional government. Sometimes these compromises were arbitrary (such as the three-fifths compromise, again) or actually made a lot of sense, like the great compromise. The nature of our democracy is largely due to the trial and error; sometimes there are enduring, good, ideas, but also with a lot of bad ones that need to be weeded out.
The collaboration for the group project was great, but only after we’d spent two whole weeks arguing. There are a lot of really smart and hard-working people in this class, and once they were actually able to get their jobs done, the project went smoothly. The “class discussions” were easily the least efficient part of the project. To a certain extent they were necessary, but it almost would have been better to make the original part the responsibility of a smaller and more efficient group. I’ve worked as a “leader” on a similar, yet probably more structured large-group project, and it ended up being a very authoritarian ordeal. Lisa did an awesome job as our “leader”, and was very open about listening to people’s ideas.
My own role in the whole group was probably just planning and making rough drafts of ideas. I’ve learned in this project that it’s not necessarily a bad idea to show leadership, but it’s also challenging, because every time you propose an idea there’s at least one person who doesn’t like it. For the most part, I interacted well with my peers, and worked hard on scheduling and the interactive presentation. The interactive group was fairly effective, but with a little bit more time and early-on feedback, we could’ve created an infinitely better presentation.
I think that if I were faced with a project like this again, I would try to get people into smaller groups as soon as possible. The first two weeks of this project were wasted, and considering how little time we had overall to complete it, that really hurt the overall project!
I think that my “get it done” skills were really useful for this project. It helped me a lot to be able to complete everything I was expected to. Even though the Interactive Presentation outline wasn’t the most popular thing, it wasn’t an especially bad idea in itself and it was a lot better than nothing. I’m fairly happy with what my group and I were able to produce for that.