The principles and methods used in this class are grounded in a large body of research that explores the elements of an evidence-based learning environment. Those elements include self-direction, internal motivation, emotional safety, and a variety of other factors summarized as follows:

  • Emotional safety: a person-centered environment, with emphasis on belonging, being seen, and encouragement for safe exploration (which includes things like making mistakes, trying again, and reversing course)
  • Trust: a focus on healthy relationships, authenticity, consistency, congruence, and dependable and ethical action (for instructors as well as learners)
  • Self-awareness: encouragement of insight, personal knowledge, open pathways, comfort with discomfort, and connecting self to others
  • Empathy: an emotionally safe community, with safe feelings and processes, an emphasis on positive change, and encouragement of emotional openness

The learning environment in this class is designed to implement the principles outlined above. In turn, methods of evaluation, grading, and assessment follow the same principles. Here are the specific evaluation criteria that are used for each project (they are the same for each project):

  • Taking personal responsibility for the motivation and self-awareness required for meaningful learning
  • Challenging oneself, especially with the discomfort of encountering new things
  • Developing and sustaining a positive, growth-oriented mindset
  • Encouraging belonging, trust, and emotional safety for everyone in the learning environment
  • Caring for people (via empathy) and caring for oneself (via self-reflection and self-regulation)
  • Examining and revising personal values and beliefs as the result of new learning
  • Suspending judgment and evaluation in situations involving process and flow
  • Approaching creativity as a set of skills with many dimensions and a long learning curve
  • Engaging in the reciprocal process of appropriate feedback
  • Showing up and doing the work