This OP is meant to be read from start to finish. You will read starting on the left column working your way down, then to the right column.  On the second page (core report) you will discover some videos to play and pictures/xminds to view, simply click on them to play or open.

Page 1 Commentary

Table Of Contents
Life Update
Notes about Context
Design Methodology
Process Reflection
Pathway Tracking
Managing Time and Promises
Project Integration
Participation Records/Evidence
Unlearning Journal Excerpt
Learning Journal Excerpt
Skillflex Assessment

Page 2 Core Report

Project Specification
Core Report
Philosophy Integration
Critical Evaluations
The Outernet
New goals/ Next Steps

Page 3 Supporting Evidence

Works Cited
Supporting Evidence
Results of Survey Question

Life Update

The past few months have been busy and full of life!  It has been exciting to jump into the summer-months here in Wisconsin because the community is vibrant and ready to come together.  I have quickly realized that the community kind of dissolves in the winter months, or, the city turns into a ghost town.  Perhaps, it's because temperatures reach -45 degrees F for weeks on end.  Either way, the city I live in has done a complete 180, and it makes me feel so proud to be a part of this budding community.  It also has helped tremendously on creating this OP.  On a different exciting life update,  I have just recently signed my lease for the upcoming year and I will begin moving in in less than a week!  I look forward to sharing about my new place as it will generate a lot of work for my capstone year.


In this output I will create a universal definition of community and establish what's a healthy vs unhealthy community.  I will seek out and share how people feel connected, and how they handle problems to dissolve disconnection and rekindle connection.  This output will also discuss where our connection is going? i.e. Social Media, face-to-face. There will be a philosophical integration on the human pluarlity/condition by Hannah Arendt.

Notes About Context

In the core report section I chose to do things a little bit different this time around.  For the meta-context I decided to write a paper to document some of my thoughts and research that I engaged in during the process of this output.  I thought it was a unique route to go considering I haven't written an actual paper for any of my outputs throughout the year.  I continued with the conversational dialogue that was present in my previous outputs because of the positive feedback it had received.  The context itself relates to community outreach, and connection.

OP Design Methodology

For this output I adapted my own design methodology.  I did this so I would clearly know what my steps were and so I could generate actionable steps more efficiently. This was the order of my process:

  1. Plan
  2. Reach Out
  3. Support
  4. Expand
  5. Teach


You will learn in more detail what I did within each design section in my core report which will help you articulate the design process I have chosen.  In addition to creating this design process I also used other tools to keep me on task, and on time.  I utilized a lot of online software, such as a survey generator, and video-streaming websites to help develop my output.  With my 5-steps I was able to design a rough draft and outline for my output vision and it helped me move through the final draft easily.

OP Process Reflection

This section is used for any final reflections on the entire OP creation process.

    1. Learnings

  • One of the highlights that I learned was the similarities people had when it came to listing what they like to do to connect with people, as well as their personal ways of dealing with a damaged connection between others.  I also learned however that people rely heavily on social networking sites for a lot of their personal connection.  I would be lying if I didn't say this concerns me but at the same time it's a matter of convenience.  In my OP you will see a video on social media and how it is actually creating more loneliness, and I wanted to use it after the fact that I made the discovery that texting, internet, facebook, etc are a huge factor of communication these days rather than sitting down face to face.  In the future I would have ideally split this OP up into multiple projects so I could focus on one niche at a time.

    2. Goals

  • I have met the design goals in order to reach my desired OP bus for August 1, 2014.  I also have stayed in line with the content of this OP surrounding 'community' which is an original goal stated in my LIPD.

    3. Incorporation of Feedback

  • In my previous OP I tried out a new template for my documention on the Mahara website.  With the positive reviews of easy navigation I decided to use the same template for this OP as well.  I also utilized a variety of media to incorporate into my OP so the readers could feel more involved.  I have however focused on my vocabulary usage as well as the construction of my sentences throughout writing this OP.

    4. Dissemination Efforts

  • I have brought this project to the attention of the Gaia U community by reaching out in the all-gaia communtiy post area.  I wrote asking for support on my survey and that people could help me by taking it.  I saw a lot of results from engaging in that forum and it made me feel very supported.  I also posted the link to my survey on my facebook so that my more immediate friends and family could help me.  I also reached out to friends I have yet to meet (aka strangers) by asking similar questions in person outside of the University I work and at the local YMCA.

Pathway Tracking

After this OP I have completed all my project OP’s for my pre-capstone year.  All that I have remaining is my learning review and one more AGC call to attend.  I will also have to participate in my end-of-year presentation.  I feel really content with all the work that I have done up to this point on my pathway.


- What elements of the LIPD were met or not met during this engagement cycle? My original plan was having two separate community outputs delivered in my pre-capstone year.  This goal was not met because of other interests and that I really only had 3 projects to write about. Although, my original topic of activating community remained present and is my center of focus for this OP. 


- My original thought process for this submission was in May, the reason this didn’t occur was because I thought at first I had to create 6 project OP’s but in reality I only had to create 3, so the timing was skewed as I didn’t really start submitting outputs until January.  I am still on task with when I wanted my last output to be submitted however. 


Managing Time and Promises

This section details the attention I have paid to managing time, managing promises in this cycle. It shows the following:

  • Setting aside time on my calendar 3 times a week to focus on homework has been an attainable and helpful tool for completing this output.   I have also used a checklist in order to keep myself on topic each time I decide to work on my output.   I have been very adamant about setting and creating a daily schedule for myself.  It goes as follows:
    8 am Wake up
    8:15 am Eat breakfast
    8:30 am Get ready
    8:50 am Leave for bike commute to work
    9 am- 1pm Work (In which I also have lunch around 12pm)
    1- 2:40 pm Go to library, or work-out
    3-5pm Work
    5pm Entertainment time, or work-out
    6pm Cook dinner
    7:30pm Eat dinner
    8:15pm Read, or relationship time
    9:30/10pm Go to bed

    This daily schedule has enabled me to stay on task and has created a routine that is engrained in my mind which I think subconsciously helps me stay focused.  Although on the weekends I tend to deviate from my routine so things aren’t as monotonous.
  • I think I managed my time pretty well during this OP, I really wanted to do it a while back but decided to give myself time and I think that was necessary in hindsight.  I have also learned that I work much better when I am in a quite environment, free from distractions.  Which makes the library my ideal homework setting.  However, the library hours are very scattered and short during the summer so I have had to find where I can budget my time with my working schedule.   
  • I only renegotiated the due date of this OP because I discovered that I needed to have some skill flex sessions done before submitting and that I only had to do 3 projects throughout the year, and this was my third project.  I was ready to write and submit one by June 1st, but held back and I think it was the right choice because I have had some awesome discussions around community since extending my personal deadline.   

Project Integration

I am on task with my current projects, and following this OP will be my review of year.  I have however started to shift some of my focus on projects that will support my Capstone year.

Why did you choose to engage with the projects reported in the Core Report?
Community has been something I have wanted to focus on for years.  Sometimes I feel an abundance of community, ususally at gatherings, festivals, etc and other times I feel a lack of community.  I wanted to see if others felt the same way and also figure out how I could activate community when I notice the lack of it's presence.  This project gave me a bigger push to reach out and actively discover what community means to myself and others.

How do these projects effect your learning pathway?
This will help enable my network capacity and how to sustain my own community and revitalize the connections that are present.  I will do this by discovering what connects people, what damages connection, and solutions to damages.  In order to discover those I will draft a survey to be delivered to a wide variety of ages.

Participation Records/Evidence

I have been in contact via e-mail, or skype, with Jennifer English, Eden Vardy, and Charles T. during this OP cycle.  There has been a few other connections with Gaia associates after my M-O-Y presentation as well.  

During this OP cycle I had my M-O-Y presentation where I was able to listen in on a few others presentations and I really enjoyed it.  I will also be participating in the July 28th Gaia Radio call about 'Asking for support'.  I look forward to listening to it and gaining a few insights in creating anchor supporters in my life.
I used my learning support budget to hire a Philosophy tutor for this output and I am very happy that I was able to spend an hour with him to discuss some of the forethoughts that philosophers had on human connection.  I also was able to find a skill flex advisor in efforts to tutor me in French as it was a goal I had set in my LIPD and I had never thought that I would find someone within the Gaia community to help, but I did and I feel so grateful!

Un/learnings Journal Entry

What will I do differently next time and, if I were mentoring another person to navigate a similar situation what would my advice be?

I definitely wanted to do more with my learning support budget but there was a lack of understanding its purpose.  Although, the money that I did use towards my pathway I felt like was used beneficially.  This all falls into play with some of the patterns I discovered in this output process that I want to unlearn, such as the fear of asking.  I encourage everyone to ask and to not be ashamed that you need support, or a better definition.  I also would suggest you find one person that will ask you specifically to re-phrase what you went over together when having a talk or discussion.  I think it increases your understanding and development of what you learned.  In the future, I will reach out to the friend that I have who does this really well.  (I'm using this as a reminder).

Patterns I want to unlearn:
Procrastination- even when I think something is easy and shouldn't take a lot of time
Not asking for help - fear of asking
Ineffective questioning

Learning Journal Entry

These are some of the thoughts/learnings/questions that arose during the development of this output:

People are easily uncomfortable!!  *Noticed while asking questions (even non-invasive based), chatting at events, and parties*
The more vulnerable we are the more uncomfortable we are
How can we get out of our comfort zone and still connect?
Asking for help can be embarrassing *Attended Gaia AGC call on this topic*
Asking for help ineffectively can create more distress in situations
We are bonding creatures
Discovering what connects people, when do I feel connected? Disconnected?
Building on community strengths

I felt like I pushed myself in a lot of different ways in this output.  I tend to be a person of familiarity and comfort myself so I thought it was interesting to notice how people were uncomfortable and ask myself if I was in the situation if I would be uncomfortable too?  The truth is,  I probably would.  I'm overall a very shy person so it takes a lot for me to even approach people and initiate conversations.

Skillflex Assessment

 Reflection on the skills that I’ve obtained during this OP Cycle:

- Personal:

  • Creating my own home base *Look forward to hearing/seeing about my home improvements in my Capstone Year work!*
  • Learning french- I have found a resource through Gaia U that I will use in order to accrue skillflex advising hours.
  • Attention towards Art- I was able to find time to make birthday cards, and jewlery

- Professional:

  • Planning and logistics
  • Note taking
  • Attend Educational Workshops
  • Mahara competency
  • Foreign Language attention
  • xMind competency

- Peer:

  • Developing quality friendships
  • Expanding support system within community

- Political/Patrix:

  • World-views

  • Ethics


Upon reviewing my skillset derived in my LIPD, this OP cycle focused a lot on my goals in general but this specific OP content was focused on advancing my professional development. Such as, mahara proficiency, xmind, organizational skills, and public speaking to name a few. Although, some of the professional development that I was building was also embracing aspects of my personal development. This made my overall skill-set expand (see mind map). In example of the skills that coincided with each other would be the expansion of my Foreign Language proficiency this was something I wanted to achieve on a personal level as my partner is fluent in French and I have more knowledge of Spanish, which I still practice a couple times a week. These skills are both something that are appreciated in the professional world which is why I have also directed focus towards the development of those skills and I just happened to find the person to help me with this expansion during this OP cycle.

As I was saying this output enabled a lot of growth for me on all levels. I think with some of the skills that I obtained are skills that I desired to focus on or welcome back into my life. This project created the space for me to focus on professional development by being a self-directed leader. I was able to do a lot of planning and logistics to create this project. I also was able to connect with peers and local community members in order to enhance my data collection but this also coupled my peer/personal goal of generating deeper connections with others. 

As for political assessment in this output it came down to two I wanted to acknowledge. The first being world-views and the second being ethics. Starting with world-views which is defined as conception of the world, it was very apparent that each individual had a unique or distinct response to what they thought was community, hence they all saw the world a little bit differently. The other one I stumbled across was ethics. This became apparent when I had my tutor read over my first draft of my core report and he stated that my first take on activating community sounded vaguely similar to the ethics of Hitlers'. This took me by surprise and I definitely had to consider what were my morals and principles when it came to activating community and decided that individualism needed to be honored.


to publish my work
Mac Desktop is the device I used to generate this output
Youtube to find and watch videos that correlated to my project work or inspired me throughout the process
Surveymonkey to design and submit my survey to others and help collect data from survey
Easy Bib to create my works cited
Facebook to create events, network and communicate with local and universal allies
Google- docs, e-mail to contact other gaia U associates, review my peer review, and other discussions within the gaia community
Skype to use the messaging and call feature for support
xMind for creating mind maps and timelines
Gel Site to use the all gaia community board, register for the OP Bus and reach out to other Gaia Associates.
Microsoft Word to spell check and type up the output before placing on the mahara database
Camera to take pictures of SWAP party and other evidence support
Calendar to schedule events, meet-ups, and tutor sessions

I feel competent with the material in each of these programs.  Feel free to contact me if you need help or would like some tips for support!


Jensen Buehler
01 August 2014, 23:12

Deleted user
09 August 2014, 16:41

Here's your peer review.

Jensen Buehler
09 August 2014, 21:37

Hi Meredith,  it is saying that it won't let me open the file.  It says, ' Excel cannot open this file. It may have been damaged or modified from its original format'.  Will you try sending it to my via e-mail as well? (  if it still doesn't work we can try to contact Ava.

Jensen Buehler
11 August 2014, 20:58

Meredith's Peer review

Eden Vardy
08 October 2014, 16:08

Eden Vardy
08 October 2014, 16:08