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Critiquing the Unable to be Critiqued

Honestly, to start out, I don’t know why I’m writing a critical response to two groups for the Millennium Development Goals project, when overall, I thought the entire project was very unorganized and poorly planned. I do, however, know why I am finishing this blog prompt earlier in the week than my other ones, and that is because I want to be done with this class. Getting back to my original thought, though, because of the lack of coordination and guidance, I don’t know what to base my criticisms on; my discussion group had different guidelines to follow (though I can’t remember if we actually had guidelines) than the groups that had to present to the class.

I think it’s very amateur to just say, “I thought this group had a good presentation,? but my section, I thought, didn’t have to give a formal presentation; we just had to talk for a few minutes about what we did overall. My discussion group had to focus on the actual project (the essay or whatever we chose to do), but it seemed like other groups had to focus more on the presentation. But, where every group had to focus on a different aspect of the final result, I feel unqualified to critique two presentations that I don’t know what they were supposed to focus on (whether it was the document, the final presentation, or something else). This is just another reason why I feel this project has been sub-par and why I am questioning why I need to write a critique on two other groups.

But, because I don’t want my grade to suffer as a result of not answering the question, I will critique the two groups to the best of my ability.

Since I wasn’t able to view the final document, all I have to base my critique on is the final presentation. But, again, my group didn’t have to worry too much about our presentations, so I think this is going to be a very incomplete critique, just like the guidelines we were given for the project that’s worth 35% of our grades, which I believe is completely unacceptable.

Well, here it goes:

The rainfall group from Section 2:
I thought this presentation was planned well (who was going to say what, when, and how it was going to be delivered). They really had an idea ahead of time of how they were going to present their findings. As a result, their presentation, I thought, was done well and organized, even though the presentation wasn’t supposed to be a big deal.

I don’t know how their document turned out or how well they worked together. Their idea for the solution of the contaminated rainwater, however, was insightful (sloping the roofs and collecting that uncontaminated water).

The members of this group seemed to get into the project, and it seemed like they really wanted to make a difference and implement this solution. I don’t know if this made their actual document better or if it was just that they took this project to heart, but it was nice that they actually saw how this non-architectural project related to an architectural class.


The Mosquito Nets Group from the Honors Section:
I thought the presentation itself, for this group, was excellent. They used different statistics and stories that got you to really care and stay attentive to their presentation. For example, they told you how many people die every year, every month, and every minute due to ineffective living standards (mosquito nets and medicine).

With this being said, however, I can’t say that I remember what exactly their solution to the problem was. What I can recall is the severity of the problem they dealt with, but I can’t remember what they proposed as a solution. This just may be that we had to watch basically the same presentation (with a different problem and solution, though) over and over, that after the first two or three, it just became somewhat dull.

Again, I didn’t see their actual document (unless their PowerPoint was the final document), so I feel unqualified to critique the main part of the project.


Overall, I don’t see why I am supposed to critique two groups based solely on a five to ten minute presentation from a semester-long term project. I think it’s incredibly unfair that I’m supposed to provide my input for the TAs (and possible Ozayr, depending on the extent to which he is active in the grading process) as to how they should grade these projects. If this is the main reason why I’m supposed to critique two groups (to help the TAs grade the projects), then I believe the TAs did next to nothing in this class – they were only hired to be a help to the professor and showed a lack of guidance to the students.

Honestly, this is how I feel: the TAs did next to nothing to promote my success in this class. At least for my TA, the first quizzes were graded as if we were graduate-level architecture students; however, once she realized we weren’t graduate students, then she eased her grading style for the quizzes a little. Also, as far as the projects, it seems as if the TAs will be grading them as if we had known EXACTLY what we were supposed to research and include; it also seems as if the TAs will base a part of the grades on what the students write in this response, both of which I think are quite unfair.

I realize that I digressed from the topic of the blog response quite a bit, but this is because I was really dissatisfied in this project, as well as in this course as a whole (and I know I won’t be able to write my full opinion solely during the course evaluations next week). I criticized this project three days ago when I had to provide my opinion on the project as a whole, and I intend on critiquing the course again on Tuesday during the course evaluations.

This has been my longest blog response to date for this class, and most of my words have been used to express how dissatisfied I was of this project, of my TA, and of this class; I think this speaks louder than the actual words I used in describing my disapproval of this class and project. Not only did I think the project was unacceptably unorganized and unrelated, but I don’t see the point in me telling the TAs how I think they should grade the other projects based on a ten minute overview of maybe ten projects. Overall, I was very disappointed in this class, in the leadership of this class, and in the structure of this class. Maybe next year, instead of finding a problem that relates to the United Nations’ Millennium Goals and proposing a solution, students should gather information from this course, experience the problems first-hand, and then write a 30-page paper of how they would correct the problem of this class.


- http://tulanepadova.pbwiki.com/Water+Resources+in+Italy
- http://archive.idrc.ca/books/reports/1996/01-06e.html
- http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext/3381591.html