Fall Semester, 2008

The fall semester was pretty grueling.

My classes weren’t hard in the same way that International Trade and Development Orthodoxies were for me.  That is, there wasn’t a ton of practicum to get tripped up on.  But there were a lot of moving parts.  I was doing research for the Yahoo!/ISD fellowship and was also doing a consultancy project for the workshop class, on how innovation processes have been implemented into companies and organizations.

So I felt constantly under pressure to be reading and researching for semester-long projects.  Glad to get that stuff out of the way. =)

Small-Medium Enterprise class was extremely informative and we had lots of guest speakers.  I definitely learned a lot about what’s being done to build value chains, provide business development services, and empower entrepreneurs, for development projects.

My workshop I found incredibly helpful although I’m not sure everyone in the class felt the same way.  We got an overview of how to actually implement a project from project design and pre-planning to winning contracts to budgeting and scheduling.

I really hated my African Development class because the professor pretty much let the students (who varied widely in knowledge of African issues) talk all the time.  What’s the point of that?  Also we had no common reading materials to discuss, really.  And the grades were based on questions unanswered in class, so basically I could’ve done the research papers on my own without wasting 3 credits.

My internet class was excellent.  Our professor is well-connected and has been in the game for a while, so he presented us with case studies on the important issues affecting the internet, from the obvious like net neutrality and IPv6 to the lesser-knowns like open document formats and Facebook Beacon.  One of my favorite classes to be sure.

I also sat in on Mike Scheuer‘s Al-Qaeda class.  This class had some great readings, and Scheuer’s lectures were fantastic and quite different than what you normally hear.  Bottom line:  the counter-terrorism levers are foreign policy fixes, particularly with the US, Israel, and corrupt Arab governments.

This semester was a wonderful one overall.  I’d been anticipating participating in the presidential election while living in DC and going to Georgetown in the premier politics program.  It was everything I’d hoped for and more, and I will always remember the euphoria and readiness to work that braced DC on election night and still continues now.  Next semester will be the inauguration, which should be a wild time.  I hope to be in the thick of it.

I made a lot of contacts and learned things I never thought I’d have learned during my time here.  Obviously I’m very happy with where I am.

One semester to go…I will post info about the classes once I figure out what they’ll be. =)

And to conclude, here are my grades from the fall semester:

A- … Small-Medium Enterprise

A … Workshop:  Managing Development

B+ … African Development

A … What’s Shaping the Internet?