Courses / 2016b Fall / Final Paper

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Former Proposals by Students (2016 Fall)


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  • The final paper is related to designing and developing actions to improve the Sustainability in IES Abroad Barcelona Community.
  • In groups of 5-7 people, each student must participate in the design and implementation of (at least) 1 action.
  • It can be totally new, or improving a previously designed action.
  • The contributors to each edit should be clearly identified in the contributors box (for attribution purposes).
    • This means that when you edit a page, you are expected to select the class mates that participated to generate the content that you add or edit:

How to create a new page


How to edit a page



Download the pdf:
Image Sessions And Dates

Template for "Action Design" reports

Courses2016b FallFinal Paper Template:

'Action Design' name (student 1, student 2, ...)
Note Action Title: include student names on it (At the end, after a dash). Avoid using colons (:) or double quotes (") in the page title, since they would interfere later with other parts of the website.

0. Summary & Keywords

"Executive Summary": Intended for people that don't have much time to read all minor details. As if this was intended for the very busy CEO of your company, the Top Director of your organization, etc. Summarize the whole action (what, why, how, when, how much, etc). Write this after you have finished the other sections of the report.

Keywords: keyword1 keyword2 "my other several-words keyword"
Write keywords separated by spaces. For keywords with more than one word, enclose them with double quotes.

1. What is the action

What is your action about? Full Description of the action. You should clearly indicate what you designed to do with your action, with all details.
Therefore, this section is not about goals, but about what you have done indeed. So that if you initially wrote the goals of your action when you were planning to do something, you have to update that to reflect what you finally ended up doing.

1.1. Similar actions form previous semesters

State (briefly) which other actions from previous semesters are similar to yours. Provide a link for each one of the full reports in pdf or html version from them, for easy reading of those former actions and their reports. This will allow you to learn from the successful design (if so), or might give you tips about the reason of their failure as a "sustainable" action (has it been sustained over time?).

Therefore, clearly indicate what did you learn from those former actions and their reports? What did you use from them? What did you change for former designs?

1.2. Why this or a similar action didn't succed in previous semesters?

Formulate hypothesis on why the action didn't fully succeed in previous semesters, if it did'nt. This should prepare the work for your improved design to avoid failing at the same spots, etc.

1.3. SWOT Analysis

  • this
  • that
  • ...

  • this
  • that
  • ...

  • this
  • that
  • ...

  • this
  • that
  • ...

(see http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/dl27 )

This table can be generated with this syntax:

Wiki Syntax to use to create this 4-box table for the SWOT

* this
* that
* ...


* this
* that
* ...


* this
* that
* ...


* this
* that
* ...

Once the SWOT is written, answer this questions somehow:

  • What can you do to get rid of the weaknesses?
  • Why couldn't you redesign anything to avoid them?
  • What can you do to prevent yourself/your action from the potential effect of the threats?

1.4. Feedback loops

Remember that a "closed loop" needs to end at the starting point where the whole chain of actions started. Remember also that arrows with a negative sign mean opposite effect.

Identify potential loops produced by your action (reinforcing or balancing, either lagged or not), and eventually, draw them in a systems analysis diagram if that makes the explanation clearer. Reinforcing loops should be seeked for the actions you want to promote, since they will help you get your action sustained after the semester is over and are not here any more, etc. And balancing loops, for the actions that you want to promote that they dissapear (toxic waste generation, etc).

1.5. Advertising

How is your action going to be advertised? How will others know about your action?

2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

Justification: Answer this question as clear as possible: "Why your action is improving the Sustainability of IES Abroad Barcelona?. Use as many concepts as possible from the ones you learned in this course. Like:

  • Resilience
  • Change in Attitudes
  • Reducing dependency on...
  • Ecological/Water footprints
  • Externalization of costs
  • Long term effects
  • Feedback loops (balancing / reinforcing, lagged or not)
  • SLEN vs. TINA
  • Copyleft (CC)...
  • Free Software
  • "Cradle to cradle" design (Waste = Food)
  • Eco-effectiveness (vs. Eco-efficiency)
  • ...

2.1. Potential Costs

Costs of all types, in "Order of Magnitude":

  • how much money per student and per semester is required for each action and subaction in your design?
  • how much time per student and per semester is needed?. Time from Students, from IES Abroad Staff, from external people.

And clearly indicate here Where do you plan to take the money from. If you have no answer to where get this money from (or time invested by people) , redesign your action so that the amount of money or time needed is achievable by your own means. Of course you can try requestig IES Abroad Barcelona administration to pay for it, but the budget (if any in theses semesters or world economic crisis) is usually very limited.

In addition, consider getting your products in the many barter networks that happen in Barcelona while you are here (see the agenda in http://intercanvis.net or elsewhere). And if you need to buy your product/s, consider doing to in a local (LOIS type) company. Or as close to Barcelona city as possible within a relatively similar price range, to cut on transportation costs, and if LOIS, you will be helping to maximize the economic multiplier effect (see Session 13 ).

3. How will you implement it

Implementation/Methodology. Including a description of the work done so far by IES Abroad Barcelona (listed maybe in the document from previous semester - See links in the Home page), Steps or phases to implement this action in a perfect world and in a real world of the few weeks remaining before YOUR departure back to USA, details for the common Time sheet of all actions, ... Links to the documents you created to support your action (stickers, survey forms, advertisements, notices to hand on IES walls, etc.) should be added here also.

3.1. Prototype (or Proof of Concept)

Create a prototype of your action, in small scale, so that you can prove your concept, and demostrate that you were not missing any part to make it real, at least in small scale.

There use to be many details that you need to choose from several options, when you are really implementing the action: where to get or buy that material? why not a loca shop or barter network? why not re-using other materials?, what type of material, what will you do when the action is over (throwing the material? where? why? why not reusing?...)

3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

Is the design "Cradle to Cradle" ready? (= did you clearly state what waste will come out of this action, and who/how to handle such waste? paper from fliers wrapped with plastic, plastic containers to collect water from rainfall, ...). In which way the action is designed to have waste not only harmless but becoming food for other processes (technical nutrients)?

Please note: 3R -> 4R
Take into consideration the 3 traditional guidelines for Sustainability:
1. Reduce
2. Reuse
3. Recycle

They are written in the order of priority. For example, with a sheet of paper. Imagine that you print a short document in one side of it (the reservation code of a flight, for instance). After you use the information, you can throw it to the recycling bin ("3. Recycle"). You can also use it on the other side of the page ("2. Reuse") before throwing it away. You can also re-consider the need to print such document, since you might write down the code and phone number in any piece of paper in your wallet/purse/backpack, and convert such document in the computer into a pdf that you can carry in your smartphone (in case you need some other details, etc). And in this third case, you are not even generating the waste of paper at all ("1. Reduce"). Some systems are re-designed so that they already sent you a copy to you remail inbox in pdf, or in ATm where you are offered to see the budget in your account on screen, instead of allways printing it as many years ago.
The more sustainable piece of paper is the one that didn't need to be produced.

Therefore, we have to include a fourth guidline, and place it with the top priority:
0. Re-design

In the sense of re-designing the production of things to comply with the "Cradle to Cradle design", "waste = food", avoid the consumption of resources where there is another way to avoid it, etc.

3.3. Flyers?

Are you planning to create some flyers or similar form of advertising? How can you make them last longer as a material? Can you imagine a way to enlarge the life cycle of that material?

Instead of making the cheapest possible material that after bing a flyer is thrown away (into a recycling bin or not), why not making your flyer a better quality product so that it can be reused for something else?: margents, table covers for dinner, map with interesting places of Barcelona, etc.

3.4. Incentives

Which extra incentives do you plan to give in order to promote that people participate in your action? Why?

3.5. Relationship with the Other initiatives being implemented

What's the relationship of your action with the "Sustainability Club" (SC) or any other concurrent initiatives going on this semester in IES Abroad Barcelona? Why?
Note: "Sustainability Club" stopped working as such a few semesters ago, but it was YOU, and not someone else payed to provide services for you. It was run from students, and by students like you! If you don't do something, it's somewhat difficult that some other student will do it for you without any incentive...

3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

In order to have a sustainable action, you need to have designed some way or some person to keep doing whatever tasks are needed for the action to keep it working. Indicate here how is this going to work when you are not here...

3.7. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

Clearly indicate in which aspects your action is different to each other similar action from previous semesters.

4. Time-sheet / Chronogram (Prototype of Schedule)

Write a prototype of schedule, in a "recipe style" to guide students from future semesters to implement you action easily.
In rows, who will do what; In columns, months of the year. In the cells, the codes for each subaction described in the report.
This is to schedule the action for the next semester, not to report what you did this semester regarding this action. You are designing an action to be sustained over time, and this report is the outline of what needs to be done and by whom in next semesters to continue your action

4.1. Who will do what

Indicate who will do what, roles identified, so that it's clear how many students are needed to do the action, and how many (or who) from the staff will help, etc. You can add this information to the previous section "Time-sheet / Chronogram" and remove this section title, or explain in detail here, instead, etc. (as you wish)

4.2. What has been done this semester?

You are expected to do at least a prototype or a proof of concept to test your action.

If you have printed and hanged posters, fliers or similar, please include some picture with the date to demostrate that you did it, etc. And similarly with other actions.

4.3. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future?

Indicate in a "recipe style" what needs to be done, and when, by whom, etc., in order to repeat the action in the future.

Month Action
January IES administrators explain concept in orientation for the new Spring semester
February-May Students add to the forum and dry erase board
May IES administrators explain open forum to Summer semester
June-August Students add to the blog and dry erase board
September IES administrators explain the open forum to Fall semester
October - December Students add to the open forum and dry erase board

You can use plain text to indicate the time-sheet/chronogram, but you can also use tables, with the Plugin Split (indicated above for the SWOT table), or you can also use this simple wiki syntax to allow creating and embedding a new Spreadsheet in your document:


Type it in your document, save the page, and follow the instructions you will see in that place to create the spreadsheet, edit it, and go back to the source wiki page from where the sheet was created.

5. Document format

If you produced some documents to support your action, did you choose some document format which can be edited with multiplatform FLOSS tools without loosing the layout? [Multiplatform = at least, the main three O.S.: GNU/Linux, Mac OSX & MS Windows]. For instance, for word documents, .odt or similar (odf) is better choice than MS Word .doc/.docx documents, since odt/odf are standards format for office documents recognized internationally by the ISO (ISO/IEC 26300:2006), and editable by OpenOffice, among others (or MS Office with a Plugin). Or for images: .svg for vectorial graphics (editable by Inkscape), or .xcf for bitmaps (editable by GIMP), etc.

6. Bibliography

You are expected to refer to your sources of information here as if they were books (Title, Year, Author, Editorial, URL), and not just to provide links for other sources of information that the reader might visit besides the information provided in your report. Books, Websites, Companies offering products, ... including action described by students in previous semesters in their Final paper documents. See links in the Home page

7. Other References

Add here the references to the other sources of information, quotes from organizations or companies where you suggest to get some products from, etc.
Provide as many details as needed to help students in future semesters to get the contact, recall that quote/price, who did you talk to, etc.

8. Annexes

Annexes come here (if any): pictures, copies of emails sent, produced documents, marketing material, links to the corresponding pages elsewhere, etc (http://iesgogreen.seeds4c.org, ...)

Which copyright license do you choose for your report and why? If you want to say "Creative Commons" (CC), please choose on of the CC licenses. See Session 18
Clearly indicate also where did you get your pictures from (if you added any picture to your report). Respect the copyright license of other author's work. As a general copyright notice, you can use some phrasing as:

"Unless elsewhere noted, the contents of this report are released with a XXX copyright license [Provide the URL for more information on that license]".

8.2. What did you learn and what did you incoporate from the feedback received?

Between the first deadline and the second deadline to design your action, you may have received some feedback from your class mates, as well as from your professor. Which things from that feedback did you incorporate to improve your design?

8.3. Acknowledgements

Acknowledge the help you received from other people, different from the list of students that will be included in the section below. For instance, are you benefitting from any FLOSS software in your action? Tiki for IES Go Green, Limesurvey for surveys, ... Are you being helped voluntarily by someone at the IES Abroad Barcelona staff? A farmer? ... You could acknowledge their help.

8.4. Students involved in this action

Write your Names and Surnames, briefly indicating your role in the action and its report. Identify which is the "official" leader of this action (if any), who the other participants, indicating the role of each student in the team. Remember that the leader is the person in charge that the team work together and all things get done in time; if some member of the team for this action does not do his/her duties, the "leader" is expected to do instead to warranty the success of the action in time

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Page last modified on Tuesday 17 of January, 2017 14:19:30