Greg Larson Department of Communication Studies Green Thread Course Revisions September 1, 2011 After completing the Green Thread workshop in May of 2011, I revised my Communication and Conflict (COMM: 412) course to include several of the “big ideas” advocated in the workshop. Specifically, I focused on the ideas of social justice/inequality and the triple bottom line. I incorporated these ideas into the curriculum by adding one assignment and revising another as detailed below. I added an assignment to the course that focused on the triple bottom line (people, profits, planet) by including a class activity and accompanying reflection paper about the proposed Otter Creek Coal mine in eastern Montana. The Otter Creek Mine controversy provides a good local conflict that readily shows the competing needs of various parties. I use the controversy as an example of a “moral conflict”—conflict that involves seemingly incommensurate moral orders. The assignment involves students researching and voicing the interests of the various parties, engaging in an in-class multi-party negotiation and then reflecting on their experiences in a graded paper. In particular, I’m interested in seeing students engage in listening to other voices and in beginning to explore ways of transcending seemingly intractable conflicts in society that involve people, profits and the planet. I also revised another assignment in conjunction with the goals of the Green Thread workshop by adding supplementary readings and revising a question on a response paper. For years, I’ve had students read Ted Conover’s New Jack book which is an insider’s account of guarding a maximum security prison, Sing-Sing, in New York. The students focus on how conflicts arise and are managed in the prison by the guards and inmates. After attending the Green Thread, I realized that the book also provided an opportunity to have a larger discussion about prisons, social justice and sustainability in the United States. I added several readings to the course which give differing views about prisons and society. We’ll spend class-time discussing these issues and then students will be asked to reflect on these issues and develop their own informed opinions. Overall, I found the Green Thread workshop thought-provoking and useful as I’ve attempted to rework my courses to consider issues related to sustainability.