Week 2

Assignment #2.1


My Gap: create a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

5th why: To improve/restore balance to the urban ecosystem.
4th why: To support the bird population and discourage the squirrel population.
3rd why: To improve the character of my back yard.
2nd why: To attract more song birds.
*1st why : To keep squirrels from stealing all the bird food*
The Gap from last week: a squirrel-proof bird feeder
1st how: By making it impossible for squirrels to access the feeder.
2nd how: Create obstacles so squirrels cannot climb to feeder.

Thoughts on completing Week 1, entering Week 2

  • Perhaps I should have chosen a Coursera course that is more in line with my own skill level. Although I am very interested in the content of the course, I am not skilled enough at drawing, and I have no ability to make 3-D models, nor do I have the right equipment.
  • On the other hand, one of my goals was to do a course that would put me out of my comfort zone and would call on me to use methods other than reading and writing text, or dealing in 2-D design.
  • From perusing the forums, I am very impressed by the earnest cheerful collegiality of my fellow students, many of whom are quite accomplished drafts-persons (is that a word?) Many enrolled in the class seem to be trained as architects and product designers, so I feel a little intimidated when I view their work. I have not detected any sense of arrogance or competition, just mutual support.
  • 30K+ is a heck of a big class. I wish I could have a smaller peer group so that I could follow the work of a selected subset. The size of the class feels overwhelming.
  • For me, as a neophyte, the lectures seem to be pitched at just about the right level of difficulty. They are engaging, but I never find myself lost. On a very few occasions during the Week 1 and Week 2 videos I have fast-forwarded because I understood the point that was being elaborated. On about the same number of occasions, I’ve had to rewind to listen to a point again. I am taking notes on my computer (typing them) as I listen (because that is how I best learn, through writing words) but I have not had to actually refer back to my notes while doing the assignments.
  • I enjoyed doing the Week 1 evaluations, but I am used to evaluating student work in my role as a teacher. I notice from some comments on the forums that other students find evaluations difficult.

Assignment #2.3


“Sketch a chair from the top view, front view and side view. Also sketch one cross section of some portion of the same chair. Compose these four sketches on one sheet. Label the views. All sketches must comply the guidelines from the first module on visual expression (i.e., clear dark lines with the sketch filling the frame).”


Assignment #2.2


Refined Gap Statement: Create a A Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder

It turns out that many people I know are being driven crazy by squirrels who raid their bird feeders, creating a messy nuisance (seed scattered everywhere) and growing fat while birds go hungry. I did some in-person interviews, phone interviews, and I also put up a query on Facebook that drew a surprising number of passionate responses– and even hilarious home videos of home-made attempts at squirrel-proof feeders (more clever than my own original gap solution.) Many wanted to share their frustrations with commercially available products that failed, or to share stores of egregious squirrel thievery. I transcribed and copied all comments to a notebook.

(Latent needs are coded ! and in red.)

The Bird Feeder is aesthetically pleasing.
The feeder is attractive in the garden.
The feeder has a pleasant, natural-looking appearance.
The feeder “doesn’t look like a prison cell.”
The feeder can be seen from a kitchen window, to enjoy the view of the birds.
! The feeder can be customized so that it fits in with the garden design.
! The look of the feeder can change with the seasons.
The feeder can be hand-painted.

The Bird Feeder preserves bird seed/reserves seed for the birds.
The feeder prevents squirrels from feeding directly.
The feeder prevents squirrels from knocking seed out.
The feeder doesn’t waste seed by allowing it to spill from use by birds, wind movement, etc.
The feeder excludes crows and other undesirable birds.

The Bird Feeder is easy to set up.
The feeder comes pre-assembled.
The feeder is not overly complicated.
The feeder is easy to set up, and does not require extra tools.
The feeder does not require a ladder for installation.
The feeder is free-standing.
The feeder can be hung from a flagpole.
The feeder can be placed near trees. (“as we are surrounded by trees.”)
The feeder can be hung from a kitchen window.

The Bird Feeder is easy to use.
The feeder is easy to fill.
The feeder is easy to clean.
The feeder holds a lot so you don’t need to fill often.

The Bird Feeder is safe.
The feeder doesn’t have sharp edges.
The feeder can be installed securely so it does not fall.
The feeder isn’t suspended in the middle of the garden (so that people knock their heads into it.)
The feeder can be easily sterilized so bird diseases are not spread.
! The feeder delivers a mild shock to squirrel without harming them.

The Bird Feeder is cost-efficient.
The feeder is easy to fill, so seed doesn’t fall to the ground and spoil.
The feeder doesn’t spill seed easily when knocked by birds (or squirrels), or wind.
!The Bird Feeder trains squirrels not to return.
The feeder scares away squirrels.
The feeder uses Pavolian conditioning to dissuade squirrels.
The feeder delivers a mild shock to send squirrels a message.

! The Bird Feeder is entertaining.
! The feeder has a Rube Goldberg/squirrel gym component.

! The feeder has a camera, so we can monitor the activities of the animals remotely from our iPhones and iPads.
! The feeder has a camera that takes close-up snapshots of the birds and squirrels.
! The feeder comes with a free smartphone app.
! Which connects to a Twitter account, so the birds can really tweet!