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Everyone of you knows the term bias, but we’d like to introduce youto new version of this term. The title diffusing bias of Binna Kandola’s talk is quite philosophical in the sense that the realization of bias and being active towards diminishing it is diffusing it. Although the diffusion doesn’t have to be direct as the realization it is inherent. Seeing as something is inherent doesn’t mean it has to be constant. It is inherent to think that your Asian professor of the math course you’re taking will be a harsh grader, but to combat the bias you need to alter your mentality. You need to be as objective as you can of their grading criteria and have sufficient proof of their strictness. Your perception itself is not unjust as we have little control over our thoughts. On the other hand, your actions towards that professor with the presumption that they are mistreating you is the unjust part. The diffusion part is where these thoughts not only become more objective but also become less over time. The reason the actions you take, like complaining to your friends or how low you expect your grades to be is sometimes the only perception you have of this professor. You start excluding the fact that your professor accepts late assignments, prefers to discuss their grading criteria, and exerts effort for the course to be as enjoyable as it is academically beneficial. The only story, which due to the upfront decision you have made based on your bias, is the unjust professor. 

The single story stems from the lack of reflection on others’ experiences. To us, it’s more than reflection. It represents lack of interest or lack of knowledge. We sometimes have a single story of the university administration. We assume, as an example, they don’t share our interest in the boycotting and awareness movement for Palestine. We blame and accuse them of not caring for what we stand for as we don’t notice any changes towards the cause. The other side of this can be that they are considering their actions from every angle, they are attempting to divest, they are trying to do what’s best for their students and their staff. Communication is key, and while we might hold one story as it is the only one available, we can put in the effort to acquire more than one story to judge. Before holding our single story over someone, we should communicate first without disregarding their perspective. Otherwise, it’s considered an incomplete story with missing pieces of the other numerous stories needed to hold a better judgment. Maybe you’ll find out they have a totally different story all along. Personally, we have had our own battles with how people perceive us. Some think we only care about ourselves, which coming from family could hurt. It’s important to check in with our family members as this single story they have of us portrays us as selfish. In reality, we are just overwhelmed with the sense of responsibility of becoming a student. You are our family, and while we represent you, we are a part of you and most importantly you outnumber us. The power you hold gives power to the story you hold against us. We have the same struggles, the same development, the same journey. It is difficult to empathize based on one story, but it’s more difficult to empathize with yourself. 

Assumptions accompany the stories we hold of people. Equity and equality has always been a known concept to us as it identifies what people think you need versus what you actually need. The university’s provision of co curricular activities, liberal arts curriculum, and career counseling aims to aid you to benefit from being well rounded and having the option to choose what best archives your goal. This is what we wanted to highlight after taking this course. As not everyone has the same goal, equity still applies even if it’s not the same aid. The aid is measured based on your individual needs not as part of an equation. Not everyone requires the same type or amount of aid to be able to equate the level of potential achievement. We would like to think we’re your friends and we always aim to look out for our friends. Our duties as your friends differ to each and everyone of you. That’s something we learned along the way of our journey representing you. There is more than one love language and love can’t be expressed in the one way we are comfortable with. Considering you, we can show you our love and appreciation in the ways you need to be shown and it’s sometimes out of our comfort zone but we try. We often assume that your necessities are predetermined through previous experiences of other GMs and Chairpersons that managed before us which primed us in the way we handled things. This can be beneficial in our work experience as consultants, in our case, as we research our clients before meeting them which is required. Hence, it can affect our attitude towards them in the smallest of actions like speaking at a slower pace if the client is a foreigner. We have a lot to consider and we have learned a lot of interpersonal skills. 


Our recommendations for this course 

It would be beneficial to occasionally include short assessments to help reinforce fundamental concepts and enhance our understanding. Mini case scenarios could be added to these quizzes to help us apply the knowledge we’ve gained in real-world situations. Furthermore, it would be quite helpful to promote group activities that include gathering news and evaluating its accuracy in order to develop critical thinking. Providing us assignments to locate and evaluate current AI news would be beneficial as well. This will provide us a thorough grasp of how AI is influencing several industries and daily life by keeping us informed about the most recent advancements in the technology and its wide range of applications.

If we were to summarize this course in to our three accomplishments we would include: 

Our ALTCV as it represents the CV of our own proud life accomplishments, not what other entities deem relevant about us. It also made us appreciate our journeys and focus on how to build this CV more. Therefore, we wanted to build our character more and focus on the things we truly care about. 

Our digital literacy assignment as we have managed to define our digital identity, enlighten us about our privacy since the internet era, and highlight the importance of our rights to privacy and how to maintain it. 

Our post-soliya reflection helped us appreciate active listening due to the coordinator’s discussion management skills and the thought inducing questions. Everyone in the session communicates their thoughts and we are encouraged to communicate in breakout rooms. Hence, when we return and each one of us explains the other’s story from the breakout room, it invites everyone to listen and be perceptive of other people’s experiences. 


I would recommend this course to someone who wishes to be more intuitive in their personal and professional life as well as acquire digital ethics that accompany their digital skills. The main life skill to be taught is empathy in all facets of life, the digital world is a necessary addition with social media and AI’s growth rate. Hence they need to be interested to build or learn about this skill as there is empathy in the single story, bias, equity, copyright(empathy towards the creators’ efforts), and fake news (to the person we share it to and its effect on their lives).