I just attended an excellent conference on Global Studies pedagogy at St. Cloud State in Minnesota. One challenge that faculty in the field discussed is that that our courses can too quickly adopt a “global problems” approach. This encourages students to become overwhelmed by the scale of global issues, and to view the world as a problematic and dangerous place. This is unlikely to either lead them to want to dive deeper into Global Studies or to do Study Abroad. For this reason, it’s important to focus not only on issues but also solutions. When covering key global problems -such as environmental issues- I try to also include models, such as Curitiba’s urban planning, or Bogota’s amazing bus system. I also think that it’s good to not forget positive news, even when focusing on deforestation or ethnic conflict. Once students have a sense that there’s hope, they are more inclined to focus on environmental issues or conflict resolution.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/03/hope-and-new-species/
Our program recently revisited its learning outcomes for our students. I think that it’s important for our students to be familiar with these learning outcomes, so I hand it out with the syllabus at the start of every class. Shawn Smallman, Portland State University
Learning Outcomes for International Studies at Portland State University.
Core Learning Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding of world cultures, politics, and economics, within the context of globalization, as well as developing the skills and attitudes to function as “global citizens.”
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/learning-outcomes-for-international-studies-majors-at-portland-state-university/
One of the challenges when working with internationalization is to learn what resources already exist and where you can look for models. I’ve created a list of key websites that provide links to awards, resources, and white papers. In particular I recommend the outstanding work being done by ACE.
American Council on Education, Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement
This probably represents the single best, sustained effort to think about internationalization in a comprehensive manner.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/resources-for-internationalization/
I’m currently preparing to take part in a Global Studies conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota later in the month. For this reason, I’ve been spending some time reviewing different international activities in the state, so that I can mention them in my keynote address. I’ve just finished reading the University of Minnesota- Duluth’s Internationalization Review Report, and it provides an example of how such reports should be done. The work was done as part of a project with the American Council on Education (ACE), which is spear-heading efforts to internationalize campuses. UM Duluth is one of eight campuses nationally taking part in the project. As one aspect of this commitment the Internationalization Leadership Team carried out this study, on the way to developing “a systematic plan for comprehensive internationalization at UMD.”
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/university-of-minnesota-duluth-an-example-of-a-great-internationalization-review-report/
I am teaching a hybrid class, “Foundations of Global Studies Theory,” which has a weekly quiz on the readings. Every student is expected to write a two to three paragraph answer every week to a question like this: “What were the strengths and weaknesses’ of Adorno and Horkheimer’s article? One critique of critical theorists is that they can be “culture snobs,” who look down on forms of popular expression (music, television). Do you think that this is a fair critique based on this article? Is this article still relevant to contemporary society, or was its usefulness confined to its historical period?” I try to give every student feedback on their quiz response every week, but it’s challenging to do with 40 students in the class. To help with this issue, I’ve created this rubric, which I’ve found is very helpful:
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/rubric-for-an-online-quiz/
In 1990 I did an immersion program in Pernambuco, Brazil. I spent weeks in Recife and the colonial city of Olinda, where I saw baroque churches, staggering poverty and urban life. I also heard the rich folklore and oral traditions that survived in the region regarding everything from nineteenth century bandits to messianic leaders. And of course I learned about the droughts, which have engulfed the region time after time. Lately there has been a great deal of attention given to the drought in the American West, and in particular California. But there is also a drought in Brazil that is so bad that dams cannot be relied upon to supply power. The Global Post has had a great series of reports on the disaster, which includes text, video and a photo essay. And if you want to have a deeper understanding of events there, read Nicholas Gabriel Arons’ Waiting for Rain: The Politics and Poetry of Drought in Northeast Brazil. Or if you want to dive into literature to understand the region’s past, read Jorge Amado’s Violent Land. You can also see more posts about Brazil at this blog here.
Shawn Smallman, Portland State University
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/drought-in-northeastern-brazil/
Seven reasons why online and hybrid classes are better (and more rigorous) than the traditional classroom
I’ve been teaching hybrid classes this entire year, and I’m looking forward to also teaching my Modern Brazil class as a hybrid next year. In the long term, I will probably move to teaching mostly hybrid classes. I’ve been struck by how different these classes are from traditional format classes, mostly in positive ways. But I too often hear some of my colleagues (whom I respect and like- it’s a great department) denounce the move towards hybrid and on-line classes with comments such as “There is no concern for quality!” Or “They want us to be a vocational school!” I’ve spent a lot of time patiently trying to describe the advantages of classes in this format, and how they can be just as transformative and creative as any other class. But I don’t think that I’ve had much success. I have two awards for teaching excellence, and wouldn’t teach this way if it wasn’t good for students. And now I’m tired of this. So here are seven reasons why hybrid and on-line classes are not just as good as other classes, they are better. And more rigorous.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/seven-reasons-why-online-and-hybrid-classes-are-better-and-more-rigorous-than-the-traditional-classroom/
I’ve written twice before on this blog about an emerging disease in Central America called Chronic Kidney Disease. In my original post I described how in some communities in the region between a quarter and seventy percent of men may suffer from the disorder, which is a truly staggering number. In a subsequent post, I argued that something mysterious was happening in Central America, because the disease appears to be something new. While some people argue that the illness takes place because of pesticide exposure or dehydration, this argument seems problematic to me. If this is true, why do we not see a similar illness in the Caribbean or the Atlantic coast of Brazil? That is why in this post I suggested changing the name of the disorder to EKD, so as to reflect the disease’s novelty. The fact that the illness focuses on the Pacific Coast of Central America, mainly affects men, but also seems to impact workers outside the sugar cane industry, all seems significant to me.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/02/popular-protest-and-ckd-in-nicaragua/
In a recent post I talked about the discovery of a new species of tapir in the Amazon. What is amazing to me is that there are still large mammal species being “discovered” in the region. Within the last ten years a new monkey species was described scientifically for the first time, after having been identified within 60 miles of Manaus, the largest city in the Amazonian river basin. Of course, local and native peoples are already well aware of these animals, which they have hunted for long periods of time. Now, not a month after the last such discovery of a large mammal species in Amazonia, a new dolphin species has been described in a scientific journal. It is the first new species of river dolphin discovered in a 100 years.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/01/new-dolphin-species-discovered-in-the-amazon/
I’ve blogged before about Canada’s oil sands, and the political battles and environmental issues that they have spawned. What is clear, however, is that despite the environmental and safety issues that new energy supplies raise in North America, economic changes are reshaping the energy industry with stunning speed. While the Canadian Oil Sands are the main focus of attention, it may be that discoveries of massive supplies of natural gas near Ft. St. John in northern British Columbia are also of global significance. As this article by Brent Jang in the Globe and Mail describes, it is enough supply to support a century’s worth of production. For Canada’s native peoples, in particular the Gitga’at people, potential exports are both a danger and an opportunity. But the discovery has implications that stretch far beyond the region. For Japan this find is so large that it has strategic implications as the nation turns to liquified natural gas (LNG) to replace the electricity production lost with Fukushima. Canada is a logical energy partner, and a large supply of Canadian natural gas will increase the competition for the Japanese market, which should make this energy transition easier.
Permanent link to this article: http://introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/01/north-americas-energy-boom/