teaching

How to become a Digital Nomad?

I was talking with a student recently who said that they wanted to create a life where they could live in different locations or even nations. When I asked the student if they had ever heard the term Digital Nomad they said no. But when I began to explain the term for this movement, they said that they felt a chill. I’ve talked about digital nomads before, because every year I come to know several of them through my online classes and advising for my department’s online track.

In week ten of my Introduction to International Studies course we focus on careers, using the “Where to Go Next Chapter” in our textbook. But I’ve also added some other content now addressing Digital Nomads; I’ve also created a discussion prompt (its an online class) around this topic. You can see both the week’s content and the discussion prompt below:

Week 10, Careers and International Travel

Watch: No videos this week.

Listen:  Podcast on International Careers

View: the PSU Career Center website.

Read:

Chapters Twelve and Thirteen: Where to go from here and Conclusion.

Smallman (2017), “Digital Wanderers.” Blog post, Introduction to International and Global Studies.

Nomad List, website.

Beverly Yuen Thompson. (2018). Digital Nomads: Employment in the Online Gig Economy. Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation, 2018(1), Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation, 01 June 2018, Vol.2018(1).

Do: Complete your first discussion post by Wednesday at 11:59, and respond to another student by Friday at 11:59.

Week 10 Discussion Prompt:

This week you read Smallman’s blog post about Digital Wanderers. Could you see yourself as a Digital Wanderer/Nomad? Why or Why not? If you were one, where would you wish to live? Why? Do you know any Digital Wanderers? Or if you are one, do you have any tips?

I’ve also asked my students for the career advice that they’d like to share with their peers. This is what they said:

Don’t let your education get in the way of your learning

Show up when others won’t

Take any experience that you can get

Your major does not determine your career

Be patient. You will find your career.

Stay open to opportunities because the unexpected can happen.

Shawn Smallman, 2019

Online teaching and excellence

Image of a globe on a light, McGill University. Photo by Smallman

I’ve been teaching online for several years now, and it’s become not only the only way I teach, but also the impetus for some of my research. For me, moving my teaching online led me to change my pedagogy. I have become an advocate of both Universal Design and the Negotiated Syllabus, which not only create more inclusive classes, but also engage students in their own learning. I began to use Turnitin not so much to catch plagiarism, but as a tool for students to learn how to paraphrase and cite correctly. It also became one part of a lengthy process of peer review that I now use to teach students that by adopting an iterative process they can transform their writing. I’ve also revamped my assignments so that they develop particular skills, such as the ability to locate, manipulate, and interpret data. When I look at my syllabi now, they are far different than they were a decade ago. Even though I had more than once won teaching awards for my face to face teaching. I think that my online classes are better than their face to face (F2F) predecessors. …

The forthcoming third edition

Hello everyone. Shawn and I have been working this summer to update the textbook and are pleased to have sent off revisions for the third edition to the Press. Since the last edition in 2011, world events have once again reshaped what may be central to the field of international/global studies. Additionally, a number of you have given us feedback on the information contained in the chapters and we have tried to incorporate many of your suggestions.

Students have let us know that the overall structure of the text has worked well for them in face to face, hybrid, and online settings. Students with learning differences have found the text to be very approachable and we have tried to draw upon universal design principles in this next edition. We continue to believe that undergraduate students can make a difference in the world once they have access to accurate information and are encouraged to make connections between the local and the global.

In the upcoming edition, look for the following changes:

  • All chapters have been updated in terms of statistics and references. 
  • Activities are more consistent.  Each chapter now has three activities moving from analysis to reflection to personal connections.
  • There are multiple new case studies including a coffee plantation in Nepal, three small island nations, Inuit and Australian Aboriginal health crises, and land acquisition around the globe by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China.
  • Students are guided in resume writing exercises looking towards the future
  • There are two new cases studies in the conclusion: Ai Wei Wei and Jacinda Ardern
  • We provide new perspectives on both globalization and globalism and explore the new tensions between nationalism and populism.
  • BREXIT is examined in several chapters.
  • Demographic and political dimensions of the refugee crisis are examined as is what is sometimes termed “the politics of exhaustion,” as the world faces the movement of millions of people.
  •  We explore the role of human security as an approach lets us explore more interrelated security threats, be they terrorist movements, cyberthreats, or pandemics.
  • ISIS, Afghanistan, North Korea, Russia, the rise of China, and the possibility of a Great Power War are explored.
  • Current energy issues now include more on what happened in Fukushima, the costs of fracking, and the complicated decisions now facing individuals and nation states in terms of sustainable energy choices.

As we have done before, we will compile a set of teacher notes that may help you as you use the textbook.  We also welcome references to articles, films, and blogs that may have inspired you or your students. Over the next few months, we will post some of the exercises to give you a sense of the changes. We are grateful for your support and hope you find the new edition as workable and engaging as the previous editions. The new edition will be available in September 2020.

Kim Brown, 2019

Change and the Liberal Arts

 

The seven liberal arts from Hortus Deliciarum, Die Philosophie mit den sieben freien Künsten of Herrad of Landsberg. Date circa 1180. Wikipedia Commons.

Michael Lind has a book review in the National Interest that is relevant far beyond the field of International Relations. In this well-written essay Lind discusses Michael Desch’s recent book Cult of the Irrelevant. When I was in graduate school, thinkers such as Paul Kennedy would travel to Washington, DC to talk to members of Congress. Those days are long gone, and in general academics’ influence over policy making in International Relations has declined steadily. In the current era of populism and nationalism it would be easy to depict this state of affairs as being a symptom of the anti-intellectualism of American society. But the reality is that this trend extends beyond the United States. …

Developing an online program: tips for administrators

How does a university put classes, programs, and degrees online? What are the key points that administrators should know? Three years ago I wrote a successful internal grant to create an online track in International and Global Studies at PSU. Since then my colleagues and I have successfully moved core classes online, and we have many students completing their degree virtually. I do all of my teaching online now, and I’m the lead adviser for our online track in my department. Although I have a deep interest in pedagogy, particularly Universal Design and the negotiated syllabus, that’s not what I want to explore today. Instead, I want to talk about an administrator’s perspective (having been a dean and a department chair) regarding how to put programs or degrees online, based on this experience. Here are my top tips: …

Infographics in the classroom

A guest blog by Dr. Kimberley Brown:

Active learning for many faculty in International/global studies has meant simulations.  Alternatively, faculty could also vary teaching methods and assignments to meet the needs of a broad-base of students by using the principles of Universal Design for Learning. This post focuses on an infographic assignment substituted for a final paper in a section of a new online undergraduate course I taught last winter called “Human Rights and Language.”

Infographics are “a larger graphic design that combines data visualizations, illustrations, texts and images together in a format that tells a complete story” (Krum, 2014, 6). The basic assignment asked students to:

“Peruse our course topics.  Select one of the topics as the foundation for your infographic.  Your infographic will describe a linguistic human rights problem, the population affected by the problem, and solutions.  You will include a map of the area(s) where the problem you have identified occurs. Your goal is to disseminate information about the issue you have researched to diverse audiences. Your infographic should demonstrate a clear understanding of the issue you present and integrate course concepts and terminology.”

I was encouraged to adapt this assignment for my course after a group of colleagues in Community and Public Health (Shanks, Izumi, Sun, Martin and Shanks, 2017) successfully assigned this to their students. You can see their article, “Teaching Undergraduate Students to Visualize and Communicate Public Health Data with Infographics” here. The adaptation was quite extensive and it took many hours of collaboration with our Office of Academic Innovation to get it right. You can see the full directions for the assignment here.

I was anxious but with coaching broke the assignment into weekly parts including references, field testing, revision and reflection. Virtually no one in class had done an infographic before. I prepared written instructions as well as a screencast. Students had access to examples of Infographics. They were encouraged to use either Canva or Piktochart.  Both had tutorials. The results were highly creative. Only one student suggested that the assignment was better suited to a marketing course. Others noted that they had been pushed in unanticipated ways but could use this skill going forward. Four of the infographics are shared here with the permission of their authors. They all convey data very differently.

I adapted a grading rubric from a variety of rubrics for infographics accessed online.

If you would like more information about the assignment, please email me: brownk@pdx.edu

Please see examples of the infographics below:

Infographic on gendered languages by Madison Cheek

The Norway Infographic by Paige Nef

The Sierra Leone Infographic– Gaia Oyarzun

The Ainu Infographic–anonymous.

The full reference to our colleagues’ outstanding on article on infographics is:

Shanks, J., Izumi, B., Sun, C., Martin, A., & Byker Shanks, C. 2017. Teaching Undergraduate Students to Visualize and Communicate Public Health Data with Infographics. Frontiers in Public Health, 5, 315.

For another key reference see: Krum, R. 2014. Cool Infographics. Indianapolis: John Wiley and Sons.

Universal Design in Global Studies

My colleagues Kim Brown, Rosa David and I have just published an open-access article titled Adopting the Principles of Universal Design into International and Global Studies’ Programs and Curriculum. Here is the paper’s abstract:

The ideals of universal design have profoundly impacted instruction, policy, and infrastructure in course architecture and design within elementary education and at some universities. Within international and global studies, however, these principles have not deeply affected either pedagogy or scholarship despite the fact that classes in international studies may include more international students and third culture kids than classes in other programs. Instead, in North America (as well as in much of Latin America and Europe), the current pedagogical model calls for students either to develop strategies on their own to succeed in class or to self-identify with documented disabilities if they need particular assistance or accommodation. This approach relies on a banking model for education, which does not focus upon learner agency. This paper argues that by adopting three principles—learner autonomy, the negotiated syllabus, and universal design—international and global studies programs can better meet the needs of diverse learners and reflect the field’s commitment to inclusion and social justice.

Shawn Smallman, 2018

Fake News Resource

We all try to instill critical thinking through our classes, particularly the ability to evaluate information. As one of my colleagues often says: “How do we get information about what’s happening globally? Through the news.” His point is that an understanding of the media is essential to any International and Global Studies class. And evaluating the media is particularly difficult in the current era, as more information has become digital, and there are fewer gatekeepers to information.

Kimberly Pendell at the PSU library has developed (with help from Beth Pickard) an amazing ‘fake news’ resource, which is itself an adaption of one created by librarians at Loyola Marymount University. You can find this great teaching resource here. The website talks about what is fake news, provides examples, and helps students to factcheck and contextualize information. It also provides key definitions, such as for the terms confirmation bias and click bait. I particularly liked the examples that the website gives, which help students to think more critically about the media. Over the last few years I’ve done a great deal of work around conspiracy theories, from the alleged murder of the investigator Alberto Nisman in Argentina (a paper that I wrote with Leopoldo Rodriguez), to competing narratives about the 2009 influenza pandemic. For this reason, my favorite example was #3, which showed how sources that peddle conspiracy theories can make themselves appear to authoritative. Finally, the resource has an embedded clip of Stephen Colbert discussing “truthiness.” Of course. …

The Value of Lectures

I’m writing this post for my teaching colleagues. One of the things that I have loved about moving to entirely online teaching was that it has encouraged me to thinking deeply about pedagogy. Over the last two years I have become a passionate advocate of the negotiated syllabus and universal design, which I have incorporated into online classes. Still, for twenty years I taught primarily using the lecture format. I would break lectures up with small discussion groups. Perhaps students might read a historical document from Brazil, which they would discuss in their small group, then report out briefly. Or perhaps I would have them collectively draw a map of all the theorists covered in my theory class, and how these people connected. We’d then share these maps with the class. These assignments helped to create a sense of community in the class, and to break up lectures.  …

Teaching Evaluations

“The University of Bologna in Italy, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in the world, the word university (Latin: universitas) having been coined at its foundation.” By Gaspa (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Like most faculty I take teaching evaluations very seriously. Every year I read mine, and rethink assignments and readings based on student feedback. As at most universities, teaching evaluations in my department are also a key instrument to measure faculty performance for promotion and tenure decisions. But what if teaching evaluations are inherently biased?

One of my colleagues recently shared a post at the LSE Impact Blog, which discussed in detail evidence that female instructors rated lower on teaching evaluations. In one particular case, the students were taking classes with a common final exam, so there was a means to evaluate how effective instructors were in teaching the learning outcomes. The bottom line was that female instructors tended to measure more poorly than their male peers on course evaluations because of bias. I think that this particular blog post, and the articles that it refers to, all merit reading and careful discussion. …

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