Syllabus for an online course on Digital Globalization

This winter quarter I taught a fully-online class on Digital Globalization, which I greatly enjoyed. I believe that Digital Globalization is a form of globalization that is every bit as powerful as economic, political and cultural globalization. Of course, it is also inextricably linked to all these other forms of globalization. It’s strange, therefore, that has remained largely invisible in the literature in the field.

One point that struck me from the class is that the media gives a great deal of attention to the question of surveillance by governments, but my students are every bit as concerned about surveillance by corporations such as Facebook. I had also assumed that my students would be digital natives. Many of them, however, felt a great digital gap between themselves and younger siblings, who spend a great deal of time on social media, such as Instagram and Snapchat. They appreciated the chance to learn about topics such as Bitcoin that they had heard about in the media, but knew little about. From my students, I learned that there was a Bitcoin ATM in Portland, as well as bars and apartment buildings that accepted Bitcoin.

A few notes about the syllabus that follows. The majority of the content, including almost all of the videos, were obtained from my library’s Streaming Video and Music database. For this reason, I haven’t included the links here, because they would only work for people with accounts at my university. As you can see, I’m also beginning to use modules for online courses. In this particular case, I began with two weeks focusing on the individual (social media, the generation gap, music and art); two weeks focusing on institutions and the economy (Uber, Airbnb, the sharing economy, Bitcoin, 3D printers); and two weeks focused on the nation-state level (surveillance, privacy, encryption). For the fourth module of the course, students do three weeks of independent study on of the topics that they’ve explored in the class, to answer a key question. The goal of this module is to develop learner agency.

The final week of the course content students share a digital artifact, which is typically a Google Slideshow. I’ve done this in previous online classes, and it’s always very popular with the students, who take a great deal of pride in their work. I like the assignment because it in a sense it creates a co-constructed syllabus, in which students are responsible for their own learning. Lastly, for multiple reasons I did not allow students to do any research for this course on the Dark Web; that is, they could not research in areas of the Web that they could only access via a TOR, ITP or Freenet browser.

Shawn Smallman, 2016 …

A Syllabus for a fully online “Introduction to International Studies” class

I have been teaching hybrid courses for nearly two years, but this quarter I taught my first fully online class. Contrary to what people expect, I find that I come to know my students better than in a face to face class. In traditional courses -even in a seminar- four or five students may dominate most of the discussion. In my course, every student has to two discussion posts every week. Because students know that their posts are shared, they tend to put a great deal of thought into what they say. This means that I come to know the students well. Equally important, because the students are broken into smaller discussion groups, they also come to know each other. There is an online community, which I think is meaningful to the students. …

Syllabus for an online “Introduction to Latin American Studies” course

This winter I am teaching an “Introduction to Latin American Studies” course in a fully online format. In order to create a sense of community, I have scaffolded a number of assignments around a slideshow presentation that students will upload in the final week, which will entail students sharing their work throughout the course. I have no text assigned for the course. Instead, I have assigned articles accessed through permanent links to the library database, while the videos are accessed through the streaming video feature of my university library. Please note that for this reason almost all links in this syllabus will not work for people outside the Portland State University system. I hope that this syllabus gives some of you ideas as you work on your own syllabi. I also want to thank Christine Boyle, whose own outstanding syllabi and course inspired my own class.

If you are interested in Latin America, you might also wish to see my own book on military terror in Brazil.

Shawn Smallman, Portland State University

Global Perspectives: Latin America

University Studies, UNST 233/INTL 240

A fully online class


Professor Smallman                                            Graduate mentor: TBA

Rm. 345, East Hall

Phone: 503-725-99XX



Office Hours: Monday 1-3pm using Google Chat.




With Latinos/as now the largest minority group in the United States, and Brazil’s economy larger than Britain’s, Latin America is attracting considerable attention in the United States. While its people struggle to preserve the region’s artistic, literary and cultural heritage, Latin America also is experiencing rapid political and economic change. This class explores the rich diversity of peoples, histories and cultures that together define Latin America, from the Caribbean to the Southern Cone. This class will also give you a foundation from which to choose classes in the Global Studies cluster, if you decide to pursue it. Bienvenidos! Sejam Bemvindo! …

A syllabus for a hybrid Modern Brazilian history class

This fall I will be teaching a modern Brazil class, which is cross-listed between International Studies and History. I’ve decided to offer the class as a hybrid, because there are so many great resources available on-line, and I believe that it makes for a more active class. I hope that this may give some ideas to those of you who may be considering teaching a similar course. If you are interested in Brazilian history, you can see my own book on military terror in Brazil here.

Shawn Smallman, 2014 …

Syllabus for a “Modern Brazilian History” class

I’ve been working to revise my modern Brazilian history syllabus, which I’m attaching here. If you are interested in Brazil, you might also want to look at my book on military terror in that country:


                                                       Modern Brazilian History

                                                           HST 463U/INTL 463U

                                                               MWF, 12:45-1:50

                                                        Neuberger Hall, Rm. 222

Professor Smallman

Rm. 345, East Hall

Phone: 725-9978


Office hours: Friday, 10:00-noon

This course will explore such topics as slavery, abolition, messianism, banditry, the Amazon, race, military rule and democratization. Particular emphasis will be given to the differing visions the elites and the masses held of their nation, and how this tension has shaped Brazilian society.  By the end of the course students will have a better understanding of a Latin American culture, and how characteristics such as race and power are defined by history. …

Syllabus for an “Amazon Rainforest” class.

"Scarlet Macaw" by Elwood W. McKay III
“Scarlet Macaw” by Elwood W. McKay III

I’ve been teaching a class on the Amazon rainforest for about fifteen years now, which provides a brief historical overview of Amazonia, before examining indigenous and environmental issues. A few words about the books for the course: students love David Campbell’s, Land of Ghosts, despite his sometimes challenging vocabulary, because of his evocative descriptions. But be forewarned about Mindlin’s, Barbecued Husbands. This is a book of erotic myths from the southwestern Amazon. The first time I used this book in a class, I had a delegation of students come to complain that I was requiring them to read material with sexual content; I made the use of the book (and attendance in the class discussion) optional. I also had another student explain why they hadn’t read the book by saying: “I loaned it to my housemate at the start of the quarter, and he’s refused to give it back.” I continue to use it as an optional text, and on that basis have not had any more student complaints. …

New syllabus for a hybrid Global Studies theory class

I’ve been teaching my courses as web-infused classes for some time, which means that I put key materials on-line: the syllabus, key terms for every class, a lecture outline, rubrics and readings. I’ve also used an online “dropbox” for students to submit their work. I’ve found that students really appreciate being able to read the lecture outline before class, and that they are more likely to read their papers if I give them feedback on-line. I appreciate that the system allows students to track their grades, so I no longer get the question, “Can you tell me what my grade is now?” And I never have to worry about losing a paper that a student has submitted. …

Syllabus for “Introduction to Latin American Studies.”

Every year I teach an “Introduction to Latin American Studies” course at PSU, which is designed to meet the needs of both International Studies majors and General Education students. Because of the learning objectives for our general education program, I include assignments that focus on group work and oral communication. But the general structure of the syllabus may be helpful for others about to teach the class. If you are interested in Brazil, you might also want to see my own book on military terror in that country. Shawn Smallman, Portland State University: …

Syllabus for “Theoretical Foundations of Global Studies”

I am writing this from Oaxaca, Mexico, a beautiful colonial center in southern Mexico. Because of Oaxaca’s altitude, it’s never too hot here, it’s far from the drug violence in the north, and it’s known for outstanding archeological sites (including Monte Alban, Mitla and the lesser-known Yagul). While my wife does fieldwork on Pentecostal healing, with endless church services and interviews, I am sampling the cuisine, bookstores, and pool. I’m also planning for my fall quarter, when I will be teaching a course, “Theoretical Foundations of Global Studies,” for the first time. …

Introduction to International Studies Syllabus

One of our goals for this website is make as many resources as possible available for faculty teaching an “Introduction to Global Studies” or “Introduction to International Studies” course. Here is the syllabus for the course that I taught this spring. If you click on the teaching tag on the word cloud to the right, you’ll also find earlier posts that related to the class, such as the rubric I used, the chocolate tasting assignment (very popular as you might expect), a map on security, and the first day quiz. I’ve also posted on free video resources for the class, and useful websites. …

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