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Volume 9, Number 6: February 27, 2003

TTT's Global Studies Sampler

by Tammy Kempfert,
TTT Editor

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UW System faculty and staff who teach international studies use technology in a myriad of inventive ways. Some of these have been described in more detail within this month's special section on global studies and technology. Below is a sampling of other inspired projects currently underway:

  • Angela Burger of UW-Marathon County uses two web-based assignments for her students of international policy. Both are role-playing exercises designed to teach the complexities of developing national policy surrounding a particular multi-faceted issue.

    The first, "What to Do About AIDS in Africa?," was developed in collaboration with UW System colleagues from various disciplines. It has students taking on personae within one of six organizations, each with a unique perspective on how to handle a national health crisis. Represented parties include the African state, a pharmaceuticals corporation, United States officials, a non-governmental health organization, the United Nations, and the Indian government. After reading the background information provided, students can go to a discussion board to collectively settle on the best actions to take based on their organization's goals.

    The second exercise simulates a military defense strategy from the standpoint of the Chinese government. Acting as military officials, students read the on-site research about China's current military situation and border issues, and then plan a defense budget that will support China's goals. An online "shopping cart" provides pictures, descriptions, and prices of the weapons from which student groups must choose. In both exercises, Burger has her students collaborate on their decisions and produce papers defending their final choices. Both sites also include suggestions for using the exercises within a variety of course frameworks. (Editor's note: For more information on Angela Burger's projects, please see her upcoming article in the May 2003 issue of TTT.)

  • At UW-Madison, Rod Matthews teaches two three-credit courses, International Business and Real Estate Process. In both courses, students can opt for an extra credit, which gives them the opportunity to interact online with students from other countries. Currently, Matthews has partnered with business schools in Kazakhstan and Tanzania for the international business course, and with Kyrgyzstan for the real estate course. Each international team of students completes problem-solving activities in English that relate to course content. While he acknowledges that "there's a learning curve that everybody is on to make this long distance stuff work," he says the experience--for students and instructors alike--has been "electrifying." Because the students participate in live audio-conferencing, a particular challenge has been to negotiate time zones and and schedule meetings convenient to all participants. He hopes to incorporate internet video into both courses in the future.

  • Larry Neuman, the coordinator of Asian Studies at UW-Whitewater, has worked on a number of distance learning projects, currently in varying stages of development. One course, Contemporary Japanese Society, was taught with a combination of web-based instruction and distance video and was offered to students at UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh. Opening courses to a larger number of students geographically provides a solution for low demand on one campus, which Neuman says is often the case in global studies programs at some institutions.

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