Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the emails and visits yesterday – I always enjoy meeting 340 students in person.

Over the last few days a few common questions about the projects have come up so I’d like to respond to them in Q&A fashion below in random order. Please review the questions and answers and also remember that you have some guidelines posted here.

Please remember that your paper needs to be submitted via the Learn@UW Dropbox no later than Sunday 29 June at 11:59 pm CDT. It is worth 60% of your final grade so it is important to be making serious progress right now.

Cheers, Kris


Q: Is there a structure I need to follow?

A: You have flexibility in how you structure your paper but I suggest you include an Introduction (lay some context; outline your research questions/thesis statement and the research process; hint/foreshadow some key findings), 2-3 main components where you discuss the actor, the actor and the region, and your case study, a Conclusion (revisit your research questions/thesis statement and highlight your main findings), and a Works Cited/References section.


Q: I have not written many social sciences papers before — is there a good resource I can draw upon to get some help?

A: Yes – see http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/process.html. You can also ask for some advice from Kramer and moi (aka Kris). The Writing Center is also a great resource: http://www.writing.wisc.edu/Individual/index.html


Q: What is the best data base for the global actor paper?

A: Review all the links posted here. My favorites are:

More importantly, go and speak about this issue with the librarians in a relevant library once you lock in on your actor. The nature of the actor may lead you to different data bases.  Health-related actors and issues should be discussed with health librarians in Ebling while an actor like the World Bank or Human Rights Watch should be discussed with librarians at Memorial and actors like Google or Ford or any other firm should be discussed with the librarians in Business. Be sure to experiment with key words, though, as it takes a while to learn how to search effectively.


Q: How many resources/citations do I need?

A: Enough! Certainly more than just the course text and some websites. And enough to help you profile your actor/region in the paper regardless of what paper option you choose. We need to see some learning going on and regional richness profiled.  For example, if your global actor is active in Egypt, highlight relevant dimensions of Egypt’s geographies (all the types of geographies profiled in each chapter of the text) and why they matter to the actor in question. Do not only rely on newspaper and magazine articles – you need a few substantial references (e.g., a journal article on how BMW structures its global production network, including a production complex in Bangkok).


Q: I’d like to adjust the focus of my paper at the last minute – is this possible?

A: Yes, as long as it makes sense given the overall nature of the project. You are not held to a particular actor/region – change if you want to, but be wary of changing too late…and it is getting late, as you know.  But you are not held to what you proposed in the proposal.


Q: I’ve been facing some research challenges accessing original articles on my actor, and I am concerned about the lack of depth in my paper and an over-reliance on websites (e.g., for a firm or an NGO). Help!

A: Assuming you have recently engaged with a librarian in person, or via email, during the research process, feel free to outline the challenges you faced in the Introduction to your paper. The Introduction is not only a relevant section to outline your paper focus and summarize the broad issues, but it is also a section to discuss the organization of your paper, as well as the research process. Please outline any relevant research challenges you had in the Introduction.


Q: Is there a certain (or perhaps a range) font style/size that we should use?

A: 12 point font, and a readable style of font.


Q: I am using some web-based resources and they have very long URLs to my reference list looks really messy.

A: Use an URL shortener like https://bitly.com/


Q: Can I use ‘first person’ in the paper?

A: Yes this is fine, as long as it is used effectively and appropriately.


Q: What proportion of the paper should a case study make up?

A: On average 40-50% though this can vary by topic. The logic of the case study is to ensure you get into some depth and detail and move from the general to the specific and get your ‘hands dirty.’ I’ve used the analogy of flying at 20,000 feet for the broader overviews of the global actor, but then dropping down to ground level for the case study. And remember to be analytical and not just descriptive when you develop the case study – choose some angle in on it and focus on a key question you want to explore.


Q: Can I have an extension?

A: The deadline is Sunday 29 June at 11:59 pm CDT. Extensions are only permitted when people have major personal or family health (broadly defined) challenges to grapple with.


Q: I don’t use MS Word – how should I load up my paper? Can I email it to you?

A: Papers must be uploaded via the Dropbox on the Learn@UW course site – we have over 110 students in thus course so I practically can’t accept emailed files.  The easiest way to convert a file for uploading is to transform it into PDF.  PDF files are the most stable, and they also hold all images in their spot on the page.


Q: Subtitles consume space when drafting the paper – is this a problem?

A: No, subtitles usually make the paper much more readable. Don’t fret the length guidelines issue…focus on quality above all else.


Q: Do you want us to cite each sentence separately if it wasn’t our original material, or is a single citation at the end of the paragraph better?

A: At the end of the paragraph unless you need to specify that specific lines/ideas/data came from specific sources and there are multiple references for the content of one para.


Q: Where should I place the graphics?

A: You can place them inside the paper (e.g., a resized image with text to the left or right) or in an Appendix.  If you have a lot of large images use an Appendix.


Q: Do you have a preferred citation style?

A: No, just choose a common one and apply it consistently.


Q: I am concerned about accidentally plagiarizing.

A: Please review these resources:


Q: I noted these length guidelines:

  • One person, they should be approx. 6-8 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Two people, they should be approx. 8-10 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Three people, they should be approx. 10-14 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Four people, they should be approx. 12-16 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).

BUT I am very concerned I won’t meet them – this seems too long for what I know and can communicate about.

A: Don’t worry and fret the details – just write up your paper so it makes sense and do the best you can; we don’t get carried away applying length guidelines in a stupid/irrelevant way. The key thing we want you to do is learn and then demonstrate/communicate what you have learned about the world region you have focused upon (via a look at a global actor active in the region). Don’t pad/fluff to meet these broad length guidelines, OK!


And don’t forget to put your name and page numbers on the paper – we’re always amazed how many people forget this basic step!





Source: http://www.sabine-rethore.net/projetmediterran.html

Hi everyone,

1) Please be sure to fill in the proposal template available here in Word.Doc. It should be filled in in single space format, and should not spill over into more than one page. This is all we need at this stage of time.

2) Note that you only need to fill out one of the two proposals in the file you download.

3) Group members (if you choose to work in a group) all need to upload the same proposal so finish it together and then each of you should upload it into your own Dropbox.

4) Feel free to insert a question or two into your proposal – some of you have visited, and quite a few have emailed, but if anything in unresolved, then inserting a question in the proposal is absolutely fine!

5) The proposal should be uploaded by Thursday 12 June at 10:00 pm CDT. It needs to be uploaded into the Dropbox in the course site on Learn@UW. Please do not send it to us via email – we’ll provide comments after we review them all on the site.

While this stage is not graded, the submission of a proposal is a required element of the course.


Kris (& Kramer)




Guidelines for Geog 340 (Summer 2014) Research Papers


Please note that 60% of your final grade is based upon a detailed research paper.

You are welcome to work on one of these projects alone, or with up to three other students (as long as they’re registered in the class this term!). If you choose the group project option, you are responsible for forming your own groups in an organic fashion, though if you need any tips on how to do so just ask us, OK!

If the papers are written by:

  • One person, they should be 6-8 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Two people, they should be 8-10 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Three people, they should be 10-14 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).
  • Four people, 12-16 single spaced pages (not including large graphics and references).

The length guidelines reflect the 60% of final grade weighting. Please note that the length does not proportionally rise as group size expands as the process of coordinating research and co-authorship takes some time to ‘get right.’ And please don’t worry if you are a little above or below these page length guidelines…in the end it is the quality of the content that matters, not minor issues like length. Don’t pad/fluff up at the last minute as it rarely ever helps improve the quality of a paper.

We strongly encourage you to review the Writing Center’s website this term when working on the paper:


and the UW-Madison Writer’s Handbook, including guidelines for referencing:



Please note that there is no single required citation style – the key thing is to choose one you are comfortable with and apply it consistently.


We also encourage you to make an individual appointment to receive assistance if need be:


See below for some additional guidelines for each option.

As you begin to deliberate options, please keep these points in mind.

First, you should not only rely on Google for information. Take advantage of the truly excellent library system (and librarians) we have on campus.  The most appropriate librarians are those working in the Geography Library, the Business School Library, and Memorial Library. Health-oriented people should also consider visiting the Ebling Library.

Second, explore the amazing databases we have access to at the tips of our fingers!  Dig around and search by keyword. Two excellent social sciences/sciences data base are the Web of Knowledge/Science, and Proquest Research Library.

Third, if you are focusing on a company/firm, the Business School librarian had this to say about data bases:

Hi, the best database for company information is OneSource. Factiva has the most international newspapers and magazines. It can be accessed from anywhere but only 3 people can be in it at one time. Other article databases with company news would be ABI/Inform and Business Source Premier. Business Monitor International may also be useful – it has excellent quarterly reports on certain industries in all countries. And my International Business research guide is organized by country and has links to many other resources: http://researchguides.library.wisc.edu/intbusines

Fourth, a very good newspaper database is LexisNexis, which the Library subscribes to.

See below for some additional guidelines.

Option A — Global Actor/World Region Project

The main objective of this project is to learn how a public, private or non-governmental actor with ‘global reach’ frames and implements strategy in a distant world region. In doing so, you should focus on acquiring an understanding of how the how this actor tangibly and practically works to implement its strategy in a selected region outside of its origin/base region.

This project is designed to complement the course text material so you learn about world regions but by applying the lens of a specific actor to making sense of a region (e.g., the EU’s perspective on Africa). This is a very different lens in comparison to that applied by the course text authors who are trying to be broad, general, integrative, and unbiased.

For the purposes of Geog 340, a global actor is an organization that is based/headquartered in one world region and is clearly active (hence the term actor) in one or more other world regions. Global actors can be in the public, private or non-governmental/non-profit sectors. Please note that the term ‘global’ simply implies it is active outside of its main/origin base and in one or more world regions.

Some examples (of thousands that exist!) include:

European Union Citibank Amnesty International
US State Department Moody’s Médecins Sans Frontières
World Bank Thomson Reuters Gates Foundation
ASEAN Ford Ford Foundation
Asian Development Bank Google Greenpeace
Food & Agriculture   Organization of the UN News Corp European University Association

You will inevitably be faced with a decision about how large or small of a global actor to focus on – some are very small (e.g., a small NGO or charity) and some are huge (e.g., the UN, UNICEF, World Bank, the EU). Both small and large are fine, though here are a few tips on making up your minds.

If the actor is very small:

  • You do need to ensure it was formed or is registered in one part of the world, but is active in another.  You cannot work on an NGO, for example, that is 100% Kenyan that works in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • You need to ensure you can find out enough information on it, including information regarding how it operates in another world region. Contacts work, obviously, but you might end up having to ask for quite a bit of information, reports, etc., so be wary about being too demanding on the small actor.  And be wary about being biased in favor or against the actor IF you have had previous engagement with it (e.g., as an intern).

For large actors like the EU it would help to develop, as part of your framing stage, a case study on a particular program or project or initiative that helps you understand how this huge actor ‘does its stuff’ in the region you are focusing in on.  And make sure the case study is a logical one and not so quirky or unique you can’t use it as a representative case study regarding how this global actor implements its strategy in the world region you are interested in.

As noted above, you also need to focus on how your adopted global actor attempts to implement its strategy in a single world region. So, for example, you could focus on the EU’s Africa strategy, or Google or Facebook’s attempt to develop profitable activities in East Asia, or else how Médecins Sans Frontières deals with crises in Africa. The key thing is to do enough research so you know how the actor operates in your selected world region. For example, some actors will establish a regional headquarter in select world regions and use this as a ‘basing point’ for their operations in the region. Other actors use joint ventures with regional actors – they work through a regional actor that has the connections, knowledge, etc., to be effective in the region.

There are many approaches to implementing strategy in a world region – your task is to sort this out and see how the ‘rubber hits the road’, so to speak, and the actor really operates in a world region beyond their region of origin. Some options for fleshing this issue out include case studies of specific projects, events, etc., so things are a little more tangible when you write up the paper. Case studies will enable you to get your ‘hands dirty’ (using a gardening analogy) and really see how the global actor tangible gets things done on the ground in the world region you are focusing on. This means being aware of why and where, for example, Coca Cola produces its product in select parts of Africa, or why Google places its R&D units in Zurich and its key lobbying unit in Brussels.

1-2 case studies at the most, though, OK!

Students choosing this option should fill out page 1 of the proposal template you can download here.

Option B — Alternative Paper Project

As noted in the syllabus, students who are interested in particular issues related to their respective majors are welcome to propose an alternative paper topic/title. The main thing that you need to do is ensure the paper is a 100% original product that explores issues in one or more world regions outside of your region of birth/citizenship/residence. And again, as noted in the syllabus, by the end of the course you should know substantially more about (i) environment and society, (ii) history, economy and demographic change, and (iii) culture and politics, within each world region. A complementary learning objective is that you will be able to better compare and contrast each world region. IF you can convey to us that your paper will help you achieve this learning outcome, we’re open for suggestions!

Students choosing this option should fill out page 2 of the proposal template you can download here.



Dear Class,

Welcome Geog 340! Here are a few guidance notes as you get ready for the first of four discussion forum postings that is due this coming Friday (6 June) at 10:00 pm CDT.

First Step: Engaging with the Course Material

It is important to ensure you engage with all of the assigned content. One of the key dimensions of success in a course like this is to ‘attend’ and ‘engage’! We can assure you that full engagement and completion of the course materials makes a huge difference to enhancing your learning outcomes, and getting a good grade.

Now, this is the first time you’ve been asked to read (vs scan) a chapter. Please keep it in mind that the textbook has been carefully selected as it is actually very well thought through and written so as to provide a broad and integrated overview about each work region in global context. Please read the chapter closely but don’t fret about taking notes on every single miniscule piece of detail. The chapters help you learn about each region, they provide context for the lectures and podcasts so it makes sense to read the chapters first – they also provide the base/contextual knowledge you’ll be asked to reference in your research papers. Then view/listen to the short lectures and podcasts, and do the assigned recommended readings.

Second Step: Writing the Discussion Forum Posting

The key to writing an effective discussion forum posting is to clearly answer the questions posed by drawing conclusions that are based on course material.  Below is a bulleted list of suggestions to help you write an effective response.

  • Clearly answer each question posed for discussion.  It helps to number each answer.  Another option is to write each answer in a separate paragraph rather than combining answers to three questions all in one paragraph.
  • Craft answers that draw on information from a variety of course materials.  Discussion responses are partially crafted to make sure you watch the podcasts, lectures, and movies.  Therefore, cite the weekly podcasts, lectures, and movies in your post.  By citing where you are gathering information, we will not have to wonder whether you are drawing that from material WE gave you to learn.
  • It is perfectly fine and welcomed to personalize discussion questions and answer the questions with personal experiences as examples.  Keep in mind, you still need to show you can intertwine your personal experience with the material learned in the weekly podcast, lecture, and movie.
  • It is okay to use material from the textbook when crafting your discussion response.  However, you still must use the weekly podcast and lecture (and movie if we have one) in your response if you want to get a good score.
  • Proofread

Again, your original contributions should be informative and engaging. And we’re on an around-the-world trip of sorts, so let’s have some debates and fun along the way. Your personal opinions and views are perfectly valid to include. The learning process, including via the discussion forum element, should be enjoyable and we’ve certainly got plenty of interesting topics and content to engage with in this course. Do, though, keep in mind that this is an online course so you are engaging via a computer or tablet screen – you can’t see your fellow students faces and expressions so make sure you provide some nuance in your text, and also be respectful and if you seek disagree (i.e. disagree constructively just like you would want to be engaged with yourself).

Grading the Discussion and Response

As the syllabus outlines, the discussion forum activities total up to 40% of your final grade (i.e. 4 x 10%).

To earn the points for the discussion portion of the course you must write thoughtful responses and actively engage by reading other student’s posts.  Thoughtful responses include application of information from across course resources.  This means that you cannot just respond with a personal anecdote that leaves no connection to course podcasts and/or lectures and (if requested) assigned films or documentaries.  Your response should make it clear to other students, the professor, and TA that you listened/watched the podcasts and videos and were mentally engaged.

To help gauge the quality of the response, we will use a rubric that can be found in Learn@UW, and is copied in below.


If you enter your dropbox submission, the rubric scoring will be found there.

If you receive less than full credit, is either due to the quality of the response or a lack of clear engagement with course materials you should be considering in writing your response (which also implies a lack of quality). Please note, to earn full credit, your response needs to be quite good. This means that it will likely be quite difficult to consistently earn 100%. We will be assessing each response individually.

And finally, please remember that voluntary reactions to one or more other students’ contributions are encouraged. Activity and quality engagement in the forums help generate a sense of community and enhance learning outcomes. Your engagement with and reactions to classmates’ posts will be noted when making decisions about borderline grade decisions (e.g., AB vs B), with up to 3% bonus points possible. Allocation of these bonus points is at our discretion and is based upon our assessment of the forum postings, and data analytics we receive regarding how active you are in posting to the forum, as well as reading other students’ postings.

OK, that’s it for now.


Kris and Kramer

Hi there – on Monday morning, we’ll be posting the first discussion forum question on the Learn@UW course site. Here are a few responses to questions that are likely to emerge.

Q1: I can’t seem to find l’Auberge Canadian/the Canadian Apartment (the equivalent of l’Auberge Espagnole/the Spanish Apartment).

A1: This is just a hypothetical movie. In other words, once you watch the movie l’Auberge Espagnole, and had to imagine how you would change living in this Spanish apartment for 6-12 months, use your imagination and think through how you might change in a Canadian equivalent based in a Canadian city like Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver or Halifax or even smaller cities like Moose Jaw or Calgary or Winnipeg or Yellowknife). But only do this AFTER you have completed all the Canada/US and Europe readings, podcasts, lectures, etc.

Q2: I can’t find l’Auberge Espagnole on the Learn@UW course site.

A2: All you have to do is:

  1. Go to the Geog 340 course site on Learn@UW
  2. Click on iTunesU in the upper right corner of the main page you see.
  3. Follow the steps through to get iTunesU loaded up. These are self-explanatory.
  4. THEN, and this is the step that trips a few people up, go to the Europe tab (see below) and link to the movie there.


I should add, too, that iTunesU is only to be used for movies — podcasts, lectures, etc., are all available and best viewed/listened to on the main course site (you get the content in the Course Materials by Region link in the left column). In addition, please see the syllabus for further tips on using iTunes in this course.

Q 3: For part A and B, do we just simply state out our feelings as a student studying abroad or we shall also include information about the context (Europe/Spain/Barcelona + North America/Canada/city of your choice).

A3: You should do both…your transformation as a person will obviously be related to the Europeans you are engaging with in l’Auberge Espagnole but also by the Barcelona/Catelonian social, cultural, political, linguistic, food, environmental, etc., contexts you will be embedded in.  So learn a little about the city and the region/country before responding.  The same goes for the l’Auberge Canadian (the Canadian apartment). I would read about Canada (esp via the textbook) and then you should select a province and a city and then learn about these contexts via other sources you yourself identify via Google, the library, etc. But then imagine also living in the apartment with a bunch of Canadians and Americans.  Inevitably you’ll be influenced by their personalities and you’ll change just being away from ‘home’ (the purpose of study abroad) but the transformation you undergo living in Montreal vs Barcelona or Whitehorse (Google it…) vs Barcelona or Vancouver vs Barcelona will be different and similar…in what ways, perhaps? So I’d try and state your feelings as a student studying abroad but also discuss the places (the cities/regions/nations) you’re situated in.

Q4: When is my first (original) posting due again?

A4: One original contribution, no later than Friday 6 June @ 10:00 pm CDT


ps: two pics of Vancouver, my hometown, to get you into the mood!



Please link here to download the syllabus for the summer version of Geog 340.

If you have any problems, shoot me an email and I’ll send it directly to you!

Looking forward to the start of the course next week!



Yeosu, South KoreaYeosu, South Korea (2012)

Dear 340 students,

Greetings – hope all is going well with you this lovely time of the year

Please note that the syllabus will be completed late next week. Please check this course support weblog for an update then.

340BookCoverI wanted to pass on some information about the course text for Geography 340 World Regions in Global Context (Summer 2014). The course text is:

  • World Regions in Global Context: People, Places, and Environments, 5/E by Sally Marston, Paul Knox, Diana Liverman, Vincent Del Casino & Paul Robbins ©2013, ISBN-10: 032182105X | ISBN-13: 9780321821058

After a period of transition, we are shifting to the 5th edition so please locate it, and not the 4th edition.

Options include fully online:


An ‘a la Carte’ edition for a binder:


and the standalone book (without MasteringGeography):


The University Bookstore by Memorial Library typically sources copies of the paperback version and the three ring binder (a la Carte) version of the 5th edition.  You can buy or rent either of these versions from the bookstore.

As will be noted in the syllabus, there are copies available on two hour loan in the Geog Library and Helen C. White library.  And, finally, we’re placing the first three assigned chapters on eReserve to give you time to get the best/most affordable version.

Best of luck getting the textbook. Let me know if you have any problems, OK.


Hi everyone,

This is the support weblog for Geography 340 (World Regions in Global Context), a 100% online course being offered in the Summer 2014 term. I use this weblog to update you, though the course content is provided via Learn@UW.

Here are several updates to get some things moving before term starts on 2 June.

photo-1First, please note that this is a 100% asynchronous online course, so you will be able to work through the content at your own pace and also regardless where you happen to be living.  The key difference between a ‘synchronous’ vs ‘asynchronous’ course is that synchronous courses require you to be either physically or virtually present in a room or chatroom at the exact same time. This form of co-presence is not required as I want Geog 340 to also be accessible to students with complicated schedules or time zone challenges that preclude synchronous co-presence. Please note, however, that there are regularly scheduled rolling deadlines for various elements of the course. What this means is you need to meet these deadlines, but you can do so at your own pace. Each and every deadline will be identified in the syllabus. One word of warning, though: please do not take Geog 340 if you intend on just doing enough to get a C or a Pass – the rolling deadlines are critically important to keep up with. Online courses provide enormous amounts of flexibility for students but the experience tends to fall apart if you let things slide and consistently miss deadlines.

Second, the TA (Kramer Gillin) and I will also be engaging with each of you via the Learn@UW course website, email, Skype, and/or telephone. So, in short, there will be plenty of engagement time, but you can engage with us from your dorm room in Madison, or your guest room in Namibia, or your apartment in DC, or Prague, or wherever! We will also have regularly scheduled office hours in Science Hall if you want to meet us in person, or just contact us via email, Skype, and/or telephone. These hours will be detailed in the syllabus when it is ready. On the basis of past patterns, I suspect the majority of you will not have taken an online course before, or perhaps only one other one. Given this, please do not be shy about reaching out – we’re real human beings and are very happy to engage with you on a personal basis, OK!

Third, the course website (which is hosted on Learn@UW) goes live at 08:00 am on 2 June 2014. You will need access to a computer to watch and/or listen to the course content (apart from the textbook), and to engage in discussion forums, etc. We also make ample use of ‘drop boxes’ on the site so you can uploading written exercises, your paper, etc., on it.

Fourth, please note that we start slow in the first few days, though this is a compressed summer course so each day is equivalent to a week during regular term – please remember this fact!

Fifth, the course text this term will be World Regions in Global Context: People, Places, and Environments, 5/E by Sally Marston, Paul Knox, Diana Liverman, Vincent Del Casino & Paul Robbins, 2013. More information about textbook options is available the the entry above this one. Please note that all you need access to, from my perspective this term, is the ebook or paperback version or binder reader. You should get the 5th edition too, please. Copies of the 5th edition are available in the Geography Library on two hour loan, and and in the College Library on three hour loan. The College Library is open 24 hours per day, FYI, so access is very simple. Please note that the assigned textbook is required reading, and you will be spending a lot of time with it so please ensure that you are satisfied with the format you are considering.

Sixth, please note that those of you pursuing area/regional certificates can configure the 40% research paper to match your regional interests. This, in addition 1-2 days/weeks devoted to ‘your’ region, should enable you to count Geog 340 towards meeting your requirements. It is always best, though, to check with the relevant staff in Ingraham Hall about this issue.

Hope this helps provide a little background information…and watch this space for updates as we get closer to the start of term.

Best wishes,

Kris Olds


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