Hi – it appears library systems are on and off, and a lot of people are having some sign-in problems. I can’t tell if it relates to the Heartbleed computer virus, or the full moon.

In any case, I’m sensing some anxious feelings, rightly so, so the deadline is now Friday 18 April at 5:00 pm CST.

Those of you who have submitted can delete your submission and work longer if you want to. No hint here, though, if you’re happily done.



Good morning everyone!

Here are some reminders of the remaining deadlines coming up:

  1. Friday 11 April (Discussion Forum 3 , original posting)
  2. Sunday 13 April (Discussion Forum 3, reaction posting)
  3. Wednesday 16 April (Research Paper due)
  4. Friday 9 May (Discussion Forum 4, original posting; no reaction posting required)

My office hours this week are Friday (11 April) from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  You can call me then too on the telephone at 608-262-5685 if you can’t make it in.

Best, Kris




Hi everyone,

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

Over the last two weeks 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 and grading rubric posted here.

Please remember that your paper needs to be submitted via the Learn@UW Dropbox no later than Wednesday 16 April @ 5:00 pm CST). It is worth 40% of your final grade so it is important to be making serious progress right now.

Cheers, Kris


Q: I am still confused by what you mean by the “global ‘geographical imagination’ of the actor.”

A: Assuming you have read the guidelines posted here, and are still confused (and this is fine…it’s my fault, not your fault!), all you need to do is outline where the global actor operates outside of its origin region, and then reflect on the pattern you see. Is it a pattern that reflects a focus on human rights violations, humanitarian crises, a desire to operate in “emerging markets” like the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries, and so on.  So just let us know where they operate, and what principles or criteria shape this map.


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 Andy and moi (aka Kris). The Writing Center is also a great resource and you can make individual appointments here: 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. 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: Can I choose a small NGO or firm for my global actor?

A: Yes you can, but just be careful to not rely on the website of the firm/NGO too much for information.  It is in their interest to profile themselves in a promotional way.


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 city/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.


Q: I’d like to change the nature of my case study 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.


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. 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 city/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: Given that this deadline was known since the start of term, extensions are only permitted when people have major personal or family health (broadly defined) challenges to grapple with.


Q: I don’t use 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 170 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 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:


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!



Welcome back everyone! Hope you had a good Spring Recess (Break).

I am writing to update you on a few issues.

First, please link here for a copy of the Geog 340 (World Regions in Global Context) syllabus for the Spring 2014 term (updated version as at 24 March 2014). As you know, I extended the deadline for the paper submission to Wed 16 April.  I decided to update the syllabus and schedule on top of the dropbox so this way you will not get confused if you missed some of the email messages.

Second, while this deadline is a ways off, it would be good to make progress sooner than later.  I am extending office hours this week to meet with people so if you want to drop by, I’ll be in 9 am to 12 noon on Wed. Andy is available to meet this week too.

Best wishes, and good luck getting back into the swing of things now that term has started again,



Source: StuffJournalistsLike (JournalistsLike). “Canada VS USA hockey game tomorrow. This is a billboard in Chicago. http://t.co/rtDnCbc7zE“. 20 Feb 2014, 22:41 UTC. Tweet

Thanks everyone for your participation in the first discussion forum! We want to provide you some general feedback on the essays. First of all, we really appreciate your thoughtful comments about your own identities and their relation to the culture of cities, nations, and world regions. Many of you shared insightful stories about your past experiences traveling or studying abroad, or creative answers on what you might experience, or, on other hand, revealing stories about your home culture as part of your reflection. We also appreciate the general tone of curiosity and respect exhibited in the various reactions to other students’ posts.

For those of you who didn’t receive the scores you were hoping for, remember that you have several more assignments to improve your grade (three more discussion forums and the research paper) as well as a bonus assignment on the Sochi Olympics (due no later than 5pm February 28th). For future discussion forums, re-read the directions posted on the course blog. Moreover, here are some common problems we noticed and suggestions for improvement:

  • Some students simply didn’t post a reaction to other student’s essays, which is worth 6 out of the 30 total points. Don’t forget to post these reactions! Not only are they a substantial portion of your grade but they also makes for a richer course experience.
  • Many students wrote very thoughtful reflections on how their identity might change in Europe or Canada but didn’t demonstrate that they actually read or viewed the course material. Remember, we want to see that you’re engaging with and understanding the weekly textbook chapters, podcasts, and lectures. The best responses used and analyzed several different sources from both the Europe and the US/Canada materials.
  • Use of course material was most effective when specific examples, details, or even quotations were used to make a point rather than general allusions to sources.
  • While, we’re not grading meticulously on grammar or style, it still matters for constructing fluid, coherent, and engaging prose, so do remember to proofread and revise your writing.

An IMPORTANT note about LATE ASSIGNMENTS: for those of you who posted past the deadline, we wanted you to see your grades based on the work you did. Points have NOT yet been deducted for being late but will be deducted from your final course grade.

Finally – we know the online system can be a bit confusing but please make sure to look carefully for the correct discussion forum area to post.

If you’d like to discuss your grade further or ways to do better on future assignments, please come to office hours or schedule an appointment with either of us.

Kris and Andy

ps: Canada vs the USA x 2 Thursday & Friday >> http://www.sochi2014.com/en/ice-hockey-schedule-and-results


A tantalizer (that has gone viral today) for the East Asia week…


In response to a few project related queries:

1) Please be sure to fill in the proposal template available here. 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) Group members all need to upload the same proposal…so finish it together, then each of you should upload it into your own dropbox.

3) 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!

4) Please remember that I am changed the due date for the project proposal FROM Wed 12 Feb at 5:00 pm TO Sunday 16 Feb at 5:00 pm. It needs to be uploaded into the Drobox 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.

This stage is not graded, though the submission of a proposal is a required element of the course — I will not grade the final paper of a person (or a team) if a proposal was not submitted at this stage!


ps: I will award a bar of delicious European chocolate to the first person who can guess which country and city I took this photograph in!  Hint – the country is in the Winter Olympics.  And only one guess per student permitted…

pps: Congrats to the four winners! This is Ljubljana, Slovenia.



Hi there – a few people have sent me emails about iTunes U and how to access L’Auberge Espagnole.

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).

Hope this helps…and good to see some original discussion forum contributions being posted now! You have until Friday at 5:00 pm CST to (1) post your original contribution, and to (2) load up the Word version in the Drop box.  And remember, paste in the original contribution in the discussion forum area – no one will read what you have to say (including us!) if you upload a Word file there as it is not easily accessible for your fellow classmates.


Well, what perfect timing we have for the fourth (admittedly trivial, albeit still challenging!) part of this week’s discussion question:

  • Part D: Justin Bieber vs Drake: which one of these two singers seems more ‘Canadian’ (vs ‘American’) to you, and why? :-)


Inspiration, I trust, for your responses to come?!


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