If you enrolled in the course after the semester had started, you likely missed some important e-mails that we sent out to the class list. Here I will copy the important sections of those e-mails in digest form, starting with the earliest.
8/24/2015 – Welcome to GEOG 340!
Hi Geography 340,
Welcome to the course! I thought I’d get in touch with all of you before the semester starts and tell you a little bit about this course since online classes can be sort of mysterious. Some of this information will be repeated once the class officially begins.
I’m Kramer, and I’ll be your ‘lecturer’ for the semester. Since there are no in-person lectures, this actually just means that I am the lead instructor of the course. As you should hopefully be well-aware, our course this semester is entirely online. The course is administered through a website hosted on Learn@UW, and our site should be activated the morning of September 2nd, the first day of the semester.
Because our class will never meet face-to-face it is IMPERATIVE that you all keep on top of all correspondence and informational documents that are sent out by me or Rachel Boothby, your TA. The first of these are the course syllabus and course schedule PDFs, which I have attached to this e-mail. Later on, you can also find them on the Learn@UW site and blog for constant access. The syllabus is long, but it contains very important information, and you should review it thoroughly and keep it handy to refer back to. I strongly encourage you to record all writing assignment deadlines from the course schedule (listed in the far right column) in your calendars/planners right now. Because this online class format offers you considerable flexibility when you complete assignments, it requires a lot of individual responsibility for time management.
The reading/viewing/listening assignments start our very first week, and you have a VERY short writing assignment—as in 5-10 minutes of work—due by 10pm Central Time on that first Friday, Sept 4th. (All assignments for the course will be due at 10pm Madison time. If you are not in Madison this semester, you should figure out the time difference now to make sure that you do not incur late penalties!)
There is a required course text, and you can find information about acquiring it via this page on our course blog: https://worldregions.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/welcome-to-the-course/
As an act of immeasurable kindness to those of you still working to acquire the text, we will post the required chapters for the first two weeks on the Learn@UW site. For copyright reasons we cannot post additional chapters, but the textbook is on reserve at both College Library and the Geography Library (2nd Floor, Science Hall).
You will learn more about me and Rachel in our intro videos on the Week 1 page of the course website. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions, and do not hesitate come see us during office hours (we can arrange Skype meetings if you’re out of town!). Office hours are listed in the syllabus and on the course website. Very importantly: Make sure you send ALL course-related e-mails to both me and Rachel (email@example.com).
We look forward to working with you this semester!
9/1/2015 – Class starts TOMORROW!
Hi GEOG 340,
Starting tomorrow morning, you will have access to our course website at Learn@UW. When you get to the welcome page on that website you will see links to the left in the green column. Feel free to explore, but for now the most important ones are “Syllabus” and “Course Materials by Region.”
The syllabus was sent out via e-mail recently, but if you registered recently or misplaced that copy, you can always find it there.
Course Materials by Region takes you to everything you need to watch, listen to, and read (besides the textbook). You’ll see that for Week 1 we have BOTH a short introduction unit and the US/Canada region. If you don’t finish the US/Canada materials in this short week, that’s fine, but you will be responsible for that information for the written assignment due in Week 4.
This first week there are no course material-related assignments, but you do have to write a “discussion post” introducing yourself to the 15-20 people in your “group.” The course itself has about 170 students, but you will just be interacting online with a small subset of them. Directions for making a discussion post can be found at at the bottom of the Introduction to the Course page (Course Materials by Region > Introduction to the Course). This is due by Friday night (Sept 4th), but you can do it as soon as you want.
9/7/2015 – Week 2 Check-In
Happy Labor Day, and happy beginning of Week 2 of the course! Please remember that it is very important to read all of our class e-mails carefully, as they are the only way that we can communicate with you.
It has been great to “get to know” many of you through your class introductions this week. And nice to see the folks in Group 2 taking the time to interact with each other on the discussion boards; I encourage you all to do the same! As you perhaps take today off, I wanted to send out an e-mail to set you up for this week’s assignments pertaining to Europe.
Since today is a national holiday, Rachel will obviously not be holding office hours today. However, if you would like to meet with her later in the week, please feel free to get in touch with her to set up an appointment. This week I will be holding my normal office hours from 1-3 on Tuesday and Wednesday in Science Hall 460.
Europe is one of a handful of regions for which we have assigned a film. This week’s film–L’Auberge Espagnol–is an entertaining feature film (not an academic documentary!) about studying abroad in Europe. Please be aware that it is rated R for language and sexual content. We understand that some students have personal or religious objections to watching the film. Please let me know by e-mail if this is the case for you.
Your first substantive writing assignment is a media commentary for Europe. I have mistakenly written to some of you that it is due on Friday, but it is due by 10pm CDT on Monday, September 14th. Instructions for media assignments can be found on pages 8-9 of the course syllabus and in the Discussion Forum on the Learn@UW website. I have also written a Media Commentary FAQ blog post that gives some more guidance and information about grading.