Hi everyone – here are the next three batches of questions to address, all of which are due on Sunday 28 June at 6:00 pm CDT. Also, please take note of the comments about the media exercise below.

Session 9 – Southeast Asia

  1. What is the main crop in Southeast Asia and the main systems by which it is produced? How and where did the Green Revolution affect this crop?
  2. What is ASEAN? What role does it play in region both politically and economically?
  3. Watch the guest lecture by Ian Baird, and read the associated article. Now that you’ve learned a lot about other world regions in Weeks 1-3, what is unique to Southeast Asia, if anything, about the issues and development dynamics Ian discussed/outlined?

Session 10 – Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

  1. Describe some of the physical, climate-related, and ecological differences between high volcanic islands and low coral atolls.
  2. Compare and contrast how the advent of the Aborigines and the European colonialist changed land use across Oceania.
  3. Listen to the Nick Lewis guest lecture and read the associated article. To what degree did you know about New Zealand before engaging with this week’s materials? Does the idea of ‘New Zealand’ connote positive or a negative images/feelings in your mind? Discuss with reference to (a) the nature of the images/feelings you have, and (b) the likely sources of these images/feelings, recognizing no one person is born feeling anything about this small distant country – you learn about it along the way while growing up.

Session 11 – World Regions in Global Context

  1. What worldwide demographic trends may emerge over the next 25 years?
  2. How do economic activities differ from region to region? What factors account for these differences?
  3. Listen to the lecture by Kris Olds. Interestingly, UW-Madison could have, if it wanted, received substantial support from the Singaporean government to open up a branch campus in this Southeast Asian city-state. Was saying ‘no’ a wise or a foolish decision? Outline your reasoning.

~~~~~~

Notes for Media Exercises in Sessions 9, 10 and Especially 11

Please note that the media exercise for Session 9 & 10 is the same format as all the previous weeks.

In Session 11, however, we’d like you to examine how quality national media outlets in 1-2 countries outside the United States have been covering the recent tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. These outlets cannot be a US-based or US-owned media outlet (e.g., CNN International). Assuming you have been keeping track of this tragedy via the US media, what are the key differences between US and non-US media coverage, if any? And if there are differences, is non-US coverage illuminating and helpful with respect to shedding new light on this tragedy and its causes, or is non-US coverage missing some of the *important* nuances and details that only an American source can detect and outline? Please include links to the outlet and/or stories you found most useful to make your case.

Hi everyone – here are the next three batches of questions to address, all of which are due on Sunday 21 June at 6:00 pm CDT.

Session 6 – Latin America & the Caribbean

  1. To what extent did Latin America shift from authoritarianism and revolution to democracy in the late 20th century? How has the rise of social movements influenced politics in the region?
  2. What has contributed to the recent economic success of Brazil?
  3. According to Dr. Lisa Naughton’s lecture, what processes are affecting Madre de Dios’s rainforests at different scales? For example, what is happening at the local scale? At the national scale? At the international scale?

Session 7 – South Asia

  1. How do the Himalayan Mountains and the monsoons help define the character of South Asia?
  2. How did Britain transform the physical and cultural geographies of South Asia in terms of agriculture, infrastructure, and economy?
  3. According to Dr. Stephen Young’s lecture, which relationships of power were reinforced by microfinance and which were challenged?

Session 8 – East Asia

  1. How has water management been an important part of civilizations in East Asia? To what degree has water management continued to be a factor in the present?
  2. What are the driving forces creating the emerging ‘Pacific Rim’ region? Is this region a fully coherent or unified one? Why or why not?
  3. Listen, closely, to You-Tien Hsing’s guest lecture on urbanization in China, and read her associated chapter (available on the Learn@UW course site). What are her key ‘take-home’ points about the urbanization process in China, and what was the most surprising and/or significant thing you learned about urbanization in China and East Asia more generally?

Hello everyone! Grading is taking us a lot longer than estimated as we’re being careful given this is the first time we’ve structured the assignments this way. Given your interest in how to prep Week 2’s material, here are a few lessons learned/tips (esp with respect to the Written Exercises):

With respect to the US/Canada (mainly) and Europe:

  • Generally very well done. Grades are relatively high on Week 1 contributions, but you should be prepared for bigger challenges as you tackle regions that most are likely less familiar with.
  • In the migration question, many students did not explain *reasons* for migration, just numbers and backgrounds. Please attempt to be as analytical as possible vs just descriptive.
  • Some students attributed African-American migration from the South simply to mechanization of agriculture, and did not discuss Jim Crow laws making the South less hospitable.
  • Very few students discussed some of the effects of African-American internal migration (e.g. Harlem Renaissance).
  • Some explanations of cities changing discussed only the results of changes and not what caused them. Again, please try and include some analytical components to your responses.
  • The cities question required some original research on your choice of cities not written up in the textbook. In this kind of scenario, please dig around and learn about the cities vs just provide a brief summary response…it’s important to demonstrate your effort and learning when responding vs just doing the minimum. A decent number of students received lower than expected grades in the cities question as minimal information and analysis was provided.
  • Some students compared and contrasted US and Canada using what appeared to be only prior knowledge or textbook, failing to invoke insights included in the Herman and/or Gilbert podcasts.
  • It was great to see you express your interest and enthusiasm when you responded…for those of you in the sciences, engineering or business this is absolutely fine and indeed encouraged. We’re on a road trip around the world so enjoy and express what you’re learning, thinking about, concerned about, etc.! Be noisy and have some fun – it’s summer, after all!

More tomorrow…and please note that we’re also adjusting the deadline for submission of Week 2’s material to Sunday at 6 pm vs Friday at 6 pm – this should compensate for our delay in getting all the marking done.

Best,

Kris

Hi there,

Week 1 of the summer session is officially over at 6:00 pm tonight!  And while I am fully expecting most of you to take a break tonight or on the weekend, I’m wary some of you are keen to get moving for X, Y, Z reasons. So, given this, here are the next three batches of questions to address, all of which are due on Friday 12 June at 6:00 pm CDT.

Session 3 – Russia, Central Asia, and the Transcaucasus

  1. Describe two examples of how recent trade linkages with global commodity markets have created or exacerbated local and regional environmental problems in Russia and Central Asia.
  2. How did the establishment of the Soviet bloc aid development of the Soviet Union following World War II? Possible topics to discuss include technical optimization, industrialization, and military security.
  3. Drawing upon both the textbook and the podcast interview with Jake Fleming, discuss how national identities have been asserted in Central Asia after the fall of the USSR. What are some cultural factors that unify or separate groups within Central Asia?

Session 4 – Middle East and North Africa

  1.  How do regional views about gender affect the use of public and private space? Are rules concerning the veiling of women uniform throughout the region? If not, how do they vary geographically?
  2. Describe the spatial distribution of oil and natural gas production in the region. What are the consequences of the uneven distribution of these resources on this region’s politics and economy?
  3. Dr. Leila Harris discusses different groups who received uneven benefits from the Turkish government’s Southeastern Anatolia Project. Who are these different groups, and why were their experiences different?

Session 5 – Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. To what extent has sub-Saharan Africa escaped the legacies of colonialism and the Cold War? In what places and sectors are the legacies still significant?
  2. What has sub-Saharan Africa contributed to the demography and culture of other regions?
  3. In Dr. Matthew Turner’s case study, how is climate change related to gender relations? Why does he call vulnerability to drought “social” vulnerability?

Please remember to post your regional media commentary too for the above regions we’re dealing with this coming week.

My final word of note: Week 2 consists of 3 vs 2 sessions of material so please try to spread out your workload – you realistically can’t deal with all of this content (the videos, podcasts, reading, writing, posting, commenting) late next week.  I’d create a schedule for work and posting and keep to it so as to preserve your sanity.

Best,

Kris

ps: a pic of my two boys in Morocco, with Algeria in the background, in 2008.

IMG_3668

Hi there – I’ve been busy responding to some queries regarding the Written Exercise and also the Regional Media Summary & Commentary component of the course. Here are a few FAQs (Q) and Answers (A):

Q1: Do I need to provide citations and a reference list in the Written Exercises?

A1: This is not required unless you quote directly using the authors’ words. The summary component is best approach by reading, thinking, and reflecting with some paraphrasing.

Q2: You mentioned “You will be assigned three region-specific questions to respond to, in written form (1-2 paragraphs for each question).” But what happens if I want to write more as I find it a challenge to respond in 1-2 paragraphs?

A2: This is fine – write as much as you want, though don’t write to write to impress; just write as much as you need to to answer the question well.

Q3. Do my written exercises and media summaries/commentaries have to be well written?

A3: Yes! We’ve tried to keep this summer a little low key and focused on learning but that does not mean you can submit lists of bullet points or text with spelling & grammatical errors. Do a good job!

Q4: If we have 2-3 regions worth of material to deal with any one week, can you still confirm it does not formally need to be uploaded until Friday at 6?

A4: Yes, there is only one formal deadline – 6:00 pm each Friday in June. BUT you would be wise to spread out the workload for obvious reasons! One secret to success in online courses is to face-up to the reality it is incredibly easy to procrastinate.  I/we have given you a lot of flexibility to work your summer rhythm as you wish as long as you meet rolling deadlines.  But this takes self-discipline…so please try and create a structure so you’re not scrambling on Th/Fr OK! This is REALLY important.

Q5: Can you explain a little more about regionalism and higher education, especially in Europe?

A5: See: https://www.nafsa.org/_/File/_/ti_regionalism.pdf

Q6: I find it a bit difficult to get enough info from the textbook chapter 6 to write about two particular cities (one in USA and one in Canada, according to the question #2), and therefore turning to various online articles for info and citation. So, just hope to make sure I’m on the right track: is it correct that we are supposed to rely on sources outside textbook and lectures/podcasts for writing those answers?

A6: Yes, you are encouraged to use the internet when responding to this question.

Q7: I need help! I am just really stuck on one last question for this week. The question being: Choose a city in both the United States and Canada and describe how and why its fortunes have changed over the course of 100 years – from 1900 to 2000. I am not sure if I am thinking too hard about this or what but I don’t even know where I am supposed to start with this.

A7: I’d select two similar cities (e.g. Milwaukee vs Winnipeg; Seattle vs Vancouver; Ottawa vs Wash DC) you’re curious/interested about, in general, then focus on some broad theme you also find interesting – e.g., urban form or immigration or education or x, y, z, then explore that theme. No right or wrong…just go for it.

Q8: Are there any famous Canadians? And who’s the worst Canadian band, ever?

A8: Yes, and see!

ps: I’m sorry for another attack on the band that shall not be mentioned.

Kris

Good morning to you all!

So, here’s what to do today.

1) Please review the syllabus located here. Make sure you take your time and read it closely – it is relatively long and detailed and 9/10 questions you might have are answered in the syllabus…indeed it reflects all sorts of questions previous students had and that we had to respond to.

2) Make sure you have a plan for accessing the textbook. It is REQUIRED reading and is the anchor for 2/3 of the written exercise questions you need to respond to and upload via the course-specific dropbox every Friday. This blog entry has information about the text, as does the syllabus.

3) As noted in the syllabus, you need to develop your online profile for the course website. You need not fill out all the response categories, but do provide sufficient information.

4) The first two sessions are (a) The United States and Canada, and (b) Europe. Please note that nothing is formally due in relationship to these sessions until Friday at 6:00 pm CDT. So relax if you’re just getting your head on straight today; you’re not missing any key deadlines.  The same goes with respect to those who are enrolling today (as it takes 24 hours for new enrollees to get access to the Learn@UW course site due to some technological staging issue we have no control over).

5) You then need to review the associated chapters about them in the course text (Ch 6 for the US & Canada; Ch 2 for Europe), and the associated lectures and podcasts.

6) As noted in the syllabus, you have two types of duties with respect to each region-specific session:

  • You are required to read, closely and thoroughly, the relevant region chapter in the course text. You have also been provided with access to complementary recorded lectures and podcasts for each region via the course site on Learn@UW.   You will be assigned three region-specific questions to respond to, in written form (1-2 paragraphs for each question). The questions will be emailed to you with sufficient time to begin working on the assignment. Once completed, upload your response on a Word or PDF or RTF document via the designated 340 Dropbox that has been created for each session. Please be sure to include your full name on the response and save the file with your family name first (e.g., GillinEastAsia.doc)!  Written exercises are due every Friday at 6:00 pm CDT the four weeks our course is running. See the schedule at the end of this document for specific dates.
  • You are required to identify an English language but region-specific media site (e.g., a Shanghai newspaper published in English; an Australian radio station’s website with links to recorded stories) to explore – the choice of media website is yours to make. You should then discuss one contemporary topic being debated about on this media site in 1-3 paragraphs and post your reflections in the discussion forum for other Geog 340 students to read and comment on. In short, (a) summarize the topic/issue, and then (b) provide your own commentary on it. You can focus on any topic – political, cultural, environmental, entertainment, sports, etc. – go with what topic genuinely interests you most! This component of the course takes place in the region-specific discussion forum spaces on the Learn@UW course page. Media commentaries are also due every Friday at 6:00 pm CDT. See the schedule at the end of this document for specific dates. Bonus marks (up to 5% of your final grade) are available for students who provide additional (insightful) commentary on what other students post. Engagement with other students is strongly encouraged but is not required as we want dialogue to be natural vs forced and stilted.

7) The United States and Canada questions are:

  1. Discuss the three waves of immigration into the United States. When did they occur, and where did the immigrants come from? Discuss the three waves of internal immigration within the United States. How have African-Americans, many of whose ancestors were brought to the United States long before other immigrant groups arrived, been affected by immigration and internal migration?
  2. Choose a city in both the United States and Canada and describe how and why its fortunes have changed over the course of 100 years – from 1900 to 2000.
  3. Both Emily Gilbert and Brian Herman, in their guest lecture/podcast, highlight both significant similarities/coordination and differences between Canada and the United States. What two most significant differences between the two countries did you note when listening to their presentations, and reading Chapter 6? Are these differences likely to continue being differences or will convergence occur, and why?

8) The Europe questions are:

  1. What key inventions during the period from 1400 to 1600 helped European merchants establish the basis of today’s global economy?
  2. How did the European Union (EU) develop? Why is the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) so important?
  3. After reading Chapter 2, and listening closely to the guest lecture by Anne Corbett and the podcast by Kara Dempsey, outline your thoughts on the challenges of regional integration via the ‘European project.’

9) Before or after responding to the US/Canada & Europe questions via the Dropbox (see instructions above and in the syllabus), don’t forget to do your Regional Media Summary & Commentary.

OK, that’s it…welcome to the course, and AFTER you’ve taken your time to review the syllabus, please let BOTH Kris & Kramer, in the same email, know if you have any questions.

Bye!

Kris (& Kramer)

Hi everyone – link here for a copy of the syllabus.  If you have any problems downloading the PDF, please let us know!

I/we strong recommend that you review it in detail this weekend or on Monday morning.

We will be emailing you the first week’s assigned written exercise questions on this coming Monday morning.

Cheers

Kris (& Kramer)

IMG_0346

Hello everyone!

This is the support blog for Geography 340 (World Regions in Global Context), a 100% online course being offered in the Summer 2015 term. We will use this blog to update you, though most of the substantive course content is accessed via Learn@UW.

Here are several updates to get some things moving before term starts on Monday 1 June.

photo-1First, please note that this is a 100% online course.You do not need to be in Madison at anytime in the summer to take and complete the course. If you are, great, but physical presence here is not required.

Second, this is a 100% asynchronous online course. 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. Please note, however, that there are regularly scheduled rolling deadlines for assignments that you submit to us. You can do the reading, viewing, and listening at your own pace, as long as you complete them in time to develop, finish and then submit your written assignments. 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.

Third, the TA (Kramer Gillin) and I will also be engaging with each of you via the Learn@UW course website, email, and Skype. I will also have regularly scheduled office hours in Science Hall if you want to meet in person, and Kramer will have regular Skype office hours as well as on campus office hours. Or just contact us via email. Office hours will be detailed in the syllabus. 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!

Fourth, the course website (which is hosted on Learn@UW) goes live at 8:00 am on 1 June. 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 on it.

The syllabus will be ready by Saturday morning, 30 May. For now, though, please note that we will flow through the regional content this way over the four weeks the course is running in June:

1.     The United States and Canada

2.     Europe

3.     Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific

4.     The Russian Federation, Central Asia, and the Transcaucasus

5.     Middle East and North Africa

6.     Sub-Saharan Africa

7.     Latin America

8.     Southeast Asia

9.     East Asia

10.  South Asia

11.  World Regions in Global Context

See here for a copy of the Summer 2014 version of the syllabus. Please note, however, there are some substantial changes to the requirements. What are these?

Well, in the summer of 2015 we will move through each region noted above every 2-3 days. You will be required to read, closely and thoroughly, the relevant region chapter in the course text (see below for more information on it). You will also be provided with access to complementary recorded lectures and podcasts for each region via the course site on Learn@UW. You will be assigned three region-specific questions to respond to, in written form (1-2 paragraphs each) and then upload these into a drop box for our review. The deadlines will be specified and roll out every 2-3 days. You will also be asked to identify an English language but region-specific media site (e.g., a Shanghai newspaper published in English; an Australian radio station’s website with links to recorded stories) to explore – the choice of media site is yours to make. You should then discuss one contemporary topic being debated about in this media site in 1-3 paragraphs and post your reflections in the discussion forum for other 340 students to read and comment on. Commenting is encouraged, and will generate some bonus marks, but is not required as we want dialogue to be natural vs forced and stilted. You can focus on any topic – political, cultural, environmental, entertainment, sports, etc. – go with what topic genuinely interests you most!

In short, each region has four smallish but interesting and learning-oriented tasks. The three region-specific written exercises (i.e. three exercises for each of the 11 regions above) total up to 75% of your final grade. The one region-specific media site discussion (i.e. one for each of the 11 regions above) is worth 25% of your final grade. Up to 5% bonus marks can be generated via natural insightful commentary/dialogue on other students media-related postings in the discussion forums. Please note that there are no exams or research papers this summer term (unless you need to do one as part of an area-studies certificate requirement — if so, please email me as soon as possible).

Fifth, the course text this term will be:

We are using the 5th edition so please acquire a copy of it and not the 4th edition. Textbook options include fully online:

http://www.coursesmart.com/0321870158

An ‘a la Carte’ edition for a binder:

http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/World-Regions-in-Global-Context-Peoples-Places-and-Environments-Books-a-la-Carte-Edition-5E/9780321862402.page

and the standalone book (without MasteringGeography):

http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/World-Regions-in-Global-Context-Peoples-Places-and-Environments-5E/9780321821058.page

340bookcoverThe 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. Multiple reserve copies of the 5th edition are available in the College Library and the Geography Library on two-hour loan. And, finally, we will be placing electronic copies of first region chapters on the Learn@UW course website to give you time to get the best/most affordable version – this is as many as we are legally allowed to post, however.

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.

And sixth, here is the grading scale:

  • 92-100 = A
  • 88-91 = AB
  • 80-87 = B
  • 76-79 = BC
  • 68-75 = C
  • 60-67 = D
  • 0-59 = F

Grade outcomes are not curved in this course.

OK, that’s it for today – I’ll let you know when the syllabus is finished. And feel free to email me if you have any questions about the above course now that you know what’s required.

Kris Olds

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