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Course Assignment Descriptions and Requirements

  1. Writing Journal: There are two parts to your journaling.
    Part I will address questions posed in your journal notebooks. These questions will focus more on the content of the day/activity. Your writing will share: a) what you observed; b) provide rich descriptions; c) offer your evaluation of what you experienced, and d) evaluate what you learned. For c – evaluation, and d – interpretation, I want you to critically think about the basis for these responses and provide a reflection on not only what you learned about ‘another’ but how observing ‘another’ has contributed to a deeper understand of their cultural selves.
    Part II will be focused on your personal feelings that were experienced as you walked through the day. What were your joys, your frustrations, your hopes, your questions? This is free writing – contrary to the first section, I am not so interested in your writing being grammatically correct (though I need to be able to understand it). Rather I want you to tap into your emotions and feelings. Feel free to sketch, shift from poetic to monosyllabic. Attach artifacts or mementos that you gathered that day. Bring in the senses. What did you smell, hear, see, feel, and taste?I will ask you to turn in the journal periodically (see syllabus for turn-in times) so I can read what you’re learning, what you’re experiencing, what you’re feeling. Please keep that in mind. Also know that if you want something keep confidential, please label those sections as such. You may also want to keep a personal
    Download the Writing Journal (Word Docx
  2. Online Blog: The online blog writing is a first person narrative that is aware that others will be reading. A blog posts retains the feeling of a writing journal, but is shaped for an audience, meaning that you should revise it so that it begins in one place and evolves to another. It should be free of spelling and factual errors, and revised for vivid, specific prose.

    Your online posts should be shaped by your personality, written in your voice, should be honest and true, and also culturally respectful and anticipate what readers who are not journeying with you in northern Thailand will need to know in order to engage with your insights. Acharn Cat will be available to read and provide feedback prior to posting it to the blog if you would prefer.  Requirements for Online Blogs
    • Students will post one blog prior to departure.
    • Each week in-country, students will post one online blog that others will read. Inclusion of photos or short videos are encouraged. Students will read all other blog posts and comment on at least two.
    • Students will also post one blog after returning to the U.S. (due June 15).
    • Note: A blog entry should be at least four solid paragraphs.
  3. Group Topic Blog Project: This project will be based on your group’s pre-departure research that is expanded/enhanced through your experiences in Thailand. You will become familiar with topics and themes while you shop at the local markets, interact with students and teachers at schools, meet and learn from elders, learn from elders in Hmong and Karen villages, boat on the Mekong River, spend a day in Laos, and visit with community members, guides, van drivers, hotel staff and students.
    In small groups of four, you will focus on one of the following four topics:
    – Human trafficking
    – Globalization (impacts on families, communities, natural environment, culture)
    – Indigenous identity and cultural integration
    – EducationRequirements for Group Topic Blog Project
    • Your small group will determine what and how you will move forward in understanding your chosen topic.
    o This may include having a conversation with a local person (if needed, with the help of an interpreter), walking along the Mekong and taking photos, mapping the streets, or taking notes after visiting the market.
    o Your group can divide the responsibilities, or work in pairs or as a foursome.
    • Each group will create a two to three page blog post that will include at least two images on the selected topic.
    • Please quote and cite outside research.
  4. Individual Digital Story: Once you return to the U.S. and you’ve had some time for reentry, each of you will create a short (6-10 minutes) digital story reflecting on the learning you experienced in Thailand. You will create a storyboard, a kind of visual outline or map of your digital story, that anticipates your use of
    narrative, photos, videos if relevant, music, text, and considers the arc of your story. You can create your digital story with the program of your choosing (for example, iMovie). Final digital stories will be due on July 15, 2018.Requirements for Individual Digital Story
    • At final group meeting in-country, share your initial ideas about focus for your digital story.
    • After returning to campus, create storyboard for digital story. Consult with Acharn Cat as needed.
    • Upload final digital story to Google Drive (link will be provided). Stories will then be uploaded to our Thailand course website digital story page.
    • Watch classmates’ digital stories after they are posted on our website.

Course Assignments: 200 points

  1. Pre-departure class sessions 30 points
  2. Cultural immersion pre-departure session 10 points
    Attend session at Wat Thai (April 21); alternately attend the Wat Thai New Year Festival (April 7) or the Uptown Thai New Year Celebration (April 29)
    Write a brief description and reflection about your experience; email to Acharn Cat prior to departure 5 points
  3. In-country participation 50 points
    a. Full participation in learning activities
    b. Active engagement in discussions
    c. Respectful culturally appropriate conduct
    d. Respectful intergroup interactions
    e. Honoring departure times and schedules
    f. Disconnection from technology devices during learning experiences
  4. Required daily journaling (2 15-point checks in-country 30 points (Journal notebook will be provided)
  5. Individual blogs (one pre-departure and one in-country post) 30 points
  6. Content focused blog based on team project 25 points
  7. Digital story (personal learning focused) 20 points

Grading Standards

The final grade is recorded according to U of MN definition of grades:
93-100% A For exceptional work, well above the minimum criteria
90-92% A- For outstanding work, well above the minimum criteria
87-89% B+ For excellent work, significant above the minimum criteria
83-86% B For work above the minimum criteria
80-82% B-
77-79% C+
73-76% C For work which meets the course requirements in every respect
70-72% C-
67-69% D+
63-66% D Worthy of credit even though it fails to meet the course requirements
0-63% F Failed to meet minimum course requirements