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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 PDF
  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 Cathy 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 food market, interact with students and teachers at a school, meet and learn from elders, stay with families and explore their village in Mae Kampong, learn from elders in a Hmong Village and visit other Hill Tribes’ villages, see the Golden Triangle, visit the Hall of Opium, cross the Mekong River to 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 five topics:
    – Human Trafficking
    – Community Development
    – Multicultural Thailand
    – Environment
    – Education
    Requirements 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). Peers or Acharn Cathy can give you feedback on a draft of your digital story via VideoAnt. Finalized digital stories will be due on June 30, 2017.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 Cathy 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: 160 points

  1. Pre-departure class sessions (See email) 10 points
  2. Cultural immersion pre-departure session
    Attend either a) Thai New Year Festival on Sunday, April 9 between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or
    b) Uptown Thai New Year Celebration on Saturday, April 29 between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
    Write a brief description and reflection about your experience; email to Acharn Cathy by May 5 10 points
  3. Readings, discussions, and reflections 15 points
  4. In-country participation 35 points
    a. Completion of assigned readings
    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
  5. Required daily journaling (3-5-point checks in-country; one final check) 25 points
    Journal notebook will be provided
  6. Individual blogs (pre-departure, in-country, post-return) 15 points
  7. Content focused blog based on team project 25 points
  8. Digital story (personal learning focused) 25 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