What are the issues that matter most in today's world? Global issues concern us all and there is much to be learned about how others in the world respond to issues such as environmental sustainability, climate change, poverty and human rights. This assignment has been designed to focus students’ attention on understanding global issues and to analyze various approaches taken toward addressing them.
1. Have students select a specific global issue or problem that is directly affecting the country or region where the class will be traveling. Together with the students, brainstorm a list of example issues. Their assignment is to produce a succinct, 2-3 page global learning summary on the issue. When discussing the assignment, provide students with detailed formatting instructions.
2. Each global learning summary should be prepared with three distinct sections, as follows:
a. Description of Issue. Students should provide a succinct explanation of a specific global issue, highlighting its global nature and urgency. They should provide relevant secondary data and supporting information.
b. Country Response. Students should briefly describe the country’s response to the issue. While abroad, they should be encouraged to take time to gather primary data on the issue. Brainstorm the various ways to do this during the time abroad.
c. Analysis. Students should provide an analysis of the country’s response to the issue, noting its strengths, weaknesses and long-term challenges. Emphasize that they should present evidence in support of their analysis.
3. Collect the summaries and make copies available to the whole class as a kind of global issues portfolio. Alternatively, have students post their summaries to an on-line discussion forum for other students to read and provide feedback and comments.
4. If class time allows upon return, assign students a 5-10 minute time slot to present their global learning summary. Allow time for class discussion of each issue.
This assignment could be worth up to 20% of the overall course grade. The global learning summary should be assessed on a student’s demonstrated understanding of the specific global issue and approach to using both primary and secondary sources to develop an in-depth analysis of the country’s response to the issue.
One class session (optional, post-study abroad)