I’ve been teaching ‘global conflicts’ at Virginia Tech for over twenty years, initially as an undergraduate course called “Geography of Global Conflicts.” In 1995, I offered the course online for the first time. The course has evolved considerably since then, always online, and is now an introductory graduate course in Government and International Affairs called simply ‘Global Conflicts.’ Over the years I have developed a good sense of what does and does not work through online teaching. Unlike many online courses, I don’t place a premium on constant online presence and interaction. Instead, I organize the course around five three week modules, each of which has a written assignment at its end. This course is conceptually demanding, writing intensive, and is not for everyone. Indeed, online teaching works best only for a subset of students, and has definite limits for those students who are not self-starters, organized and independent. I am not an online education enthusiast nor someone who decries it either, though the political economy driving its adoption has pernicious features, one of which is to further deepen already existing inequalities and class division within academia. That issue goes beyond online instruction.
Attached is my syllabus for the coming semester.
This will be my last blog posting (and tweet) for a good while. I want to make some progress on projects personal and academic.
Je serai de retour!