MENAS 591 - Interdisciplinary Middle East Topics Seminar
Section: 003 Earth Odysseys
Term: FA 2007
Subject: Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS)
Department: LSA II: Middle Eastern and North African Studies
Credits:
3
Consent:
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Upperclass standing; concentration in MENAS, NES or other fields with main interest in Middle Eastern Studies.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

his class is based on a computer-mediated curricular activity that engages middle school and high school students in exploring an interesting corner of our world. The idea of Earth Odysseys is that these students follow the progress of a trip through the traveler's journals, which are posted thrice weekly. These journals constitute the basis for online discussions which are facilitated by the students in this class, university students we refer to as "mentors."

Such trips have, in the past, taken students to Central and Eastern Europe and across Asia, Central America, and Africa. In the Odyssey based on their experiences this past summer, online and classroom discussions will focus on the social, cultural and religious issues they encountered, and will build off their observations about the people they came to know, and their reflections on the interplay between people and their social environment.

After the students read and consider the traveler's reports, they respond online to the reports with questions, with connections they make to their own lives, or with whatever comments they might wish to share. The mentors then work with the students. Your "work" can run a broad gamut; posing questions for students to consider, trying to frame discussion topics, pulling in your own experiences to help the students relate the traveler's experiences to their own...sometimes you cajole, sometimes you challenge them, sometimes you deliberately provoke.

The mentor seminar provides an opportunity for people with an interest in social and cultural affairs to try their hand at teaching, and to examine their own thinking. In the early weeks of the class, Megan and Lindsay will offer a grounding in the basic history and culture of Algeria, and of Islam. Once the students get online, though, most of your coursework will be time spent, on your own, reading and responding to the students and their postings. Once the online interactions begin, most of our class time is spent discussing these interactions, and the pedagogical issues that arise. This class requires someone that is self-motivated and willing to experiment with trying to facilitate rich conversation without specific guidelines for what to do or how to do it. There is a coursepack with readings geared to providing the historical and cultural background mentioned previously, and each mentor will research an Odysseys-related topic and write up an activity that will then become part of our web resources for the project. However, the primary emphasis of the course is on conducting a thoughtful and consistent engagement with the student participants, and with the mentoring experience in general.

MENAS 591 - Interdisciplinary Middle East Topics Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
19774
Closed
0
 
-
W 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: This class is held in the Prechter Lab at the School of Education. Email cmenas@umich.edu for permission to register.
002 (SEM)
P
21738
Closed
0
 
-
M 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Note: This class is held in the Prechter Lab at the School of Education. Email cmenas@umich.edu for permission to register.
003 (SEM)
P
21881
Open
9
 
-
Th 12:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: Registration is by permission only. Contact Jeff Stanzler (stanz@umich.edu).
004 (SEM)
P
29779
Closed
0
 
-
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
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