While the majority of our classes are conducted face-to-face in the SBA, sometimes our professors give supplementary learning on an online platform known as D2L. Also known as Desire 2 Learn, this interface allows professors to post class content (such as the syllabus), create class discussion boards, send out class emails and alerts, and even provides a dropbox where students can submit assignments. Most often our MIM professors will use D2L to post class slides and the schedule, however, for our Contemporary Pacific Rim and World Affairs course, professor Melanie Billings-Yun has gone far beyond this.
To give a brief background, this class focuses on how history and geography have affected countries in SE Asia in terms of values, culture, politics, and individual economies. The goals of this course are to take this knowledge and apply it to current issues to better understand perspectives, divisions, and biases, as well as to predict future major events in SE Asia. While the first few weeks of the course delved into history lessons, case studies, and class discussions, Melanie needed to be creative for the three weeks she could not physically be present to teach the class.
For our class discussion on the cultural revolutions in both the US and China, she recorded a 30 minute lecture, posted two documentaries, and established a series of discussion questions comparing and contrasting the two movements. Although we were only required to post twice to the discussion boards, many students posted multiple comments and questions directed towards other students. This became even more critical last week when we discussed the unification question between Taiwan and mainland China. While this issue was difficult to discuss, Melanie provided an open, encouraging environment through which we could post our opinions and take a deep look into the concepts of identity, historical claims, and nationhood.
There are no simple answers when trying to apply our historical knowledge to these type of issues, however, it is important to understand the context of these issues and how they affect SE Asia moving forward. Melanie has done an excellent job in transferring her classroom online for this short time, and I look forward to our last week of online discussions.
Juli Tejadilla is a full-time student in the Masters of International Management program. She previously graduated with two Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Studio Art from Linfield College. While her interest in international business began as an undergraduate student, she has been traveling around the world since she was nine months old. She hopes through the MIM program to learn key insights to conduct business internationally and to establish herself as a global citizen.