New Course: Exploring Equality and Diversity in the United States

This summer, the Department of Anthropology will be offering a new online Integrative Studies in Social Science course created by Dr. Adan Quan. The course explores social diversity and equality in the United States from the perspective of an international student. The goal is to introduce international and domestic students to the issues and debates surrounding social difference in the United States, and have them engage with the content using personal experience. Students will gain the skills necessary to examine and frame their own positions, values and experiences within the wider context of social, political and economic structures in this country. The course aims to integrate numerous social science disciplines including Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, History and Geography.

The course is hosted through Desire 2 Learn, and a number of tools will be leveraged to engage students. Pinterest, a digital pin board that visually displays bookmarks with annotations, will be used for digital presentation of issues, such as illustrating a stereotype within the United States. Google Hangouts will be used for hosting international discussion throughout the course. Other digital tools under consideration are Twitter maintaining discussions, creating online narrated stories using tools like Slideshare, and mapping diversity using Google Maps.

The course will also involve a number of Anthropology undergraduates who will act as peer mentors. They will facilitate discussions among students and aid them in understanding course material. International students will benefit from having a peer who can help ‘translate’ the material by providing their perspective on US culture and society.

Dr. Quan notes that “MSU is experiencing a large increase in international students. Many of these students have expressed a desire for more support in adjusting to life in the United States, such as succeeding in a US university setting and forming social relationships, and this course aims to help them with this.” It is also important that domestic students learn to understand the perspectives of international students. This exciting new course will bridge the gap between these domestic and international students.

[Included in the Spring 2014 Dept. of Anthropology Newsletter, see complete newsletter here]