Course Description (Catalogue):

Contemporary Global Issues is a writing-intensive course that examines current global social, political and economic trends from multiple competing perspectives, and evaluates their impacts on world societies.  Students will complete individual and collaborative projects that explore the intercultural and ethical dimensions of today’s most pressing international issues. As a Touchstone course in the Hallmarks Core curriculum, the course includes an upper-level review and assessment of each student’s Hallmarks Folio ,and addresses all of the eight Hallmarks competencies.

Prerequisites: WRIT-201/202, GDIV-2xx or GCIT-2xx


Hallmarks Learning Goals in Contemporary Global Issues

The Hallmarks Core is a carefully designed sequence of courses that all Jefferson students complete, no matter which major they choose. These 14 courses add up to 40 credit hours, or about a third of your education, as required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This curriculum guides you progressively through your education in the eight Hallmarks learning goals and also provides support for the completion of your Hallmarks learning portfolio.
Each of the Hallmarks Core courses targets a different set of learning goals, while also contributing to a broader education that expands your understanding of the world. Each year of the curriculum features one “touchstone” course, where your completion of the Hallmarks learning pathways is evaluated and advanced. (For further information, please see the Hallmarks Core website: (Links to an external site.)
Contemporary Global Issues is the third touchstone course in the Hallmarks Core; it addresses the Critical Analysis, Global Perspectives, Collaborative Creation, and Intellectual Risk-taking learning goals.

Critical Analysis: Challenge concepts, practices and experts with reasoning and evidence.
This learning goal encourages you to apply your critical thinking skills to everything around you. The status quo can always be questioned and you can test your own ideas to see if they hold up to scrutiny. The power of reasoning and the use of relevant evidence give you the confidence to question conventional wisdom before deciding whether to accept it or not.
In the context of this course, you are developing your Critical Analysis skills when you:
· Evaluate and/or combine information from the social sciences, humanities, mathematics, and/or natural science appropriately to reach valid conclusions and develop insights into real-world problems.

Global Perspectives: Navigate diverse environments and complex issues by managing multiple systems of knowledge and behavior.
This learning goal allows you to find your way through a world of diversity and competing value systems. In an increasingly globalized world, you need to be able to orient yourself in a variety of different contexts and cultures. Your knowledge of world societies and civilizations helps you understand yourself and others as you manage the complexities of cross-cultural interactions.
In the context of this course, you are developing your Global Perspectives skills when you:
· Describe how the specific cultural and social factors of different societies influence the behavior and perspectives of individuals and/or groups.
· Demonstrate knowledge of political, economic, environmental, and/or cultural developments in a global and historical context.

Collaborative Creation: Achieve goals by integrating skills and knowledge in a team setting.
This learning goal recognizes that working in teams is required for many tasks and can multiply your effectiveness even when it isn’t. Successful collaboration is a combination of leadership, cooperation, planning and the harnessing of diverse skill sets. Managing your work, coordinating the contributions of your teammates, and holding yourself and others accountable for the team’s performance are all part of the art of collaboration.
In the context of this course, you are developing your Collaborative Creation skills when you:
· Acknowledge and integrate the varied perspectives or competencies within a group to generate insights that go beyond possible individual achievements.

Intellectual Risk-Taking: Take creative and intellectual risks when exploring ideas and real-world problems.
This learning outcome emphasizes the power of connecting new ideas with your existing knowledge in bold and innovative ways. Creative breakthroughs occur when you cross intellectual boundaries and apply knowledge outside of its original context. Initiative is also needed to extend your creative and academic ideas beyond the classroom for real-world problem solving.
In the context of this course, you are developing your Intellectual Risk-taking skills when you:
· Transfer knowledge by applying previous learning appropriately to new contexts.
By the end of this course, you should have examples of your work that could be posted as artifacts for the Critical Analysis, Global Perspectives, Collaborative Creation, and Intellectual Risk-taking learning goals in the Hallmarks Core category. Add selected work to your learning portfolio along with reflective essays that explain how your artifacts connect with the learning objectives listed above.

Portfolio Progress Requirement: In this touchstone course, you will write 4 reflective essays for artifacts that you are adding to your learning portfolio. Each essay will be graded and count for 5% of your course grade (for a total of 20%). You will also upload your 4 artifacts with the accompanying reflective essays to your Portfolium in Canvas (Pathbrite is no longer being used for Hallmarks related submissions).

Class format

This course will be taught entirely online. The method of instruction will be synchronous. Students will have an opportunity for a regular video conference with other students and the instructor. The ultimate goal of the course is to advance the participants’ abilities as critical thinkers, active readers, researchers, and writers; while engaging in the process of active, participatory learning.  Additionally, given that this is a Hallmarks Touchstone course, students will also be evaluated on their contribution to their Hallmarks folio.

Required Materials

1. Fedorak, Shirley, A. Global Issues: a Cross-cultural Perspective. University of Toronto Press Inc., 2017 (In Canvas)
2. Other course materials available in Canvas.

Suggested Websites


All submitted work must include full, correct citations of all sources, within the body of the paper and in a works cited list, using MLA style (unless otherwise agreed). Improper documentation constitutes plagiarism that will result in a failing grade for the assignment as well as possible other penalties.  Please check the university policies on academic plagiarism and if you have any questions about this, ask your professor.  The University’s current academic integrity policy is available through the University website.

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