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Understanding Global Cultures

Canvas Modules for Class Participants Fall 2024 [calendar]
Canvas Simple Syllabus Spring 2024 (.pdf)
Due Dates for Spring 2024 [calendar]

List of countries of the world -- Wikipedia
Language Dictionaries and Resources 
International Development Indicators 
-- Human Development Reports, United Nations Development Programme
Global Open Data Index 
. Thursday, 13 June 2024, 15:28 (03:28 PM) CDT, day 165 of 2024 .

World Food and Water Clock

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Global Cultures
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In-the-News Reports
short slide deck version of the In-the-News sign-up information (.pptx)

World News

World News

NOTE: For Spain everyone should check the news, looking especially for items on immigration and emigration.

The on-line short summaries of country news begins Week 2.

Check your Google Drive Folder and sign up.


A very brief In-the-News report is a part of the course. You only need to present one news report, but you should read the reports of your classmates.

Starting the second week of the semester there will generally be one or two news reports per week.

Your In-the-News Report is basicaly approximately the equivalent of a 5 minute summary of the news-of-the-day, of a country or region, presented on-line to the class on the days assigned

Your In-the-News Report should look something like this . . .

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

See your Google Drive Folder to sign up.

You should sign up for one presentation, chosen from the list of countries or regions listed by class Day

[If you were to make a presentation in favor of or in opposition to a matter before the Duluth City Council, for example, you would generally have 3 minutes to make your case for or against. So this short report is good practice for real-world situations in which you need to be brief and to the point, while at the same time saying something meaningful.]


Due Date

Your News-of-the-Day Report is due on the assigned week.

Presentation Format Information

Your This Week's News . . .

Your report (no longer than the equivalent of a 5 minute presentation) should consist of at least two parts:

  • A brief thumbnail sketch of the country / region
  • Your opinion of the most imortant This Week's News . . . for that country / region

Where do I begin?
1. For In-the-News reports begin by checking your Google Drive Folder to sign up for your country / region . . .
(these are listed individually throughout the semester)

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

If your Canvas Google Drive happens to not be working, go to Plan B, using your UMD E-mail  . . .

(you only need to do this once this semester)

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

One of those methods should bring you to the Global Cultures In-the-News

Then open the News-of-the-Week file . . .

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

Your In-the-News sign-up sheet will look something like this . . .

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

Then sign up next to the country that you would like to report on . . .

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

2. After you have chosen (or before you choose) your In-the-News country / region, have a look at the "News Media" and "Cultural Profiles" materials of that country / region . . . 

1. click on the name of your country and the URL will drop down

2. click on the URL that drops down and that will take you to some links to basic sources of information on the country/region, and news of the country/region . . .

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

. . . that will take you to useful country resources, including information like this . . .
REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

REM: Links on screenshots are not “hot” (active)

 Useful Primary Sources for In-the-News Reports

These sources can be the primary sources for your
Global Cultures In-the-News Reports
(select the ones appropriate for your country / region)

  • News Media of Your Country / Region
    (see above for additional details)

[Countries, Cultures, Regions, Areas, and Territories Available at this WebSite]

 Additional Helpful Information


Suggested Strategies

Whenever you write or present anything you should consider . . .

your personal style

  • Audience

    For your report and other presentations in-class, your audience should, obviously, be your classmates

    • do not write or present to your college professor(s) as audience

    • Or you can prepre your report and presentation for something like a "brown bag" luncheon presentation at your library to a mixed-group of curious individuals who normally attend more informal public lectures

  • Purpose

    • To let your audience know what is happening this week in the country of region of your choice (choose from those listed for class days)

    • NOTE: Part of the reason for the News-of-the-Day Report (and also of your Presentation) is to give you some experience giving a small report in front of a small audience

  • Style

    • for the News-of-the-Day Report, it may be informal or formal, as you wish

And basically, your presentation should . . .
  • have a beginnng, a middle and an end

  • be organized

  • if appropriate, be illustrated

 Additional Helpful Information for Putting Together your News-of-the-Day Report

(General Suggested Strategies that May or May Not be Useful for Your Particular Report)


And you can do this for more than one subtopic

  • Time Sequence

    T1 ---> T2 ---> T3 ---> T4 ---> . . .

  • Space Sequence

    S1 ---> S2 ---> S3 ---> S4 ---> . . .

  • N number of items

    "Ten itms define the importance of. . . .

    First, . . . .
    Second, . . . ."
    Third, . . . ."
    Finally, . . . ."

  • Most Important ---> Least Important:

    "The most important X about ... is ..."

    "Next in importantance to X is ..."

    "The least importantant to X is ..."

  • Comparison / Contrast

    Note how things are the same and how they are different. In a logical comparison / contrast would be with / between "X" of Y.

    Item # 1
    Item # 2
    Item # 3
    Item # 4
    Item # N


  • Emic / Etic

    • An Emic view is that of an insider

    • An Etic view is that of someone from the outside

Use the Paradigm Online Writing Assistant


 The Purdue University Online Writing Lab

 OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.

if you do not have much experience in preparing / giving reports / presentations or writing college papers


Other Resources that Might Also be Helpful

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Main Catalog

Library Guides:





Connect from off Campus

Electronic Resources

Grading for your News-of-the-Day Report will essentially be P/N

More detailed information on grading in general is available at   . . .

  criteria for grading written works
  "The Strike Zone"
  "The Curve"
  UMD Grading Policies

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This course is governed by the . . .

University of Minnesota Duluth Student Academic Integrity Policy

UMD Office of Student and Community Standards

Student Academic Integrity
-- UMD Office of Academic Affairs (Effective: November 22, 2011)

Use of AI-content generators for assignments in this class

When I taught Advanced Writing for the Social Sciences here at UMD, for over twenty-five years, my rule of thumb advice to students was to plan to spend 60% or more of their time and effort revising drafts (for academic type writing).

In 2001 Wikipedia appeared on the scene and very quickly became a useful tool as a starting point for many academic projects even though as an open-source resource the Wikipedia entries are not checked and verified in the same manner as other traditional reference materials.

Spelling and grammar checkers arrived on the general scene and helped with spelling and grammar checking, but, as you no doubt have discovered, they continue to require human editing.

And, of course, before that we had a selection of excellent Encyclopedia offering good starting points for many projects, the most popular being The Encyclopedia Brittanica.

And long before that there were libraries--since at least the days of Alexandria in Egypt, in the third century B.C.

The bottom line . . .

Today the evolution of research resources and aids continues with the relatively rapid appearance of ChatGPT and other automated content generators.

As many folks have already found out, they can be very useful as starting points, much like their predecessors. But, from the academic point of view, they are still only starting points.

Professors nationwide are for the most part advised, and even encouraged, to experiment with the potentials of ChatGPT and similar apps.

In this class it is fine to experiment, with the caveat that all of your written academic work demonstrates that your personal efforts—including content development and revision—reflect your personal originality, exploration, analysis, explanation, integrating and synthesizing of ideas, organizational skills, evaluation, and overall learning and critical thinking efforts.

That is to say you may experiment with the AI tool to do tasks such as e.g, brainstorming, narrowing topics, writing first drafts, editing text, and the like. AI-generated works should in no case be more than that.

In the end you need to become familiar enough with the various subjects, peoples, and places discussed in this class to research a topic and problem-solve on your own, and carry on an intelligent conversation about them in modern-day society . . . a conversation that goes byond your voicing an unsupported opinion.

Please ask questions of and offer comments to


For the record, what follows is the official UMD Academic Integrity Policy. Note that "unless otherwise noted by the faculty member" this is the default policy.

"UMD’s Academic Integrity policy covers any work done by automated content generators such as ChatGPT or other generative artificial intelligence tools unless otherwise noted by the faculty member. These tools present new challenges and opportunities."

"Within the confines of this class The use of AI-content generators is strictly prohibited for any stage of homework/assignment (e.g., draft or final product). The primary purposes of college are developing your thinking skills, being creative with ideas, and expanding your understanding on a wide variety of topics. Using these content generating AI tools thwarts the goal of homework/assignments to provide students opportunities to achieve these purposes. Please make the most of this time that you have committed to a college education and learn these skills now, so that you can employ them throughout your life." -- Jennifer Mencl, UMD Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, 10 May 2023

Current information from the UMN Senate Committee on Educational Policy Resources


See Also Using Wikipedia and other Standard Reference Works

"Academic dishonesty tarnishes UMD's reputation and discredits the accomplishments of students. UMD is committed to providing students every possible opportunity to grow in mind and spirit. This pledge can only be redeemed in an environment of trust, honesty, and fairness. As a result, academic dishonesty is regarded as a serious offense by all members of the academic community. In keeping with this ideal, this course will adhere to UMD's Student Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found at []. This policy sanctions students engaging in academic dishonesty with penalties up to and including expulsion from the university for repeat offenders." — UMD Educational Policy Committee, Jill Jensen, Chair (08/16/2007)

and the UMD Student Conduct Code

and the

Student Conduct Code Statement (students' rights)

The instructor will enforce and students are expected to follow the University's Student Conduct Code []. Appropriate classroom conduct promotes an environment of academic achievement and integrity. Disruptive classroom behavior that substantially or repeatedly interrupts either the instructor's ability to teach, or student learning, is prohibited. Disruptive behavior includes inappropriate use of technology in the classroom. Examples include ringing cell phones, text-messaging, watching videos, playing computer games, doing email, or surfing the Internet on your computer instead of note-taking or other instructor-sanctioned activities." — UMD Educational Policy Committee, Jill Jensen, Chair (08/16/2007)

Instructor and Student Responsibilities Policy


A Note on Extra Credit Papers

Failure to comply with the above codes and standards when submitting an Extra Credit paper will result in a penalty commensurate with the lapse, up to and including an F final grade for the course, and, at a minimum, a reduction in total points no fewer than the points available for the Extra Credit project. The penalty will not simply be a zero for the project, and the incident will be reported to the UMD Academic Integrity Officer in the Office of Student and Community Standards.


A Note on "Cutting and Pasting" without the Use of Quotation Marks
(EVEN IF you have a citation to the source somewhere in your paper)

If you use others' words and/or works you MUST so indicate that with the use of quotation marks. Failure to use quotation marks to indicate that the materials are not of your authorship constitutes plagiarism—even if you have a citation to the source elsewhere in your paper/work.

Patterned failure to so indicate that the materials are not of your own authorship will result in an F grade for the course.

Other instances of improper attribution will result in a 0 (zero) for the assignment (or a reduction in points equal to the value of an Extra Credit paper), and a reduction of one grade in the final grade of the course.

All incidents will be reported to the UMD Academic Integrity Officer in the Office of Student and Community Standards as is required by University Policy.

GC Index of Major Items
GC 1.0 "Sunday Memos"   GC 2.0 Video Schedule
GC 3.0 Slides Schedule   GC 4.0 Text Assignments Schedule
GC 5.0 Other (check Canvas   GC 6.0 Exams . . . (wk-7) and  (wk-16)
GC 7.0 REM: Work on Project   GC 8.0 Discussion(s)
GC Main Due Dates   GC Fall 2024 Calendar
Checklist for the Semester
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