Elizabethtown College is offering a new online course called “East Asia: A Seminar for Teachers,” a seminar exploring the history, geography, literature and cultures of China, Japan and Korea. This is the first year it is being offered to students of Etown’s education department. The main sections tackled in the course are arts and humanities, civics and government, economics, geography, history, reading, writing, speaking and listening. No background in Asian studies is obligatory or expected of participants.
This course is designed for teachers who are already at work in their field of study. The seminar gives a broad overview of East Asian culture with a focus on understanding other cultures. Participants can earn 2 CTE credits, or 66 ACT 48 hours, as well as $200 in teaching materials. Additionally, the course includes a textbook and a free one-year subscription to Education About Asia. At the end of the semester, each person in the class will get a $200 stipend and have the opportunity to explore East Asia during the summer. To earn the two credits, students must pay $25.
Junior biology secondary education major Crystal Uminski is currently enrolled in the course and said she decided to take the class because she is currently enrolled in ED 341: Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom.
“The course places an emphasis on understanding other cultures, and I thought that [Director of the Center for Global Understanding and Peace and Professor of History Dr. David] Kenley’s class would be a great resource to learn about some of the cultures that may be represented in my future classroom,” Uminski said. “Also, I’m in college, and I’m here to learn! The course was free to enroll, and I couldn’t pass up the learning experience.”
The biggest challenge in teaching the class is to “design a rigorous and challenging course,” Kenley said. He believes he has done that.
According to Kenley, the seminar is funded by the Freeman Foundation and presented by Elizabethtown College in Association with the Asian Studies Center, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh and the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.