Friday, May 13, 2022

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)

Livable Cities COIL Collaboration Faculty Team

If you found this post because I mentioned it at the BSU-CARS Symposium on May 12, you are in the right place. If you found it some other way, you are also in the right place!

Because is a portal rather than a content blog, I hope you will not mind being redirected to the Monterrey COIL Project post on Environmental Geography. It begins with a discussion of this collaboration and goes on to showcase all of the student work.

I am grateful to the students, faculty, and administrators at TEC-Monterrey and Bridgewater State University who made this collaboration a success. I look forward to more!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Coffee Maven Explores Chocolate and Tea

Last September, I was pleased to teach Coffee World, a four-part online course for BSU Senior College. It was a nice opportunity to develop a program that was shorter than a college course but allowed me to delve a bit deeper than I had in previous public lectures

I was delighted that at the end of this course, several participants wanted to keep exploring, and some of them mentioned being interested in tea and chocolate. I do not have maven-level experience in these, but I do know a bit and I welcomed the opportunity to learn a bit more! 

Hence this six-part course exploring the geographies a few other beverage-related crops: 

The beverage cups of the world are warmed by three beverages that grow on trees. That is not strictly true, of course, but the fruits and leaves from which coffee, tea, and chocolate are derived do grow on trees and shrubs that are cultivated and harvested by hundreds of thousands of skilled workers in dozens of countries. They make their way to customers in every country of the world through complex patterns of processing and trade that have developed over centuries.  This six-week online course begins with an introduction of all three beverages through the lens of museums dedicated to each. The next four weeks are devoted to the spatial patterns, environmental problems, and human-rights issues in chocolate and tea. We spend the final session applying the same geographic approach to other specialty crops.

The chocolate and tea course outline includes a description of each session and a link to the slides that I used. These slides, in turn, include links to many resources that I mentioned during the course and that I make available for further exploration.

Public Lectures

I thoroughly enjoyed both of these courses -- meeting weekly with some old friends and new ones via the magic of Zoom. I was delighted that my mother-in-law was able to participate all the way from Maryland. 

Having prepared these means that I now have ten new lectures that I can bring either online or in-person events at libraries, senior centers, or other venues. 

Contact me to discuss a program or short series for your organization. 


Welcome to my TED Talk (2015).

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Coffee World @ Linden Ponds

Reminder: I post to this blog infrequently because it is a portal to other, more active outlets. The early posts (see archives at right) point to general lists of blogs and classes. The posts that are "on top" are often links to ongoing or recent presentations.

In "normal" times I give presentations to off-campus audiences, including schools on a weekly basis and various community groups on a monthly basis or more. Like everything else, this has been curtailed for the past 24 months, and all of my presentations (include several featured on this site) have been virtual. 

As I write this, I am pleased to be returning to in-person community presentations. Few will be surprised that the topic is coffee. I am reprising a course I taught online for BSU Senior College in September (I am currently doing a different online course for that group). The course is Coffee World, a four-part overview of my approach to coffee as both a global product and a local nexus where communities gather. 

The Coffee World course outline includes a description of each session and links to the slides I am using.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Sustaining Global Goals

Pamela and I were pleased to be invited to speak about the use of the U.N. Global Goals in our teaching as part of a series of online workshops sponsored by NERCOMP. Here we provide our presentation abstract as well as our slides, for those who wish to follow up on any of the links that are included in our presentation.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

New Blog: #SOSNicaragua

 Followers on various platforms -- and certainly anybody who has seen me much in person the past few years -- know that I am deeply concerned about the multiple crises that have unfolded in Nicaragua since a government crackdown on peaceful protests in April 2018.

Today I started a blog to share information about the problems Nicaragua faces and the ways friends of Nicaragua can learn more and support the ongoing efforts of Nicaraguans themselves.

To learn more, please visit #SOSNicaragua, noting that I use ApoyoNicaragua (SupportNicaragua) in the actual address.

Coffee World: A BSU Senior College Course

BSU's Senior College offers non-credit classes to learners of a certain age (that is, 50 or better). Although I'm apparently more than old enough to take a class, I will participate first as an instructor. My four-week class Coffee World begins September 8, 10am each Wednesday for the rest of that month.

From the catalogThis course is an exploration of the world that is concealed in a cup of coffee, beginning with suggestions for brewing better coffee. We continue to the community geography of the corner cafĂ©, without which the beverage itself might never have become a global favorite. We then follow coffee from its origins in Abyssinia to the $100 billion global industry it is today and examine ways to ensure that those who grow the coffee earn a fair share of that wealth. Finally, we learn how researchers are working with farmers to protect both quality and production from changing climates. Upon registration, participants will receive a guide describing some options for purchasing coffees to enjoy during the sessions. 

This is a virtual class delivered via Zoom, so I am teaching coffee without serving coffee. This is a challenge for me, but I had plenty of practice during my regular university coffee classes last year.

Best news: the $85 fee for BSU Senior College pays for one course or many. So if you sign up for my coffee class, you can choose from dozens of other courses with no additional fee. Because each course lasts only 4-8 sessions and there are no exams, some people sign up for quite a few.

Lagniappe: My favorite librarian is returning to Senior College by popular demand look for Pamela Hayes-Bohanan's course Free Speech, Banned Books and Censorship, offered Wednesday evenings beginning November 3.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Sodade: Cape Verde Is Migration


Cidade Velha: Detail from the Grand Panorama at New Bedford Whaling Museum

I was very pleased to be invited by friends and colleagues at Framingham State University to be one of ten presenters in The Age of Migration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, a summer content institute for teachers. 

My modest contribution to this course is a presentation Sodade: Cape Verde Is Migration, which I will be sharing with eight in-service teachers on Monday morning, July 19. Soon afterwards, I will update this post to make available a recording of my presentation. 

As visitors to this blog will see, such links usually include links to my own slides, which in turn connect to other online resources. In this case, I will also be providing links to slides that have been prepared by other colleagues and a BSU Honors student.