Candace Bailey, PhD, Professor, Music Department
Honors Faculty, Women and Gender Studies Faculty
Global Studies Faculty
North Carolina Central University
Durham, NC 27707
The Global Experience, GLST 1000, is a required course for NCCU Honors students. It prepares students to develop an economic, political and sociocultural understanding of globalization. Its overall approach to globalization is both interdisciplinary and contextual. The course situates globalization at its center to build student awareness of how it impacts everyday lives across the world. The course engages students in a variety of critical thinking strategies aimed at shaping their knowledge, skills and dispositions within an increasingly globalized world. The development of these knowledge, skills and dispositions seeks to build an understanding of the world that helps students be self-growers, problem solvers and responsible citizens. The StoryMap allows students to focus on viewpoints, differences, interconnections, values and practices in social and/or historical context. Through it, students will demonstrate a comparative understanding of how different social groups construct their diverse cultural worlds.
NCCU is an HBCU. Many of our students are first-time college students; many hail from under-resourced school systems that have not emphasized the importance of travel and the insights it allows, or even considerations of viewpoints other than their own or those of majority institutions. As a member of the first class to complete a Duke-NCCU Digital Humanities Fellowship (funded by the Mellon Foundation, hosted at Duke), I was able to learn new technologies to assist in my classroom instruction in several of my courses. Students have responded positively to these, and their favorite tool is StoryMapsJS, developed by KnightsLab at Northwestern University.
In the music history sequence, they tell me that their work with this particular tool imparts meaning and understanding that resonates far beyond the immediate test. In Global Studies, students have described it as a self-assessment tool that permits personal reassessment in unexpected ways. In the Global Studies course, students work together in groups of three or four each week or so to investigate musicians who address the course’s broad themes: population/identity/migration, culture/power/place, environment and sustainability, gender, and beliefs. They present the artists they find in the form of a video in which all members of the group tell a part of the musicians’ story.
At the end of the course, students do a personal assessment of where they were at the beginning of the course and where they are now, using the artists they found with their group as a starting point. They are asked to address the following questions in two segments. First: “What is your hope for the world right now? What is your hope for your own community? First, think about your own culture; your family’s customs, traditional foods, the holidays you celebrate. Be sure to include music that is important to your family. Next, try to become aware of people around you who have a different cultural background. You may encounter people who come from different cultures as you walk down the hallway with your classmates, or watch television, read the newspaper, or surf the Internet. Again, think about music that may be important to such people—or to you.”
Second, they should consider: “Your thought process as you worked. The reasons you chose the images. The reasons for your music selection(s). Two things you found challenging about this assignment. One thing you were surprised to learn as you worked on this project.” My findings through this course is that students learn many things about themselves and their thought processes, and they discover how their views do not always fairly assess others. This is a crucial point for students who have often been taught that they are the only cultural group who experiences prejudice. The StoryMaps project allows them to see commonalities across diverse peoples and cultures, and to re-envision paths to solutions to global issues. It does this by first allowing self-assessment in a contemporary, vibrant, and relevant platform.