Discussion Forum/ Cuba Q&A

As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to TA for several online courses through the NC State Department of History.  One of my favorite aspects of these online courses were the discussion forums, in which students and teachers could simulate discussions and debates that would usually occur in the classroom setting.
On his website, Professor Richard Slatta includes the following list of benefits of such discussions:

  1. It helps students explore a diversity of perspectives.
  2. It increases students’ awareness of and tolerance for ambiguity or complexity.
  3. It helps students recognize and investigate their assumptions.
  4. It encourages attentive, respectful listening.
  5. It develops new appreciation for continuing differences.
  6. It increases intellectual agility.
  7. It helps students become connected to a topic.
  8. It shows respect for students’ voices and experiences.
  9. It helps students learn the processes and habits of democratic discourse.
  10. It affirms students as cocreators of knowledge.
  11. It develops the capacity for the clear communication of ideas and meaning.
  12. It develops habits of collaborative learning.
  13. It increases breadth and makes students more empathic.
  14. It helps students develop skills of synthesis and integration.
  15. It leads to transformation.

Through the “katieincuba Discussion Forum”,  I hope to encourage critical thinking, get people curious, answer questions when I can and speculate elsewhere.  If you are curious about a contemporary or historical issue, this is the place to bring it up.  There are no rules, just please keep it PG and remember that I will kindly refuse to engage in political discussion.

And, go…..


4 thoughts on “Discussion Forum/ Cuba Q&A

  1. Great question, Sydney! I will certainly be able to address this in greater detail once I have spent more time on the island, but with my experience as it exists now I would say the number one difference is that Cubans are much less “plugged in” than we are here in the states. The lack of media and technology saturation in their daily lives leads to a much stronger sense of community than I have seen in urban US settings like Raleigh, Chicago, Austin or elsewhere…You may have just inspired a blog posting on this topic, actually! So I will save a more detailed response for the “life without my iPhone” post….ok, title may need work, but you get the basic idea…

  2. This is really brilliant Katie; Dr. Mitchell shared the URL with me today, and I am really excited to follow this over the next year. I really enjoyed your thoughts on travel narrative. One of my sideline reading passions is good travel writing. While Paul Theroux is obviously more ‘mainstream,’ he is also an excellent source of other writers. I currently have books lined up by Pico Iyer, who Theroux recommends highly. I am curious whether you have read any of his works. I also edited a book on Cuba which I did not buy (yet). You may be familiar with it. I look forward to your blog …

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