Global Issues: Austria & Czech Republic/Preface

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"Global Issues: Austria & Czech Republic" is a course at Webster University (enrollment 22,000), an independent, international university whose home campus is located in St. Louis, Missouri (USA). Its unique format involves a combination of online learning, a week-long trip to Japan, and the integration of student research and first-hand observations into this collaboratively authored WikiBook.

The course is interdisciplinary: it is cross listed in several graduate and undergraduate academic programs in International Relations and International Studies.

What are "Global Issues: Austria & Czech Republic"?[edit | edit source]

"Global" issues are commonly defined as those issues that (1) transcend and cross national or political boundaries and (2) which impact the welfare of humans and other life forms on earth as well as the earth itself. The United Nations organizes global issues on its agenda according 50 categories. They include:

Global Issues on the United Nations Agenda
(List cited from:

  • Africa
  • Agriculture
  • AIDS
  • Atomic Energy
  • Children
  • Climate Change
  • Culture
  • Decolonization
  • Demining
  • Development Cooperation
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Disarmament
  • Drugs & Crime
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Family
  • Food
  • Governance
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Human Settlements
  • Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance
  • Indigenous People
  • Information Communications Technology
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Finance
  • Iraq
  • Labour
  • International Law
  • Oceans and the Law of the Sea
  • Least Developed Countries
  • The Millennium UN General Assembly - The Goals
  • Question of Palestine
  • Peace & Security
  • Population
  • Refugees
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Development
  • Outer Space
  • Statistics
  • Sustainable Development
  • Terrorism
  • Trade & Development
  • Volunteerism
  • Water
  • Women
  • Youth

This course offers an initial exploration into some of the issues listed above as it relates to Austria & the Czech Republic. This exploration will involve a variety of data sources, including:

(1) reading and research in traditional academic, such as readings in books, journal articles and other published documents; (2) tracking current and emergent news media, internet and broadcast (television and radio) sources; (3) multimedia and video resources; (4) first hand visits, observations and seminars at pertinent locations in the region. The learning methodology employed for this course is constructivist and collaborative. The constructivist pedagogy is a philosophy of learning in which learners build their knowledge on the basis of authentic (real-world) experiences and dialogue, debate, or collaboration with others. (Brown and King, 2000) The effectiveness of the constructivist pedagogy versus objectivist pedagogies has been debated for centuries. However, current theory and research in learning indicate that all learning involves a self-constructing process. (Bransford, et al., 2000; Poole, 2000; Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1994)

References[edit | edit source]

Bransford, J. et al. (2000). How people learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Available at:

Brown, S. W. and King, F. B. (2000) Constructivist Pedagogy and How We Learn: Educational Psychology Meets International Studies, International Studies Perspectives, 1, (3, December) 245-253

Poole, D. M. (2000) An Email Activity: Preservice Teachers’ Perception of Authenticity. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 8, (1) 13–28.

Scardamalia, M., and C. Bereiter (1994) Computer Support for Knowledge-Building Communities. Journal of the Learning Sciences 3, (3):265–283.