This semester OWU’s travel-learning courses will be sending students to Ghana, Bangladesh, various places in the United Kingdom, Rome, Alaska, Taiwan, Japan, Ireland, Costa Rica, Iceland and Tanzania.
Professors in the geology and geography department Karen Fryer, Ph.D. and Bart Martin, Ph.D., are teaching the course Tectonics, Volcanology and Geothermal Energy in the North Atlantic: The Geology and Energy Resources of Iceland. The course will travel to Iceland in May.
Fryer said she is glad to be teaching a travel-learning course for the first time and they are a good example of a well-rounded liberal arts experience.
“I really enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of the course,” said Fryer. “Less than half of the class are geography majors, and the students really bring the interdisciplinary aspect.”
Fryer said students are excited for the Iceland trip.
“One of the students taking the course is especially interested in languages…she will hopefully be able to teach us some Icelandic words.”
David Johnson, Ph.D., professor of botany-microbiology, and Jed Burtt, Ph.D., professor of zoology are teaching the tropical biology course.
Johnson said there are many benefits to taking a travel-learning course.
“I really do believe in the saying, ‘travel broadens the mind,” said Johnson. “I think gaining a new perspective can be very beneficial to understanding and applying what is learned in class,” said Johnson. With any(botany-microbiology or zoology)course, we would typically go to a laboratory to apply what has been learned. Traveling to Costa Rica will help students learn even more.”
Lee Fratantuono, Ph.D., associate professor of humanities-classics, will be teaching the course, “The Roman Republic”. Fratantuono said one of the greatest advantages of taking a travel-learning course is students will be able to supplement readings and assignments to actual visits.
“Students will have a chance to see some of the very sites associated with the readings they complete for the course; they will be able to walk past the same monuments as Cicero, Augustus, and Nero,” said Fratantuono.
In addition to this, students will learn life lessons.
“Having to look after yourself and others in the group is good training for life,” said Johnson. “We have some students who have never traveled out of Ohio.”
Johnson said he learns through teaching the course.
“I learn something new every time we (travel),” said Johnson.
Fryer said learning new perspectives are an important aspect of the travel-learning experience.
“(Students can learn) just by being in a place that isn’t like home and learning what it’s like to live there,” she said. “It will be interesting for students to get the Icelandic view of the U.S. and their perspective of the global economy. It’s a great way to finish off a liberal arts education.”