Global Understandings

Full Course Title: 
Global Understandings
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
128: TR 8:00-9:15AM
Fall 2017
Global Issues

This course will be linked with three universities located in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, and Thailand. The course will provide students with multiple perspectives on these cultures and with the opportunity to experience direct interaction with their peers at sister institutions.  This comparative study and engagement will allow students to move from an undifferentiated concept of the other to a sophisticated understanding of the many, many others who are different from them.

The course is divided into three five-week modules, with each centering on a different country. Within those modules, ASU students will engage with students in other countries on topics that fall into four broadly-defined areas: college life and education, family life and cultural traditions, stereotypes and prejudices, and religion and the meaning of life. The course is designed so that topics become progressively more challenging inter-culturally as students gain familiarity with each other and with the PRC, ROC, Thailand, and the U.S.

Our readings and course materials will be drawn from carefully selected readings in the umbrella field of communication across the cultural divide, and from our own fields of study. The pedagogical practices and assignments for the course will place an emphasis on engagement with ideas and people, individual and group reflection and opportunities for creative synthesis.


Ray Miller, professor in Dance Studies and Theatre Arts at Appalachian State University, has directed and choreographed 150 productions including, The Fantasticks, The ExoneratedMetamorphosesAssassins and Chicago.  He served as President for the Congress on Research in Dance.  Among his recent publications is a chapter, “Tappin’ Jazz Lines,” for Jazz Dance:  A History of the Roots and Branches and “Dance Dramaturgy” for The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater and a chapter in New Essays on Canadian Theatre on the use of dance in the plays of Canadian playwright, Daniel MacIvor.   Currently, he is collaborating with folk singer, Doris Bazzini, who is contributing music to a play Dr. Miller wrote on the tragic killing of students on the Kent State campus in 1970. In the spring, he will be directing and choreographing the world premier of a play by South African playwright, Muthal Naidoo, called Flight from the Mahabarathah.  


Dr. Miller is one of the original architects for this course on Global Understanding in which the students connect through video conferencing and various social media with their student counterparts at universities in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.  D. Miller is happy to be teach this course in which the students themselves engage in intercultural communication with other students from around the world.  In addition to this course, he also teaches courses in dance history, musical theatre and theatre.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Rick Klima

QEP Global Learning