The Plaid Avenger is taking his curriculum to the seas this fall — literally.
According to John Boyer, his popular class, World Regions, will be taught entirely online next semester, as Boyer himself will be venturing across 16 cities in 14 different countries teaching for the independent study abroad program, Semester at Sea.
From Europe to Africa to South America, Boyer will be providing lectures to students utilizing a variety of mediums, broadcasting both from the ship and at the ports they stop in along the way.
"The major structural change is, since I’m not going to be here, then I can’t really do a live class … but still as much as possible have an interactive live element,” said Boyer. “We're going to try to do stuff live as much as possible so students can tune in and ask questions. And also record stuff everywhere we are, so that will be class material.”
Boyer plans to use the live connection to keep students in touch with the material so that aspects of the class don’t change too considerably from what they have been in the past.
“We’ll definitely keep the live office hours as well. We will have a guaranteed interactive Q&A discussion component of the course, no matter if 50 or 5000 people sign up for it,” Boyer said. “It’s going to happen no matter what, and there will be interaction no matter what. We’ll just have to go out of our way to figure out times that are best for East Coast time.”
Boyer intends for most of his lectures to coordinate with his locations. For example, his trip to Ohama Beach in northern France will hopefully coordinate with a lecture on D-Day, and it’s importance in European history. He also expects to have focused units that sync with his time in Brazil and Ghana, among other locales.
Semester at Sea (SAS), a program started by an NYU professor that is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, contacted Boyer years ago, offering him the opportunity to be a participating instructor on their academic voyage. He declined in the past, but decided that this year would be ideal to accept the offer.
“I (thought), now this is a really cool opportunity, given the advances in technology and communications,” Boyer said. “This is possible now. Ten years ago… this would be impossible.”