Teaching

Effective teaching is critical to my goal of communicating the diversity of the human experience. I am always striving to be a better teacher, and I welcome feedback from students and colleagues on how to improve my curricula and/or teaching style.

Here are some syllabi for courses I have taught at Seoul National University. This is not a comprehensive list, but includes the most recent versions of courses.

Undergraduate

I have taught Archaeological Methods and Theory several times. In this course, I have students critique academic papers from Korean archaeology. The overall goal of the course is to improve students’ writing and critical thinking skills.  ArchMethTheory_Syllabus

I frequently teach SNU’s World Civilizations course, which many other universities would call World Prehistory. In this course, I expose students to a range of archaeological cultures from around the world and get them to reflect on aspects of the global experience as it pertains to the archaeological record of Korea. The course emphasizes global knowledge and developing critical thinking skills. 2013_Spring_WorldCivs_Syllabus

How humans engage with physical environments is one of the most important aspects of archaeology today. In this course, I take a laboratory approach to teaching students archaeometric tools and get the students to fill in worksheets and design their own archaeological projects around specific parameters. This class emphasizes written communication and critical thinking skills. 2013_Fall_EnvArch_Syllabus2

The scientific consensus is clear: Humans are changing the ecological balance on the planet and such changes threaten the sustainability of the web of life as we know it. When and how these changes began is the subject of robust debate, and resolving the timeframe and impacts of human settlement is one of the most important matters facing future generations. To understand how we got to the “Anthropocene” is the first step to adapting to it. This class takes the long view studying human-induced landscape changes. Students prepare weekly assignments according to geographic and topical themes. anthropocene_syllabus2

Understanding human origins is one of the most complex undertakings for any anthropologist. The subject matter is very detailed and can be obtuse for undergraduates who have not been previously exposed to the material. My teaching of the subject matter emphasizes identifying commonalities and differences between ourselves and other members of the animal kingdom. Where is the evidence for our biological and technological evolution found? In my upper-level class, I get students to engage directly with the subject matter by having them find articles and information about the week’s topic and debate the issues in class. This course emphasizes oral presentation and critical thinking skills. ArchaeologyHumanEvolution2014_Syllabus. I also teach a general education (Humanities-credit) class called “The Origins of Human Culture” that is more lecture-oriented. This course connects the biological and cultural facets of our evolution from our shared mammalian ancestors asking the question, “How are we similar to and different from other animals?” The class is designed to challenge students to think about their role in the greater global context, both socially and environmentally. Origins of Culture_Syllabus

Most non-American students have little familiarity with the diversity of the archaeological record of North America. This class was taught as a combined undergraduate/graduate (post-graduate)-level seminar and emphasized different phases of Native American settlement of North America. The class was designed to teach content and improve students’ critical thinking skills. NAI Syllabus

Probably the most challenging and rewarding course of my teaching career was co-taught with my wife, Kristina Dziedzic Wright in Kenya in 2012. This was a 3-week study abroad program sponsored by the Office of International Affairs and students were taught three general course themes: (1) African Landscapes and Human Evolution, (2) Development Studies of Africa, and (3) Art and Culture of East Africa. The course was mostly conducted in Nairobi, but we also went to western Kenya. Pictures from the program can be found here, and you can look at the attached syllabus. SNU KISP_Syllabus_FINALpdf

Graduate (Post-Graduate)

I teach geoarchaeology to graduate (post-graduate) students getting them to approach and discuss topics in the geosciences through published, peer-reviewed research. We also take field trips to archaeological sites and rural areas around Seoul. I try to teach them to look at “source to sink” processes and identify how climate, geomorphology and human agency combine to create, preserve and sometimes destroy archaeological sites. I keep a provisional website of the course online prior to transferring the student discussions to SNU’s eTL. Geoarchaeology2014_Syllabus

I teach two Geographical Information Systems (GIS) courses. The first course is designed to teach students basic skills using ArcGIS software. The second course in the module is more advanced spatial statistics, used to hone students’ skills in using GIS. These courses are designed to incorporate the students’ Masters or PhD research in their final projects. I hope that students will use the head start they received in my GIS courses to develop more advanced spatial concepts in the final theses projects.  GIS_Syllabus GIS2_Syllabus

I have taught a class in African archaeology at SNU. The course begins with the earliest phases of human evolution and concludes with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The course is designed to get graduate (post-graduate) students to critically engage published literature. I teach another class in the Archaeology of Human Evolution, which is likewise structured to get students thinking critically. I recognize that very few of my students are specifically interested in the topic of African archaeology or human evolution, so the course is designed to enhance skills necessary once an advanced degree is earned. African Archaeology Syllabus ArchaeologyHumanEvolution_Syllabus2

Writing is the most important basic task for any graduate (post-graduate) student. However, most students are not taught basic academic writing skills before they enter their advanced professional degrees. Grammar and syntax aside, the structure of academic writing is completely different than other media and students need to learn the ins and outs of academic writing. This class is designed to use archaeology as the medium for teaching academic writing skills. Students are expected to produce a product that is of sufficient quality for submission in an international, peer-reviewed journal. writingarchaeology_syllabus2

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