Online Learning: Using Discussion Boards

Discussion Boards can be a useful way to simulate classroom discussion, to elicit opinions and analysis, to have students build upon each other’s ideas, or to create or extend a sense of classroom community.   Whether you use a Learning Management System or social media as your platform, preparing the conversations can enhance the quality of the discussion.  Creating the assignment might include thinking about Before the discussion, Setting up a discussion, During the discussion, and After the discussion

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Early Ireland Elections – Feb 8

Elections due in 2021 and considered for spring 2020 will now be held this February 8, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced today

What are the domestic and foreign policy stakes of Ireland’s elections?

Seemless border at risk? on the left, County Armagh, NI, UK; on the right, County Louth, Republic of Ireland (Google Maps)

2020 Elections in Ireland (from Foreign Policy Assn’s

Leo Varadkar‘s Fine Gael party has led the government for nine years. It has come under domestic pressure on issues like housing, health care, and the divergent paths of the economy in different regions. Ireland’s larger question is on the Brexit negotiations and managing the new border between it and the UK.

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Parties and Power Volatility

October 23, 2018

Historically frequent changes in party control of White House, Congress to continue?

In addition to the many imminent questions about the U.S. elections Tuesday, November 6, is a more historical one of continuity and volatility. The back-and-forth changes of party control in Congress and the White House seen during the past decade are unlike anything in the last hundred years.

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Russia’s Elections – A View from Siberia

A Spanish diplomat and I joined nearly 600 other international observers, deployed all across Russia, for the March 18 presidential elections. The two of us flew several hours east overnight from Moscow, and then with a local driver and interpreter met voters and elections officials in frozen central Eurasia. Here’s some of what we saw.

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The Other Palestine

In October 2017, I traveled throughout the West Bank with the American Federation for Ramallah Palestine.   A few of my reflections were published in the Times of Israel (in English and in Arabic).

In traditional souks we met the sellers of spices and vegetables of every kind, as well as iPhones and Haagen-Dazs….

Beyond the spice shops and restaurants and holy sites, though, this is also Occupied Palestine….  I saw things that reminded me of the difficulties in Banja Luka, Tijuana, and Kirkuk. A new art gallery illustrates decades of resistance to occupation, and I anticipated decades more. But the graffiti on the Palestinian side of The Wall – peace doves, Trump satire, pizza ads – chronicles desperate, ironic, yet hopeful Palestinians. It was fascinating to me that many of the Palestinians I met were not pessimistic.

Instead, they told me to look at Northern Ireland, South Africa, the Berlin Wall….

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A woman prays at the tomb of Sarah. (JQuirk)
The Wall, in Bethlehem (JQuirk)
Olive harvest near Nablus (JQuirk)
Ad for pizza place in Bethlehem (JQuirk)
Pottery in Nusf Jabeel (JQuirk)