NOTE: These assignments have been taken from a wide variety of courses - all of these require group work, some type of community engagement, and the creation of some sort of deliverable (a development plan, legal brief, portfolio, podcast, participate in a moot court, etc.). Almost always community members came into class either in person or through video conference.
Mass Incarceration: Create a portfolio on a specific topic in criminal justice located in Tucson, Arizona. Requires students to interview community members and participate in activities such as ride-alongs, attending court proceedings, meeting with gang members.
Economic Development, Training, and Conflict Resolution in South Sudan: Groups of students were required to create development plans for South Sudan on such topics as women's rights, human rights education, sustainable development, trauma and memory. These plans were meant to assist the Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development in their programming of activities in the country.
Moot Immigration Court: Students are required to fill out an I-589 or I-918 form seeking asylum or withholding of removal. Students must make up the facts of the case, but should rely on precedents from immigration courts. Students must compile subjective evidence documenting persecution, torture, or being the victim of a crime, as well as objective country conditions based upon authoritative reports. Students then take on the roles of applicants, attorneys, or judges in moot courts. NOTE: I have done this assignment with in-person and online classes.
Borderlands Podcasts: Pairs of students were required to conduct interviews with borderlands stakeholders on an issue of their mutual interest. Their interviewee were selected and recruited in consultation with the instructor who assisted in drafting questions to be asked. Students edited the interview into a podcast (25-30 minutes) and made it available to the class with questions for discussion. All students were be required to provide commentary on podcasts made by other students through our class discussion board. The creators of the podcast then responded to these commentaries in a thoughtful way. NOTE: this was a fully online class.
Agenda Setting and the Femicides in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: This assignment required individual students to first compile rough drafts of memoranda on how to return the femicides to the national or transnational agendas (policy, media, or activist). Students were then required to comment on each others' memos and then revise their own. NOTE: this was for a fully online class.
Criminalization of HIV Moot Courts: Groups of students were required to compile legal briefs based upon cutting-edge cases on the criminalization of HIV transmissions. Students read previous cases, statutes, law review articles, scholarly articles, and other sources. They were also able to chat with Robert Suttle of the SERO Project through video conference. For the moot court students took on the roles of plaintiff, defendant, expert witnesses, or attorneys. NOTE: this complex and pretty advanced assignment was done in a 100-level class with over 200 students! Thanks to my TAs for successfully working with the students in their sections on this.
HIV/AIDS Prevention among the Warias in Indonesia: Not a PBL without Borders assignment, but a nice example of a short assignment that requires students to read several sources, think about an actual situation on the ground, and synthesize the new material with previous course material.
Authenticity and Testimony: Another short PBL assignment. This requires students in HNRS 217, Human Rights Voices to consider the importance of factual accuracy in testimony and whether a testimony can be authentic without being factually accurate. Students addressed these questions through the famous narrative of an escapee from North Korea and through the controversies around I, Rigoberto Menchu.
Doing Global Justice: Critical Development Plans for Sub-Saharan African Countries: This extensive assignment sheet walked students through the creation of a development plan for selected African countries. It included the motivation for wanting to help, exposure to traditional development narratives, critiques of such development strategies, and brainstorming for transformational development strategies. Students read a large amount of material much of which they found on their own in order to complete the assignment.
Children's Rights and Political Ideologies: An odd PBL assignment for an intro political theory course that required students to research children's rights issues in an African country and then analyze it through the lens of several different ideologies such as liberalism, Marxism, and postmodernism. NOTE: this was for a fully online class.