Illuminate your learning with OWU’s unique Travel-Learning Courses

Spend a semester in the classroom learning about a topic of interest and then hit the road for a related travel experience. Led by your professors, Travel-Learning Courses link academic theory with real-world experience to bring learning to life in invaluable and unforgettable ways.

Course descriptions below include instructors, dates & locations of travel, and estimated student costs. Application links are listed below under each course description.

2020 May Travel-Learning Courses

have been postponed until May 2021.

Spring 2020

ENG 300.6 / REL 300.6 -- Islam in Britain

Travel Component: England
May 13-25, 2020

Student Cost: $2,100

This course will explore the experiences of the nearly three million Muslims who live in contemporary Britain through the lenses of religion and literature. During the semester we will trace a series of issues that are religious, literary, and -- where the two converge -- cultural. We will address some of the salient issues that Muslim Britons navigate, including conflicting ideas of tradition and modernity, negotiating gender roles and norms as promoted by religion and cultural expectations, sexuality, and critiques of Islam from within the community. Students will learn about the role of Muslim writers in Britain’s rich literary tradition as they read about the religious and cultural complexities of belonging to a visible minority, religion, and cultures that have often faced hostility in Britain.

After graduation we will travel to multiple cities in the United Kingdom, including Oxford and London, to experience some of the places and ideas we’ve read about. We will visit a range of mosques in different communities that represent different orientations, and take walking tours of historically Muslim neighborhoods. We will see museum exhibits on Islamic art and history, visit restaurants featuring cuisines from around the Muslim world, and seek out literary readings, theatre, dance, comedy, and other cultural productions.

Capabilities Statement: Students will be expected to walk moderate distances, including during walking tours, through museums, and through airports. Students will be expected to carry their own luggage. Students with disabilities are encouraged to reach out to the trip leaders to see if accommodations can be made.

MUS 300.6 - Music in Community Engagement: Southern Louisiana

MARCH 6-14, 2020

Student Cost: $1,200

Taught by professor Nancy Gamso, students will learn about, engage with, and experience the rich history and continuing vital practice of music existing at the center of community building in Southern Louisiana. Student-musicians will learn to play the traditional music of Louisiana and function as a working ensemble to perform there and conduct community outreach in Delaware. Students will travel during spring break and connect with Musicians’ Village and the Ellis Marsalis Center, the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra, and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, among others.

Capabilities statement: Travel for this course will require extensive walking, mostly in an urban setting. The class will use public transportation in the form of buses and streetcars. Students will need to carry their own luggage and musical instruments. The swamp boat tour will bring travelers in close but safe proximity with wildlife including alligators, snakes, and mosquitoes.

ART 492 – Exhibition History and Practice

Travel Component: England May 18-25, 2020
Student Cost: $2,700

Taught by Erin Fletcher, director of OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum, students will learn to identify currents in museum history and contemporary debates about its role in society, as well as cultivate the skills and experience necessary to develop exhibits. The course will challenge students to consider museums and exhibitions in relationship to social, political, economic, historical, and educational contexts. The class will travel to Oxford and London in the United Kingdom visiting sites including the world’s first university museum, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the first national “public” museum in Britain, the British Museum.

Capabilities Statement: Students will be expected to walk significant distances on a daily basis throughout the majority of the trip. Each student must be able to carry their own luggage, including up and down stairs when necessary. Students must be capable of maintaining their personal hygiene; bringing/managing/taking prescribed medications as scheduled in order to maintain their mental and physical health; and demonstrate the ability to consistently follow schedules, timelines, and directions as necessary for the progression of the trip. All students will be required to put the needs of the group above their needs as an individual except in the case of an emergency. Students with disabilities, both visible and invisible, are encouraged to reach out to the trip leaders in advance to see if accommodations can be made.

BOMI 355 – Plant Responses to Global Change

Travel Component: Alaska May 12-23, 2010
Student Cost: $1,500

Plant Responses to Global Change is an upper-level biology course focused on plant physiological ecology. The course is organized around four major global environmental changes: increases in atmospheric CO2, increases in temperature, increases in nitrogen deposition, and changes in precipitation patterns. We will explore how plants and ecosystems interact with these changes and the implications of these interactions for plant growth and survival, global biogeochemical cycles, and the future of the biosphere. We will also discuss the scientific instruments, experimental designs, field sampling, and statistical/modeling approaches used in physiological ecology studies that have a global change context. The boreal/tundra region of Alaska, which has experienced the most dramatic warming of any location on the globe, will be used as a case study to explore these topics more deeply. We will also consider human influences on boreal/tundra areas and think about how environmental policy, resource extraction, and consumption choices of people influence this environment. The class will travel to Alaska after graduation in May 2020 for 10 to 13 days depending on flight availability. In Alaska, students will explore the natural landscape to review plants and ecosystem characteristics discussed in class, visit research sites, and talk with scientists, national park staff and conservationists working in one of the most beautiful and wild areas of the United States.

Pre-requisites: BIOL 122 or BOMI 233, plus one additional course in the biological sciences, or permission of the instructor.

Capabilities Statement: Travel for this course may involve prolonged strenuous hiking on steep and/or uneven terrain (e.g., moss tussock, wetland, talus field, moraine, glacier ice). Participants should be capable of hiking up to 5 miles in difficult terrain with a 20 lb pack. Hiking boots and a high quality rain jacket are required for the trip.

FREN 351 – Introduction to the Literatures and Cultures of the French-Speaking World

Travel Component: France May 26- June 4, 2020
Est. Student Cost: $1,900

In this course, we will engage with literature and culture in the broad sense of the terms as we consider various media, including an array of literary genres as well as films, paintings, and music. Our goal is to investigate the history of the concept of francophonie; we will therefore consider France, the French colonial project, and the evolution of the francophone world across various historical and cultural moments from the 19th to the 21st centuries.

Capabilities Statement: This course is designed with both content and skills in mind. It will introduce students to cultural documents that illustrate France’s imperial project, the development of francophonie, and a host of political, cultural, and economic issues associated with postcolonial studies. In addition, through discussion, a midterm exam, oral presentations, and short research / reflection papers, students will develop close reading, critical thinking, research, advanced writing, and public presentation skills

PG 280 – Environmental Politics and Policy

Travel Component: Utah & Colorado May 28-June 6, 2020
Student Cost: $1,700

In this course, students will examine environmental politics and policies in the United States and internationally, including the environment as a part of American political development, theories of environmental politics, environmental policymaking, and national and international environmental policy challenges. PG280 will be offered in both the fall and spring, and all students are eligible to travel. The class will visit the Upper Colorado Basin in Utah and Colorado, including a four-day river-rafting trip through Dinosaur National Monument, meetings with water management officials up the Yampa River, and a western water law conference at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Capabilities Statement: Students will be in a high desert climate and also at high altitudes during the trip. Students should be prepared for many changes in altitude and climate. Whitewater rafting is very safe, and we will be traveling with one of the best outfitters in the United States. Participants will get wet, will be doing strenuous hiking, and will have a choice of active paddle boating or sitting in a guided raft (all rafts have professional, licensed guides) as we go through Echo Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

SJ 110 and EDUC 115 – The March Continues: The Current Fight for Justice and Equality

Travel Component: Alabama & Mississippi March 7-14, 2020
Student Cost: $500

Experiential travel component for SJ 110 and EDUC 115. During this travel learning experience, we will visit several sites in Alabama and Mississippi along the National Civil Rights Trail where many of the events of the Civil Rights era took place during the 1960s. The experiential nature of this travel course with its multiple museum visits, explorations, and observations will add a sense of what it was to "be there"... to stand on the Edmond Pettus Bridge or to stand in the place where children were killed outside a Birmingham church – transforming our your understanding from an awareness of a timeline of events to a personal, meaningful understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. This personalized learning experience will provide the foundation to understand current-day social activism and social movements.

Capabilities & Prerequisites: The group will be engaged in walking tours of museums and historical sites, so students should be prepared to stand for long periods. Every attempt will be made to address individual student needs.

Completion of SJ 110: Introduction to Social Justice and completion of or enrollment in EDUC 115: Teaching for Equity and Social Justice.

SOAN 294 – Societies and Cultures of the Middle East

Dr. Alper Yalçinkaya
Travel Component: Istanbul, Turkey May 12-20, 2020
Student Cost: $1,800

This is a broad survey course about the societies and cultures of the Middle East. In addition to offering a basic historical background, the course focuses on many aspects of social and cultural life in Middle Eastern countries, covering topics like gender and sexuality, youth, urbanization, popular culture, religion, poverty and wealth, and social movements. Understanding the diversity of the societies of the Middle East, and analyzing the social and cultural transformations that have been taking place in the region are the main objectives.

The travel component of the course is a 10-day trip to Istanbul, Turkey. As one of the great cities of the world, Istanbul has usually been seen as the city where the East meets the West. But in many ways, it is a city that challenges these simplistic distinctions, and our trip is intended to show how both the history and the contemporary complexity of the city defies such labels. In addition to visiting sites with historical and cultural significance like palaces, mosques, churches and museums, we will meet with young activists and learn about their efforts in areas like environmental justice, gender and sexuality, immigrant and refugee rights, education, and animal rights.

Capabilities Statement: Students need to be able to walk and stand for extended periods (including long walking tours, and walking between activities), carry their luggage on and off public transportation. Some of the buildings we will visit are not accessible, and not all buildings will have elevators.

SPAN 226 – Spanish Immersion and Walking the Camino de Santiago

Dr. Eva Paris-Huesca
Travel Component: Spain May 12-31, 2020
Student Cost: $1,900

Taught by professor Eva Paris-Huesca, students will immerse themselves in Spanish culture by exploring its history, art, culture, language, and gastronomy, as well as completing a portion of the Camino de Santiago (Saint James’ Way). During the walk, students will stop in different locations to carry out academic activities that reflect the traditions of each place. Taught entirely in Spanish, this OWU Travel-Learning Course will help students with their Spanish speaking, reading, and listening skills as well as their cultural awareness. The class will travel to Galicia, Spain, from May 12-31, 2020.

ZOOL 345 – Marine Biology: Combining Mathematical and Field Approaches

Travel Component: Belize March 7-15, 2020

Student Cost: $1,900

Marine biology is the study of life in the ocean. In this course, we will study the physical properties of oceans, productivity and energy flow, plant and animal diversity, and human impacts on marine systems. We will also explore and discuss how mathematical models of biological phenomena can be used to improve our understanding of marine ecosystems. Over spring break we will travel to Belize where we will explore major habitats including, mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs. All students will conduct an independent research project that will combine a mathematical modeling approach with data collection from the field. The course includes both a lecture and lab section, in addition to the required week of travel over spring break.

Capabilities & Prerequisites: The trip to the Glovers Reef Field Station in Belize involves air travel plus a 3 hour each way trip in a small boat across the open ocean to the island where Glovers Reef Research Station is located. Once there, we will be living in shared cabins. We will have 24/7 power but limited to no access to Wi-Fi while on the island. We will have access to showers, running water, and composting toilets. The conditions are equivalent to a rustic biological field station. Most importantly, students must be very comfortable in the water as students will be snorkeling 4-5 hours per day. No previous snorkeling experience is required but students will be expected to provide their own mask, snorkel and fins. Opportunities for SCUBA will be available for students who are SCUBA certified. All certifications, dive insurance, and dive equipment besides tanks and weight belts are the responsibility of the student. Please contact Dr. Amy Downing ( with any questions.

Pre-requisites: BIOL 122 and MATH 110.