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East Asia Beyond the Headlines: Contemporary Issues in China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea

Cities connected with lines

This 20-hour NCTA online seminar was geared for secondary current world affairs, geography, history, and social studies teachers and curriculum specialists to help educators expand and update their own knowledge of current issues in East Asia or incorporate content on East Asia into their curriculum for the first time. School librarians and administrators were also encouraged to apply. It provided content and resources for teaching about China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

In partnership with the Montana World Affairs Council Distinguished Speaker Program and webcast Connect Montana, designed especially for this seminar, together with the Mansfield Center of the University of Montana, a combination of live 2-hour sessions and asynchronous virtual content was be provided over 8-weeks. Zoom was the virtual tool and asynchronous content was be delivered on a Moodle site. The first hour of these sessions were dedicated to engaging with a scholarly expert on each of these countries and the second hour focused on classroom applications and resources for each issues and country. The remaining 12 hours were completed through the completion of online asynchronous content, activities, and competition of a final project.

This program was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center (EARC) in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington with funding from a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).

Dates and Times

This seminar ran from February 23 to April 16, 2021, with asynchronous assignments on Moodle, a final assignment due April 30 and mandatory Zoom sessions on:

Tuesday February 23, 2021 – 6:00-8:00 PM (MT)
Tuesday March 9, 2021 – 6:00-8:00 PM (MT)
Tuesday March 23, 2021 – 6:00-8:00 PM (MT)
Tuesday April 6, 2021 – 6:00-8:00 PM (MT)


Seminar Facilitators

Dr. Brian Dowdle, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Culture, and Mansfield Fellow, University of Montana, and Dr. Lauren Collins, Postdoctoral Fellow Davidson Honors College, University of Montana, lead this seminar.


  • Participants learned about East Asia from experts in the field and connect with regional colleagues and fellow educators.
  • $200 worth of materials and resources on the topics of study.
  • 20 free MT OPI Clock Hours or 20 free WA OSPI Clock Hours (for 8 hours of live virtual class attendance, and 12 hours of online coursework and completion of a final project)
  • $100 stipend for exemplary teaching materials for the classroom or teaching library. The stipend was contingent upon completing a final project, ordering East Asia related teaching materials, and filling out an online survey evaluating the seminar and providing data for NCTA national database of statistics.
  • Participants who successfully completed the seminar and all its requirements became NCTA “alumni.” Alumni receive timely communications about future professional development opportunities offered by NCTA, which may include travel opportunities.


We offered priority to Montana Teachers, but open to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska teachers on a space available basis. This program was geared towards secondary current world affairs, geography, history, and social studies teachers and curriculum specialists, but all current, in-service K-12 teachers were welcome to apply.