Expanding Global Learning Opportunities through an Online, Global Classroom

By: Dr. Martha J. Asselin, Dr. Annette Richie & Dr. Dominik Hammer

COVID may have hindered our ability to physically travel; however, through innovative online, global classroom we offered global and intercultural experiences to 120 students over two semesters in 2021. Global learning and intercultural experiences were made available to students from two universities: one in Albany, New York (a diverse research university) and the other in Munich, Germany (an internationally diverse university). This was aninnovative collaboration that included the development of a joint syllabus, with a diverse group of students from all over the work who are studying at these two universities working together to complete assignments and to meet shared learning objectives. This program is extremely cost effective, accessible and scalable; providing globaland intercultural experiences to the 90% of U.S. undergraduates who do not participate in education abroad.

This program transcends geographic boundaries in an efficient, low cost way and allows students to collaborate beyond the constraints of time and space. While the University at Albany has offered such courses in the past; Dr. Martha Asselin and Dr. Dominik Hammer team taught this particular course for the first time in spring 2021 and, again, in fall 2022 with great success.

This particular course looks at leadership and leadership theory through the lens of a dynamic case study, the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. Drawing from the expertise of the professors, the students analyze the case study throughvarious perspectives. Feedback from the experience includes: students report a heightened intercultural awareness, an enhanced understanding about the discipline from diverse perspectives, stronger intercultural communication skills from collaborating on a team that was comprised of international students, and students are better prepared and oriented to participating in education experiences abroad. Although this was not solely Hispanic focused, we did have students in the course during both semesters from Hispanic countries ( specifically: Spain, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina).