Expanding Global Learning Opportunities through an Online, Global Classroom
General description of the project
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 an innovative 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 global and 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 through various 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).
Using Zoom for the class sessions and other technologies (such as: Dropbox, Microsoft Teams, WhatsAp, GroupMe, etc…) students from the University at Albany (Albany, New York, USA) and Munich University of Applied Sciences (Munich, Germany) were able to connect during class and outside of class time to collaboratively work on a group project during a ten-week period.
Explain project results
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) and who provided a cultural perspective to leadership and the case study. Having a multi-diverse student body made this experience incredibly valuable and rich. This course connected students all around the world and introduced new networks for all engaged in the course.
Why it should be considered best practice?
This is not anything totally new; however, COVID brought together two teachers who might never had ventured into such an online, global experience if not for the interest of our students. Students valued this experience and expressed this course as one of “the best classes they have taken while studying at UAlbany for it broadened their perspectives and understanding about cultural awareness and understanding”.
Highlights of your proposed presentation
1. Thinking outside of the box and stepping outside of comfort zones can produce wonderful opportunities (for both educators and students).
2. While traveling the world is an incredible experience, one can gain such valuable experiences through a shared classroom delivered through online technologies.
3. COVID did not prevent us from finding creative ways to work with valued international partners to further advance our goal of internationalization.
4. This model can be readily and easily replicated with other universities across the world.
5. We wish we made use of such resources available to us sooner in our teaching careers!
The Evaluation Committee will evaluate submitted proposals based on the following criteria. Each area will be rated on a scale from 1 to 7 (1= non-satisfactory; 7 =outstanding), for a maximum of 63 points.