Question 44

44. What would most help nurture the development of globally networked learning at your institutions?

At NU it would be university wide willingness to support expansion that is proposed which I believe would be agreeable to them.  

Griffith: An ongoing group to share development ideas and to discuss solutions to specific challenges.

Connections to more international partners.

(FROM CCC FACULTY): Probably an independently wealthy person appearing and offering to bankroll it.  Barring that, some kind of ongoing attempt to educate our institution’s financial and mid-level administrators (i.e., advising staff, accounting staff, dean support staff) about the importance of developing online technologies to support international collaborations. Certainly, funding is a huge stumbling block. Declining state support of its public educational institutions of higher education has placed many colleges in the position of instituting extreme austerity measures. We’re about to start cutting into the bone, so perhaps a COIL project in performing arts is viewed as a luxury by those who do not have an appreciation of the value of performing arts as a discipline.

In addition to Mary’s comments I think that there needs to be a shift in the idea that performing arts courses  cannot be globally networked. Since embarking on this journey I have discovered many new avenues of eliciting responses to learning outcome, particularly in the posting of audio responses. I have also found that being globally networked is an important strategy for the new institution that I am working for. Colleagues are finding ways to post content on-line and I have a friend who is working on a project to enable holographic technology in the classroom, so that institutional partners could literally be ‘virtually’ in the room with the international partner - that’s exciting stuff for people teaching about presence!  However, before any of that happens there needs to be an open discussion about what is possible and a willingness to let go of traditional learning systems in favour of more user friendly systems.

CCC: I’d like to find a way to shepherd interested faculty into partnerships more deliberately and with clearly articulated support. Perhaps an annual budget for COIL-related release-time and a regularized means of granting it might be helpful.

UB: Developing an international programs office or committee and offering other faculty members the opportunity to engage in COIL workshops and conferences.

Financial incentive and course release for planning and implementation.

Institutionally, ESC is moving forward with globally networked learning initiatives; however, Gupta-Carlson anticipates that her role in these endeavors will become more active, post-tenure. Her commitment to completing final revisions for a forthcoming book, development of a second book manuscript in 2013-14, and supervision of her courses as ESC transitions its LMS from Angel to Moodle are taking priority for the next 2-3 years.

We think the key to nurturing GNLEs at RIT would be for upper management to include such courses as a “normal” mode of teaching and learning at the Institute. Online and blended courses are already achieved that status, and the “flipped classroom model” is not far behind. We think the same could/should happen with GNLEs.

Training, course release time, and monetary incentives, plus support in arranging the technology and connections with other institutions.

Clarke: Active promotion by myself and Dr. Cargile Cook among our immediate colleagues and administrators. 

Vanderbeke: A greater flexibility of universities concerning semester schedules. My students agreed to start almost a month earlier than the official start of the semester - and my university did not present any problems. I was informed by Bruce Clarke that no similar flexibility would be possible at his university, and so his group started alone at their usual time and the collaborative work already ended when the semester closed in America and ours would still go one for two more months.

A new perception: globally networked learning has to be perceived as something that is a skill set for a liberal arts education and as non-threatening at the administrative, dare I say budgetary level.

I would say that this requires an approach on two fronts. As long as internationalization and the development of global networks are seen as priorities of the upper echelons of the universities, such courses will receive attention and if not financial support outside of instructor salaries, at least administrative backing. Also, it is important for the faculty and instructional technology development side to push the envelope concerning what such courses have to offer, making them more appealing to students. Both the upper echelons and faculty need to have room to “play”, or in other words, to experiment with courses to see what works and what doesn’t.

It may also be a good idea to initiate transparent, meaningful reward structures, particularly for tenure-track faculty. Otherwise, some people may not see the merits of developing and offering such a course.

To get teaching load reduction for campaigning this globally networked learning within and outside the campus. 

1) A SUNY COIL approved and developed training course and materials that we could use and customize as needed to offer to interested faculty at SJSU.

2) A SUNY COIL affordable membership website that provided a global, web based faculty matching service for those interested at SJSU.

At AUB a classroom with appropriate technology for globally networked learning would increase the development of these type of courses.  At UNCG increased funding for face-to-face meetings in support of networked courses would help.

Funding.  Faculty will want course releases, travel funds, and a student assistant.

This COIL work is rich in possibility, but demanding in time and resources  given other  full time work responsibilities. A funding formula to support teaching innovations like COIL would help see such  future projects forward in a strategic and sustainable way.

Developing globally networked learning requires strong partnerships (internal and external), our institution will benefit from COIL’s community of practice as a resource to move globally networked learning forward. Ideas on securing funding to help faculty build more effective partners and building sustainable globally networked courses would be ideal as well.

I (Irina) taught two videoconference courses with GMU in 2012. In my experience one of the most important things for the success of the course (apart from the technical side of it) is the human factor: two partners have to be able to work with one another, understand one another's ideas and agree on basic things. No amount of assistance (which is necessary, of course) can help if there is no such mutual understanding. I think that in that sense Prof Barnes and I were lucky - we could work together well.

I (Steve) would like to second Irina’s comment here. She and I had never met before we started on this venture. I was put in touch with her by her department chair, whom I had met with at HSE in Moscow in 2010. In many respects, we were just lucky to find that we were very compatible in our approaches to teaching, our thinking about the course subject matter, and the like. The entire course would probably go quite poorly indeed if the two faculty members were not so well-matched. I think we also benefited from the fact that this was a new course for both of us. As such, we developed it together in its entirety rather than trying to take a course one of us had already developed and fit the other faculty member and student body into the confines of something that already existed.

Continued financial and administrative support would be most helpful to the development of globally networked learning at SUNY Geneseo. In terms of financial support, faculty would need to attend conferences and workshops that center on cross-cultural courses, co-teaching, and online technologies. Additional, as I responded in #36, I believe we would need additional technology to enhance the flow of the course and, in turn, the learning experiences of the students. In terms of administrative support, we would continue to need approval to work with smaller than typical class sizes due. As a result, adjunct instructors might be necessary to cover the number of students we typically serve in a given semester, especially since we have a very large student to faculty ratio. 

We, at MSU, need to develop procedures for incorporating these courses in the regular curriculum and make them available for students from different departments. But there is clear understanding of the importance of such international technology-based initiatives.

Investment in technical support and infrastructure to support global learning.  Better internet connectivity. 

At TTU, the interest and desire to collaborate globally are present; the time is more challenging as the course we used is not regularly taught by full-time faculty. Finding a way to integrate graduate-part-time instructors into the mix may be the key to continued success.

Financial support

ULPGC: If we could have our framework agreement signed by our partner, this would open the way for further collaboration as this would allow us to apply for financial, technical and administrative help at our home institution.

Given the amount of time and effort involved it would be helpful to provide some extra compensation. This could be monetary or non-monetary (extra time for example).