Question 53

53. If your team included an international programs person, please discuss their reflections on supporting a globally networked course. How different was their role compared to other international partnerships or courses they have facilitated in the past?

The person involved from the International Division is no longer part of the fellowship.  There are no reflections from her.  

For VU once the platform had been decided upon, it was clear that the input of the instructional designer from UTEP was invaluable, as he had used the platform previously. However, in terms of organizing the type of forums, and catering for private and public areas on the site, this was largely conceptualized by the teaching staff. His invaluable contributions of site-specific graphics for the collaboration was inspirational.

We do not have an international programs person. Jayne Peaslee, however, served in this ad hoc role, and was helpful with arranging meetings and addressing roadblocks (for example with enrolling international students in Blackboard).

While there was initial consultation with international programs at each institution, there was no direct involvement in the course.

This course was my first experience in an international online teaching. Before I had just research international experience. 

What was new for me in this course:

  1. Using of new technical capabilities - carrying out of videoconferences, a hard work in our joint  blog, access to electronic articles, lectures ,presentations of my international partner, an exchange of opinions , significant assistance from Ann Pearlman in blog creation and support.
  2. Bigger debatable potential of the course - a lot of themes were actively discussed in the blog, on videoconferences (our usual reading courses include more lectures)
  3. Acquaintance with teaching experience of my international partner - Barbara LeSavoy (PSA, recommended articles, textbooks) and also with education system structure in Brockport College.
  4. Acquaintance with cultural teacher/student’s experience in the context of the course.

This is the first time the Office of Global and International Strategies has partnered with faculty to support a globally networked course. We are in the process of learning how to better support such efforts. We see challenges but there are also lots of potential to expand learning across cultures in creative ways so we are eager to see how far ahead we can enable this in Mason.

In this project I viewed my role as supporting the faculty and instructional designer so they could run the course. It was the first time we have run a globally networked course, so I cannot compare it to facilitating a globally networked course, but in comparison to facilitating a study abroad course, it was far easier and less stressful . . . no worries about flight delays or student behavior overseas. At the same time, I believe that students in this course may have had a more intercultural experience than many students do on a faculty-led study abroad course in that they had to work with students from another country on a shared project, making the experience more similar to a semester abroad program. At the same time, because of the experience and dedication of the faculty and instructional designers, and the support of our institution (provost, department chair), I did not have to do much, other than provide some financial support for travel. 

RAMA: A quite different role - the international staff and academic staff need to work closer together than in most regular courses, which makes it interesting and more time consuming in terms of coordination.

NCCU: The international programs staff person, Emmanuel Ortisejafor, had to be involved in planning and implementation in a more hands on way - especially in the beginning.  Additionally, Dr. Oritseajafor traveled to the trainings in NYC, and the International Jazz School in South Africa.  It was important that he had experience as a faculty member to allow his input during our planning of course outcomes, and this experience is recommended for international programs designees in a course of this scope.

UNISA: We did not appoint an international programs person although we interacted with Dr Ortisejafor during our International Jazz School.

ULPGC: The major difference between this course and a more traditional one (F2F and within the same class) was of course to deal with academic and geographical diversity (meaning: time zone, assessment, LMS, student’s attendance and requirements).

The IP office has not been involved in any sort of class appearances before other than for informational purposes. Their future involvement would depend on what we specifically request of them and from my informal conversations they would be willing to support the effort if it is within their skill set.