Question 55

55. Was it worth it? Do you feel it would be significantly easier to implement and support another iteration of the same course again? How about developing a new course with a different partner faculty member and/or institution?

Most definitely worth it, and yes, much of what we learned in creating this course could cross over into another subject or institution to make the process less complicated the second time. 

There is no question that what we delivered was an exciting, exceptionally engaging and rewarding course. Our students are continuing to develop the work that they began within the course. Burton believes that what we designed and implemented took full advantage of the ability to transcend physical space, and thus created a unique opportunity for the participants.

Most definitely! For both students and staff, the collaboration enhanced cultural flows across borders. The course; Imagining Nations, Imagining Regions: The Making of Cultural Diversity in Australia and on the U.S.-Mexico Border, ran smoothly during the UTEP fall semester and the VU semester 2. The delivery was well coordinated and well received by the student cohort. What is important to note here is that any new iteration of the same course will render different results largely as the student cohort brings with it a different set of interests and personalities and thus changes the nature of each iteration. This unexpected quality gives this form of collaborative teaching its dynamism.

We believe that such collaboration has limitless possibilities and a different faculty member would also bring a new sensibility, just as a different/additional institution would. Therefore these types of collaborations are staff , student and site specific. 

Yes, it was worth it, which is why we’re doing it again and looking forward to a third collaboration next academic year. I wouldn’t say our current collaboration feels any easier, but that may be because we’re building what seems to me like a more extensive collaboration with many more students. I do believe we’re getting better at this! Prof. Guerra and I have discussed the possibility of new partnerships. We’re both interested in welcoming our colleagues to globally networked learning.

Starenko thinks that it will be much easier to support another iteration of the course because no class-to-class synchronous online communication will be used.

Yes. It opened up a fascinating space of possibility and involved me in teaching processes and experiences I would never have imagined were possible before, and which I came to value  Of course, it would be far easier to replicate this sort of course if it were confined within national borders. The international component vastly increased the technical difficulty of the exercise, but solutions are now in hand for most if not all of those problems. International networking places the bar much higher, but fortunately, at least in our circumstances, we could rely on the superb English preparation of our foreign partners. In line with Dirk’s situation, graduate seminars are not usually “iterated,” or if so, only after several years’ lapse. I could be persuaded to iterate the form of the course with Dirk, although with with different content, as well as with a new partner in a new institution. But it would take the emergence of a particular situation, of the scholarly desirability of a new collaboration, to bring it to fruition. The difference is that I now know that such a thing is possible at all.

Yes, it certainly was. I very much enjoyed it, and I had the feeling that my students also did. It will not be possible to teach this course again soon - it could be repeated in five or six semesters but not earlier. I would also consider developing or simply teaching a course with a partner from another faculty or institution, but then a major part of my enthusiasm for the project was founded in the collaboration with Bruce whom I have known for some years. I assume that co-teaching requires a personal effort that is based on mutual understanding and sympathy, and I expect that problems can arise easily between partners who do not know each other to some degree.

It would be significantly easier to implement and support another iteration of the same course, yet we know that this will not happen. Partner faculty at Ashesi has left and the schools are already working on other projects outside the purview of our course. In the end, yes, it was worth it. But institutional support needs to meet the faculty half-way. If schools aren’t going to support this kind of course, it is a waste of resources. 

The course was definitely worth it. Throughout the course, I found myself constantly thinking of ways that I could make the course better, so I think that it would be easier to implement another iteration of the course or even a slightly different one. I’m not certain how much I would enjoy developing the course with a different partner so soon. I would like to continue to work on another course with the same partners so that we can implement what we have learned about developing such courses, as well as what we have learned about working with one another. Again, I cannot sing enough praises for Junko and Matt.

Absolutely yes! At SJSU we now have the experience and confidence to move this very powerful COIL pedagogy forward to many other interested faculty and departments. Thank you very much SUNY COIL program and Jon Rubin and John Fowler in particular! 

It was a long, hard slog, but we think that we have a winning formula.

Yes, our COIL work was incredibly worthwhile. There is no question that it would be much easier to run the same course again using lessons learned. However, it is important to recognize that instructional collaboration, even  in a repeat preparation,  does require additional planning and teaching time. 

Developing a new course with a new partner would be very exciting because it offers an extraordinary opportunity to learn about Women and Gender Studies in another culture.The many positive experiences that we pulled from this COIL course underscore this conclusion.  

In developing best practices, institutional support and resources should be allocated to COIL course development and implementation. Course release time for faculty engaged in COIL work would prove fruitful in realizing successful and productive collaborations,where faculty fellows are not pulled in competing directions in efforts to meet full time work responsibilities while pioneering a COIL teaching/learning partnership.

Absolutely worth it. We already plan to teach the course again. I (Steve) am not sure about developing another new course along these lines--not because I did not get something out of it, but because I am not sure if it would fit into the range of courses I feel a need to teach. I will certainly think about it. I would particularly like teaching a graduate-level seminar in a connected classroom like this, but the logistical hurdles may be too high in that case. (For example, doing so with a Russian university would be impossible, as the nature of our graduate student body demands that all history graduate seminars are taught from 7-10pm at night--in other words starting somewhere between 3-4am in Russia.)

HSE: my other videoconference course was at postgraduate level on our side, but undergraduate on the American side. This simply did not work. A common post grad seminar in history would be really great, but obviously this cannot be done. 

From our conversations, it is evident that both faculty members strongly assert that our course was incredibly valuable to both our students and our own learning and professional development. As such, we affirm that the time and energy spent developing and delivering the course was time very well spent. 

RAMA: It was very much worth it. We have all become much wiser about how to plan and execute such a course. In addition, students and especially teachers gained an invaluable international network. And not least, new friendships.

NCCU: We concur!  The collaboration was groundbreaking for our campus, and facilitated personal and professional relationships with our South African and Danish students, faculty and staff network.  The learnings garnered from the many layers of planning, design and implementation in our COIL Course will be invaluable in our humanities coursework across our campus.  We look forward to sustaining and building more global networks in the future.

UNISA: We concur with our colleagues. The collaboration and interaction with international faculty members and students were beneficial to our growth as academics, educators and students.

Yes, most definitely

Yes, it was absolutely worth it. Considering implementing such a course in the future we may have to rethink the distribution of the tasks and the time for each of them, but we know that such a cross-border project always include a great amount of time.

It was worth it. We can certainly build another interaction of the same course but developing a new one with a different partner would not be as easy given our already established relationship.