Globalizing the Classroom: Innovative Approach to National and International Learning

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 512
Oral Presentation
Sarah HERNANDEZ , Division of Social Sciences, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL
Enzo COLOMBO , Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan, Milano, Italy
Harriett ROMO , University of Texas San Antonio
Rodney COATS , Miami Univeristy
Patricia BELL , Oklahoma State University
Carol PAVLISH , University of California Los Angeles
Matias MARGULIS , International Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, Canada
This essay examines an innovative approach to teaching globalization and assesses a course on Globalization, Social Justice and Human Rights co-taught collaboratively by faculty from different campuses and countries since 2009. This course was created to address unmet needs in the traditional higher educational systems; the lack of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration among students, faculty, and institutions to examine recent forms of globalization. Whereas economies, polities, environments, and human societies are experiencing great connections across the globe, the educational system continues to be modeled on Nineteenth century assumptions and structures. Faculty teach at their respective universities but use an on-line platform to allow for cross-campus communication. In addition to the classroom rooted in a physical place, a major component of student work is to interact on-line with students on other campuses, including undertaking collaborative group work across borders. A shared core syllabus can be modified by institution to satisfy local needs. We examine the following: the logistics of this course; the obstacles and possibilities in its implementation, including the use of technology; the role of language and communication, and; mechanisms for adapting faculty participants’ needs to local curricular guidelines. We also address the benefits of the course for students, such as exposure to a greater diversity of worldviews and pedagogical approaches; the development of teamwork skills, including developing a flexible mind frame; accepting and accommodating diverse educational needs/approaches, and; promoting interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. We also assess the challenges for faculty in designing and managing a course on different time zones and academic calendars, facilitating transnational group service learning projects, and the greater time demands required to coordinate and monitor students’ online interactions. Our objective is to contribute to improving and innovating approaches to teaching globalization.