By Jake Weber
International communication and collaboration translate to exciting new courses for economics and management professor Vicki Baker, English professor Nels Christensen, and their students. Baker and Christensen are two of eleven professors piloting an international program within the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).
This coming spring, each will integrate one course with an instructor in Europe or the Middle East, offering students the chance to study and learn together while living half a world apart. Videoconferencing, social media, cloud sites and other technology make their international interaction nearly as easy as sitting together in the same classroom.
Baker (right) will pair her Human Resources Management class with an international management class at the American College of Greece in Athens. She and her colleague will include three joint projects in each class, with the result that students will spend approximately one-third of each course doing teamwork with students from the other school.
Baker noted that the collaboration – and, in particular, their unit on managing international and virtual work teams – brings an additional professional aspect into the classroom. "In the business world today, the reality is that our students will work with colleagues in different buildings, in different countries, people they'll never see at the office face to face. The more exposure they get to this world, the better they'll do in the long run."
Christensen (right) will connect his environmental literature course, Terrorists and Treehuggers, with a writing course taught by Rima Rantisi at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. The pair plan to have students complete shared writing assignments and hold discussions of shared texts and activities. "We will be asking and considering questions about environmentalism and what it looks like to be an environmental radical," said Christensen. "Our basic goal is to share our cultural understandings as a way of learning about how different people in the world think about these important issues."
The Global Course Connections Project (GCC) is one of several initiatives of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, a multinational higher education alliance coordinated by the GLCA. Albion College is one of the founding member institutions of the Global Liberal Arts Alliance.