COIL Case Study: Lebanon and the US, and collaborative courses on human rights

 
 

This is a featured case study of one of 25 case studies from a report by the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Institute.

 

Faculty members from the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) collaborated to offer interactive learning experiences for students in the two courses focusing on human rights (What are Human Rights/Human Rights for Whom) that were offered at each institution. The courses were taught in the Spring of 2012 over a period of eleven weeks.

The courses were taught independently at each location and consisted of frequent virtual connections between the two classes via Skype and FaceTime. Faculty noted that the two classes connected as one classroom approximately every other week, with connections becoming increasingly frequent as the semester progressed amongst students outside of class time. Interactions were primarily conducted in English. While Arabic is the primary language for students at the American University of Beirut, they are also fluent in English.

Faculty reported that the collaboration was in general a success and has been very worthwhile. Faculty helped to foster intercultural awareness by administering intercultural awareness surveys before and after their virtual collaborations. Prior to collaboration, faculty also asked students to jointly establish guidelines for student interactions. Assessments were conducted independently as AUB and UNCG have varying grading systems and expectations, which makes developing joint assessments more challenging.

AUB provided support for the instructors to travel to each other’s class, which faculty reported as being incredibly helpful. Over the course of this collaborative endeavour, faculty experienced a few technical problems, including slow internet speeds and bandwidth issues. However, faculty noted that students were able to work around those issues by using alternatives such as text-based chatting.

In their implementation report, faculty noted that one of the greatest pedagogical challenges involved cultural and institutional expectations. The issue revolved around expectations of deadlines as the semesters among the two institutions were not aligned. While the final presentation was the last assignment for UNCG students before completing the course, the course would run for one more month following the presentations for AUB students. Thus, faculty recommends that for future iterations, more discussions with students regarding deadlines and responsibilities in collaboration would be helpful.

 

For further details about this case study - and to find many other practical examples - see the full report here: COIL Institute for Globally Networked Learning in the Humanities: Course Development and Implementation Case Study. Collaborative Online International Learning Institute.

The following is a list of the case studies that are included in the report:

  1. Australia – USA: Film & Screening
  2. Australia – USA: History & Anthropology
  3. Australia – USA: Theater & Voice
  4. Belize – USA: English Literature & Composition
  5. Canada – USA: Political Science & Youth Culture
  6. Croatia – USA: Rhetoric & Composition
  7. Ecuador - USA: Environmental Studies
  8. Germany – USA: World Science Fiction
  9. Ghana – USA: Film & Media Studies
  10. Ghana – USA: Introduction to Global Citizenship
  11. India – USA: Missed Connections: Anatomy of a Failed GLC
  12. Japan – USA: Global Studies and English as a Foreign Language
  13. Japan – USA: Japanese Language & Culture
  14. Japan – USA: Sociology-Global Youth Culture
  15. Lebanon – USA: Human Rights
  16. Mexico – USA: Women’s Studies & Political Science
  17. Netherlands – USA: Intercultural Studies
  18. Romania – UK – USA: Political Science & Public Administration
  19. Russia – USA: Women and Gender Studies & Linguistics
  20. Russia – USA: History
  21. Russia – USA: Intercultural Communications & Foreign Languages
  22. South Africa – Denmark – USA: Music
  23. South Korea – USA: Technical Writing & Communication
  24. Spain – USA: Spanish & English, Languages & Cultures
  25. Turkey – USA: Economics
 
Teresa Kramarz