As part of Gannon University’s commitment to globalized learning, the history and environmental science departments will be offering Collaborative Online International Learning (C.O.I.L.) courses this fall.
Gannon professors are working in conjunction with Gannon’s sister university, the American University of Madaba in Jordan.
Kathleen Kingston, Ph.D., and associate provost, heads the C.O.I.L. program and delegated Gannon faculty members in their respective departments for each course. She believes this is a good opportunity for students who don’t get the opportunity to travel.
“We are being very intentional about globalizing the University from bottom to top,” Kingston said. “We believe that the academic programs and the curriculum are at the core of Gannon’s mission.”
“We know that not all students are able to travel internationally and so courses in which students are able to collaborate with students and faculty from around the world bring valuable international experience to their Gannon education.”
The coordination of classes hasn’t started yet, because Madaba’s semester begins after Gannon’s fall break, but the teachers are looking forward to begin the joint learning. Carolyn Baugh, Ph.D., is teaching an honors History Without Borders course with Hadan Madanat, Ph.D. who teaches at Madaba.
Baugh said she had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Madanat over the summer. It allowed them to decide what direction the course would take and what technology they would use.
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (C.E.T.L.) trained Madanat and Baugh in Adobe Connect as they worked together during the summer. The course will connect from each classroom using this program by watching lectures in real time and will have the ability to add documents and commentary electronically.
Baugh said her class will be more participation-focused than lecture based. She said she hopes students will enjoy learning about their counterparts at Madaba University by sharing “day in the life” videos and comparing notes on interviews with refugees.
Her students will work on the Erie Voices project with local refugees, while Madanat’s class will focus on the oral history of Bosnian refugees.
Hwidong Kim, Ph. D., is instructing a similarly designed course in environmental issues. Working with Assal Haddad, Ph.D., the professors decided to focus on 10 environmental topics, including global warming and energy solutions.
“We were able to share ideas and topics and hope to teach each other,” Kim said. “It was not easy to plan content relevant to Jordanian students, because America is so different.”
“We’re a more developed country and don’t run into the same kind of problems that they do. We don’t have to worry about our water quality here, for example.”
While the C.O.I.L. program is brand new, Kingston said Gannon intends to continue expanding it. This summer, she said she hopes to delegate additional faculty who will be working with faculty members in places like India, Germany and Sweden to develop additional C.O.I.L. courses.
Gannon is striving to offer international experience to its students through its academic programs. Besides the C.O.I.L. classes, there are semester exchanges with other universities and faculty-led travel courses that last for two to three weeks.
Gannon also recently received a grant to aid in developing an international curriculum. Kingston said she hopes to see more courses using the C.O.I.L. model over the next several years.
This article by Kelsey Ghering originally appeared in The Gannon Knight on Oct. 1, 2014.