About the Global Classroom
The Global Classroom reaches across countries and technologies to look at the role of trade and its impact on non-economic issues such as environment, culture, labor and human rights, and other concerns. It combines the use of new technologies with some new ideas on these issues. The Global Classrooms uses videos and interactive web pages to meet students' educational needs, as students can learn about crucial issues and become familiar with web-based programming and information technology. Using multimedia and web technology, the Global Classroom represents an innovative educational tool that enhances traditional modes of teaching, research, and the dissemination of information. In addition, it makes learning possible in any region of the world where a student has access to a television, cd-rom and streaming video, a computer, and an Internet connection for email and the Web.
The Global Classroom began at American University in the spring of 1997 under the direction of Prof. James R. Lee. Other academic institutions throughout the world participate in the course by using a comprehensive database called Trade Environment Database (TED), which has produced more than 600 case studies that examine the intersection of trade and environment and other critical issues. As an on-line resource TED is used widely by students, researchers, and ordinary people. The site receives over two million "hits" per year and has become a widely used Web resource. Some case studies from TED have received Web awards, some have been linked to online newspapers such as the Christian Science Monitor, and some have been reprinted in foreign media (such as the Nation, a Thai newspaper). Some of the case studies have won awards form educational institutions for their excellence. TED has lead to a second inventory of about 80 cases called the Inventory for Conflict and Environment (ICE).
These case studies form a critical part of the Global Classroom because they are the major product outputs from the students in the class. Because of the innovative combination of technology and research, the class has become the forerunner in distance learning efforts in general and especially at American University. It has expanded from merely posting occasional papers on the Web to a virtual conference with panels and discussants and a common Web space to communicate or discuss ideas. From there, the class has added other elements of distance learning, including a video series of programs and a weekly email newsletter sent to students in the class (the Weekly Broadcast and the Weekly News).
Recent institutional collaboration in the Global Classroom include:
¨ Higher Education Learning Project, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
¨ American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
¨ International University of Finance, Kiev, Ukraine (via the World Bank)
¨ Upsalla University, Sweden
¨ Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan
¨ Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan
¨ Seikei University, Tokyo, Japan
¨ University of Maryland Law School, Baltimore, Maryland
B. PROJECT APPROACH
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES:
Global Classroom is an interactive medium of cross discipline efforts to examine
the impact of globalization of peoples and people. It looks across disciplines,
boundaries, media and other "virtual" barriers to provide integrated
information and research. The Global Classroom is a tool for the related but
different projects that examine the nexus between the issues such as trade,
environment, culture, conflicts, and development. The objective of creating
a Global Classroom is rooted in three convictions:
1. Access to learning and knowledge should be available to the students at any place in the world that has an access to the internet technology;
2. The information revolution and web technology can be a positive force for the young generations in the developing world;
3. Effective participation of students from communities and nations where human conditions such as culture, rights, environment, are affected by trade and globalization should interactively identify means that can improve humanity.
DESIGN AND THEMES:
Together the students of Global Classroom can participate in the lectures,
discussions, workshops, media training, and computer lab classes in accordance
with the following themes:
¨ Knowledge sharing and capacity building as a means of international development cooperation;
¨ The blue print for meeting the challenges of globalization can be achieved through a common platform of shared material, dialogue, and problem solving tools that are easier to access and navigate through an internet portal;
¨ Exploring the gaps of globalization through four critical periods in human history to show the disconnect that has occurred in the natural relationship between trade, environment and culture. Today's critical choices will determine how institutions respond to the disconnect, a growing problem of social anomie, and whether it is possible to reverse the unraveling of our social context.
¨ A case study for the Trade and Environment Database (TED)
¨ HTML/ Web programming techniques
¨ Class lecture on trade, environment and culture
¨ Guest presentations by experts from institutions such as the World Bank, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Commerce Department, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative and other private and public institutions.
BENEFITS FOR THE STUDENTS IN THE GLOBAL CLASSROOM:
¨ Meet educational needs of the students from both North and South, by
tailoring programs, videos and course content
¨ Participate in cross-cultural communication
¨ Building capacity for educational institutions in developing countries by increasing their course offerings
¨ Develop expertise in cutting edge technology and distance learning
¨ Receive academic credits from American University and other academic institutions under collaboration in the program.
C. HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
There are several levels of participation that correspond to the depth of institutional linkages among the participants.
Level 1: Observer: The Global Classroom materials are available on the Web and are free to examine. Anyone can sign up for and participate in the Virtual conferences that occur twice a year. Signing up for announcements is free.
Level 2: Subscriber/Purchaser: Participants can subscribe the Weekly Broadcast and the Weekly News. They can also purchase some of the class supporting materials such as the video tapes and the book.
Level 3: Prospector: To work together often implies getting to know one another and getting resources to make that possible. This can mean some experimental programs that allow some limited number of students and faculty to work together on a temporary basis. This also means working together on fund-raising proposals to support later activities that build from the experimental efforts.
Level 4: Home Credit Partner: AT this level, there is agreement that students taking a course from the Global Classroom will receive credit for this course work form their home institution. However, tuition and accreditation remains an internal issues and the class is delivered on a contract basis.
Level 5: Global Credit Partner: This would require the signing of some type of dual degree program with American University where tuition and credits are transparent among a number of institutions. Such credit transfer exists through a number of ways already: through dual-degree programs, World Capitals programs and special bilateral arrangements.
D. PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
1. Outreach: The project is now seeking a network of institutions ( Global
Classroom Network) that focuses on issues of globalization and the use of web
and distance learning. The outreach period begins in the Summer before the academic
year starts in Fall.
2. Classroom: The Global Classroom will be offered in both Fall and Spring semester and each semester takes 4 months.
3. Global Conference: The Global Classroom conference will be organized once a year in Summer to provide a brainstorming opportunity for the representatives of network institutions and fellow educators to discuss the program design, class materials, focal issues and new case studies. The students of outstanding performance in the class will be supported to attend the conference to provide students' perspectives and feedback on the project.
4. Peers reviews: The project will organize occasional peers' reviews at American University by inviting like-minded educators and students to brainstorm on the project approaches and teaching methodology. The reviews are also intended to assist other educators to be able to start similar projects in their respective fields.
5. Evaluation: The students' evaluations for the Classroom will be conducted at the end of semester. The media assistant will conduct monthly web-statistical analysis to monitor the audience base. The teaching assistant will conduct ocassional surveys among peer groups to receive the feedback.
The Global Classroom Project can be evaluated three ways.
1. Class Evaluation: It is the standard academic evaluation required by the American University at the end of class period when the students are asked to provide feedback on teaching methodology, class materials, the instructor's performance, and any alternative ways to improve the organization of the class.
2. Peers Review: The Global Classroom is also intended to assist other educators to use web technology and case studies to effectively design their teaching methodology. Part of this outreach program will also seek to collect peer review on the Classroom project. The Classroom also seeks collaboration with international organizations that can also monitor the progress of the project independetly.
3. Web Statistics: The Global Classroom project can be accessible through web,
therefore, a monthly compilation of web statistics can provide a fairly accurate
demographic data of access and use of Classroom project.