Globally Networked Learning shines during pandemic
In an increasingly interconnected world, Glendon faculty members and students are able to cooperate and connect on a global scale. Building on its early success, the Globally Networked Learning (GNL) project is encouraging faculty members to incorporate a transnational and intercultural activity into their courses.
GNL refers to an approach to teaching and learning that enables students and faculty members based in different locations worldwide to participate in knowledge-making processes. The partnerships are supported by widely available online communication and information technologies. Currently, with classes being delivered remotely due to public health and travel restrictions, GNL projects also let students learn how to collaborate via online platforms, similar to the way geographically distanced colleagues work together in an international organization.
“GNL was a great opportunity to meet like-minded faculty members,” said Charles-Antoine Rouyer, a course director for Glendon College’s Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies. “It was like a mini-conference, with a focused hands-on deliverable, in this case collaborating on an online workshop on health and well-being.” Rouyer collaborated with faculty from universities in Costa Rica and the United States to fine tune the Costa Rican’s workshop, part of a series being offered by the Hemispheric Universities Consortium (thehuc.org). He gave students in his Communication, Health and Environment course the opportunity to participate in the workshop and do the related assignments for extra credit.
“GNL provided an additional course activity for some students in my course, very valuable as a learning experience, especially in times of remote synchronous teaching,” said Rouyer. “It is a way as an instructor to get to know these students better and help them in their learning journey.”
“It’s an excellent alternative to exchange programs,” said Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, an associate professor of French studies at the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who initiated York’s involvement with GNL in 2015 with an Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) grant to explore how to scale and institutionalize this approach to internationalizing the curriculum. “It’s a new alternative pedagogical approach enabled by digitally networked technology.”
Eight York courses being offered during the 2020-21 academic year, including Rouyer’s, have already been chosen as pilot projects – four on the Glendon campus- and others will also have a chance to take part.
Professor Scheffel-Dunand believes it gives students a competitive advantage.
“Students want those experiences because they interest employers,” she said. “Research has indicated that students with international mobility experiences and a global mindset are more attractive to employers and are more successful in their career development in the long term.”
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