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International Education Online? A Report on Six Canadian Case Studies Macfadyen, Leah P. 2003

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Researching Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in International Education in Canadian Post-secondary Institutions INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION ONLINE? A REPORT ON SIX CANADIAN CASE STUDIES Prepared by:  Leah P. Macfadyen, Ph.D. February 24th 2003 The MAPLE Centre Distance Education & Technology, The University of British Columbia 1170-2329 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Tel: 604 822 9620;  Fax: 604 822 8636;  Email: leah.macfadyen@ubc.ca www.maple.ubc.ca  2Table of Contents 1  Executive Summary ..................................................................................... 3 2  Background to the Study .............................................................................. 4 2.1  The Challenge: Expanding Access to International Education......................... 4 2.2  Online International Education: Part of the Solution?................................... 5 3  Our Approach:  Investigating Canadian Online IE Projects .................................. 6 3.1  Why Use Case Studies? .......................................................................... 6 3.2  What Kind of Initiatives Did We Look For? ................................................ 7 3.3  The Search for Online International Education Initiatives .............................. 7 3.4  Steps in the Case Study Process ............................................................... 8 3.5  Topics for Investigation .......................................................................... 9 4  Results ...................................................................................................... 9 4.1  Experiential Learning via the Internet: “Virtual Law Firms” at Ryerson Uni. ..... 9 4.2  Preparing Students for Work in the Developing World: International Health at the University of British Columbia.......................................................... 17 4.3  Learning to Leap Language Barriers Online: Mount Royal College and the Consortium for Design Education ........................................................... 24 4.4  International Education for Lifelong Learners: ‘e-Learning for Business Innovation and Growth’, Newfoundland and Labrador............................... 35 4.5  Global Village of the North: University of the Arctic................................. 45 4.6  Breaking New Intellectual Ground:  Ethnomusicology at the Université de Montréal ........................................................................................... 51 5  Conclusions.............................................................................................. 56 6  Acknowledgements.................................................................................... 59 7  References ............................................................................................... 59 8  Appendix A:  Preliminary Questionnaire…………………………………………………61 9  Appendix B:  Interview Schema & Interactivity Matrix………………………………..65 International Education Online 3 1 Executive Summary While the benefits of international education are beyond question, established international education (IE) activities remain beyond the reach of most Canadian students. Can information and communication technologies (ICTs) expand access to international education in a meaningful way?  This report describes highlights of case studies of six diverse and innovative Canadian adventures with online IE:  At the University of British Columbia, the online course ‘Working in International Health’ contributes to internationalization of the curriculum and prepares students for work in the developing world.  Mount Royal College in Calgary leads an international ‘Consortium on Design Education’ online design challenge to introduce students to international and intercultural elements of design.  At Ryerson University, integration of a “Virtual Law Firms” experiential online activity gives students first-hand experience of the world of international business law.  The new ‘University of the Arctic’ makes use of ICTs to connect students from over 40 institutions in eight Arctic states. ‘Introduction to Ethnomusicology’ at the Université de Montréal demonstrates Québec’s leadership of international ICT initiatives in the Francophone world, and challenges Canadian and African students to rethink their cultural perspectives on music.  And the ‘e-Learning for Business Innovation and Growth’ project in Newfoundland and Labrador extends international learning to lifelong learners. These case study projects were deliberately selected to demonstrate diversity in disciplinary focus, size, funding, partnerships, use of technology and numbers of students participating; they have been developed in public colleges and universities, large and small, in various regions of Canada (urban and rural), in one of the official languages.  All are making innovative use of new and established ICTs to offer international and intercultural experience and learning to Canadian students. Project information was gathered from their designers and leaders, and from other teaching and administrative staff involved, using questionnaires and interviews, and by reviewing available project reports, publications, media releases and web sites. Where possible, the ICT-mediated dimensions of the IE initiative were observed ‘in action’, or in archived form. Topics investigated and presented as a learning resource in this document include: educational objectives, institutional context, evaluation process, funding/costs and sustainability, partnerships, leadership/staffing, the project development process, the student demographic, evaluating student learning, use of ICTs in the initiative instructional design, and challenges and lessons learned. We report how these exciting new projects advance internationalization priorities for Canadian students and institutions, support international and intercultural learning, offer students increased access to IE and real-world learning, and also teach a range of professional skills.  We discuss the challenges and lessons learned by developers of online IE projects, and describe important ways in which IE offices can support new ventures of this kind.  These case studies demonstrate how participation in online IE activities also offer professional development and international learning to faculty, non-teaching staff and lifelong learners.  Importantly, they exemplify the ways in which ICTs can help Canadian International Education Online 4 colleges and universities move away from old paradigms in which developed nations send their students and their ‘knowledge’ to the developing world, and instead create a new space for students and faculty to meet as equals. 2 Background to the Study 2.1 The Challenge: Expanding Access to International Education  “Enrolling a significant number of international students from all parts of the world and sending Canadian students to study abroad are important steps in developing cross-cultural awareness and international understanding, and in helping to lay the groundwork for future social, political, and economic co-operation.” Strategy #1 of Trek 2000 UBC’s Vision “We are committed to providing accessible, responsive, quality learning opportunities which prepare people to become self- sufficient contributors to social and economic development in a global context.  To fulfill its education and training mission, the public college of Newfoundland and Labrador will …enhance the capacity of the college and the Province through international initiatives.” Mission and Vision, College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador  “L'Université a inscrit l'internationalisation comme dimension prioritaire de ses activités.”      Université de Montreal, Perspectives d’avenir Speak the words “international education”, and most educators in Canada and around the world will describe for you some of the exciting and valuable study- abroad programs that their students participate in, or innovative programs that have brought international students and Canadian students together to work, study, and learn more about each other and about the world.  The benefits to individuals, institutions, communities and even nations of such ‘physical’ international education experiences are beyond question.  Indeed, so highly valued is international experience, that most Canadian educational institutions now include a commitment to internationalizing their own campuses, and to providing international education for all their students in their mission statements or visions (left). More recently, however, educators have begun to point out that mainstream ‘international education experiences’ (student exchanges, study-abroad programs, overseas summer projects) are expensive, and are often only available to wealthier and traditional full-time students at larger institutions.  Family and work responsibilities prevent or limit the involvement of many part-time and even full-time students in lengthy exchange programs.  Simple geographic location, and the financial means of both institutions and students can mean that international education experiences are not accessible to many Canadian students. International Education Online 5 If we accept the value of international education as a means to improved intercultural and international communication, knowledge, skills and understanding, and even as a vital prerequisite for success in a globalized economy and workforce, then international learning must be promoted for all students.  But how can this possibly be achieved? 2.2 Online International Education: Part of the Solution? As information and communication technologies (ICTs) proliferated through the 1990s, enthusiasts began to propose that the Internet could provide an accessible and cost-effective platform for international education (IE).  On the other hand, critics argue that the communicative limitations of Internet technologies, and the lack of ‘real life’ contact make the creation of meaningful relationships, and ‘real’ intercultural and international learning, impossible. Indeed, students and educators interviewed in Phase Two of this study “were definitely negative about the use of ICTs in IE” (Barker, 2001).  But did these interviewees have the experience to inform their responses?  In reality, the pool of respondents surveyed had considerable experience of ‘physical’ international education activities, but little or no experience with ICT-mediated IE activities.  Similarly, in our survey of ICT use in IE activities (Phase One of this study) we found that while the vast majority of international educators use email and the Worldwide Web for simple communications and information distribution, very few knew of any online international education opportunities. These educators were evenly split over whether they believed that students could improve their personal, professional and intercultural skills through participation in online activities (Macfadyen & Hawkes, 2002). Does the Internet really provide a new vehicle for international learning?  What would an online international education project look like?  Are any public Canadian colleges or universities currently offering international education activities on the Internet?  Can students really develop intercultural and international awareness and competencies by participating in internet- based international education activities? What are the features of effective internet- based intercultural education?  How can educators develop and maintain online international projects that are financially and technologically sustainable?  Is it better to develop projects alone or in international partnerships?  What are the challenges of designing, teaching and learning within online international projects? In Phase Three of this study, we set out to find answers to such questions.   We have investigated a selected set of case study projects: international courses, projects and programs developed by public Canadian institutions for their own students, that make use of ICTs in educationally innovative ways. The case studies are diverse in disciplinary focus, funding source, staffing structure and development process; they are based in a range of public post-secondary institution types (colleges and universities, large and small); they represent different regions of Canada (from Vancouver to Newfoundland to the Arctic, including both official languages), and will be of interest, we hope, to a broad spectrum of educators. International Education Online 6 Below, we showcase these case study success stories, including discussion of technology choice, instructional design, and approaches to online instruction and communication.  We will present faculty and student perspectives on their international online experiences, and advice on course development offered by these educators. These diverse case studies illustrate a multitude of ways in which public educators can make use of the limited resources available to them to promote intercultural and international learning to a broader audience of students. 3 Our Approach:  Investigating Canadian Online IE Projects 3.1 Why Use Case Studies? Case studies are increasingly accepted as viable research tools because they provide a convenient and meaningful way of capturing a time-frame specific picture of the characteristics and performance of an individual, group, or project.  Case studies also have “face-value credibility”(Bachor, 2000) – that is, they provide evidence and illustrations with which readers can readily identify, and which readers can use as models.  We carried out the selection, analysis and reporting of our case studies with reference to established models of case study methodology (Merriam, 1998; Bachor, 2000; Christie et al., 2000 and references therein) in order to produce a credible, comprehensive and useful research report of interest to a wide variety of educators. Two important points are worth mentioning here.  First, since our area of interest is specifically the creation of IE activities designed to benefit Canadian students, and in which Canadian students can participate through the Canadian public higher education system, we did not examine courses, projects or programs offered by private institutions. Nor did we investigate courses, programs or projects developed by public Canadian institutions whose target students are primarily international, or which are being offered to Canadian and/or international students as a means of generating revenue for the institution.  This necessarily narrowed our field of view, and doubtless has excluded some very good models for online international education. Second, while we have explored and considered the challenges and possibilities offered by each of the online international education initiatives described here, our intention is to showcase each initiative as an educational experience, rather than to undertake detailed critical evaluation of each.  We hope to contribute to the nascent body of knowledge on the uses of technology in international education, to identify emerging innovative practices in Canadian ICT-mediated IE activities, and to provide useful examples of lessons learned, preoccupations and problems arising from the use of ICTs in IE.  The six initiatives described in this report are intended to serve as examples of the range of online possibilities currently being explored by educators in Canada – in no way are they presented as best or only options. International Education Online 7 3.2 What Kind of Initiatives Did We Look For? We wished to investigate a set of six online IE initiatives that would be as diverse as possible, in order to demonstrate the widest possible range of educational possibilities. Below, we describe the criteria we employed to guide our search for candidate case study initiatives. International For the purposes of this study, international education (IE) activities have been defined as courses, programs or projects developed by Canadian post- secondary institutions for their undergraduate-level students (and their international counterparts).  It should be noted that this does not restrict us to IE initiatives whose primary focus is the “international experience” itself, but encompasses initiatives which may provide international experience alongside a number of other academic or non- academic learning goals.  International education here is defined by context, not content. Using ICTs in Innovative Ways For the purposes of selecting educationally interesting case studies, we sought initiatives that demonstrate one or more of the following features: • supports creative programming or subject matter design in the area of IE • offers the learner a wider range of educational possibilities than would be available within the context of a conventional program. • extends access to international educational opportunities. • expands the pedagogical and communicative uses of established and emerging technologies. Diverse We selected initiatives that are diverse in disciplinary focus, funding source, staffing structure and development process.  We sought initiatives developed in a variety of public post-secondary institution types (colleges and universities, large and small), and we developed in various regions of Canada, both urban and rural, including projects in both official languages.  Other criteria which maximized case study diversity included: project funding source(s) (central/grant-funded/fee-paying), institutional collaboration(s) (if any), and numbers of students participating. 3.3 The Search for Online International Education Initiatives A significant observation that emerged from the Phase One Survey of ICT use in IE activities in Canadian institutions is that development of discipline-specific IE programs is ‘decentralized’ (Macfadyen & Hawkes, 2002).  Although institutions generally voice commitments to IE, as well as to integration of ICTs into instruction on their campuses, innovative uses of ICTs in IE actually occur largely at the program or course level, and at the initiative of enthusiastic and creative faculty and staff who are ‘early adopters’ of the new technologies available.  This means that in many cases, central administrative offices, and even central administrative offices of International Education, are unaware of IE International Education Online 8 initiatives occurring elsewhere in their institutions.  Perhaps it is not surprising, then, that it was difficult for us to discover information about existing online IE initiatives.  There is no central database or listing of such projects, and as yet only a few such initiatives have been described in the literature. In order to discover innovative IE projects, programs and courses employing ICTs in Canadian Institutions we therefore employed a diffuse and diversified search strategy.  First, we corresponded with selected respondents to the Phase One Survey who had indicated knowledge of online IE initiatives.  We surveyed selected print and electronic journals in the field of international education, instructional media and learning technologies.  We reviewed listings of projects funded by or promoted by private and public agencies supporting IE ventures for Canadian students.  We also solicited recommendations about innovative IE courses and programs from the CBIE and other project partners and advisors.  While this search was not exhaustive, we feel that it allowed us to unearth a sufficiently diverse range of successful high quality online IE initiatives for further study. 3.4 Steps in the Case Study Process In order to develop a comprehensive case study of each chosen initiative, we gathered information from its designers and leaders, and from other teaching and administrative staff involved, using a range of approaches.  We began by reviewing information available on the internet and provided by program coordinators, as well as scanning the literature for external reports, newspaper articles, or research studies describing the chosen initiative.  Before meeting in person, we asked appropriate faculty and/or staff to complete a preliminary questionnaire (paper or electronic) (Appendix A) about the basic features of the IE initiative, its educational goals and outcomes.  Where possible, in- person interviews with individuals or groups of project staff were arranged.  Although each interview differed in structure, the interview process was guided in each case by a thematically arranged questionnaire tool (Appendix B) that built on the descriptive information provided by the questionnaire, and ensured that the same topic areas were covered in each case.  Most interviews were recorded using a hand-held Sony digital mini-disc recorder.  In two instances (Amanda Graham, Yukon College; Dr. Dale Foster, Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador), interviews were carried out by telephone and recorded on audio-tape. In three instances, interviews were carried out via video-conference (John King and Theresa Pittman, College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador; Dr. Monique Desroches, Université de Montréal) and recorded on video-tape. (Permission was obtained to record each interview.)  All interviews were then transcribed and (where necessary) translated into English. Prior to the completion of this report, all interviewees had the opportunity to verify the accuracy of the case study description and request corrections as necessary.  Finally, and where possible, we observed the ICT-mediated dimensions of the IE initiative ‘in action’, or in archived form, in order to gain a better appreciation of its features. International Education Online 9 3.5 Topics for Investigation A significant thematic area of our investigation was that of the potential for “International and Intercultural Learning” offered by each of the case study IE initiatives, in the hope that these case studies can contribute to the larger study by refining our understanding of IE competencies (skills, knowledge and abilities) that students can acquire by participating in ICT-mediated IE activities. Where possible, we asked faculty and staff to consider the composite list of “International and ICT Competencies” developed in Phase Two of this study (Barker, 2001) and indicate whether they felt that their students could acquire any or all of these skills by participation in their online IE initiative.  In other cases, spontaneous reporting on student learning by faculty and staff was later compared to this checklist to assess its relevance for online IE activities. In addition, we investigated a range of features of each IE initiative, as can be seen in more detail in the interview tool (Appendix B).  Topics for investigation included:  Educational Objectives  Institutional Context  Evaluation Process  Funding/Costs and Sustainability  Partnerships  Leadership/Staffing  The Project Development Process  Student Demographic  Evaluating Student Learning  Use of ICTs in the Initiative  Instructional Design  Challenges and Lessons Learned 4 Results 4.1 Experiential Learning via the Internet: “Virtual Law Firms” at Ryerson University Professor Mary Jo Nicholson, Professor of Law and International Business Law in the Faculty of Business (School of Business Management) at Ryerson University in Toronto, is a lone innovator in her faculty. Her “Virtual Law Firms” project is a superb example of how even a self- confessed technophobe can use ICTs to integrate valuable international learning experience into an existing course at minimal cost to either the students or the institution.  Even better, by incorporating this online international activity into an already accredited course, this approach avoids the inter-institutional accreditation challenges described by other educators in this study (see, for example, the University of British Columbia project, below). Prof. Nicholson describes that, like many academics, she was for a long time skeptical about what seemed to be the latest educational fad: “experiential learning”.  She explains:  “….I used to actually get up in my classes and say, ‘Well guys you know, we’re not going to sing songs in this class or hold hands. We’re not going to play fun little games.  If that’s what you want, take yourself off and take some other course because in this course you will actually have to read, write, and think.’" International Education Online 10 Project: “Virtual Law Firms” Type: Optional activity within a credit-level undergraduate course ‘Legal Aspects of International Business’ Institution: Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario (www.ryerson.ca) Leader: Professor Mary Jo Nicholson Strategy: Participate in an existing and centrally coordinated international online simulation activity. Partners:  Association GlobalView and multiple international institutions URL: www.globalview.org Funding:    None required It has become increasingly apparent to professionals in the business and academic worlds, however, that knowledge alone is not enough to equip graduates for the global economy, and that Business Education must, to stay viable, “emphasize desirable competencies to equip graduates for a dramatically changing business environment” (Nicholson, 2002).  Purely domestic business no longer exists, and today’s world requires ‘soft skills’ that will ensure effective and appropriate interactions with people from other cultures: the ability to adjust to new environments, work in multicultural teams, and communication effectively across cultures. Some authors have promoted co-ops, internships and practicums (Evers et al., 1998) and study abroad or exchange programs (Knight, 1996) as ideal ways of providing experiential and intercultural exposure to students. Prof. Nicholson realized, however, that these are “expensive for the university to provide, and usually available only to part of the student body, either those with high academic standing, or deep pockets” (Nicholson, 2002). Instead, she decided that imaginative and creative use of technology as a tool for improved learning (rather than simply as a medium for the delivery of content) might make competency-based experiential education available to many more of her students.  Experiential learning – virtual or face-to-face – has the capacity to transform ‘information’ into knowledge as students “apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate concepts, principles, practices and methods” (Sell, 1996). Theory into practice: Experiential learning using an online business simulation A common worry about both experiential learning activities and online learning is that their introduction will weaken traditional higher education and prevent students from developing personal reservoirs of information for future use. And indeed, while the ‘knowledge retention’ approach to teaching business law clearly does not equip business students with the experience of applying theory and making informed decisions in this dynamic and evolving field, a ‘wholly experiential’ approach would not provide students with enough precise legal information. Professor Nicholson therefore sought an experiential model that would both give International Education Online 11 experience in the ‘real world’ of international business. At the same time, she had to contend with the challenges that her institution faces as a relatively new university. Ryerson struggles with a catch-22 challenge related to its transitional status: without significant graduate and research programs, it is difficult for this growing institution to attract funding for research chairs and research – the very money required to establish research and graduate programs. Nevertheless, Prof. Nicholson speaks highly of her institution’s support for use of educational technologies, even in the face of serious under-funding. Association Global View Homepage In 1999, Prof. Nicholson encountered Dennis Schlais of California State University at Chico, who since 1996 had been developing “Association Global View” (AGV, www.globalview.org): a nonprofit association working to administer and develop online programs with an international, collaborative approach to student learning (Schlais & Davis, 1999). Now based on the campus of Dr. Schlais’ home university, AGV employs only two full-time staff, and aims to build links between universities, sponsors and the business community. So far, this grass-roots organization has developed online simulations and tools for disciplines such as Business, Art, Literature, Political Science, Broadcasting and Law.  Each new project is created and improved upon through collaboration with participating professors from institutions around the world. Because AGV is a central unit in a network of universities, there are virtually no political or administrative barriers to prohibit the participation of new institutions. But how does the AGV simulation work? In AGV’s Advanced Business Simulation, teams of 3-6 students at participating institutions open and operate a ‘Firm’ in the Global View world: an online platform that currently utilizes WebCT communication tools. Firms start from the ground level, and must determine asset structure and financial needs, and handle all business functions including management of information systems, accounting, finance, marketing, management and production operations. Weekly Online “World Newspaper” International Education Online 12 They must respond to ever-changing economic and political developments, as reported by a specially created weekly newspaper that reports on ‘simulated world events’. Three simulated years take place per semester, and firms are expected to enter quarterly returns every week consisting of contracts entered, sales force hired, production forecasts and quality control budgets. Firms must be active globally throughout the entire week, buying, selling, negotiating and partnering with other international firms. Weekly Stock Quotes Listing At the regular participation rate, institutions pay AGV a fee of approximately $60 US per student to participate – or roughly the equivalent of a student textbook.  In exchange, AGV provides what Prof. Nicholson describes as the ‘lynchpin’ of the simulation: staff who effectively communicate with students and faculty to explain how the simulation works and solve problems as they arise, and who design, upgrade and maintain the simulations. Detailed guidelines on trade and behaviour delineate the ‘rules of the game’, and govern how contracts are made, and which kinds of behavior are unacceptable either ‘professionally’ or interpersonally, and the penalties in each case. Prof. Nicholson realized that these virtual firms, buying and selling product around the globe, must regularly encounter difficulties relating to business law, and run into the same kinds of disagreements and conflict that real firms experience when doing business internationally.  “How”, she wondered out loud to Dr. Schlais, “did they resolve these legal issues?” Dr. Schlais agreed that such incidents did frequently arise, and non-legal staff at AGV simply made (non-expert) decisions on each case. Instead, Prof. Nicholson proposed – and AGV accepted – that her students of international business law would join the business simulation as “Virtual Law Firms” that would provide legal advice and dispute settlement services to virtual businesses located around the world.  Even better, since Ryerson’s students actually add value to the AGV simulation, they participate at no cost. International Education Online 13 Virtual Law Firms Entry Page How are Ryerson students integrated into the simulation? Prof. Nicholson integrates students from her ‘Legal Aspects of International Business’ course into the AGV business simulations by offering them the option of forming “Virtual Law Firms” instead of preparing a conventional written research paper as the major term assignment for this course.  As legal issues arise in the business simulation, AGV administrators pass them to Prof. Nicholson, who then assigns each of the disputing parties a “Ryerson Law Firm”.  The student-run law firms then have the responsibility for contacting their clients via email, chat or telephone to take instructions, with the goal of providing a satisfactory solution to the problem for their client as quickly as possible (and results are reflected in the business’s weekly reports). The two law firms acting for clients in a dispute negotiate with each other to reach settlement.  If a settlement cannot be reached, a third law firm is appointed as a “commercial arbitration tribunal” – and as often as possible, commercial arbitrations are heard during class time, so that all students hear arguments presented and arbitrator’s decisions. So far, students have handled legal issues such as assessing the validity of a contract, determining the honesty of a public offering situation, assessing the legal consequences of a clerical error made by a ‘virtual’ securities regulator, a stock issue, and a shareholder’s rights dispute, as well as the problem of an abusive client. Students copy Prof. Nicholson on all communications with their clients, so she is able to both monitor their activities and assess their progress/performance.  They are graded on their performance – that is, ‘their demonstrated ability to respond in a timely appropriate and accurate fashion…which involves responding quickly [to clients], sending appropriate written communication…and the legal advice has to be accurate’.  Grading is absolutely not based on reaching ‘successful solutions’ to what are often complex and challenging problems. She is quick to note that the simulation is offered in addition to the full-time lecture course, and that all students must still attend class, take the final exam and stay on top of course content.  She adds, “they still need to know that content…there’s no substitute”.  Prof. Nicholson agrees that in some ways this makes the course load heavier for some of her students, and hastens to add that the written research papers offer students the chance to develop a different but equally important set of skills. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach to developing an online IE project? For many educators, the concern that they lack the technical skills and/or time needed to train themselves to become International Education Online 14 techno-wizards is a significant barrier to using educational technologies.  A significant advantage of Prof. Nicholson’s approach to internationalizing a course using technology is that she has not had to become a technical expert to participate – a significant time-saving. “I took a course on designing a web site at one time….and I basically gave up because I thought ’by the time I master this, I’m going to be out of date in my field’…you don’t want to spend all your time turning [a subject specialist] into a technician]” Prof. M.J. Nicholson Instead, she says, AGV “know what they’re doing, they’ve got all the wrinkles out of their program and they’re open- minded…they’re the kind of people that make things happened and they don’t allow problems to become problems”.  She explains that she never felt any need for a formalized collaborative agreement with them in writing, because there was already “just faith, trust between people”.  An additional advantage to Prof Nicholson’s “lone ranger” approach has been the great freedom she has had to design and redesign her course to incorporate this international simulation. But what about the disadvantages? Prof Nicholson concedes that a major disadvantage for her is that she was not involved in design of the simulation – and that she is completely dependent on AGV for its maintenance and operation.  For example, because Business Law specialists were not involved in the initial simulation design, the contract-forming process used by “Virtual Firms” didn’t exactly replicate real life – a flaw that they have now collaboratively corrected.  Indeed, the challenge to educators to “give up control” recurs repeatedly in the world of educational technology.  Also a challenge is the lack of local peers – a theme that arose frequently in discussion with other innovators. Product Advertising by a “Virtual Firm” Who are the students?  What’s their attitude to technology? Now in its third iteration, the Virtual Law Firms simulation is offered to final year undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree.  Prof. Nicholson estimates that at least half of her students are also working part-time. Although so far the gender balance in her classes has been slightly tipped towards men (she estimates a 60:40 split), the students are a culturally diverse group, in keeping with the multicultural makeup of the Central Canadian population at large. Her student’s technological competence definitely varies, and Prof. Nicholson reports that it tends to be women students and recent immigrants who are more intimidated by working online – simply due to lack of familiarity.  Neither Ryerson nor her course have student technical support International Education Online 15 at present, although all of her students have previously taken a compulsory course in computer use.  An increasing number of her students own laptop computers, and her students also have Internet access on the Ryerson campus. How do students solve technical problems?  “It’s really students helping each other” says Prof. Nicholson. If students come to her with technical problems she directs them to “ask your friends in class!”.  She explains “I tell them that I myself am not a techie and that I approach computer technology with trepidation still..[and] that I often call for help, so they shouldn’t be afraid of it for that reason.  And I tell them ‘if I can do it, everybody can do it’”.  Isn’t this an off- putting problem for students?  Absolutely not, says Prof. Nicholson….”we’re all in this together, and I say to them ‘look, this is an experiment for me too…I’ll make sure you don’t suffer…we’re going to problem solve together’. And that creates a very nice learning environment for everyone”. The challenge of technology is actually transformed in this initiative into a team challenge, and becomes simply another challenge that student teams conquer together by sharing their diverse skills. But does it work?  Learning outcomes and student feedback In their final exams, students who had participated in the “Virtual Law Firms” performed equally well to students who had completed the more traditional research paper assignment (although Prof. Nicholson notes that in the pilot, the class a as a whole performed better that previous cohorts – an outcome that she attributes to the intense spirit of competition in which the two streams of students worked). At the qualitative level, a number of extremely positive changes were evident in the students who participated in the Virtual Law Firms activity.  For the first time, students were able to experience teamwork as a bonus, not a burden.  Prof. Nicholson reports that students had to depend on each other’s areas of expertise, and rotate responsibility for handling client communications.  She says, with group projects “you always get students trailing in saying ‘oh so-and-so is not carrying his weight’ but with the virtual law firms there was none of that”.  Students “matured before her eyes” and developed new leadership qualities as they found their feet in their “Virtual Firm”.  86% of students participating in the Virtual Law Firms simulation reported that they felt the simulation had “helped them to work effectively in groups” (compared to 57% of those who completed a written research paper).  Anecdotal feedback confirmed the impact that this taste of the real world of international business provided, and Prof. Nicholson frequently received comments from students such as:  “I want to go to law school…I really think I want an international business career…I want to work abroad”. Indeed, the infectious nature of the simulation seems to have transformed the entire classroom environment, with students exhibiting increased confidence in their communications and participation, and a closer relationship between her and her students.  Prof. Nicholson feels that she is more approachable because she knows her students better, and that the classroom dynamic has evolved from one in which International Education Online 16 she was “looking down from above” to one in which there is a relationship of “rapport and mutual respect”. Real-world experience Integration of the Virtual Law Firms activity into her course completely transformed the learning experience for participating students – exactly the kind of experiential learning that Prof. Nicholson was seeking.  In the unpredictable world of the simulation, students had to cope with the real-life uncertainties of a Law Firm, the challenge of communicating professionally and “respond to real deadlines” – a very different time management challenge from that of completing a research paper with a long lead time.  Even more importantly, students “come up against all the cultural differences, all the negotiating challenges that you have in your own life”.  Prof. Nicholson explains:  “I was really pleased as to how well it replicated real life…how could I possibly have duplicated the problems that would emerge with a firm in China trying to sell product to a firm in the Netherlands and having a contractual dispute? …it’s a taste of what the international business community is really like”. Like many educators, she is more and more convinced that if students experience something themselves they really understand it, they are much more enthusiastic, and they are much more likely to be self-directed.  More than 80% of Virtual Law Firm students later reported that the experience had “enhanced their ability to solve problems” (compared with only 37% of students who completed a written research paper).  Students also acquired greater competency with ICTs (and greater awareness of the challenges of online communications). Importantly, in the reality of the current job market, more and more employers are looking for “ability” rather than “knowledge” – and 80% of virtual law firm participants believed that the experience would make them a “more valuable employee”. “…provided us with insight into the ongoing complications which occur daily in the global business environment”   “…we feel more confident in our ability to work in a group and come up with an informed conclusion”  “…we were able to draw on each others experience and pool our knowledge”  “…we learned to listen to each other’s opinions, reach consensus in the group, predict the other firm’s arguments and form countering arguments”  “…we learned to concentrate on the facts and press for resolution” Student Feedback Cross-cultural learning Can students really acquire intercultural competencies online?  Prof. Nicholson is in no doubt. “A major advantage [of the simulation] is the exposure of my Canadian students to other cultures” she explains. “They are actually having to provide legal advice to somebody who might be in China, for whom English is not a first language, who’s coming from a completely different culture, a different space, you have language problems, you have International Education Online 17 communication problems, you have time differences”. She feels strongly that her students became more aware of cultural differences, and more comfortable with them. Students had to adapt to change and uncertainty, and gained a new “appreciation of and respect for the complexities of internationals, whether it’s culture, foreign exchange, different laws, or varying ability to enforce them.” Students’ challenges and concerns The most significant challenge reported by students – and also a factor of a “real world” experience – was the lack of control they had over when legal problems arose, and how fast they needed to be dealt with.  Careful chaperoning and encouragement was necessary to help students manage their anxiety on this front. In addition, students encountered language challenges and communication challenges – in one instance a very difficult problem with an abusive client who sent students offensive and derogatory messages.  These students later wrote “dealing with an offensive individual taught us that courtesy, professionalism and politeness transcends borders and are essential components of any type of business negotiations” demonstrating their understanding that the ability to manage difficult communications was indeed a valuable real-world skill. “…it gave us a chance to delve into real life situations and apply the theory we had learned in class” “…never before have we been give such a “hands on approach” to applying the concepts we learned from our lectures” “…now aware of the pressures and difficulties which law firms encounter in an international setting” Student Feedback 4.2 Preparing Students for Work in the Developing World: International Health at the University of British Columbia For Dr. Michael Seear, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital, the motivating force behind his development of the credit-level online course “Working in International Health” is the desperate need to internationalize the curriculum of courses taught at UBC.  As he rightly and passionately argues, “‘Internationalizing the campus’” cannot simply mean ‘get more paying students from [overseas]’”. Course Front Page International Education Online 18 Project: “Working in International Health” Type: 100% online, credit-level undergraduate course Institution: The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (www.ubc.ca) Leader: Dr. Michael Seear Strategy: “Lone Ranger” development of an online course. Partners:  none Funding: Development funding from a CIDA grant; UBC pays tutoring staff. Dr. Seear’s decision to offer this course using ICTs was not inspired by a fascination with technology as a new educational medium; simply, he offers this course online because the internet provides the best available medium for reaching a diverse group of very busy students. His true goal is to lead students to a better understanding of the “global village” in which we live, and the ways that politics, religion, industry, culture and trade impact the health of human populations, especially those in developing countries. He explains:  “there is no large-scale human endeavour that doesn’t have a human price to pay…It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Department of Agriculture; it doesn’t matter if you’re in Commerce, or you’re putting up some sweatshop in Taiwan; doesn’t matter if you’re in engineering and whacking up a dam in Turkey; you cannot do something without someone getting it in the neck”. Like Prof. Nicholson, Dr. Seear describes himself as “no computer whiz or technophile”.  Technology is indeed, convenient, he agrees, but cautions “ I don’t think the Internet should be blown our of proportion or given any sort of mystical properties.” ‘Working in International Health’ is a 3- credit course, targetted mainly at upper level students of medicine and related disciplines who have plans to spend some time living and working in a developing country. Now in its second year, and offered twice a year, the course is oversubscribed, has a waiting list and has attracted interest and requests to participate from students all over North America. Course Overview Page Dr. Seear characterizes his students as a particularly motivated group: “people take [the course] because they’re interested in the subject and they can’t get this information anywhere else” he explains. The course uses WebCT as its course design and delivery platform.  Weekly chapters, illustrated with digital images and supplemented with myriad hyperlinks to international information resources International Education Online 19 introduce students to some of the biggest issues in world health:  determinants of population health, primary health care strategies, poverty, malnutrition, women’s health, children’s health, refugees and natural disasters, and aboriginal health. Students are also expected to participate in an online discussion forum, with weekly discussion topics touching on sometimes controversial issues such as smoking, female circumcision, and AIDS/HIV. Weekly Course Chapter In addition, practical sections of the course are directly focussed on “predeparture preparation” for students, and examine culture and culture shock, and practical planning. Currently, this course is deliberately “low tech” – designed so that users with slower computers and modem (56K) Internet connections have full access to course content. In the future, Dr. Seear hopes audio and video files will be added to enrich the course; he envisions a time when students, friends and colleagues overseas will send him audio-video footage from projects around the world that might be “even more effective” in showing students what a clinic in a refugee camp really looks like, or how to assess malnutrition in a child. Travel Preparation Chapter Success as ‘survival’? Scoring ‘soft skills’ The course outline for ‘Working in International Health’ details the overall learning objectives of the course: • Preparation for work in underdeveloped countries • Development of the ability to work collaboratively in a new environment • Identification of the basic concepts of international health and development using a broad range of information sources • Application of problem solving skills to the exploration of international health issues using case histories and current topical problems • Development of an interdisciplinary approach to resolving international health problems In large part, Dr. Seear’s desired ‘learning outcomes’ for his students are what he calls ‘nebulous’ – soft skills that are notoriously difficult to assess. Instead, he explains, he is most interested in International Education Online 20 preparing his students to live and work successfully in their overseas postings, often in difficult rural or urban settings in the developing world. He says:  “I want that student to go there, do a useful job and come back again…alive!” In practical terms, assignments include case study analysis, synthesis of ideas and in-depth investigation of selected topics in international health. Student feedback suggests that Dr. Seear is managing to keep the balance that he seeks between maintaining the academic rigour demanded by UBC for credit courses, and imparting crucial and practical information about world health issues.  One student reported to me “they [the tutors] were not focussing on ‘You have to do your assignments’…they wanted me to learn…so [I] could go overseas and do well”. International context on our doorstep “Working in International health” is the only project in this study that does not intentionally seek out international partner students or institutions, although the formal content is internationally focussed. Is it truly an ‘international education’ project?  We believe that it is, for several reasons. Firstly, this course makes a determined and powerful move towards internationalizing the UBC curriculum, and might be considered a possible model for future courses in a range of academic disciplines.  The “future international social, political, and economic co- operation” envisioned in the UBC mission statement will require not only the vital ‘soft skills’ of intercultural communication and similar, but the careful and critical analysis of global issues within all academic disciplines.  Secondly, Dr. Seear’s course makes heavy use of the international resources – a ‘vast library’ of (sometimes contradictory) information made freely available by the Internet. Perhaps even more significantly, Dr. Seear feels that his course is informed and enriched by the multicultural nature of his classes. He explains, for example, that if a discussion is underway about the effect of sanctions on Iraqi children, it helps a lot to have Iraqis able to give first-hand reports: “It means that it’s not a theoretical thing you can read about in the newspaper if [a class member] is talking about it. And some other guy being in a refugee camp and someone else had been in a war and someone else had been in Bosnia and someone else in India and so on, so real insights do occur, that’s for sure.” Running an international education project on a shoestring budget Dr. Seear describes himself as “not a great committee type” – a characteristic reflected in his almost single-handed championing and maintenance of this international education project.  Initial funding for course development came from a CIDA grant to Dr. Seear and other partners for a large collaborative nursing education project in South Africa – a small portion of that grant was earmarked for initiatives that would contribute to the internationalization of the UBC campus. UBC now pays for tutors to assist with the online teaching and grading of assignments.  Meanwhile, he counts himself as very fortunate to have an administrative secretary working with him who is “willing International Education Online 21 and able” to create and maintain html files. With his own work on the course put in ‘for free’, and running costs negligible, Dr. Seear feels it is currently financially sustainable, and agrees that the initial development costs are a hurdle that many would-be online educators have trouble clearing. In reality, a number of other people contributed to the writing, reviewing, polishing and digitizing of this course.  A colleague at the University of Ottawa contributed sections on culture shock and travel preparation, and other colleagues and specialists were paid to review both the content and layout of course modules. Distance Education specialists at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver had been partners in the CIDA-funding South Africa project, and Dr. Seear contracted with them to get his course content ‘WebCT ready’ and online. Although Dr. Seear has no formal training in educational technologies or instructional design, the experienced staff at BCIT took the time to sit him down and show him the ropes of WebCT, at the same time passing on design tips and advice. (Like many educators we spoke to, Dr. Seear questions whether formal training in online pedagogy would be valuable…conceding that academics are indeed a difficult audience to teach.) “they sat me down and said ‘look you can’t just [ask the students] scroll through [long pages], they’ll die of boredom. This is how you’ve got to do it.” Dr. Michael Seear Finally, the course had to reviewed by other UBC departments in order to be accredited by the UBC Senate.  While this long series of checking and review has clearly been time consuming and onerous in comparison to, say, the introduction of an ICT-based activity into a traditional 3- credit course, it also gives credibility to this online course to the academic community at large. Value added by ICTs: Access and reflection time Although he is at pains to emphasize that for him the Internet is “just a tool”, Dr. Seear highlights some key advantages of teaching this course online. Perhaps most strikingly, he feels that the asynchronous discussion board format encourages participation by students who typically may not contribute to in-class discussions. Students in what he characterizes as “the bashful mob” – often women students, recent immigrants – are, in his experience, more likely to express an opinion in an online forum, and seem to feel “less bothered about talking in front of the group” in this medium.  The ‘levelling effect’ of such forums seems to help minimize domination of discussion by more confident class members.  Dr. Seear also suspects something that other educators mention below: that asking students to compose contributions for posting on a public forum forces them to compose their thoughts and arguments more carefully (not to mention edit for grammar and spelling). International Education Online 22 Course Discussion Forum “you’ve got forty students there and if you put forty people in the room you will not get all forty people talking.  You’ll get 10% of the people talking; the rest just shut up and go home - but when you have to take part in a discussion group, that is the difference.” Dr. Michael Seear A second significant bonus of the internet is the ability to add hyperlinks to an online course to direct students to vast resources of online information relevant to the topic of study – relevant examples in this course include links to the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, Government Web Sites, NGO Websites and multiple media sources.  While Dr. Seear does note the need for constant maintenance of hyperlinks, he also points out that a set of carefully chosen links can keep course content ‘up to date’ – so, for example, links to online newspapers automatically display current information from week to week (whereas printed paper references might quickly become outdated). What do the students learn? In addition to the obvious and centrally positioned knowledge of and insight into global affairs, Dr. Seear feels that his course challenges students to engage with some of the very challenging practical, political and ethical dilemmas of development work. “Everything about working in a developing country is an ethical nightmare,” he explains. “The people aren’t paid the same, the girls aren’t educated, the women have the life of a dog in many of these countries, then you’re there living the life of Riley”. Indeed, by participating in the learning and discussion process, he feels students learn to recognize and negotiate some of these issues, where individuals may hold fundamentally opposing opinions. He himself played an important moderating role, he notes, by responding directly to student commentary in each debate (that is, by modelling communications), and by reminding the group that discussing contentious issues requires extra care and communicative sensitivity. Yes, occasional heated exchanges took place between impassioned students – in spite of posted guidelines about online ‘etiquette’ – but he views these as a learning experience in themselves for both the participants and those watching.  Now he tells students “imagine you are talking to your mother!” when communicating online! International Education Online 23 Challenging Issues: “Gender Bias” “I learned a lot about some things in the world that I didn’t know [about]. I mean, I never heard of female circumcision…I was kind of a naïve girl [before I came to Canada]..I didn’t know what happened in the world” Student Feedback Challenges for faculty: Decentralized campuses, accreditation, time A challenge of context for Dr. Seear and other UBC faculty is UBC’s very size – and as a clinical professor, Dr. Seear is physically located in the BC Children’s hospital in another part of town, remote from the UBC campus. In this study we noticed that educators at the larger institutions – usually universities– faced the greatest challenges of decentralized course and program development, and often are unaware of other similar projects underway at their own institutions.  In addition, educators may be unaware of, or lack access to, centralized International Education offices, and other support and resource centres.  At UBC, the Student Exchange Programs Office is the unit that most instructional faculty might identify as responsible for “international education”: exchanges, study abroad programs and similar.  But as Dr. Seear points out, these exchange programs tend to be with countries such as “Japan or Hong Kong, not with Gabon”.  As a non-academic unit, this office cannot currently assist faculty with content design for credit level courses in specific disciplines.  Even more significantly, online international education ventures are not currently offered, promoted or designed by this or any other centralized office at UBC.  (For an example of effective partnership between an international office and an academic faculty, see Mount Royal College, below). A particular frustrating challenge for Dr. Seear has been the issue of inter- institutional accreditation – with UBC only allowing registered UBC students to enroll in his course, and other Canadian institutions refusing to recognize credits for this UBC course.  He sees the “drama and bureaucracy” of the enrollment process as a serious barrier to student participation, and argues that “there should be a dense network across Canada, [a student should be able to] take three credits from Montréal, three credits here, three credits there” without full registration.  Currently, he is planning to offer a modified non- credit version of his course through UBC Continuing Studies, in an attempt to make it available to interested students from other provinces and countries. Dr. Seear also cites ‘tutoring time’ and workload as a significant challenge for educators – one that he feels faculty must be advised about before they develop online courses. In fact, he argues, his course is more challenging than a regular course, both to design and teach. International Education Online 24 “It’s a lot of work, as opposed to just standing up there and filling all the gaps in by you talking in class, which is quite simple” Dr. Michael Seear The (current) necessity to type all communications does limit the amount of information one can pass along to students, and constrains the speed of discussion or debate.  On the other hand, the sheer volume of student communications (both email and discussion forum postings) can become unmanageable.  In situations where it is necessary to respond to every student posting, Dr. Seear and course tutors have concluded that 12 students per tutor is the upper limit for effective communications…and future designers will have to think creatively about how to structure and contain student communications to facilitate discussion without causing instructor overload. Challenges for students “Working in International Health” includes a link to a WebCT tutorial designed by BCIT, which leads students through the basics of working with this online courseware; but Dr. Seear notes that to his surprise technical problems have been very rare amongst his students.  “The computer is not a mystery” to students, he adds, “its just another modality”. More of a challenge for students, he feels, is time management.  Students need to be motivated independent workers to get through a course like his, he feels, and must not consider distance education an easy option – some students will under- estimate the work involved in online courses and will end up taking on too much as a result. BCIT Tech Tutorial And indeed, student feedback points to the challenge of dealing with massive amounts of online reading.  One student responds “it would be easier for me in a class…because I’m a very ‘listening and visual’ person”, and also notes that at the physical level she found it tiring to spend many hours reading from the computer screen – a difficulty reported in other studies of online learning (Litke, 1998). Backing up Dr. Seear’s thoughts, she also experienced his course as “more work than a regular class”, and remembers that many students quickly fell behind with assignments. In spite of these challenges, this student was incredibly enthusiastic, explaining that rather than feeling obligated to complete tasks for credit, she always felt that the course was designed to expand her personal knowledge of the world. She adds “it gave me so many things, so much information and so much knowledge”. International Education Online 25 4.3 Learning to Leap Language Barriers Online: Mount Royal College and the Consortium for Design Education Project: ‘Repentina’ Type: Compulsory for-credit activity within credit-level undergraduate courses in Interior Design Lead Institution: Mount Royal College (www.mtroyal.ab.ca) Strategy: Multi-institutional collaborative design of project, with support from Mount Royal International Programs Office Partners: • Kwantlen University College, Vancouver • Texas Christian University, USA • West Virginia University, USA • Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico • University of Guanajuato, Mexico Funding:   Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education (www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/hrib/learnlit/iam/) It might seem ironic that the Department of Interior Design at Mount Royal College (MRC) actively discourages students from using technology in the early years of their degree program in Interior Design.  Frank Harks, instructor and past Department Chair explains:  “…our discipline is very visual in terms of communication…[so] in the beginning we feel it is more important for students to understand the fundamentals…” In the same way that children need to understand fundamentals of spelling and writing before they are introduced to word processing software packages, MRC interior design students must absorb the complexities of design drawing skills, before they advance to using sophisticated drawing software. With limited funding available for actual student exchange, the ‘Consortium for Design Education’ (CODE) Repentina project team see clearly that technology could allow them to leap this student IE participation barrier. Repentina Front Page Funded by a four-year grant from the Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education (NAM) – a program run cooperatively by the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico – this impressive project has several unique features.  Unlike most online education projects, the Repentina project almost exclusively uses synchronous or ‘live’ International Education Online 26 communication tools.  Because of the image-rich nature of the field of interior design, imaging and video components are central to the design of the project.  Last, but not unimportantly, because the field of interior design attracts many more female than male students, this ICT-based project is unusual in that it is predominantly used by female students. NAM documentation explains that this funding program, in existence since 1995, was “conceived in the spirit of the north American free trade agreement (NAFTA)” and hopes to strengthen cooperation in higher education, research and training among Canada, the United States and Mexico (Human Resources Development Canada, 2002).  Successful project proposals “foster student exchange within the context of multicultural curricular development”, and “prepare students through acquisition of the languages and exposure to the cultures of the member countries”. These features make it a natural fit for Mount Royal College, explains Dianne MacDonald, Manager of International Projects, as MRC enters Phase II of its very clearly articulated internationalization strategy.  Phase I of the strategy, from 1990-2000, focussed on the creation of opportunities for MRC students and faculty to participate in international projects or activities, and on internationalizing the student body by attracting more international students.  Phase II, initiated in 2001, adds the additional goal of ensuring that “an international perspective is integrated into the College curriculum”. “A curriculum that includes an international dimension increases the options for MRC students to acquire the skills and knowledge to perform competently (professionally and socially) in an international environment.  Such a curriculum provides students with knowledge of differences in professional practices across cultures and offers opportunities to learn other languages and participate in a broad range of cross-cultural learning experiences and activities.  It also reflects diverse perspectives on economic, political, environmental and social issues of global importance” MRC Internationalization Strategy: Phase II While application guidelines indicate that projects may integrate new technologies to enhance projects, it seems that NAM developers had traditional ideas of ‘student mobility’ in mind.  Dianne MacDonald points out, however, that the funding made available via the NAM program can support only a small number of student exchanges: about 24 Canadian students over a four year period.  Instead, this extraordinarily creative project proposal that combined both student exchanges with large group participation in an online ‘Repentina’ activity each fall – an average of 180 students participate each year, including 50 from MRC. Not only has this project maximized the number of students who can participate in this international education experience, it has allowed all of the partner institutions to capitalize on the money invested in those students who participate in the exchange component of this project: they are actively integrated into the collaborative Repentina activity, rather than simply “disappearing” from their home institution. International Education Online 27 The goals of the Consortium for Design Education Because the development, design, promotion and implementation of the CODE project was undertaken as a well- coordinated partnership between MRC’s International Programs Office (IPO) and the School of Interior Design, objectives for the project are articulated at both the institutional and program level.  Dianne MacDonald points out that MRC's relatively small size (about 12,000 students), centralized development model and strong identity as an undergraduate level degree-granting college, all allow a lot of faculty and staff creative energy to be focussed on teaching and program development. Faculty members are, in principle, required to internationalize their courses as part of the institution-wide internationalization strategy.  But beyond that, she feel that new international initiatives give faculty an opportunity to introduce new courses, develop new projects with a wider scope, and expand their own perspective on their field.  “Why did I personally buy in?  Because I…feel it’s very important to understand different cultures and different languages, and to me it’s just the way of the world now, it’s not in the future, this is the way we are, and the sooner we get everyone understanding that the better!” Frank Harks Educational objectives for the Repentina are many.  Within the context of a professional education program, the project was conceived as a way of exposing students to the “North American nature of the interior design profession, in order to allow them to recognize, realize and capitalize on innovative opportunities nationally and internationally” (Kucko, 2001).  Frank Harks explains that he hoped the Repentina would offer students an increased awareness of design as an international discipline, and an understanding of the similarities and differences in cultures of design in different regions and countries.  CODE faculty hoped that students would learn about the cultures of their team members, collaborate with each other to solve design challenges and gain a new awareness of the need to take into account all contextual issues relating to the needs, ideas and solutions for a design project. More subtly, Frank Harks outlined how he hoped that participation in the Repentina would create awareness in students of the importance of communication, and the ways that different technologies can both help and hinder communication, especially of visual ideas.  Now in its third year, has the project attained its goals? “I think it’s absolutely surpassed the goals” says Dianne MacDonald “..we never really thought the Repentina would fly!” What’s a ‘Repentina’ anyway? ‘Repentina’ is the Spanish word for ‘Charette’: interior design jargon for an intensive ‘design brainstorming’ session that seeks to gather input from multiple sources.  Frank Harks elaborates: “if your community decides to build a community centre, the architect who is retained…would hold a charette for the community…to share with the architect what their dream or their vision is of the recreation centre… different user groups all International Education Online 28 participate…And at that time you may also bring in the structural consultants and the engineers and different people who have a vested interest in the community centre to share their ideas”. The Consortium’s ‘Virtual Repentina’ is a month-long activity that takes place in the fall semester, and is by this time a for- credit activity for second-year level interior design students at each of the partner institutions.  In the Repentina, multicultural, multinational design teams of six students are tasked with collaborating online to develop solutions to community- based design challenges; each year a different partner is responsible for creating the design challenge.  In October 2002, for example, the University of Guanajuato in Mexico challenged Repentina teams to design a number of different spaces (classrooms, library, cafeteria, playground) for a School for Blind Children in Leon, Mexico. Student Project Research The teams tackle multiple cultural differences as they work together on projects: they must cross the barriers of language and culture in communicating with each other and in working as a team, they discover that there are national and cultural differences in design education, in expectations of the project, in approaches to design; and they must learn about and share cultural factors that may be important to the design challenge itself (in this case, about Canadian, American and Mexican cultural attitudes to educating blind children, about expectations of learning space, and about “cultures of the blind”). The need to allow both synchronous and asynchronous communications, as well as the need for tools that allow sharing of drawings and visual images drove the choice of technology for this project, and the Consortium eventually settled on the BlackBoard course design and delivery platform for the Repentina. Interactive Whiteboard In addition to the familiar discussion board area used by other projects in this study, BlackBoard offers the best interactive drawing board currently available: it allows remote team members to interact and make collaborative design sketches together, while simultaneously International Education Online 29 explaining their ideas in an associated ‘chat’ space.  The virtual teams can also make use of a simple file transfer tool to share scanned sketches, drafts of power point presentations, and other digital files. Group discussion boards in each team’s space facilitate team communications, as well as email and chat tools.  An upfront ‘announcements board’ allows all faculty to post last minute notes and messages, and a project-wide discussion board is used for discussion of topics important to everyone. Lastly, students are encouraged to make use of a ‘personal web page’ tool that allows each student to share information about and pictures of themselves – an important element of building the teams’ relationships. Student Home Page The Repentina begins with student training sessions in the use of BlackBoard, the announcement of the new design challenge and assignment of the students to teams.  In the following weeks, faculty encourage students to get to know their team members, create their personal web pages, and prepare for the design challenge.  The Repentina itself is an intense two-day live session with all students working in their home institutions computer labs (connected by live web cameras) during an agreed-upon window of time that maximizes collaboration of students in three different time zones. Instructors participate as process facilitators and motivators during the hectic two days, and also provide reassurance and feedback when the going gets tough.  Perhaps even more importantly, an assortment of other students and staff are drafted each year to assist teams with the Spanish-English language challenge.  Frank Harks explains that at Mount Royal College, in addition to Mexican and other Spanish-speaking exchanges students recruited through the International Programs office, the Repentina receives language help from Spanish Department students and instructors on a drop-in basis.  A week or two after the Repentina, select teams have the chance to present their design solutions to the entire Repentina community via a one-time video-conference connecting all six partner institutions. BlackBoard Communication Tools Frank Harks explains “it’s difficult to fail the Repentina if you actually participate, because it’s really not about the product, it’s about the process”.  Indeed, although International Education Online 30 teams are now required to prepare a power-point presentation showcasing their design solution, different institutions have integrated the Repentina into their courses in slightly different ways.  Agreeing on student assessment and Repentina accreditation has definitely been a knotty problem that the CODE team have wrestled with, but by 2002 all the partner schools have embedded it as part of a program with a related grade. “That makes the project perhaps a little bit more serious for the student” says Frank Harks. Scanned Design Sketch The champions: MRC International Programs There is no doubt that the success of the Repentina is in large part due to the key and centralized role that MRC’s IPO has played in inspiring, coordinating and sustaining this project.  Dianne MacDonald explains that this was the result of an explicit decision to invest IPO time in project administration, even though NAM funding cannot be used to support administrative staff. On the heels of a number of other successful NAM-funded projects, the IPO distributed an information package to all MRC faculties asking, “Would anybody like to get involved?”(The Faculty of Arts replied to say “Absolutely!”).  The IPO already had established relationships with two Mexican Design schools, and they also contacted IDEC, the Interior Design Educators Council, to recruit American Schools with interior design programs. Later, the IPO coordinated a “Faculty Logistics and Planning Tour” and the actual physical student exchange component of the project, and have continued to facilitate inter-institutional communications. Dianne MacDonald explains that even though faculty members have increasingly taken over ownership of the actual Repentina, all communications continue to be funneled through the IPO, “so that we know what’s going on!” It simply makes sense, she says, for the IPO to play this role – to allow departments and faculties to play to their expertise in their field, and to contribute the IPO expertise to the mix: logistics, development of partnerships, coordination, international and intercultural experience.  “The International Education people aren’t the [subject matter] experts.  We’re good at the logistics, making it happen, but for that you need to be able to depend on the right people down there in the trenches who can tell you exactly what you need to do; that’s what made the difference.” Dianne MacDonald This very centralized model has been hugely successful for the CODE Project, resulting in what Frank Harks describes as International Education Online 31 “incredible support and buy-in” across the institution, including support from senior management, colleagues in the Interior Design School, the Academic Development Centre, the Spanish Department, and IT Services. Strategic planning and partnerships are critical Dianne MacDonald points out that the IPO has more to offer than logistics, however, and argues that their expertise in selection of institutional partners and in identifying funding sources contributes to long-term project sustainability.  Careful selection of partners is critical, she advises, clarifying that “reciprocity” is the criterion they use to assess potential new partnerships.  “The disadvantage of partnerships” she says “is that it isn’t always an equal partnership. Finding the balance can be tough.” Reciprocity means equality: of involvement, commitment, responsibility for implementation, and communication. Her advice when picking partners? “Always ask yourself ‘Who benefits here? Is it the office, is it the person in the office, or is it the student in the program?” Importantly, it is the IPO that is continuing to champion this project and others modeled on it, and that takes responsibility for seeking ongoing funding from other sources to make this project sustainable in the long-term. Not just facilitators: Faculty leadership and learning Many of our case study leaders expressed a desire for greater interaction with international colleagues, and recognizing this, the CODE team planned faculty relationship-building right into the project.  In year one of the project, two faculty from each institution gathered together for a whirlwind “Logistics and Planning” tour of all six institutions. Dianne MacDonald believes this gathering was key, allowing faculty to “bond as a team”. During the two-week tour, the group were tasked with creating the Repentina curriculum, “hashing out all the terms”, agreeing on the kind of students they wanted, the timelines, and what the Repentina would look like.  In addition to getting familiar with each other and with each site, the team’s objective was to draft and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and organizational chart (with photographs of each team member) for the project.  “They were pretty tired by the time it was all over but they were very good friends and they had a pretty good sense of where the bumps in the road were going to be!” remembers Dianne MacDonald.  The time and money invested in faculty relationship-building was repaid many times over: she feels that it allowed the project to be pulled together incredibly quickly, and also handed ownership of the Repentina to the faculty.  Even more importantly, creation of relationships and an MOU gave a written document of agreement that could be referred back to in moments of confusion, and created a commitment and willingness on the part of the faculty commitment to reflect, periodically, on their practice. Indeed, these annual evaluations (also required by the NAM Program) are another critical feature of this project: they allowed ongoing modification and evolution of both the Repentina concept and the technology, International Education Online 32 as glitches were encountered, reported, discussed and resolved.  Frank Harks speaks enthusiastically about the “tour”, and about the professional and personal relationships it generated.  “I don’t know how successful the project would have been if we hadn’t done that”, he muses. Frank Harks also articulates a feature of IE projects (online and ‘face-to-face’) that is seldom discussed: the reality that faculty and staff learn too.  “We’ve learned and experienced as much as the students!” he explains.  Faculty have had to learn about and “constantly be on top of” the technology – something he characterizes as professional development rather than a burden. Faculty have also learned the importance of having technological ‘backup plans’: in the first Repentina, the BlackBoard platform crashed when 180 students tried to log on simultaneously, and connection problems persisted throughout. Faculty were able to save the day by encouraging students to use external chat, email and file exchange options to continue their work. More than simply becoming technologically savvy, Frank Harks explains that participation in the Repentina project has forced him and other faculty to think more globally, and to teach to a broader audience than their own students.  He’s become more aware of the regional and national differences in language and culture in his own discipline, made lasting connections with international colleagues that are leading to new projects and collaborations, learned some Spanish, and had to grapple with the same communication challenges as his students. Clearly, effective IE projects can offer learning to everyone involved. Group Discussion Communication communication communication At almost every level, communication has been both the significant challenge of this project, and the most significant area of learning.  Conceptually, the CODE team had to wrestle with a basic question:  how does one communicate design ideas long distance, in a way that “doesn’t require ten pages of text” in order to make it comprehensible?  The Repentina project has made creative use of available technology to maximize exchange of design ideas, although it is not ideal.  “Better cheaper videoconferencing” would vastly improve access and communications, agrees Frank Harks, and a more sophisticated interactive drawing tool – which could, for example, allow three- dimensional drawings and perspectives – would be “awesome”. Frank Harks also notes a surprising communications issue that arose in this semi-professional education arena: students in all three countries are familiar with technology, but unfamiliar with professional online communications.  It is partly a matter of style, and partly a matter of protocol, explains Frank Harks: these International Education Online 33 ‘next generation students’ are immersed in the youth technology culture of casual chat and online shorthand.  Faculty found that they had to monitor and overtly model professional communications practices for students.  Faculty also needed to reach agreement with each other about communications protocol (especially when such large groups are interacting live) – even simple requests that speakers identify themselves improved communicative exchanges. Students Share Conceptual Sketches Not unsurprisingly, however, the language difference proved to be the biggest challenge for both faculty and students, and Frank Harks also notes with humility that effort was required on the part of Anglophone team members to work in both languages and keep their Mexican colleagues informed.  Several regular reports reiterate and remind partners about the agreement to publish all materials and documents in both languages. In fact, the group voted to call their project ‘Repentina’ (rather than using the more familiar word ‘Charette’) as a daily reminder of their commitment to bilingualism.  Frank Harks remembers: after days of team planning and discussion during the faculty “Logistics Tour”, “We’d been using this word [charette] for two whole days, and everybody was nodding ‘yes’.” and then a Mexican team member approached him to say “I feel funny asking you…but what is a ‘charette’?” “I can perfectly imagine how my students would feel if everything on the Blackboard was all in Spanish.  They would just kind of give up, literally just say, “Sorry, I’m not going to, it’s too hard.”  So we need to have that constant translation happening.” Frank Harks  Learning in the Repentina: “Kind of like survivor on the internet” Frank Harks describes that initially, students can seem unconvinced about the Repentina project and about its value.  But once the Repentina begins, he says, they start to realize that not only is it interesting, it is fun. “It’s the first time for some of them that they’ve ever spoken to someone beyond Canada, so they start to realize that this is an opportunity for them to get to know someone in another country”. Frank Harks and Dianne MacDonald both describe the range of international and intercultural learning that takes place even in two days.  Students suddenly became aware of the global nature of the interior design field, and immediately run up against the associated differences of perspective and terminology.  A Mexican design project, for example, “starts from the outside and works in, plus they build the landscape into the design of the home, whereas we start from the inside and work out.” explains Dianne MacDonald. Students are brought face to face with the reality that a second language is a “need to International Education Online 34 know” skill in an international field, not simply a college course elective.  And even American and Canadian students discover cultural and linguistic differences about each other’s countries that they were unaware of. Team Discussion Frank Harks points out that students gain a new awareness of the importance of communication, especially the value of clarity and professionalism.  The limitations and benefits of technology-mediated communication become apparent as the students wrestle with the technology and struggle to share their ideas against the clock. “Beforehand, they think the technology is awesome, that it’s the end all, it’s the be all that...but by the end of the two days, they’re saying ‘Is this technology every complicated, it’s not what it seems to be!’… At the same time, a lot of them become more comfortable with it…for some of the students it is the first time that they’ve ever gone into a chat-room.” In addition, he feels that the clear professional relevance of the experience helps to make the Repentina “real” for students.  It’s an opportunity for social and professional networking, it’s an opportunity to connect with people who could be useful resources for future study or work projects, and even job placements.  The Repentina and subsequent debriefing period provides an obvious arena for discussions about intellectual property and ownership of design ideas.  Dianne MacDonald mentions that the IPO has established links with local companies who do business internationally as well as in Canada, and who are now explicit in their PR materials about the benefit for them of hiring somebody with international experience – and she makes sure to emphasize this to students. “As an Instructor, this is a very exciting project…I’m seeing incredible teamwork…there’s a challenge to that when the team members don’t know one another, other than having seen each other on the web cam…they have to come together very quickly as a team”. Svea Craig-Mason, Instructor The experience the students gain in the Repentina in working in multicultural teams, resolving conflicts, clarifying communications and working on collaborative projects are real skills that will make them more employable even in if they choose to work within the borders of multicultural Canada. International Education Online 35 4.4 International Education for Lifelong Learners: ‘e-Learning for Business Innovation and Growth’, Newfoundland and Labrador Project: ‘e-Learning for Business Innovation and Growth’ Type: Non-credit modular courses, developed for small business owners Strategy: Project team included multiple institutional, governmental, national and private partners. Leaders: • Erin Keough, OLIN (Open Learning and Information Network), NL • Janice Cooper, Operation ONLINE Inc., NL Partners: • College of the North Atlantic, NL • Memorial University, NL • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Republic of Ireland • City and County Enterprise Boards, Republic of Ireland URL: www.emergewithus.com Funding:    Canadian Federal and Provincial Government funding; National and County Funding from the Republic of Ireland. In Canada, the culture of education is changing.  Historically, higher education has been designed for young adults enrolled full-time in college or university undergraduate programs.  More recently, the changing world of work, and the globalizing of the world economy have begun to demonstrate that lifelong education – a term first introduced in1972 (Faure, 1972) – is vital for ongoing economic, social, community and personal development. For Canadians, lifelong learning opportunities allow access to training and retraining, to new educational opportunities and to educational opportunities missed earlier in life.  With lifelong learning now actively promoted internationally and nationally, Canada’s colleges and universities are being challenged to expand their target audience and make higher education – including international education – available to many more Canadians. eBIG Front Page Based in Newfoundland and Labrador, the ‘e-Learning for Business Innovation and Growth’ (eBIG) collaborative project is a International Education Online 36 pioneering example of an international education opportunity made available to decidedly non-traditional learners in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the Republic of Ireland. Like traditional undergraduates, the majority of learners who have completed eBIG modules so far have high school education – but there the similarity ends. All are owners or employees of small businesses (‘small or medium enterprises’, SMEs), most work full-time, and most have at least ten years of work experience. While roughly half of participants are in the 26-35 year age range, learners range in age from 20-65+ (Foster, 2001).  Many live and work in rural areas of Newfoundland, Labrador or Ireland, with little or no access to educational institutions or community learning centres. In all, they comprise what Dr. Dale Foster, Professor of Information systems and e- Business at Memorial University of Newfoundland characterizes as a ‘challenging demographic’ – they are working people running businesses that are “too small to allow people to participate in training away from their desks”.  In fact, eBIG partners agree that the most significant challenge for learners in this project is time management: juggling work and study commitments. Why make it international? What advantage is there for learners in making this online e-Business training program international?  And why collaborate with partners and learners in Ireland?  The answers, as project leaders Erin Keough of OLIN (Newfoundland’s Open Learning and Information Network) and Janice Cooper of Operation ONLINE Inc. (‘Opportunities for Newfoundland and Labrador in the New Economy’) explain, lie in the common cultures and economic realities of these regions: both are moving away from a long history of economic dependence on natural resources, to reliance on the ‘value added services sector’. In 1996, the governments of Ireland and Newfoundland signed a Memorandum of Understanding – the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership – whose mission is to build on their shared heritage and to ‘promote and encourage business, educational and cultural linkages’ between the two regions, supporting the socioeconomic development of both. Under the umbrella of this partnership, the eBIG project takes advantage of what each region has to offer, in order to meet an education and training need in both communities.  With a population of 3.8 million in a relatively small country (70,000 sq. km.) the Republic of Ireland’s ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy has arguably been the fastest-growing economy in Europe over the past decade, and emerging and existing small and medium-sized businesses in Ireland have played a critical role in this development, and have undergone rapid growth.  As Janice Cooper explains, eBIG developers realized that this community harboured an untapped pool of experience and expertise in ‘rapid growth’. International Education Online 37 By contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador boast a total population of 540,000 in a land-base of 400,000 sq. km – a population density 50-fold lower than that of Ireland. By contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador is still in the process of recovering from the collapse of the cod fishery – the province’s economic staple until very recently.  A growing services sector, and an expanding tourism industry are expected to contribute to this recovery – both areas in which small businesses can make a significant contribution.  A Newfoundland Tiger has yet to emerge, but eBIG developers are betting that the experiences and learning of small businesses in Ireland will prove invaluable to Newfoundland’s SMEs. Meanwhile, what Newfoundland offers the eBIG project is its many years of experience with distributed learning initiatives for its widely dispersed population, and, relatively, a headstart in experience with educational technology, online learning and ICTs. Responding to local needs: International learning as community opportunity Already innovative by virtue of its non- traditional target audience, this online international education project is unique in its response to demonstrable community development needs: it is harnessing and sharing international skills and knowledge in order to benefit both international partners, and intentionally making the very development of the learning project itself an opportunity for learning and development of all stakeholders in this public-private partnership (including colleges, universities, educational organizations and networks, promoters of economic development, and small businesses). Janice Cooper and Erin Keough explain that by the late 1990s, and spurred on by the Ireland Newfoundland Agreement, their organizations were already working with partners in Ireland, and investigating opportunities for collaboration.  Operation ONLINE – a not-for-profit public-private corporation tasked with growing the province’s IT sector – networked with industry partners and small companies, while OLIN forged connections with Irish colleges. The opportunity for a collaborative training project arose naturally from these relationships, they explain, because the need for training and education for SMEs became so apparent. As Janice explains: “…growth has been so rapid that many [SME] owners barely had the time to keep up with critical issues for developing business: human resources regulations and practices, legal issues, accounting practices, marketing and export strategy – not to mention the challenges and opportunities offered by ICTs and globalization. Instead they just grew quickly and kept adding people”. A needs assessment carried out by researchers from Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) allowed identification of content area needs in greater detail, so that the development of relevant, practical and accessible training modules could begin. John King, Manager of Distributed Learning at CNA, and Dr. Foster, explain that their objectives for the eBIG project are two-fold.  The first is to try to meet the training and education needs of owners and International Education Online 38 employees of SMEs in Ireland and in Newfoundland by creating modules in areas of greatest need for development in the new economy, and facilitating information and knowledge exchange between learners. (A particular goal is to assist SMEs in assessing their ‘e-business readiness”, and to offer training and tools to help them expand their business internationally). “…we envisioned that if you were a small manufacturer in Newfoundland, and you were involved in a learning module with people who were in a similar situation in Ireland, that that may open up business opportunities for export, or just collaborative work” Dr. Dale Foster A second important goal for this project is the creation of an e-business ‘learning object repository’ – in essence, a library of content ‘chunks’ for teaching various elements of business and e-business than can be easily accessed and reused by educators in the future, and which are not fundamentally tied to a particular software platform or course delivery system. A complex multi-organizational public private partnership Although OLIN and Operation ONLINE initiated this project, numerous partners have contributed to its funding and ongoing development.  Significant financial support was obtained from the Canada/Newfoundland Agreement on Economic Renewal – a combined Federal and Provincial agency.  In Ireland, City and County Enterprise Boards (regional economic development groups) contributed some funding, and promoted the project to Irish SMEs.  Other governmental partners included the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Formal contracts (and copyright agreements specifying shared rights to future use) for development of module content were signed with individual faculty, instructors and consultants from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Faculty of Business, and the P.J. Gardiner Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship), the College of the North Atlantic, the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology and City and County Enterprise Boards.  Importantly, another way in which eBIG project leaders sought regional community participation, and attempted to eliminate the persistent problem of ‘reinventing the wheel’ was to seek out existing training content from regional groups.  Janice Cooper explains, for example, that when the decision was made to design a module on ‘women in business’, “…we worked with the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization for Women entrepreneurs…they had a lot of content, because that’s what they do…they work with women entrepreneurs”.  Erin Keough adds:  “..a lot of what we’ve done…has not been to create the original packet, it’s been to re-purpose. And often, a lot of what we did is repurpose more traditional, all ready kind of organized business learning”. A cross-institutional team of instructional designers turned content into teachable online modules, and three small media-development companies in Newfoundland were contracted to develop graphics and media-rich pieces for International Education Online 39 individual modules. The College of the North Atlantic provided their expertise in mounting and hosting the modules on the WebCT platform, and continues to register and provide seven-days-a-week technical support to both Canadian and Irish learners. Finally, online facilitators (“tutors”) were recruited to facilitate eBIG modules in their areas of expertise. Developing a project with such a large, diverse and dispersed definitely enriched the project, developers report, but it was not without its challenges.  John King at CNA characterizes the team approach as a “strategic advantage” – because it allowed the opportunity to be spread throughout a region, enhancing regional capacity and capability.  Janice Cooper adds:  “the real plus, of course is the richness of what we had at the end…you have two different countries with input, two different approaches, college and university with input.  So it really makes the whole of the activity richer at the end of the day”.   eBIG project leaders point out that the relatively small size of Newfoundland’s educational and IT communities was an added advantage: many partners already had working relationships, and could quickly take advantage of each others skills: for example, CNA had technology expertise that Memorial University was lacking, while Memorial could provide greater depth and breadth of content. “the college was smaller, we knew that we could get things done quickly there where the university was a lot bigger and it might take some more time” Janice Cooper Dr. Foster adds that Irish and Newfoundland partners definitely learned from each other about the similarities and differences in the challenges that educators and business people face in their respective countries.  She also characterizes the experience as a confidence-builder for the Newfoundland team, explaining “I don’t thing we were really totally confident of how good we were” until it became apparent how valuable their input was for Irish partners. The capacity for flexibility and adaptability proved to be an additional benefit of team-based project.  Dr. Foster explains: “as the [project] grew, we realized that a lot of the small business people didn’t have the fundamentals that we would expect somebody to have…and that [some small business people] wanted more fundamentals than we had anticipated”.  The eBIG team was able to draw on a large network of educators and designers to continue to respond to learner needs. Flexible learning for a challenging learner demographic The eBIG project has been comprehensively designed with the challenges of the target learner community in mind.  Not only are these learners busy working people, often in rural areas, but for the most part they also belong to a segment of the population who are not yet experienced with or comfortable with ICTs.  While champions of projects designed for 20-year-old undergraduates (see the other case studies in this project) reported that most young Canadian undergraduates now arrive in higher education unphased by technology, the International Education Online 40 degree of support needed by eBIG learners highlights the ‘technology generation gap’ that currently exists in both Canada and Ireland. eBIG ‘Helpdesk’ CNA manages a seven-days-a-week telephone help-desk so that learners from both sides of the Atlantic can call for help with technical or course-related questions. Tutors make a point of contacting new registrants by phone, and beginners are provided with detailed ‘Learner Guides’, advice on minimum technical requirements and options of following ‘demonstration courses’ and ‘course tours’ online, and have access to animated help files.  This degree of learner support is a key features that differentiates the eBIG project from commercially available online training packages. The first cohort of learners registered in eBIG modules in November 2000, and to date more than one hundred learners have completed one or more of 22 self-paced tutor-facilitated modules currently available.  Entry level modules feature step- by-step introductions to ICT hardware and software, and a ‘self assessment’ tool that allows SMEs to determine their current level of fundamental business development skills and knowledge, and directs them to introductory modules in these areas if needed.  A later self-audit tool helps SMEs determine whether they are ‘e-business ready’ and to decide whether e-business is really for them.  Subsequent modules cover themes as diverse as ‘Growing Your Business’, “’Relationship Marketing’, ‘Public Relations and Media Management’ or ‘Web Site Development’, and learners can pursue them all, or follow thematic module threads such as Finance, Human Resources, or e-Business. Schema of eBIG Modules Currently the eBIG modules – each designed to offer about five hours of learning - use WebCT as the course delivery platform, but all content was created outside of WebCT and is ‘tagged’ for interoperability; in the future, modules could be slotted into new platforms. Although John King points out that “technical sophistication was not the name of the game”, modules are impressively detailed and interactive. Much of the core text is available in audio files, and key material is illustrated with images, graphics or digital video footage.  Most modules include interactive ‘self-assessment’ activities, and links to International Education Online 41 online resources and business websites that the learners may be unaware of. Most popular with learners in pilot offerings of modules were the small business case studies (Foster, 2001), which seem to be the most useful way of making theoretical business and e-business concepts ‘real’.  Says Dr. Foster “a lot of these cases provided models of other businesses, so [they offered not only] the internet as a way of doing business, but the internet as a way of finding out what everybody else is doing”. Sample Case Study Human contact is key Theresa Pittman, pioneer online facilitator of several eBIG modules believes that the high level of ‘real human contact’ and tutor-led facilitation are key to the success of eBIG modules, especially for this group of learners, and also differentiates eBIG from other online business training packages.  Both she and Dr. Foster explain that their experience with distance learning has taught them the importance of voice contact, even in the absence of a visual image.  Theresa Pittman also emphasizes that it is critical for online facilitators to keep good notes and records of their students, explaining that although it is easy for instructors to remember personal details of students in a classroom situation, the lack of visuals online can make it more of a challenge.  Online instructors need to be more methodical and proactive in order to build good relationships with learners. The online format of eBIG modules was also explicitly designed with the intention of creating a community of learners and promoting learner interaction. Like most of the projects in this study, the WebCT discussion board tool is the central tool used for learner interaction, on topics related to module content.  Here, too, facilitators play a central role in fostering discussion, responding to learners and monitoring participation. Indeed, Theresa Pittman suggests that online tutors are often more accessible than their ‘face to face’ counterparts – something that may actually help with learner retention. “I taught courses by teleconference and …it was only voice, and I know that the rapport that I had with those students was every bit as strong if not stronger because I didn’t have visual…It forced [all] of us to be alert. I guess it’s the same way that we feel such a bond for Peter Gzowski you know?” Dr. Dale Foster The challenge? Creating a community of learners is particularly difficult when your learner population is self-paced (‘asynchronous’) and sometimes small in number, not to mention a group with widely different Internet skills, equipment, and experience with distance learning. Says Dr. Foster:  “we all know that there has to be a critical mass in order to be viable…and International Education Online 42 there’s a thin line [delineating] what the critical mass is in each module…So the interactivity of the modules was not being exploited by the students…one of the main reasons for that was the numbers were too small to make it real”. Indeed, feedback from learners in pilot offerings indicated that these learners wished for even more contact with peers. How many learners make critical mass for online learning?  “About the same number as a normal class, about 40” estimates Dr. Foster.  But like UBC’s Dr. Michael Seear, she acknowledges that for actual group discussions she always divides students into smaller groups of 10-15 – or else communications become unmanageable for everyone. A further challenge for facilitators is simply managing large numbers of students working at their own pace – a task that requires good record-keeping and the setting of realistic expectations fro response time. “People are demanding online!” notes Dr. Foster, especially people new to the Internet.  So it’s important for eBIG facilitators to be clear about how quickly they will respond to different kinds of questions and requests for help. Sample of Module Content Multiple cultures, multiple challenges Collaborative content design and adaptation by Canadian and Irish partners proved vital for the success of this project, highlighting a critical issue in online international education design: the need for content to be locally and culturally relevant and comprehensible for all learners.  Not only did it prove necessary to design parallel modules for Irish and Newfoundland learners in some content areas (for example in areas with differing legal or technical requirements), but simple vocabulary differences were also challenges for facilitators and learners in pilot modules. To minimize cultural miscommunications, Irish partners therefore assessed all modules.  Erin Keough adds “although we have similar cultures, it’s not something we could ignore”.  Theresa Pittman points out that it was also important that module facilitators were drawn from both countries, to maintain a balance of cultural and experiential perspective.  Significantly, Irish and Canadian participants gave equally positive feedback about their learning experience in pilot modules, suggesting that the effort put into module ‘acculturation’ was worth the time invested. “Some differences were anticipated more than others…[for example] accounting is so different in different cultures, we just didn’t expect that we could simply offer a Canadian module to Irish learners…. [But] other differences were more of a surprise to us.” Dr. Dale Foster International Education Online 43 More challenging were the cultural differences in work process and expectations between project partners. John King points to the simple challenge of achieving consensus within such a diverse group, adding “from a practical and operational perspective, you’d always rather be able to do it all on your own”. Says Erin Keough “everybody had a different idea of how much content actually goes into [a module] …what a template of four to five hours of content would look like for an average student”. Without even leaving Canadian shores, educators and developers from the world of public education experienced a clash of ‘work cultures’ in partnerships with private sector multi-media companies.  Educators used to shoe-string budgets and unpaid overtime sometimes feel that in partnerships with private companies “you end up paying more than you think you should and getting less than you thought you would”.  At the same time, corporate priorities sometimes mean that unlike public-sector partners, small businesses are unable to focus solely on one project: “for them, its not the same as the public institution. You can’t just shuffle [priorities] in a small company, ‘cause that’s your revenue,” explains Dr. Foster. Faculty and content developers, on the other hand, sometimes failed to deliver content on time, when companies had people lined up and available to work on graphic design. Meanwhile, Erin Keough and Janice Cooper describe their own encounters with cultural difference in management of the eBIG project.  Firstly, they report,  “the pace of doing things” is different between Ireland and Newfoundland, and “trying to keep everybody moving at the same time and in the same place” was a challenge. An even bigger difference was the “educational culture”.  Says Janice Cooper: “we found that people in Ireland haven’t got the same tradition of distance learning as we do”. This meant that Irish partners were “always more concerned” about whether learners could be successful in the online environment whereas Newfoundland partners would “throw out a handbook and say, “Call us if you’ve got troubles,” or “Your tutor’s going to call you in the first week.” Case Study Video Their recommendations for success in large-group collaborations?  Allow more planning time than you think you will need! And, find a single funding source controlled by a single full-time project manager, and one lead instructional designer, to ensure consistency of product. Says Janice Cooper “it really could have used somebody full time as opposed to …pieces of multiple people!” International Education Online 44 Intercultural and e-Business learning: Not just for ‘kids’ Dr. Foster points out that simply by helping learners to becoming ‘internet competent’, the eBIG project is opening a whole new window on the world for these learners, far beyond their local borders. Participants also learn to use the Internet as an “academic research tool” through activities that require them to seek out international online resources. Moreover, eBIG modules can be a real baptism of fire into the tricky world of Internet communications – skills that anyone communicating online with international partners or clients must acquire. “..for [eBIG learners] it was a different type of communicating and I think for some of them it may have opened up their eyes…in terms of what’s possible with technology…they were more comfortable with discussion and email….we generated a lot of new skills” Theresa Pittman Both Theresa Pittman and Dr. Foster highlight the value of ‘people making connections’ and networking while working on eBIG modules, and in particular Dr. Foster mentions how learners often gained a better awareness of the international and rapidly globalizing world of business – a huge advantage for people who may not have the ability to travel. Finally, Theresa Pittman describes that eBIG training has been transformative for some participants, by expanding their educational horizons.  She reports that for many eBIG learners, “this was the first time they’d done online learning…[and] some are now interested in going on, or they’ve inquired about doing other on-line courses”. Investigating International Business Cultures Plans for the future John King at CNA believes that eBIG will continue to evolve and grow, incorporating new content and new technology – an eventuality anticipated and planned for from the outset.  An important focus will be more effective marketing of the program to the target audience – something that Janice Cooper admits “probably requires a lot more work and attention”.  Traditionally, educators wait for students to come to them.  She explains “our intent now is to do some training on the road with economic development groups and people like that who can really be our secondary marketers”.  Registration will likely increase as the concept of ‘online learning’ becomes less foreign in Ireland and in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.  Together, it is hoped that these efforts will help eBIG modules reach that critical mass that helps build a dynamic learning community. International Education Online 45 Nor is eBIG yet financially sustainable, with learners currently paying $30 per module.  But a business plan is in place that will help eBIG reach sustainability, in part by increasing course content, and in part by attracting more students. Interestingly, eBIG also faces an accreditation challenge, in this case a growing demand from learners for ‘qualifications’.  Dr. Foster says “the next thing will be to look for some sort of accreditation of the modules, probably nesting up into a college course.”  Erin Keough reinforces this point, adding that Irish learners don’t know the Canadian college so well and that …”they’re much more interested in having something that’s stamped by a university.”  So some complicated issues lie ahead as eBIG leaders and academics try to reach consensus about the credit value of current modules. Interestingly, questions of marketing, sustainability and accreditation all bring us back to the central issue for the eBIG team: the need for centralized project management.  Erin Keough and Janice Cooper characterize this as a problem of “ownership” and agree that the question of ownership is unclear for such a large team project.  Dr. Foster concurs, pointing out that although intellectual property agreements were signed with module content developers “the ownership of it has never really been clearly articulated”. Operation ONLINE has reached the end of its funding, while OLIN’s mandate is to coordinate and develop partnerships, but not to teach, per se.  Meanwhile, eBIG will need a ‘home’ and a ‘champion’ to push for accreditation and promote it in the future. 4.5 Global Village of the North: University of the Arctic Dominant worldviews, and even apparently benign accidents such as the choice of the Mercator Projection for drawing world maps have for centuries allowed “Northern regions” of the world to be seen in the popular imagination as remote outposts of sovereign nations, divided by dozens of native languages, 24 time zones, and miles of dark frozen tundra.  In reality, the circumpolar North – one sixth of the world’s landmass – is a much more unified region, and shares many features of climate and environment, while its 3.7 million people often have more in common with each other than with their compatriots to the South. About the University of the Arctic International Education Online 46 Project: University of the Arctic (www.uarctic.org) Type: A ‘university without walls’ Strategy: Undergraduate courses developed by teams of specialists from participating circumpolar institutions. Partners:  Member colleges and universities from Arctic States. Canadian members include: • Yukon College • Aurora College, NWT • Nunavut Arctic College • University of Northern British Columbia • Lakehead University, ON • Athabasca University • Council of Yukon First Nations • Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies Funding:    Governmental, United Nations, institutional and private. Northerners, especially in smaller communities, face a range of barriers to higher education and a common problem shared by all Northern regions is a lack of sustainable economic development.  As a result, Northern regions often have poorly developed technical infrastructures, and lines of communication tend to run North- South within national systems.  The geographic barriers to education are more obvious – typically, students have to travel far to the South in their home country to continue their education.  Secondary education completion rates in most Northern regions are far below national averages, further limiting access to higher education and participation rates in higher education are further reduced by serious curricular mismatches: the content and perspectives of Southern higher education programs often lack relevance for Northern students.  Finally, an often-overlooked barrier for Northern students, especially those from indigenous communities, is the considerable culture shock they face when relocating to the South (University of the Arctic, 2001). New recognition of the importance of the North Social, political and environmental changes in the 1990s have forced a new recognition of the importance of the circumpolar North.  The end of the Cold War has ended decades of isolation of the Russian North.  Increasingly, governments have granted local governance and a measure of independence to Northern territories.  Canadian foreign policy now actively commits Canada to strengthening of Arctic economies and societies. BCS Information Page In addition, growing international awareness of climate change has focussed International Education Online 47 attention on Northern ecosystems.  Janne Hukkinnen, Professor of Environmental Management at Helsinki University of Technology describes the Arctic as the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to climate change.  She explains “This is a fragile environment. If there is a change, there is where you’ll see it first” (Bollag, 2002). In the North, for the North, by the North: A new university The dream of a ‘University of the North’ is not a new one.  In the late 1990s, however, a number of new developments converged to finally allow the idea of a transnational circumpolar institution of higher learning to flourish. Dr. Greg Poelzer, Chair of Political Science at the University of Northern British Columbia UNBC) in Prince George, and now the co-chair of the University of the Arctic “Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies Development Team”, explains that in the academic world, researchers and professors from around the pole were increasingly calling for the establishment of a centralized institution for the North. Meanwhile, the establishment of the Arctic Council in 1996 created a high-level intergovernmental forum tasked with addressing the common concerns and challenges faced by the Arctic governments and the people of the Arctic. Members include national governments of circumpolar countries, and there is provision for non-arctic states, inter- governmental and inter-parliamentary organizations and non-governmental organizations to become involved as observers.  Importantly, a number of organizations representing the indigenous peoples of the circumpolar North are Permanent Participants in the Council (Arctic Council Secretariat, 2003). The key that finally opened the doors of the University of the Arctic?  Technology. ICTs now allow “economies of scale” in the education world that were previously impossible, and are helping to make a Northern university a reality. Building on declared Arctic Council support for educational initiatives that bring the circumpolar region together, and the success of the transnational University of Lapland, and the demonstrated potential of ICTs, the Government of Finland and Lapland University Arctic Centre committed funding to establish a University of the Arctic, and a permanent coordination centre in Rovaniemi, Finland. The Government of Canada followed close behind. Opening virtual doors The new University of the Arctic (www.uarctic.org) was formally inaugurated in June, 200.  It is a co- operating network of some forty universities, colleges and other organizations concerned with higher education and research (including First Nations representation) from all eight arctic states.  By 2003, it had obtained additional funding support from the United Nations, from Arctic Council member states and UArctic institutions, and private sources. The University of the Arctic is emphatically not an ‘online university’ explains Dr. Poelzer, who describes it instead as a ‘university without walls’. While ICTs play an essential role in International Education Online 48 bridging distances in the region, UArctic educators are committed to using whichever teaching media are most appropriate and effective for different communities and individuals, including “classroom, mobility, field and distance learning, and ICT-mediated learning methods”. UArctic developers hope to find and advance ‘indigenous scholarship’ in the North, and share resources to minimize duplication of effort and offerings, all within a structure with minimal bureaucracy. Educationally, the University of Arctic is committed to developing quality curriculum that is appropriate and relevant for Northern students, rather than recreating the old North-South paradigm by importing curriculum and perspective from the South.  To illustrate this point, Dr. Poelzer offers examples from his own discipline: Political Science. He explains:  “It wouldn’t be terribly helpful to teach students about local government in urban centres.  What goes on in Montreal or Vancouver has no real meaning beyond basic principles of local governance. Economies of scale, taxation issues, services – all are radically different in the North. Context matters.” Collaborating international teams of faculty develop each course and program, guided by three principles: Circumpolarity, Interdisciplinarity and Diversity. How it all works: The practical details The University of the Arctic will develop and offer undergraduate level courses within defined program areas that will be available to students affiliated with member institutions, and eventually also to other students internationally.  Rather than offering entire degree programs, UArctic will offer substantial program specializations that students will complement with courses from their home institution: Dr. Poelzer envisions that eventually, students will receive degrees from their home institution with a U. Arctic ‘seal’ indicating completion of a major in a UArctic theme area.  Naturally, there are accreditation issues yet to be worked out in such a complex inter-institutional arrangement, agrees Dr. Poelzer, especially for member institutions in countries that have a very centralized national education system. Currently, UNBC is ‘banking’ students’ credits until they can be transferred to their home institutions. UArctic Newsletter The first UArctic program under development is a ‘Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies’ (BCS), a four-year, 120 credit undergraduate program with three elements: BCS100, ‘An Introduction to the Circumpolar World’, the ‘Circumpolar Studies Core’ (comprising six half-year courses on ‘Peoples and Cultures of the North’, ‘Land and Environment Issues’ and ‘Contemporary Issues’, and finally an area of ‘advanced emphasis’ for further study. International Education Online 49 Examples include: climate change, health and well-being, indigenous tourism, and language and culture. Technologically, the University of the Arctic is relying on the web design and management expertise of its Coordination Centre Staff in Finland, and the online learning expertise of Canada’s Athabasca University, who are currently providing a WebCT learning platform for online courses, and offering assistance with instructional design and technical support. Athabasca University is also responsible for the user-friendly ‘Arctic Learning Environment’ portal that allows students to customize their own ‘UArctic Gateway’. The Arctic Learning Environment ‘Introduction to the Circumpolar World’ The University of the Arctic launched the pilot of its first BCS course, ‘Introduction to the Circumpolar World’ in February 2002, with students from Canada, Greenland, Finland and Russia. Facilitated by Amanda Graham, Instructor of Northern Studies at Yukon College, Whitehorse, the course comprised fifteen modules that cover such topics as traditional and Western knowledge systems, the region’s unusual geography, the dominant physical and biological processes, Northern peoples and their history, environmental and climate change, economics, the spiritual and aesthetic, indigenous rights and new political structures, and new forms of Northern cooperation.  This pilot course encountered some surprising obstacles, describes Amanda Graham.  For example, Russia’s Customs Service seriously delayed folders of printed materials mailed to students. The multitude of time zones made synchronous chat almost impossible, and she herself found herself keeping late nights to make sure students 12 hours ahead of her would awaken to new material in discussion forums.  More predictably, language challenges made participation extra difficult for the majority of students for whom English was not a first language. Like other online courses in this study, this course makes heavy use of discussion forums, and web-based resources, and students also shared news, images and audio files from their home countries to illustrate course materials.  A unique innovation was the introduction of a ‘guest lecturer’ via the Internet: students in the program had access to a Yukon-based specialist in climate change during the module on climate issues. In spite of minor teething problems, Amanda Graham echoes a common theme: she explains how vividly this introductory course opened up a larger world for her students, forcing them to think about the circumpolar world in a bigger way, and making them aware the interconnectedness of forces influencing Northern life.  “So many people think that somehow distance education is less than real education, and this just patently International Education Online 50 showed me that it is not the case,” she explains.  As evidence of students’ involvement in and enjoyment of the pilot course, Amanda Graham describes how the course actually “ran over time” by several weeks, as students continued to log on and participate in discussions with their circumpolar peers.  “…aside from putting all these people in an airplane and sending them to one field camp, this is the best way for students from a circumpolar world to get to know each other and to be exposed to a wider view of the world.” Amanda Graham Building upon the success of this pilot, UArctic launched the pilot of a second BCS course: ‘Contemporary Issues in the Circumpolar World’ in January 2003. Looking to the future Established as a 21st century educational institution for the circumpolar North, there is no question that the University of Arctic was created with the intention of providing long-term and sustainable educational options for Northern students, and building human capacity around the North. UArctic hopes to enroll one thousands students by 2005. The decision to develop early courses in English was “brutally pragmatic” explains Dr. Poelzer: with dozens of national and indigenous languages in the region, it was the obvious lingua franca.  But Dr. Poelzer also points out that 75% of the population of the North live in Russia, and explains that in the future UArctic hopes to offer courses in Russian, as well as in some of the Nordic languages. Student Mobility Program Page Locating core funding will be key to the long-term sustainability of the UArctic dream, and course and program developers will continue to encounter challenges of language and culture as they continue to network such a diversity of cultures, nations and institutions. “Error is inevitable” acknowledges the UArctic’s “Integrated Plan” document (UArctic Circumpolar Coordination Office, 2000). Assisting and ensuring the participation of economically struggling Russian institutions, and of indigenous communities, will also require effort. But in spite of the cliffs still to be scaled, Greg Poelzer argues: “we’re putting our money where our mouths are”.  He continues: “Is it perfect?  No.  Is it fairly optimal where we’d like to be?  Absolutely not.  Is it significantly better than what’s ever been attempted, certainly on the international level?  Absolutely.  And we should take some pride in that.” International Education Online 51 4.6 Breaking New Intellectual Ground:  Ethnomusicology at the Université de Montréal Project: “Introduction á l’Éthnomusicologie” (“Introduction to Ethnomusicology”) Type: 100% online credit-level course with supporting multimedia CD ROM. Institution: Université de Montréal, Québec (www.umontreal.ca) Leader: Prof. Monique Desroches Strategy: Design supported by institutional unit; co-instruction with colleagues from partner institution. Partners:  Université de la Réunion, Reunion Island. Funding:    Université de Montréal “Do we ‘use’ music to study ethnomusicology?  Or does music help us understand social issues?  Or does studying social issues help us better understand music?”  These are the kinds of questions with which Dr. Monique Desroches challenges her students, online and in class, as she pushes them to explore the connections between culture, music and society in her course “Introduction to Ethnomusicology”.  Dr. Desroches’ own passion for the subject grew out of an early musical training, combined with an academic love for anthropology.  Now Professor of Music at the Université de Montréal, and Founding Director of the university’s World Music Research Laboratory (lrmm.musique.umontreal.ca), she has amassed almost twenty years of fieldwork, research and teaching in French- speaking Africa – in West Africa, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Mascarene Islands – and offers her personal conviction that there is no real distinction between research and pedagogy. “One carries out research through teaching and teaching through research” she explains, “It’s a circle, a dynamic relationship”. World Music Research Lab. Website Dr. Desroches characterizes ethnomusicology – still an emerging field of research and study – as a complex and “at least two dimensional” subject.  It requires a solid grounding in anthropological concepts, as well significant technical expertise in musicology.  In addition, she argues, “music is not simply made up of an audio component” – it can include dance, body language, gesture and multiple other contextual features. International Education Online 52 Understanding this, it’s easy to see that new technological innovations are a boon to this field.  Digital technologies and an online course platform allow easy presentation of audio and video files and images, and can effectively demonstrate the logic of, for example, different notation systems.  “We can listen to the music while it is being transcribed” explains Dr. Desroches.  Previously, she explains, she had to come to class with overhead transparencies, slides, videos, photos, audio-cassettes and transcriptions.  Now, everything is accessible on a CD ROM or online, simplifying life in the classroom. Inspired by a colleague in the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Desroches is also taking advantage of the online learning platform to better prepare students for national and international fieldwork by integrating problem-based learning into her course. Like Dr. Michael Seear at UBC, she explains that students are often worried about how to cope in unfamiliar cultural settings, and how to carry out their research without causing offense or insult. “I can’t go with them every time!” she explains, and hopes that a combination of case studies and problem scenarios will help students develop research and problem-solving skills and strategies.  “How do you take photographs or set up recording equipment in a tense political situation where music plays an important role? How do you do interviews, and who should you speak to?” Dr. Monique Desroches Horn Player, Gabon Institutional support accelerates the move to online Dr. Rhoda Weiss-Lambrou, Director of the Université de Montréal's centre for teaching and learning, known as the Centre d'études et de formation en enseignement supérieur (CEFES), credits a university- wide decision to support, promote and implement online learning, and the commitment to online learning of senior university leaders, with allowing the Université de Montréal to develop a range of high-quality ICT-mediated or mixed- mode courses in under three years.  The university has avoided a piece-meal approach to integration of learning technologies by developing a centralized and successful system for supporting innovative faculty as they develop new courses.  Their SUITE unit (Support in Using the Internet and Technology in Education), part of CEFES, has now funded and escorted three cohorts of twenty faculty members through the development process, offering workshops on using WebCT, html editing software, instructional design and other aspects of online pedagogy. Dr. Desroches initially developed and piloted her ‘Introduction to Ethnomusicology’ online course International Education Online 53 component to complement her existing lecture course in Montréal – creating the so-called “mixed-mode” format. It is an undergraduate level course targeted at music students, and also attracts students from disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and comparative literature every year.  The online component makes use of WebCT as the course design and delivery platform, and uses “as many tools as possible” to facilitate the illustration and investigation of the topic areas in ethnomusicology. These range from the very technical (‘Transcription Methods and Techniques’) to the anthropological (‘Organology’, or the study of musical instruments).  Online text and images are supplemented with links to documents, audio and video files, as well as specialist tools for music analysis.  The course makes heavy use of the Discussion Forum tool to facilitate both small-group and class-wide discussion on weekly challenge questions and related topics. Washboard, Québec To surmount the challenge of slow Internet connections and RAM restrictions, Dr. Desroches has developed a supplementary multimedia CD ROM for her course.  The CD ROM gives access to an even wider library of audio and video material, other ethnomusicology resources, and is a key area in which Dr. Desroches’ research and fieldwork impact her pedagogical practices.  Not only does the CD ROM make heavy use of materials she has collected ‘in the field’ and allow her to make research real for her students, it also allows reduces the cost. Copyrighted materials can be a significant expense. Instead, her recordings and images, obtained with permissions during her research, can be freely used for educational purposes. Why go international? This year, Dr. Desroches is offering her course internationally for the first time, in partnership with the Université de la Réunion, on the small mountainous island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean - an ‘overseas departement’ of France. The decision to partner with Réunion grew directly out of long experience of teaching and research in the developing world.  She explains “I was often asked to give an introductory course in ethnomusicology…and each time it was me who had to travel around….and what I found very frustrating was that after training them on the ground, I had to leave.  I was cut in half, and they were grappling with having to have intensive training, and..[after I left] there was no longer any direction or supervision. They weren’t being kept up to date, and I was no longer there to supervise fieldwork”. It is expensive to travel or to bring students to Canada, and at the same time International Education Online 54 she felt that her African colleagues and students needed to come and see for themselves current practices; they also needed access to world ethnomusicology resources.  In the long term, she explains, she hopes that the learning offered by her course will assist people from Réunion to “take their musical heritage into their own hands” – the “living history” that is at the core of societies with oral traditions.  Her wish to offer the course internationally is also a wish to meet an unfulfilled need of people and societies all over the world. Dr. Desroches drew on existing professional contacts to initiate a partnership with the Université de la Réunion, and she visited the university to recruit institutional and faculty support – enthusiastically provided by a new university President committed to internationalization of his far-flung institution.  Because she feels strongly that a truly international course of this kind could not simple be taught by one Montréal-based professor, plans were made to bring a collaborating Réunion Professor and IT specialist to Montréal for WebCT training, and to develop collaborative agreements on curriculum and course delivery. Dr. Desroches notes that it was with some relief that she discovered that the Université de la Réunion has better computers than her faculty in Montréal, and also the capacity for video conferencing if they choose to deliver lecture sessions long-distance. The Réunion professor will therefore act as the local in- class professor, and Réunion students will join the online discussion forums and have access to online resources and the course CD ROM. A new opportunity in the francophone world The current serious lack of French- language ethnomusicology resources is both a challenge for this project, and a great opportunity for the Université de Montréal.  Dr. Desroches and colleagues are literally creating a French-language literature in this field, and at the same time disseminating it through the culturally diverse French-speaking world.  The Agence universitaire de la francophonie itself has already expressed interest in Dr. Desroches’ project, recognizing that it is in line with its own priorities.  “It’s not about language politics” she says, “it’s simply about meeting a need that we are not currently fulfilling”.  Meanwhile, she reports, Québec is – from her experience – leading the Francophone world in competence and creativity with ICTs in education, and has the advantage of bilingualism – allowing them to bridge between the Anglophone and Francophone worlds, offer courses in both languages, and make use of resources in both languages. Xylophone, Guinea International Education Online 55 ICTs change the nature of teaching Dr. Desroches’ experience teaching her mixed-mode course has led her to the conclusion that online learning is changing the very nature of pedagogy.  Like other faculty in this study, she reports that the move to online has increased her contact with students, not reduced it. Significantly, she feels that her monitoring of online discussion has not only created a new relationship between her and her students, but it has critically altered her ability to track student learning and comprehension.  She explains “you log on and you have the impression that you’ve entered into the students’ psyche and can understand how they are learning!”.  This professor feels that online discussion forums have allowed her to gauge how each student is learning and what each is retaining, and have illuminated for her the wide range of comprehension within the class. Trumpet, Gabon Expanding musical minds The international version of ‘Introduction to Ethnomusicology’ is not launched without some worries on Dr. Desroches part: will the Réunion professor – not an ethnomusicology specialist, and lacking English-language skills and international exposure to musicology resources – be able to carry the Réunion students through the course?  Will their students have sufficient technical assistance?  Most students in Réunion travel long distances to the university and don’t have Internet access at home – will they be able to participate fully in the online forums? But the benefits, she feels, far outweigh the risks, when the need for a broader understanding of the cultural connections to music, both in Canada and overseas is so apparent.  Her Canadian music students, she feels “are so used to thinking about music in such a Western way that they have a hard time listening to a different kind of music and visualizing it, or transcribing it in another way”.  At the same time, experience has taught her that students in developing countries such as Réunion are “often very isolated, and tend to believe that certain phenomena that occur in their country are universal, or specific to them”.  They simply may not have access to musical traditions other than their own.  Dr. Desroches hopes that this new international version of her course will contribute to the opening of her students’ minds to new cultural practices on both sides of the Atlantic. International Education Online 56 5 Conclusions Online international education advances internationalization In 1995, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) issued a statement outlining six key ways in which internationalization of Canada’s post-secondary institutions would benefit Canada and the world community.  Internationalization, they agreed, ensures excellence in higher education and research; it develops human potential through economic and social development; it creates a forum for sharing ideas by creating a ‘global village’ within the academic community; it fosters international cooperation; it enhances student mobility; and it contributes to international development assistance. The online IE projects examined in this study without question advance the internationalization process in all of the institutions involved.  UBC’s International Health course is preparing students for the challenges of working in the developing world.  Mount Royal College’s Repentina project is facilitating a new level of inter-institutional cooperation within the North American continent. The University of the Arctic is literally creating a new ‘global village’ in the Circumpolar North.  At the Université de Montréal, ‘Introduction to Ethnomusicology’ is helping students explore new connections between music and culture around the world.  Ryerson University’s Virtual Law Firms project is allowing students to experience the reality of international business and legal conflict.  And the Newfoundland and Labrador eBIG project is extending international learning into the wider community.  In each case, new learning opportunities made possible by creative integration of ICTs are allowing Canadian students to participate in making true internationalization a reality. ICTs can support international and intercultural learning Students and participants in the online IE activities described here are faced with many of the same challenges as students who participate in better established IE activities: they must overcome language barriers, negotiate cultural differences, learn from their international counterparts, and make their international teams ‘work’.  Just like exchange students, they struggle with incidents of miscommunication, intercultural confusion, the challenges of managing time and workload, and the dawning realization that theirs is not the only valid worldview.  Horizons are broadened, personal and professional relationships are developed, and new ways of working and living encountered.  Importantly, students in many of these projects are also acquiring skills that will stand them in good stead in Canadian and international job markets: they are developing competence with ICTs – indeed, many of these projects relied on student technical expertise to solve technical problems; they are developing a more sophisticated appreciation of both the advantages and disadvantages of technology-mediated communications; they are experiencing the need for professional and clear communications in vivo; and they are acquiring a clearer understanding of the International Education Online 57 importance of global perspective in the global workplace. Not one of the project leaders in this study would argue that ICT-mediated international experience can or should ‘replace’ face-to-face international education activities.  Indeed, in almost every case, online activities have been designed to promote, facilitate or complement current or future international experiences. At the same time, the access to IE that ICTs extends to many more Canadian students is a new and important phenomenon.  In addition, ICTs arguably augment student learning and participation, and can even offer features simply unavailable in a regular classroom. Across the board, these leading edge faculty and instructors described with surprise how online teaching and learning activities actually increased student participation in discussion and debate, promoted more thoughtful student contributions, and encouraged quieter students to ‘speak’.  ICTs facilitate students connections to peers around the world; they allow the possibility of ‘guest lecturers’ from anywhere in the world; they offer access to vast online resources, and they offer a degree of access to higher level international education to whole segments of the Canadian population that was previously unthinkable. Challenges and lessons learned Developing and managing online international projects is not without its challenges: it requires a serious time commitment (and a realistic assessment of the time needed) on the part of faculty, instructors, and usually an array of support staff (although Dr. Monique Desroches comments “I think to myself that that is odd since we never used to ask ourselves about how much time things used to take!”).  The degree of effort and time involved in project development, especially in the absence of specialized support staff can make the entire undertaking seem too risky for young faculty still worried about tenure and promotion.  Both faculty and students can encounter a steep learning curve as they work with technology for the first time, and often need considerable support.  And successful projects are not easily established unless institutions have a campus-wide commitment both to both internationalization and to integration of ICTs into teaching and learning.  In addition, these and other innovative projects are literally dragging their institutions behind them: old ideas about student and course accreditation, job descriptions of faculty and non-teaching personnel, and what constitutes ‘real’ learning no longer mesh with the new global perspective of outward-looking international educators.  Institutional perspectives on exactly who their target audience are must change, as educators begin to understand the benefits of IE for lifelong learners and other groups who have traditionally been under-represented in the hallowed halls of higher learning. And older larger institutions – especially those that are very decentralized– are slower to change. Faculty learn too! A key lesson learned by most faculty and project leaders in this study has been International Education Online 58 the importance and value of face-to-face development time for partner faculty in large projects, and the lone developers in this study described the lack of a peer group as a real challenge.  Good project management, and firm agreements (formal or informal) on roles and responsibilities are vital.  On the other hand, the benefits for faculty of well- designed and well-managed projects are impressive.  Faculty and their international partners develop personal and professional relationships, and these are already evolving into new collaborations. Many faculty described how working with ICTs had altered their teaching role – not by forcing a new single-mode way of teaching, but by allowing them to play a range of new roles.  Almost universally, faculty recognized how much they themselves had learned through their participation in online IE projects. Many reported with surprise their own new encounters with culture, language and the global nature of their discipline. International Education Offices can play a key role in online IE An important finding of this study is the degree to which International Education offices can support ICT- mediated IE activities in Canadian universities and colleges.  International Education personnel have valuable skills and experience – in particular in selecting international partners, developing international partnerships, and soliciting funding for new international projects – that faculty often lack.  Their involvement can contribute to better project management and coordination, more effective sharing of responsibilities and, importantly, the long-term ‘ownership’ and sustainability of projects.  Their central position in institutions allows them to be key coordinators of cross-campus initiatives and promoters of decentralized projects internally and externally.  Not only does this maximize project success and reduce duplication of effort in the same institution, it allows IE offices to play a valuable role – as they should – in a key feature of institutional internationalization: internationalizing the curriculum. ICTs help us share the wealth Perhaps the most exciting and unanticipated feature of online IE projects described in this study, however, is the ways in which they are helping to change old “colonial” models, both of education and of internationalization.  Association GlobalView, home of Ryerson’s “Virtual Law Firms” project, actively seeks private sector sponsorship to keep costs low and allow participation of institutions from the developing world.  Partners in the Repentina project were able to redistribute funding creatively in order to support under-resourced Mexican partner institutions in full project participation. Newfoundland and Labrador’s eBIG project extends IE possibilities to rural learners in one of Canada’s most economically depressed regions.  The University of the Arctic’s current funding strategy not only actively supports participation of students from the Russian North (the Arctic region with the weakest ICT infrastructure), it also overtly seeks to promote the North’s ‘indigenous scholarship’ and change the North/South, International Education Online 59 centre/periphery dynamic that has historically shaped available education in Canada’s North. Even at the very simplest level, ICT- mediated projects allow many more students and faculty – rich or poor, rural or urban, ‘developed’ or ‘underdeveloped’ – to meet and learn as peers and colleagues, with the recognition that input from all is needed and valued. ICTs are helping us to move away from old paradigms in which developed nations send their students and their ‘knowledge’ to the developing world, and instead create a new space for students and faculty to meet as equals. 6 Acknowledgements This research was supported by a grant from Human Resources Development Canada’s Office of Learning Technologies, made to the Canadian Bureau for International Education.  Grateful thanks must go to the many individuals who agreed to be interviewed for this study: Dr. Michael Seear and student Dunia Stephan-Tozy at UBC; Frank Harks, Dianne MacDonald and Svea Craig-Mason at Mount Royal College; Dr. Greg Poelzer at UNBC; Amanda Graham at Yukon College; Drs. Monique Desroches and Rhoda Weiss- Lambrou at the Université de Montréal; Prof. Mary Jo Nicholson at Ryerson University; Dr. Dale Foster at Memorial University of Newfoundland; John King and Theresa Pittman at the College of the North Atlantic; Janice Cooper of Operation ONLINE; and Erin Keough at OLIN.  MAPLE Director Beth Hawkes facilitated critical French-language interviews, and MAPLE Research Associate Adnan Qayyum provided indispensable moral and editorial support.  Finally, thanks must go to Katy Wright, Dave Thornton, Anna Mastelloto, Mary Kane and Jennifer Humphries at CBIE, who masterfully managed the implementation of this research project, and the Pan-Canadian Project Advisory Team who offered important research guidance throughout. 7 References Arctic Council Secretariat (2003) Arctic Council Website. http://www.arctic-council.org Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (1995).  Statement on Internationalization and Canadian Universities. http://www.aucc.ca/publications/statements/1995/intl_04_e.html Bachor, D. 2000.  Reformatting Reporting Methods for Case Studies. Proceedings, Australian Association for Research in Education, Sydney, Australia. Barker, K. 2001. Studying the Use of e-Learning in International Education. Phase Two Report. Canadian Bureau for International Education. Available online at: http://www.cbie.ca Bollag, B. (2002) Higher Education in the High Latitudes. The Chronicle of Higher Education 49(7). http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i07/07a04301.htm International Education Online 60 Christie, M., Rowe, P., Perry, C. and Chamard, J. 2000.  Implementation of Realism in Case Study research Methodology. Proceedings, International Council for Small Business Annual Conference, Brisbane, Australia. Evers, F.T., Rush, J.C. & Berdrow, I. (1998) The Bases of Competence: Skills for Lifelong Learning and Employability. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Faure, E. (1972) Learning to be: the world of education today and tomorrow, UNESCO, Paris Foster, K.D. (2001) e-Learning for Business Innovation and growth: A Quantitative Evaluation. Unpublished report, submitted to Operation ONLINE. Human Resources Development Canada (2002) Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education: Program Information.                                      http://www.hrdc- drhc.gc.ca/hrib/learnlit/iam/north_am/index.shtml Knight, J. (1996) Internationalizing higher education: a shared vision? Ottawa: Canadian Bureau for International Education, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Kucko, J. (2001) Interaction Across the World. ISDesigNET Magazine, March 2001. http://www.isdesignet.com/Magazine/Mar'01/idec.html Litke, D. (1998) Virtual Schooling at the Middle Grades: A Case Study. Journal of Distance Education 13 (2).  Available online at: http://cade.icaap.org/vol13.2/litke.html Macfadyen, L.P. and Hawkes, B. (2002) Report on a Survey of Current Uses of ICTs in Canadian International Education Activities. Phase One Report. Canadian Bureau for International Education. Available online at: http://www.cbie.ca Merriam, S.B. 1998.  Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco. Nicholson, M.J. (2002) Valuing Experiential Web-based, results-oriented Pedagogy for Teaching International Business Law: A Pilot Study in Simulation. Draft Manuscript. Schlais, D. & Davis, R. (1999) Interactive Learning Between Electronically Linked Universities. Paper presented at the European Association for International Education Annual Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Sell, G.R. (1996-7) Challenges in using technology for the improvement of undergraduate education. Teaching Excellence 8 (2). University of the Arctic Circumpolar Coordination Office (2000) An Integrated Plan. http://www.uarctic.org/publications.asp?cat=prg University of the Arctic Council (2001) Draft Discussion Paper: The Northern Education Dimension. http://www.uarctic.org/documents/PRGALE03.pdf 61 Investigating Current Uses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in International Education in Post-secondary Institutions in Canada QUESTIONNAIRE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON YOUR PROJECT About You Your name: Name of your institution: How would you characterize your institution? Project Details 1. What is the full name of your project? 2. When did you start developing this project, and when did the first class of students enter the project?  How many cohorts of students have participated to date?  Do you know when the project will end? 3. How many students participate in each iteration of the project? Who are your students, typically? 62 4. How is the course structured? (length, timeline, evaluations/exams, assignments, group-work, participation in discussion, etc.) Goals of the Project 5. What inspired or stimulated the development of this international project? 6. What are the primary educational objectives of this project? 63 Project Leadership and Development 7. What is/was your role in the project? 8. Was there a champion or project leader for this IE initiative? 9. Who else participated in the design and development of the project? Are there partner institutions involved?  Please specify. 10.  Who else participates in teaching within your project? 64 Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) 11. Why did you decide to integrate internet communication technologies into this project? Which technologies does the course make use of? Further Information 12. Where else can we find out more information about your project? o Where can we locate a copy of your project syllabus and description? o Are there existing project reports or evaluations that you could share, or whose results you could summarize for us? o Is the project described in journal articles or other publications? o Would it be possible for us to visit the online site? o Should/could we speak with other staff or faculty involved with project design and/or development? o Might it be possible for us to speak to or communicate with students who have participated in your project? 65 Investigating Current Uses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in International Education in Post-secondary Institutions in Canada Phase 3: Case Studies QUESTIONNAIRE PART II:  DETAILED PROJECT INFORMATION 66  i. Descriptors Date Name of Interviewee: Gender Rank/ Role Discipline Department/Unit Years of Teaching Experience Years of IT Experience Age Range First Language? Tenor of Interview? 67  ii. Educational Objectives • What are the main educational goals of your project? • In terms of rigour, depth and breadth, how would you compare your project to “traditionally-delivered” courses? Evaluating Your Course • What forms of evaluation are you using to determine the success of the project in meeting its educational goals?  Why did you choose this method? • How would you currently rate the project in terms of meeting its educational goals? • Are there aspects of the project that you plan to change in order to better meet the educational objectives? Are there other aspects of the project that you think need to be changed? Evaluating Student Learning • How do you assess student learning? • How do your students learn differently in your course as a result of using ICTs? • What are the minimum requirements for ‘passing’ your course?  How do you identify students who might be struggling or failing in your course?  What are the consequences of failing? 68  iii. Institutional Context Institutional Priorities/ Vision • Is International Education a priority at your institution? • Does your institution, faculty and/or department have policies regarding selection, evaluation, development and use of educational technologies?  Did these affect your use of ICTs? • Do you know of other IE activities developed by your institution? What other kinds of IE activities are you yourself involved in? • Are you aware of other international initiatives using ICTs at your institution? Institutional Support • Do you feel that your project has been given sufficient institutional and/or administrative support? Support for Faculty and Staff • Whose responsibility is it to develop ICT-mediated courses at your institution? • What incentives are there in place to inspire faculty to develop such courses as yours? 69  iv. The Development Process • Can you describe the process through which you (and others, if any) developed your project? • What have been the advantages and disadvantages of this development process? • How would you do it differently next time? • Were you able to  make use of existing resources and support services for international projects in your institution? • Has the size of your institution been an advantage or a disadvantage in the development and management of your project? • Did you run a pilot or field-test of your project? • Do you report on the operation of your project to stakeholders? (Who are they?) • How long do you expect your project to continue? • If you could offer advice about project development to others, what would that advice be? 70  v. Partnerships • If a partnership exists, what have been the advantages and challenges of the partnership? • Did you find it necessary to develop formal or informal agreements on common language or standards of practice? • If you could offer advice to others about working with partner institutions, what would it be? 71  vi. Leadership/Staffing • Which individuals are involved in teaching of your course?  Are all teaching staff from your institution, or is teaching shared between partner institutions? • Is the project sustainable with its current staffing structure? • How have the development and management of your project affected faculty and staff time?  Has your/their involvement in this project had an impact on other program areas? • Has your role as ‘teacher’ changed as a result of this project? • Does your project have dedicated administrative support? • Have you had to develop a new model for compensating faculty and/or instructors for teaching within your project? • Have you and other teaching staff had any training in the pedagogy and technology of online teaching and learning?  Was this training useful/desirable? Would it be? • If you could offer advice to others about staffing and teaching in a similar project, what would it be? 72  vii. Students • Who are the target students? How are they selected? What are the prerequisites for enrolling in your project?  How do you assess their pre-existing skills and knowledge? • Has the composition of your class changed since you began teaching online? • What effect has the introduction of technology had on the amount and kind of time your students spend on the course?  Have you asked this question? • What effect do variations in computer skills among your students have on the attainment of your project objectives? • What is the psychological mindset of your students about computer technology? How have you determined this?  How does it affect the learning achieved in your project? • Do you survey and advise students about the program to determine that they possess the self-motivation and commitment to learn online? • If you could offer advice to faculty or staff planning a similar project about student selection, what would it be? • What advice would you offer to students interested in your project or a similar one? 73  viii. Funding/Costs • How is the project funded? • Has your use of ICTs been influenced by the cost of ICT integration? • Is the project sustainable within its current funding structure? • If not, are there plans to develop alternate funding structures? • What kind of costing strategy did you use to project the costs of developing and managing your project?  Has it proven accurate?  Why, or why not? • If you could offer advice to others about costing or finding financial support for a similar project, what would it be? 74  ix. Instructional Design Choice of ICTs • Why did you decide to use ICTs in the delivery of your IE project? • Would you describe the ICT component of your project as supplementary or integral/central? • Was a specific platform or courseware tool used in your project? (Custom- designed? Off-the-shelf?)?  Why did you decide to use it? • Within the online environment of your project, which communication technologies and tools are incorporated? (e.g. discussion boards, chat, audio/video).  What is the rationale for using each? • In your platform design or choice, did you consider how you may need or want to adapt it in the future to make use of newly emerging technologies?  Will it be easy to incorporate new technologies? • Do teaching faculty or staff have design access to the online portion of the project? If not, would they like it? Why? Or why not? • How has your choice of communications tools changed or evolved over time? Why? • Where are course materials maintained (i.e. the server) in order to adequately deliver materials to the selected audience? Are institutional facilities adequate? 75 • Have you considered security issues in your choice of courseware, servers and project design? ICTs and Design • Have you changed the way you design educational projects as a result of introducing technology?  In what way? • Which features of your project’s design allow you and your students to take advantage of the unique applications for online delivery? • How have you designed your project so that it is comprehensible and relevant to international as well as Canadian students? Have you found a need to consider language and cultural differences in project design, instruction, communications and/or assessment? • What facilities or capabilities are available to faculty and staff to assist in the preparation and online delivery of course materials? 76 Connections, Access and Technical Support • Have your students been able to access your course material easily, via the technological means you have provided? How have you ensured this? • Have some students had more difficulties than others in accessing your course? How do you help students overcome access difficulties? • Do your students have easy access to on-campus computers that are sufficient, and functional? • Do students have access to wireless networks? Ethernet connections? • Do students have access to online library materials?  Are students encouraged or required to own a computer?  Do students have open access to campus computers? Laptop computers? • Do students have access to sufficient timely technical support? • Are technical requirements for students documented?  Are minimum technological competencies for students announced? Do you assess students’ technological competence? If so, how?  Do students have any way of acquiring training in technical skills in advance of taking the course? 77 Communications Using ICTs • Does your project design allow teaching faculty to monitor student participation and activity? Why, or why not? • Does your project design allow students to communicate with each other privately?  Why, or why not? • Have you noticed incidences of intercultural misunderstanding in online communications between students, or between students and instructors?  How have you or they resolved such incidences? • If you could offer advice to others who planned to work/communicate online with international students and/or faculty/staff, what would it be? 78 Interactivity • Was creating an interactive learning environment a priority in the design of your project?  Why? Or why not? • How interactive do you think your online project is? • Please use the interactivity assessment matrix provided to indicate the level of interactivity of your project. • Do you feel that current ICTs are adequate for the level of interactivity you want in your project?  If you had unlimited access to any technology, what changes would you make? • Does your online environment allow for both asynchronous and synchronous interaction between teacher and student and student-student? Why, or why not? • How have the communications among your students and between the students and yourself changed as a result of the implementation of technology? How do these changes affect the attainment of the learning objectives of your project? • How do you set guidelines for behaviour and communications in online interactions? How do you enforce them? 79  x. International/ Intercultural Learning • Were specific international and intercultural competencies identified as educational goals?  What are they? • How do you assess whether students have acquired any or all of these competencies? 80  xi. Problems and Preoccupations • What have been the most persistent problems and preoccupations for staff? • What do you perceive as the most persistent problems or preoccupations of students? • Have you experienced any particularly challenging situations or incidents online? (eg flaming) Please describe. • What lessons did you learn in the development process that they have used or will use in later iterations of the project? • What agreements have you made, or what agreements are you bound by, regarding “Intellectual property” and ownership of your project?) • What other advice would you offer to others interested in establishing a similar project?


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