UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Teaching towards social and ecological justice online: Introduction to Global Citizenship at UBC Macfadyen, Leah P.; Swanson, Dalene; Hewling, Anne


How can we help university students make connections between ‘academic knowledge’, and their roles as members of local and global communities? How do we create a forum for students to engage in issues of social and ecological justice through critical thought, moral commitment and meaningful engagement in their learning and coming to know as global citizens? We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers and instructors who have collaboratively developed, and are now co-teaching an international, interactive, fully online university course: Introduction to Global Citizenship, available to students at five universities around the world. Our course combines academic rigour with personal reflection and group discussion. It provides students with a broad understanding of barriers and bridges to global citizenship, brings greater awareness of key global issues, and encourages individual and collective action and accountability on issues of sustainability and social justice. Pilot delivery of our course in 2005-2006 suggests that it offers students an extremely challenging, thought-provoking, international educational experience, as we learn about and discuss global issues together. In this working session, we hope describe our experiences with this course project, and to facilitate a productive dialogue with colleagues around teaching strategies for transformative learning in higher education. What ‘kinds’ of transformative learning are we seeking and how can we recognize it? Which instructional strategies facilitate deeper critical analysis and personal reflection? What roles might technology and interdisciplinarity play in this undertaking? Which investigative approaches might help us move our institutions beyond lipservice to global education?

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