Co-curricular and experiential learning are being bolstered by technology to give study abroad students a transnational experience.
An international education organization often used by study abroad programs is harnessing the power of technology-supported blended teaching and learning to refine study abroad education programs by connecting students and faculty around the world and preparing learners to translate their global experience into a skill set that prepares them for the modern economy.
The organization, CAPA The Global Education Network provides academic programs abroad for accredited American colleges and universities. Students from partnering US institutions enroll in courses and internships that help them to fulfill degree requirements or earn extra credentials, and hopefully have meaningful experiences that enable them to become thoughtful global citizens.
The organization is seeking to achieve those goals through their Globally Networked Learning initiative, which features personalized blended learning and global connections enhanced by technology and collaborative online learning communities that expand the opportunities for interaction between students, teachers and the “global city,” unconstrained by time or place. CAPA has campuses in Buenos Aires, Sydney, Shanghai, London, Dublin and Florence.
“CAPA knows the vital role that technology plays in preparing students to not only live in a globally interdependent and diverse world, but also prepare them for their future careers,” said John Christian, CEO and president of CAPA. “We blend technology into teaching to enhance both the student’s learning experience and outcomes. Through CAPA’s Globally Networked Learning approach, our students don’t just gain a study abroad experience in one city; they’re gaining a global perspective that will help them stand out in a crowded job market after they graduate.”
(Next page: The Program’s video technology, advanced LMS, and business-supported programs)
CAPA’s new initiative connects students and faculty from across all CAPA sites worldwide, creating a global learning environment that encourages the exchange of transnational perspectives. All of the courses incorporate face-to-face and experiential learning, but also use advanced video technology to encourage team-teaching and cross-program student projects across the globe, bring in guest lecturers, and focus on a wider set of world issues in the hopes of creating the most well-rounded global students possible.
“We wanted to take international study abroad education and make it transnational,” said Christian. “There are no boundaries. The goal is that students will care and gain a greater understanding about how the world works.”
Greater Resource Access and an Advanced LMS
The Globally Networked Learning Initiative allows CAPA’s faculty to assign more challenging and in-depth research projects since students will have greater access to extensive resources and global comparative analysis. Students from all of CAPA’s campuses are able to use an advanced learning management system to share experiences, poll each other, and recommend information for research.
To further bolster these resources, CAPA has also joined with State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego in order to launch a Library of Record partnership and provide faculty and students with access to all of the online resources that a comprehensive research university system has to offer. This includes scholarly research databases, including journals and e-books, that will be tailored to the specific needs of each program and supported by 24/7 reference librarian help. Inter-library loan privileges will also be possible in order to request articles not immediately available in these databases.
“This is a groundbreaking and technologically advanced addition to an already comprehensive education abroad organization, said Dr. Joshua S. McKeown, director of the Office of International Education and Programs at SUNY Oswego.” “Students, faculty and program staff at home and in sites worldwide will be able to access common learning resources and research materials through this shared service. It will make study abroad better for all CAPA students and SUNY Oswego a stronger study abroad partner as well.”
Programs Designed with Business Input
All of CAPA’s resources and connections aim to allow students to gain incredible insight into complex subjects such as globalization, human rights, urban development, diversity, civic engagement and global development. All of the programs available to students are custom built with input from their parent institutions, as well as with insight from the business world. For example, CAPA’s global marketing program is one of their most popular, and teaches students to take into account geopolitical and social issues when developing marketing plans for different countries.
“It isn’t just about putting kids in classes with a global perspective, though,” said Christian. “It’s more about how they interpret, scribe, record, and tell their story. We help them to create an e-portfolio with their competencies and internships, and teach them to present it. We interview students to answer questions about their experiences and describe it in a way that’s relevant to the skills and companies they’re looking to serve. It’s a holistic approach and a very personal approach, and we want them to tell their story with accuracy and intelligence and know how to apply that to their subject area.”
In the end, CAPA’s mission is all about educating students about the world with the hopes of ultimately sending them out to make the world a better place, concluded Christian, saying “Globalization can highlight amazing concerns about poverty and other…issues. Maybe later on our students can do something good. We want to raise the bar on understanding, community, and action.”
For more on CAPA, visit their website here.