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Ithaca College Hosts International Educators for 'Classrooms Beyond Borders' Planning

ITHACA, NY — Educators from the Middle East and Africa will join colleagues at Ithaca College May 31–June 3 to continue the development of the “Classrooms Beyond Borders” initiative, which aims to serve as a model for innovative, interdisciplinary global collaborative classrooms. The participants will share preliminary experiences and set the foundation for future partnerships as faculty and educational institutions.

“It is essential for all of our students to develop global knowledge, yet both students and academic institutions are facing increasing economic constraints,” said Beth Harris, who along with fellow associate professor of politics Peyi Soyinka-Airewele is developing the initiative. “While many colleges have international exchange programs, which transport students and/or faculty to different countries, these global classrooms use cutting-edge digital technology and innovative pedagogies to bring students and educators living in different countries into shared classrooms.”

“This approach provides opportunities for the development of new curriculum and teaching strategies that are uniquely responsive to the complexities of international political dynamics and the diversity of cultures in international communities,” added Soyinka-Airewele. “We are excited to be working with professors and academic communities who support our ‘beyond borders’ approach to teaching and believe that their students, like ours, will benefit from the project.”

Joining Harris and Soyinka-Airewele for the planning sessions will be Nabil Alawi, assistant professor of English at An Najah University in the West Bank; Sheriff Folarin, assistant professor of political science and international relations at Covenant University in Ota, Nigeria; and Zodwa Motsa, professor of literature and chair of the English department at the University of South Africa (UNISA), Africa’s leading distance learning institution.

The courses developed for the “beyond borders” project may involve joint viewings and analyses of selected materials, shared simulations, discussion groups and collaborative teaching utilizing video conferencing and other Web-based distance learning tools.

The initiative is being supported by the School of Humanities and Sciences, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Office of the President, with technical assistance from Informational Technology Services.

For more information, contact Beth Harris at bharris@ithaca.edu or Peyi Soyinka-Airewele at pairewele@ithaca.edu.
 



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