As the world rapidly progresses toward a complex global community from a collection of independent nation-states, it is increasingly evident that the future of education lies in preparing students to collaborate, communicate, and cooperate in dynamic, multidisciplinary, and multicultural spaces. The development of discipline-based differences, terminologies, and personalities is nothing new, and as bodies of knowledge continue to grow and increase in complexity, working across disciplines translationally to address increasingly broader global challenges, such as the MDGs and their descendants, also increases. Similarly, the need for culturally competency is expanding beyond the number of students realistically supported by traditional study abroad programs. This project utilizes global health as the paradigm within which to pursue a novel e-learning environment in partnership with an African university to develop this capacity for international interdisciplinary translation.
The program is committed to prepare the global health leaders of tomorrow with sensitivity to globalization, experience with international partnership, and a mindset of interdisciplinary collaboration. These experiences will be a springboard for increasingly collaborative curricular experiences for American and African university students to work together to develop competency in intercultural interaction and to engage in sharing their unique perspectives and experiences.
This study is to measure students’ intercultural competency--their ability to participate in a multicultural team-based learning environment effectively--and to determine the effectiveness of curriculum to affect intercultural competency. This effort is not only to improve the quality of the program but also to communicate our findings related to curriculum developments to establish effective teaching methods with other programs through peer reviewed journal publications and conference presentations.
This study extensively analyzes students’ learning progress in intercultural competence. Data involving both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to assess student learning using pre-/post surveys and examine performance in discussion board activities, reflection assignments, projects and grades. The study emphasizes translating skills between disparate groups, be it a cultural, academic, or physical separation, as fundamental skills for the students of tomorrow.
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