By Shala Mills, Global Challenges National Course Coordinator and Chair of Political Science, Fort Hays State University (Kans.)
Global Challenges is an exciting national blended learning course made possible by the collaborative efforts of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) American Democracy Project (ADP), The New York TimesKnowledge Network and the Global Engagement Scholars who are teaching faculty from 10 AASCU/ADP institutions (California State University, Fresno; Fort Hays State University; Georgia College; Kennesaw State University; Northern Arizona University; Southeast Missouri State University; The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; University of Minnesota – Duluth; Western Kentucky University).
This hybrid online and in-person course is intended to help educate globally competent citizens. To provide students with an appropriate “big picture” framework, Global Challenges took inspiration from the work of one of Washington D.C.’s leading non-partisan think tanks, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Using CSIS’ Seven Revolutions framework, the course explore seven important trends that have the potential to transform the way we live and interact with others. Those seven key challenges are in the areas of population, resources, technology, information, economic integration, security, and governance.
Delivered through the Epsilen eLearning Environment, which offers course administration and professional and social networking features, the course allows students to access course materials as well as The New York Times Digital Content Repository. Faculty can adopt the course turn-key, using all the pre-loaded materials (syllabus, learning objectives, lesson modules, quizzes and exams, assignments, student guide, reading materials, and videos). Or they can adopt and adapt, using elements of the course that best suit their curricular needs while adding/deleting content as appropriate for their own course objectives.
In order to support faculty teaching the course as well as provide a stimulating collaborative environment with colleagues across campuses and disciplines, AASCU/ADP and the AASCU Global Engagement Scholars are developing a web collaborative that will include webinars, shared resources, discussion boards and an opportunity to connect with others who are teaching or have taught the course materials.
Global Engagement Scholars will offer a pre-conference workshop at the annual ADP Conference in San Antonio this summer, and in the fall they will offer their annual Institute. Both of these are opportunities to learn from experienced teachers who have used the curriculum in their own classrooms and are willing to share content and pedagogical expertise. They are also both workshop formats, providing participants with a chance to discuss their own campus needs and interests as they may relate to the Global Challenges materials. Moreover, Global Engagement Scholars may be available to deliver presentations or workshops on college campuses depending upon interest and availability.
The American Democracy Project in conjunction with AASCU’s Red Balloon Project on Re-Imagining Undergraduate Education views the Global Challenges course as a model for collaborative blended learning courses created by groups of faculty members from different institutions working together. Global Challenges: Promise and Peril in the 21st Century, the first of these blended courses, was launched this spring in a pilot on five campuses. A second course created from ADP’s stewardship of public lands initiative is in the early stages of development.
For more information about AASCU’s Global Challenges course, go here (http://www.aascu.org/GlobalChallenges/ or contact the National Course Coordinator, Shala Mills (GlobalChallenges@fhsu.edu), at Fort Hays State University.