Sustainability and study abroad: making connections

The new year has been very exciting as I have been working to unite two of the major interests and passions in my life: international and global education (study abroad, cross-cultural learning, language learning) and environmental concerns (environmental education, environmental philosophy, politics, global warming, personal responsability). Both topics are understandably large and very much cross-discipline so I am narrowing my focus to how we can move study abroad in a more sustainable direction while at the same time enhancing program design so that it provides students with challenging opportunities to strengthen their cross cultural skills. In a few words, how can we make study abroad greener and a culturally richer experience at the same time?

Along the same lines I am amazed daily by the amount and quality of information that you can find online. Just last December I took an online course titled “Global Education: The Intercultural Dimension” from The North South Center. The particpants were from all over the world and we took part in readings, group and individual projects, and forums. The results wowed me. I certainly learned more about global education and enjoyed collaborating with other folks with common interests. It was my first more stuctured online course. As can be expected some of the students did not particpate much and, unfortunately, the forum could have been better (althought I think that had more to do with the time zone difficulties than anything else). This Monday, “Introduction to Sustainability” will be starting on Coursera. I’m excited to learn more about this topic (and see what connections I can make to the current challenges in study abroad) and experience a MOOC. The course lasts eight weeks so I plan to update here on the progress we make and the activities.

Have you ever participated in a MOOC?


About Maria

Inspired by international exchange, I teach in Spain and blog about cross cultural learning, study abroad, and global education topics.

Posted on March 6, 2013, in Reflections, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good on you to forever continue learning, Maria! I am really interested to hear what you think about your Coursera class. I haven’t tried a MOOC yet, but I have been perusing some of the options. I think, for sanity’s sake, I need to continue to take a real break from “schooling” –be it online or off– for a little while longer, but I look forward to learning from your experience.

    • Thank you for the comment, Danielle. I’m excited to see how this course will go – and I’ll let you know! Hope you’re getting a bit of down time 🙂

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