Online Global Exchange Program Broadens Student Options

November 20, 2019

St. John’s University has launched a new initiative to expand global learning opportunities for students who may not have the interest and/or means to travel abroad. Modeled after similar programs developed by the State University of New York and DePaul University, the St. John’s Global Online Learning Exchange (GOLE) engages faculty and students in a cross-cultural learning experience with their counterparts at an international partner university.

The exchange is conducted as part of a class and can take the form of a project, activity, or full-semester collaboration aimed at increasing both traditional course content and intercultural competency. Classroom-based and student-to-student interactions are conducted using technology that best suits the needs of the exchange, such as Blackboard, Cisco Webex, various Google tools, WhatsApp, and others.

The GOLE is an innovative, active-learning approach that directly aligns with two of St. John’s strategic priorities, to “ensure student success” and to “expand global and community partnerships,” by integrating a high-impact educational practice—global learning—into participating classes. Through GOLE, students on both sides of the exchange explore cultures and ways of thinking and learning that are different from their own, while benefiting from unique ways to connect with course content.

Thanks to the generous support of the Office of the Provost Special Initiatives Fund, we have already initiated the pilot program. Three faculty members planned their exchanges and  kicked off GOLE projects in class. As a next step, we would now like to recruit new faculty members to prepare for GOLE opportunities, and ultimately lead exchanges a year from now during the Fall 2020 semester.

If you are interested in leading a GOLE project, we will make sure you have the tools needed to succeed; participants will first complete a two-week (in-house) online training program this November. Once completed, we will work with you to develop a proposal describing your planned activity. You may already have a colleague abroad who would make an ideal GOLE partner, but a preexisting collaboration is not a requirement. We can work with you to facilitate connections to a partner.

We are also delighted to note that the University will support selected projects with up to $2,500 in funding to support your travel to the international faculty partner (or conversely, to bring that scholar to New York) during the course development stage.

For more information, please contact Matthew Pucciarelli, Ph.D., Associate Provost of Global Programs, at [email protected] or 718-990-7614.