See more from this Session: General Global Agronomy: III
Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 1:20 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 210A, Concourse Level
A recent National Research Council report highlights the need for increasing exposure of our students to international perspectives. As part of a collaborative project between Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, Chepkoilel University College of Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and the University of Fort Hare in Alice, South Africa, we taught an interactive course titled “African Development Activities” during the spring semester of 2011. The course examined the agricultural, cultural, economic, environmental, and social aspects of sub-Saharan Africa with an emphasis on agricultural development activities in Kenya and South Africa. We used Adobe Connect and Skype to simultaneously connect students and faculty at Purdue with students and faculty in both South Africa and Kenya. There were two class periods per week and presentations were made by each of the universities. Following the presentations, discussion questions were posed and each location discussed them prior to reporting back to the group via Adobe Connect and Skype. Presentations and discussions were recorded with Adobe Connect and the links were posted to the class web site for later viewing if desired. Despite initial concerns about low bandwidth to Africa, the Adobe Connect / Skype approach worked surprisingly well. Class presentations by both students and faculty on both continents generated considerable discussion and interaction between the participants regardless of their physical location. The African students, in particular, enjoyed the opportunity to learn from and interact with internationally recognized experts. Despite occasional technical challenges, the Internet provides unique opportunities for integrating international perspectives into the classroom.