IIE Network - Fall 2013 - (Page 32)

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS Hold on to Your Hats, MOOCs… Here Come the TOQUES! By Leeanne Dunsmore and Matthew Meekins AT THE ENTRANCE to the New York office of the Institute of International Education, there is a plaque that summarizes both the opportunity and challenge we face as international educators in the digital age. “Peace and prosperity in the 21st century,” it reads, “depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. As technology opens borders, education opens minds.” What is the best way to combine education and technology in a manner that enhances the student experience? The higher education press has recently devoted extensive coverage to one proposed solution, the phenomenon of massive open online courses (MOOCs)—a phenomenon that, while leveraging technology to deliver content, may not present a sustainable path forward for serving the best interests of either students or universities. The innovations that will ultimately transform the field of international education will be those that retain and build upon the best aspects of brick-and-mortar campuses— namely, an emphasis on high-quality teaching, a clear path to a recognized degree or credential, and a commitment to an engaging student experience in a global setting. What would such an innovation look like? We posit that this innovation is not a thing of the future—it’s happening right now, in degree programs that combine an emphasis on teaching, intimate class sizes and student interaction with cutting-edge technology and high-quality content. The strengths of such programs can be described via the acronym “TOQUES” (rhymes with MOOCs)—Teaching Online Qualified Engaged Students. Instead of the massive, non-credentialed nature of the MOOCs trend, this new breed of degree programs emphasize what universities do exceptionally well—teach degree-seeking students through engaging and thoughtful facultystudent interactions in a truly diverse and global classroom. We’ve been privileged to be a part of the development and launch of one such 32 The current generation of prospective students has come to expect immediate, on-demand service via new platforms rather than waiting for a scheduled information session or getting in touch via telephone or even email. program. This spring, American University’s School of International Service launched its online Master of Arts in International Relations, a first of its kind program for a top-ten international affairs school. A small cohort of students from around the world was carefully selected to participate in the inaugural classes. Unlike MOOCs, where anyone can participate, students must meet all qualifications for admission to the school, actively participate in discussion sessions and advance towards graduation in a timely fashion. The delivery platform allows for live, synchronous interaction between students and professors weekly, in sections limited to no more than 15 students. There is no back row here. Instead of a one-way delivery of content, small classes with deep faculty engagement prioritize two-way interactions and discussions. An immersion component in Washington, DC, reinforces the connection to the campus community, bringing students and faculty together from around the world. Rather than watering down the educational experience, the online platform has truly added a key extra dimension for classroom conversation. With students in five time zones participating in live discussions together via synchronous audio and video, any location, at any time of day, anywhere in the world, can become an extension of the campus. Students log in during sunrise in Kabul, sunset in Washington and midnight in Brussels to engage in conversations about the great global challenges of our time. And because a program that emphasizes the TOQUES philosophy allows for teachers to reach practitioners where they are, after class is over, our students immediately apply what they’ve learned to roles in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. As the faculty program director, Dr. Stephen Silvia notes, “even the smallest sessions have students who are living on two or three different continents who are actually working in occupations relevant to many of the classroom discussions.” This technology is opening borders and allowing high-quality, high-impact education to be location-independent. How do we make this happen—and is it replicable? Delivering the TOQUES experience requires partnership with private industry to bring multiple areas of expertise www.iie.org/iienetworker http://www.iie.org/iienetworker

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Network - Fall 2013

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
News
Megatrends: Predicting the Future of International Education
Considering Study Abroad’s Past to Prepare for its Future
The Promise of International Education: Building a More Just and Elevated Civil Society
Global Research and Commercialization: An Under-the-Radar Next Big Thing
Clustering Innovation and Industry: New Opportunities for Europe
Connecting the Dots: Integrating Engagement with International Stakeholders
The Rise of Real-time, Online International Recruitment
Hold on to Your Hats, MOOCs... Here Come the TOQUES!
The Global Youth Engagement Platform: A Peace Corps for the 21st Century
Growing Globally Competent Students to Achieve True Internationalization
Beyond Ourselves: Embracing Our Global Responsibilities
India: Expansion, Equity, Excellence
The Growing World of Collaborative Internationalization: Taking Partnerships to the Next Level
From Multi-national Universities to Education Hubs to Edu-glomerates?
Advertisers Index
Beyond the Numbers: The Who, How and What of Global Student Mobility

IIE Network - Fall 2013

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