Using Experiential Learning and Cultural Context in an Introductory Geology Online Course through an International Collaboration
In higher education we strive to advance learning by building well-rounded, global citizens. To face the new needs of a multicultural society, if we want to develop mindful global citizens, educators need to rethink current models of teaching driven by subject content alone, particularly in STEM fields. Thus, we ought to prepare citizens capable of identifying and implementing solutions to pressing global challenges of the twenty first century such as those related to economic growth and environmental issues. We united to develop a unique opportunity for undergraduate students at our respective institutions, thousands of miles away from each other. Our partnership focused on creating a space that allows not only for a multicultural experience, but also an interdisciplinary and intergenerational learning opportunity for the students.
The international collaboration brought together students from the fully-online, lower level Introduction to Geology course at SUNY Empire State College in New York (U.S.A.) and the upper-level, face-to-face Mobile Application Development course at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Chihuahua Campus in Mexico. The main goal of the project was to create and implement learning activities to help students understand that scientific and technological advances do not occur in isolation but rather within a cultural context driven by what society needs. Because the subject matter of our courses were so different, we decided to use the online geology course as the platform for the collaborative experience. A series of learning activities were developed, including an experiential learning group project. The journey was not easy and challenges abounded. In this presentation participants will learn about our approach to develop the activities, our findings based on the offering, lessons learned, challenges and the next steps.