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Graduate student perceptions of a globally networked course

Mary Risner (Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
Swapna Kumar (College of Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 4 July 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine students’ perceptions of a development course designed to increase global understanding by virtually connecting students from multiple world regions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper describes a graduate course that connected campuses across America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Qualitative data about students’ perceptions of the course at one participating campus were then analyzed by course component, and synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Feedback was also solicited for suggestions to improve the course.

Findings

The analyzed data indicate strong positive student attitudes toward connecting with global counterparts. However, these data also imply that there are various obstacles to overcome in order to meet student expectations of increased and better quality peer interaction, and to prepare faculty across all disciplines for successful design and implementation of this type of course.

Originality/value

The use of synchronous communication to facilitate the exchange of local perspectives on issues of global significance is valuable to all disciplines, and is even more critical in the area of development where understanding local context is key. This exploratory study offers recommendations for future research on courses connecting students across borders and suggestions for course activities to increase peer engagement.

Keywords

Citation

Risner, M. and Kumar, S. (2016), "Graduate student perceptions of a globally networked course", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 287-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-01-2015-0009

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited