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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2021 Features

Globally Networked Learning Connects Carson Cougs to Peers Across the World

By Dipra Jha • Photo courtesy of Dariia Miroshnychenko

Dariia Miroshnychenko, a second-year student in accounting and taxation at Kyiv National Economic University, participates in WSU’s International Relations & Global Leadership class via Zoom from Kyiv, Ukraine.

When Allison Henke signed up for my spring semester International Relations and Global Leadership class, she had no idea she and her WSU classmates would be studying alongside students from Kosovo and Ukraine in a virtual classroom. Together, students mentored by faculty at their respective institutions, learned from and about each other through synchronous Zoom sessions.

I structured the class around a globally networked learning model that involved several months of preparation and coordination with faculty partners at Kyiv National Economic University and Sumy State University in Ukraine and Haxhi Zeka University in Kosovo. Offered each semester, the borderless classroom traverses time zones and brings knowledge and excitement to the participants as they discover new geographies and culture, learn about trade and economy, and get a glimpse of how national politics impact international business.

“This class was an incredible, unexpected experience. It taught me cultural empathy and global perspective in a beautiful way by introducing me to students and experienced speakers from all over the world,” says Henke, an international business major from Maple Valley, Washington. “I encourage everyone to take this class!”

Class Content Complements The Next Carson Coug

Students join virtual cohorts where they engage in peer-to-peer interaction and case studies to develop global competencies such as intercultural communication and critical thinking. Each week, students discuss their perspectives on globalization and issues confronting world economies and societies and must develop a final research project related to a global issue. Individuals are encouraged to look into their own values and ethical responses and demonstrate effective interaction with others.

“If we unite character, attitudes, and innovation, we will improve the world,” says my colleague Hanna Shvindina, associate professor and chair of the Department of Management at Sumy State University.

We also give students access to insights from thought leaders, for example, Les Ottolenghi, a former Caesars Entertainment Corporation executive and one of CIO Magazine’s Top 50 CIOs, and Pavlo Kostetskyi, a former Ukrainian Foreign Service officer. This exposure helps future leaders and entrepreneurs develop a more nuanced perspective of the world and set them up for success as they transition into global careers.

“As an international student, the class gave me an advantage in my English language skills,” says Dariia Miroshnychenko, a student at Kyiv National Economic University. “I will definitely recommend such an event to my fellow students in order to expand their multicultural knowledge and get an extraordinary English class!”

“It was a very interesting experience to be present in an online course on different, modern topics,” says Dmytro Fedak, another student at Kyiv National Economic University. “I gained new knowledge about
foreign countries, universities, and the economy.”

“Class-based, cross-cultural collaboration can be difficult to establish in a meaningful way, yet Professor Jha and his colleagues in Kosovo and the Ukraine have figured out a model that works and complements our Next Carson Coug undergraduate programming,” says Tom Tripp, Carson College senior associate dean for academic affairs. “This exchange of cultural perspectives will be a great asset in helping students develop a strong global business perspective.”

A Model for Scholarly Activity and International Partnership

Our project has generated media attention in Ukraine with several television broadcasts. It is also resulting in scholarly teaching and learning opportunities: my Ukrainian faculty partners and I were invited to participate in a research project supported by Education USA and coordinated by the SUNY COIL Center serving the State University of New York.

As a direct result of the globally networked learning model collaboration, WSU has signed a memorandum of understanding with Haxhi Zeka University to build a long-term academic partnership.

I see this project as the beginning of a new curve of innovation in business education. Students love it, and they get a lot out of colearning with their peers across the world even if it is through videoconferencing. Additional faculty have expressed interest, and soon the Carson College will be in a position to offer more classes using this format.

To learn more about the International Relations & Global Leadership class, watch a video, courtesy of Sumy State University.

Dipra Jha is a scholarly associate professor of hospitality and international business in the Carson College of Business and the assistant director of the School of Hospitality Business Management.