Virtual Language Learning for Global Perspectives  

The campus coordinators have prioritized allocating $12,000 from the CIEL reserve fund to support grant writing assistance for the virtual foreign language initiative. Envisioned at the 2008 CIEL annual meeting held at Prescott College, faculty and administrators from CIEL schools developed and prioritized several collaborative curricular and research projects that would employ technology to enable sharing of local faculty, curricula, field sites, and community learning resources across the consortium.  At that time, participants gave highest priority to the sharing of language learning resources and the sharing of “global perspective” learning outcomes across CIEL schools.  Since fall 2008, four CIEL institutions applied for and were accepted at the CIC Network for Effective Language Learning (NELL) institute where they have advanced the initiative.

The CIEL Virtual Language Learning project connects the mission of CIEL for innovative collaborations in higher education not only to the real technological and language curricula capacity challenges faced on individual campuses, but also to the pressing societal needs to address the U.S. “language deficit” and extend learning for a global perspective.  The combination of virtual language learning and immersive community-based learning opportunities towards shared learning outcomes enables the expansion of skill-based language learning as the integrative core to connect diverse curricula that build students’ translingual and transcultural competencies.

Through the CIEL Virtual Language Learning project, participating schools will develop the administrative and technological capacity for students from each campus to participate in language courses and programs offered at other CIEL schools.  Grant funding will be sought to build physical learning spaces equipped with the necessary video-conferencing technology to connect both to similar learning spaces at other campuses and field stations as well as to individual learners’ computers over the internet.  Currently Daemen, Marlboro, Hampshire, New College of Florida, Prescott, and Pitzer College have expressed interest in the collaboration.   PDFView concept

Faculty research and curricular collaboration

To advance viable curricular collaboration, the campus coordinators allocated funds for a mini-grant proposal process for collaborative research/creative work or curricular proposals from CIEL institutions that meet the following criteria: result in presentation or publication; include plans for future collaboration and sustainability; include faculty from two different campuses; and include students in the research component.  A call for proposals will be sent out in mid-November 2009.

Examples of potential projects are:

Food Shed Research and Education Project: Given the geographic distribution of schools in CIEL, a great diversity of ecological and social landscapes is represented within the consortium.  The Foodshed research project will form the basis of a course, tentatively titled The Past, Present and Future of Foodshed in the school’s bioregion.  The research component will involve one or more faculty from participating CIEL institutions conducting interdisciplinary investigations on the past, present and possible futures of regional food sheds in which the schools are located.   The course will be project-based, as students research questions that are relevant to the broader Foodshed study.  Throughout the course, classes from the participating schools will “meet” with each other via virtual Web-based or satellite-based classrooms or technologies to share and discuss their respective findings.

The Past, Present and Future of Foodshed course is intended to stand alone for most students across the participating CIEL schools.  However, there will be an opportunity for some students to expand on their Foodshed interests by going into an entirely foreign cultural and biological landscape to apply their Foodshed analytical tools, and ultimately make contributions through service learning projects.  The proposed sites for a CIEL field-based Foodshed course are Iquitos, Peru and the greater Himalayan region of Nepal.

Grand Canyon Semester

Prescott College faculty members are looking for collaborators for a research and service project with Grand Canyon National Park.  In March, Jacob Fillion, Director of Environmental Education for the Park, came to Prescott to discuss their interest in establishing a partnership.  From the park’s perspective, having a rich cross section of faculty and students from around the country is a very important aspect of this project.  We envision an interdisciplinary, four course package to include the entire fall 2011 term that will offer a nice balance of classroom and field-based experiences. Prescott College and CIEL members are keenly positioned to help design and deliver a Grand Canyon Semester Program since we embrace a liberal arts approach to place-based experiential education; it would provide an outstanding educational opportunity for a diverse group of students.

Global and Local Citizenship Project:

The Consortium surveyed 13 member schools regarding their stated outcomes for educating students to be competent global citizens.  This year-long project captured the clarity of language in the mission statements and general education (or equivalent) requirements at the member institutions regarding three elements of Global Citizenship:  Global Perspective, Civic Engagement and Environmental Perspective.  The goal was to define what a graduate who has attained competence looks like: what they know about and are able to do. The executive director will work with three CIEL schools (Alverno, Daemen and Pitzer) to refine a definition of global citizenship, describe common indicators, collect examples of activities that support the development of these/this competencies, and  collect current assessment tools (and narratives for context) from each campus.  Our goal is to develop a paper and prepare presentations on a mission based definition and appropriate indicators.   
View PowerPoint summary

View PowerPoint from AAC&U 2010 Meeting Presentation

Environmental Rubric:

In our collection of survey data from the Global Citizenship Project and in reviewing the AAC&U VALUE initiative we noticed that the VALUE project did not develop a rubric for Environmental Perspective, although the reality of assisting students to gain an understanding of the natural world and global environmental interconnections was clearly stated in the LEAP paper on College Learning for the New Global Century. The usefulness of having an external source to use for comparison provides an element of rigor and validation, and we have not found a source that has an equivalent level of collegial input to use as a comparison. The consortium is initiating a collaborative project to develop a rubric for an Environmental Perspective outcome, modeled on the format used for the VALUE rubrics.  We are building a team of faculty from CIEL colleges, EcoLeague colleges www.ecoleague.org  and from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education www.aashe.org to participate in this project.  We anticipate having a working model by Fall 2010. PDFView draft rubric.