Global classrooms: new international collaboration for Munk One
This year, Munk One students will have new opportunities to collaborate with international peers through MUN101H1F (Global Innovation I) and MUN105Y1Y (Global Problem Solving). Through Global Classrooms, new projects are being designed for students to work together across universities, which will bring more opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, and the situation of knowledge in a broader context.
Munk One classrooms already embody the ethos of internationalization; for many years, Beyond The Classroom has offered students the chance to travel and complete research, projects, or coursework in the summer following their first year. International students are also well-represented in Munk One, often comprising at least half of the 25 student cohort.
In light of travel restrictions, international exchanges have not yet fully resumed — but this does not mean that cross-cultural exchanges have ended. The shift to online learning has accelerated the impetus for classroom collaborations and made them easier than ever.
In MUN101H1F, Professor Joe Wong will collaborate with the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. Munk One and Monterrey students will work together on creative representations of how the pandemic has impacted governments and communities around the world. Over the three-week collaboration, groups can choose to produce a video, op-ed, photo essay, policy brief, or other project format.
Professor Wong is looking forward to the “reciprocal and iterative” cross-cultural learning between student groups. Furthermore, he’s hoping “students personal engagement will help build a deeper understanding” of how COVID-19 has impacted Mexico and other countries.
Meanwhile, Professor Teresa Kramarz will collaborate with The Universidad Catolica de La Plata in Argentina, alongside Professor Sebastian Baglioni, who teaches fourth-year International Relations. Students will work together to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on the Sustainable Development Goals (specifically poverty, strong institutions, health, environment and education).
Professor Kramarz is optimistic about this new project, having done a large-scale faculty survey in 2017 about global classrooms at U of T. She found promising evidence of student enthusiasm, educational enrichment, and relationship-building which can build the foundation for future exchanges.
She highlights that there is a continuum of possible integration options for instructors considering global classrooms: from joining classrooms that are merely cooperative, to coordinated, to fully amalgamated. In every case, the goals remain to strengthen the global citizenship and fluency of UofT students, and help students learn from one another’s lived experiences.
Munk One students have a lot to look forward to this fall!