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Pairing Global Classrooms with ICAs

Global Classroom and ICA

July 19, 2017

By Lijun Huang


Global Classroom and Intensive Courses Abroad are two academic programs managed by the Office of International Programs that allow many students to achieve the goals of developing global perspectives and gaining international experiences during their time at Drexel.

Global Classrooms are courses that allow Drexel students to interact with other students from our partner universities abroad, and to work on class materials and projects collaboratively using a range of technology tools. Students from both sides are able to acquire different perspectives, learning from their peers abroad right on campus.

Intensive Courses Abroad, or ICAs, offer students a chance to combine their theoretical classroom learning with practical international experience -- simultaneously. ICAs activities such as guest lectures, industry visits, and other hands on events that transform the city into a living laboratory. Students can then take what they learn in a classroom into the real-life observation and reflection.

Professor Dana D’Angelo, Clinical Professor in the LeBow College of Business at Drexel, has been teaching Global Classroom courses for four years with her colleague at Drexel, Professor Jodi Cataline and Professor Emilee Simmons at Leeds University in the UK.

She has also led ICAs to the Netherlands, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. This year, she combined the two programs to provide students with an even more comprehensive experience.

During Academic Year 16-17, D’Angelo and Cataline followed their two-term Global Classroom sequence with an optional ICA, building upon projects and content covered in class and bringing the virtual collaboration into face-to-face interaction.

The one-week ICA was designed to build on the projects they had completed and the relationships they’d built through the Global Classroom. Students from Drexel got a chance to finally meet their Leeds peers with whom they had been working for two terms, as well as observe and study the unique business and entrepreneurship environment in UK. On top of this getting the firsthand knowledge, for the successful completion of the ICA, students from two universities together developed a pitch presentation on new business ideas.

Professor D’Angelo believes strongly in the value of a global education and strives to make international experiences possible for students. “I definitely am a believer in that everything is global. We wake up every day in a global world,” she said.

“Global is not just about a different country. A global mindset allows you to take in, experience and appreciate differences and similarities. Sometimes we are too focused on how we are alike or different, but we should remember and celebrate both how we are alike and [how we are] different,” she said.

Professor D’Angelo said Global Classrooms have also allowed her to pursue her own learning goals by watching the dynamic interactions between faculty members and students from two sides.

“Learning is life-long, and Global Classrooms have opened even more of that,” Professor D’Angelo said. “I now get to learn from the interactions and collaborations between Drexel students, and faculty members and students from other country.”

Bella Santosusso, a freshman at Drexel who finished Professor D’Angelo’s two successive Global Classroom classes and went to London on the ICA, described her experiences as invaluable. She said that befriending her peers at Leeds, as well as working very closely with them on class projects, taught her a lot about combining ideas coming from very different contexts – and in this case, business environments.

“Professors D’Angelo and Cataline are always trying to give us real-world experiences. The fact that half of our [final] grade depended on learning how to communicate with people on the other side of the world is the kind of experience I was looking for when I applied to Drexel. The program certainly fulfilled that for me,” she said.

Professor D’Angelo has been working on expanding the Global Classroom and ICA program. She is now trying to bring the program to a third location with her partners in Leeds. Working with the Office of International Programs on the logistic and curricular concerns, soon her students will be able to participate in even more global learning.

Faculty members interested in teaching a Global Classroom should consider attending two summer workshops to learn more and prepare. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Adam Zahn (alz26@drexel.edu), Associate Director of International Programs.