At the end of each academic term, many members of the Drexel community take the break to relax and prepare for the next quarter. However, some maintain the quarter’s momentum by continuing their coursework on an Intensive Course Abroad (ICA). These short-term study abroad experiences are international academic experiences led by a Drexel faculty member and supported by the Study Abroad Office. ICAs are run during the four intersessions, and may serve as standalone courses for credit, or as an extension to a course for an additional credit. Three faculty members have found a way to use the ICA model to add onto collaborative online learning that their students began in a Global Classroom.
Global Classrooms are courses that join students at Drexel with students at a partner institution abroad; students then collaborate on group projects and share class content. Over the course of the term, students meet using tools like Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook to work together on collaborative projects. At the end of the term, the faculty members often convene their classes simultaneously to have students present their work in real time.
For the three Global Classrooms that lay the foundation for ICAs, the work is not over when the term ends. After working together for weeks on a project through online tools, students are able to meet in person and continue their work, taught by both their Drexel professor and the professor from the institution abroad.
During spring term, Dr. Eugenia Victoria Ellis, AIA, teaches a real time Global Classroom where Drexel students in Philadelphia meet simultaneously with Politecnico di Milano students in Italy. They work in teams to design projects related to the topic Ecological Urban Environments, a global concern that looks at ways cities can be (re)designed to promote a low carbon future. Students can then choose to participate in an Intensive Course Abroad during the summer break, when the Drexel and Politecnico di Milano students reunite in Italy to design projects that look to the natural world as a guide for the design of the constructed world. Last spring's topic, BIOdesign, introduced students to the bio-informed sciences of design, such as the scientific and medical reasons why designers and engineers need to consider relationships between the built environment and nature. This was followed by the ICA in summer break called Responsive Façades, an approach to designing building façades by looking to the natural world as a guide for the design of the constructed world. This intensive course abroad was co-taught by faculty at Drexel and Politecnico di Milano, and included trips to Milan, Como, Venice, Bellagio, and Florence. For more information about the 2017 ICA, visit the Responsive Façade 2017 Facebook page. This year's courses will be related to the topic Responsive Urban Environments.
Since 2013, Shushi Yoshinaga, associate professor of Graphic Design, has run an intensive course abroad during fall break focused on cultural exchange that alternates yearly between taking Drexel students to Japan and bringing students from Tamagawa University in Japan to Philadelphia. For the first time in 2017, Shushi received funding for a summer term Global Classroom collaboration with faculty at Tamagawa University to prepare students for the IKI: Tamagawa-Drexel Exchange intensive course abroad. The Global Classroom involves an online language exchange, preliminary research, and online group discussion between Drexel and Tamagawa students. With a different theme each year, depending on which university is going on the physical exchange, the course covers new aspects of the Japanese word "iki", meaning esprit or essence of culture. Some students, in Japan and at Drexel, have repeated the course to further their understanding of “iki”. Last year, the theme was “Sustainability: Information to Knowledge.” Students investigated models of “sustainability” through visiting Ise Jingu, exploring traditional crafts, participating in Ishioka Festival, attending a lecture on making culture, and interviewing local leaders. Students discussed how Japanese traditions have been reinvented constantly by innovative ideas and technologies. Based on their site visits and teamwork, students discussed their research and presented their findings and proposed ideas for the sustainable society. This year, students will be focusing on Urban Planning in Philadelphia and students from Tamagawa will be visiting Drexel during the fall break. In 2019, the intensive course abroad for Drexel students will run again, offering Drexel students the opportunity to learn about Aging and Robotics with a 12-day excursion to Japan to meet their group members at Tamagawa University.
Dana D'Angelo, clinical professor in the LeBow College of Business, collaborates with a professor at the University of Leeds to conduct two global classrooms with her Foundations of Business classes during fall and winter terms. In the fall, students from Drexel and Leeds collaborate on the six-minute pitch, a Shark Tank style presentation of an innovative product or service that must be feasible in the United States and the United Kingdom. The final pitch involves a synchronous presentation to a panel of judges in both countries. In winter term, students at Drexel and University of Leeds work in teams to complete a business simulator. During the spring break, Dana runs an intensive course abroad where Drexel students are able to meet 10 students and the professor from their University of Leeds global classroom in person at a third location – this year, in Amsterdam. While the theme of the intensive course abroad changes from year to year, the course always involves a service-learning component. Dana explained, "I know the intensive course abroad will impact the students, but the dual purpose is that our students leave an impact where they went." In the upcoming intensive course abroad (Drexel Spring Break in the Netherlands: Global Social Enterprise), students will meet with local businesses in Amsterdam to collaborate on innovative thinking about social enterprise.
The Office of International Programs provides financial support to first-time global classroom collaborations. If you are interested in starting a global classroom or intensive course abroad, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.