In early February, Professor Betsi Stephen, Associate Professor of Demography in the School of Foreign Service and chair of the CNDLS Faculty Advisory Board, presented at the Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE) and Conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Stephen and colleague Karen Wardzala, who is the Assistant Director of Overseas Living & Learning Communities through the Office of International Programs (OIP), shared “DIVE: A Four-Step Framework for Creating Meaningful Short-Term Experiences Abroad.”
In this workshop, Stephen and Wardzala used case studies as well as guided group and individualized exercises, to help an audience of faculty and study abroad professionals enhance learning experiences in short-term programs by developing learning goals, incorporating culture into the curriculum, viewing the host/home culture through reflection, and exploring student learning through assessment.
The workshop included rubrics for evaluating multimedia projects—based on the VALUE rubrics—that Stephen and Lisa Donatelli (OIP) developed last year as part of Stephen’s ITEL project, “Mind the Gap.” This project seeks to document the transformational aspect of study abroad programs by bridging students’ study abroad experiences with their on-campus academic careers in Washington, D.C. Specifically, the project was interested in measuring the following as expressed online: what students were learning abroad; how they were connecting with local populations and organizations; how they were connecting their study abroad experiences with their previous and future studies at Georgetown; and what lessons students were learning about their roles as global citizens.
To integrate students’ experiences abroad with their Georgetown studies, Stephen collaborated with Rob Pongsajapan and Yong Lee at CNDLS to implement blog assignments, Omeka museum projects, and ePortfolios into her courses. Alongside these technologies, Stephen developed three specific rubrics; her goal in creating assignments tied to rubrics was to improve student learning through reflection, integration, and visibility. Blogs allow students to reflect on and think critically about their experiences as they live them; the Omeka museum becomes a growing collection of past and present cohorts’ exhibits; and the ePortfolio serves as a platform for students to publicly integrate their abroad experiences with their field of study and on-campus learning.
Watch a video introduction to the Mind the Gap ITEL project: