Yesterday, as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton left Cairo, her car was pelted with a few tomatoes. She said she wasn't particularly bothered by it, seeing it both as a sign of a growing democracy, yet also as an expression of political uncertainty many Egyptians currently feel. I wonder what is in store for me as I head to Cairo for a month this fall?
I will be working with young leaders in Egypt and Morocco as part of a course I will be co-teaching at Seattle University called Social Tools for Global Change. The students will form global teams, working cross-culturally to identify and to help solve pressing problems faced by participating international organizations. Students will have team meetings using live skype video , and receive training in how to make their own videos and use social media to raise awareness about local issues and help address social problems. I will broadcast live from Tahrir square, using free streaming tools as we bring voices from the world directly to students in the US, and elswhere, so unfiltered questions and responses can be asked and heard.
This is not the usual way our universities engage in global education. Mostly, we study about the world, not directly with the world.....except for those fortunate few who are able to travel to study abroad. Peter Blomquist, who has worked internationally for most of his distinguished career, and I, decided we wanted to teach this course in a dramatically different way. So, we will be demonstrating that with the new social tools available today, learning, meeting and working globally together live through the power of the internet is but a click away. Instead of teaching "about" Social Tools for Global Change, students will be using these tools both as part of the learning process and in applying them to address marketing, fundraising, and social problems faced by international organizations.
As learners, we will be over 8000 miles away from each other, but we will all be in the virtual classroom together. I don't know what I will find when I travel to Morocco and Egypt this fall. Maybe I will see some flying tomatoes too. But you can travel with me and experience it, through this blog, through the live broadcasting I will do on You Tube Live, and in videos stories we will produce. Stay tuned.
Greg Tuke teaches and travels internationally, working with university faculty in India, Indonesia and the MIddle East, sharing strategies for implementing international collaborations within course work. This blog chronicles key experiences and insights about those experiences. All opinions expressed are mine, and represent no other institutional affiliation.