On your marks, get set, go travel

By on January 23, 2014
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Students discover the world by an online study abroad experience

Spawned from a successful “World Tour” cultural exhibition in years past, the UAB Office of Equity and Diversity, with the assistance of UAB Faculty & Staff Learning System Administrators Dr. Tavia Sorrell and Tam Le has produced a new online video learning series entitled “World Tour” Series I, a four part diversity learning course available now at www.uab.edu/learningsystem.

Adjoined with a certificate of completion that counts toward volunteer credit upon the viewing of all the videos in the course, the series features a representative from each of the four countries in the series that introduces viewers to interesting information, sights, sounds, and customs from people around the globe-all from the comfort of their office or home. The first installment spotlights China, India, Korea, and the United States as the inaugural countries for virtual cultural exchange. Each segment ranges ten to fifteen minutes.

The United States was chosen so that many short-term international students could also partake in the cultural exchange.

“Viewers can become acquainted with famous places, signature cuisine, and festivals around the world, and improve their general knowledge of countries and appreciation for the beauty and differences in culture,” according to the Office of Equity and Diversity,.

“Planning for Series II is in the works,” said Dr. Louis Dale, the Vice President for the Office of Equity and Diversity. “After about six months, we will evaluate the feedback of the course participants, and will select four more countries based on the preferences they specified at the end of the course.”

The goal is to continue to grow until most countries are represented and this will be ‘just the beginning.’

“We want people at UAB to feel comfortable about UAB, and learn as much about culture and diversity as possible.” Dr. Dale, speaking to the differing attributes of this initiative from other ongoing cultural initiatives on-campus, says that they wanted to have something accessible on the internet for convenience sake.

Reiterating the value of the course, Dr. Dale remarked most universities should teach diversity.

“If you’re not teaching diversity, you’re not giving your students the best education.

“The world now is much smaller than it used to be, because now when something happens, instantly, you can see it on your television set or cellphone.
Technology has made us a lot closer, and students especially need to understand that there are lots of other people in the world, and they don’t all look like you.”

To receive a certificate of completion for the course, one must watch all four videos. The course is available for self-enrollment via the Catalog tab in the Learning System (www.uab.edu/learningsystem).

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