June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.152.1 - 26.152.14
INTERNATIONAL DIVISION SESSION TOPIC: Starting Successful Faculty-Led Programs: Opportunities,Challenges and RisksTITLE: Active Transportation in Netherlands and GermanyIn May of 2014, a pilot, short-term study abroad program on active transportation was offered to upperlevel undergraduate students and graduate students, focusing on civil engineering majors. The coursetook students to the Netherlands and Germany after some introductory coursework at the homeinstitution. This paper and presentation will highlight the opportunities, challenges and risks indeveloping and executing the course, some of which are highlighted hereafter. In addition, it willpresent results of a simple survey designed to evaluate the impact of achieving the learning objectivesfor the course. From a professional staff perspective, an opportunity associated with developing a study abroadclass is to develop international contacts. Such contacts could lead to future international researchcollaborations, as applicable programs can be identified. Providing a study abroad course on a specifictopic that would otherwise be difficult to offer in the traditional course curriculum is a greatopportunity. There are many challenges associated with the development of a short-term study abroadcourse; however, many of these challenges can be made into opportunities. One challenge with a pilotprogram is finding the right balance between ensuring that the students are busy while also providingthem with a sufficient amount of “free” time to experience the culture and grow as an individual. Thebackgrounds of the students will have a substantial impact on the right balance. Europe is expensive;ensuring that students gain an understanding of the host country’s perspectives while minimizing costscan be challenging. Timing the course, so that it is appealing to students and works within theprofessional staff’s availability is also challenging. Risks associated with the development and deployment of this course will be identified and theactions taken to minimize them will be discussed. The budget can be a considerable variable. Exchangerates, unexpected university fees, and confirming student participation can all significantly impact thebudget. Another risk that will be discussed related to this course is the difference between takingstudents to a location where the leader had done some scouting work compared with a location wherethis had not been done.
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