Developing global citizenship and collaboration skills through online undergraduate global health education

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Global Health engages students with a world outside the one they live. The world is changing and therefore, this undergraduate online course was designed to not just present global health content, but to build skills that prepare students for global citizenship. Course design emphasizes problem-based-learning, student-centered-design, and collaboration.

Presenters

Cristina Redko, PhD, is Associate Professor of Population Health and Public Health Sciences, and Center for Global Health Director at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio. Her current interests in global health education are focused on developing innovative teaching strategies for graduate and undergraduate students, including problem-based learning, virtual teams, and distance education. Dr. Redko is the director of the Graduate Certificate in Global Health for the Center for Global Health at Wright State University. Cristina has developed a vast research experience, including investigating the quality of life of local refugees, the lived experience of people suffering from mental illnesses, people with substance abuse problems, people with cancer, and those who have suffered from injuries in the workplace. She has conducted research in Brazil, Canada, and the United States.

Extended Abstract

Presentation Description

Engagement with global citizenship and collaboration were evaluated after students completed a distance education global health undergraduate course with pedagogical emphasis on problem-based learning, student centered design, and collaboration.

Background

Wright State University is a mid-size university located in southwest Ohio; the university is known for the number of first-generation college students. This global health course was purposefully developed as a general education course to engage young adults with a world outside the one they live. By offering Global Health early in their programs of study, students may become interested in global public health as a major, or become more population-health focused in the major that they pursue. The world is changing and therefore, the course was designed to not just present current global health content, but to build skills that prepare students for global citizenship. The course design team focused on three integral global health competencies: partnership, collaboration, and teamwork. Creative ways to integrate the collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of global health in all stages of the learning experience were developed such as the use of wikis, podcasts, and blogs. MPH graduate students are now responsible for teaching this course as graduate teaching assistants.

Course Delivery

Course modules emphasize the asynchronous mode of instruction which promotes more time for self-reflection, writing, and the practice of critical thinking skills. This provides flexibility for students to study when it is convenient during their weekly schedule. Modules follow the READ-INTERACT- APPLY framework for students to “learn by doing” a variety of activities. The course is divided in two parts: Part A focuses on learning the major concepts used in global health, while Part B involves problem-based learning through small groups to work out a current global health challenge. The final group projects (peer-reviewed by all students) were vodcasts developed by the students summarizing best-practices for the global health challenge each small group was assigned.

Research Methods

Study Design: The mixed-methods descriptive study when the course was first delivered explores the perceptions of 77 undergraduate students from 22 different majors after they completed a semester long general education course focusing on global health delivered through distance education. Participants: Students were 56 females and 21 males, with average age of 23, yet 22% are older than 25. Oldest student was 53.

Analysis: Students responded twice to Garrison’s Community of Inquiry Questionnaire (CoI), which measures social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence in online learning environments. They also responded to a series of open-ended questions (at the end of course), such as “how did I change as a learner through my involvement in this course?", and “did I see myself as an active member of the group?” Qualitative analyses of written assignments, such as the weekly self-reflections based on NPR’s Goats & Soda blog, and the essays focusing on sustainable development were also undertaken to explore the level of engagement with global citizenship and the complexities of global health knowledge. This study was approved by Wright State University’s Institutional Review Board.

Findings/Interpretation Preliminary findings indicate that several students started embracing global citizenship outside the classroom context.

Funding Course development received a seed grant from Wright State University. Dr. Redko received the 2015 Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Award for Innovative Public Health Curriculum for developing this course. Please see: http://www.deltaomega.org/innovativeCurriculumAward.cfm