A Case Study of Global Project Collaboration between Three Universities from Three Countries
In early 2013, Sacred Heart University (SHU)’s Welch College of Business began to revamped its undergraduate curriculum in response to the business climate of the 21st century. Through the processes, a global experience was identified as one of the critical success factors for our undergraduate program. While SHU offers several business courses in Luxemburg, Iceland, and China, many students cannot afford to take these classes. The impact of a global experience is limited to a small number of students. For global experiences to touch the majority of our students, they need to bring global experiences into the classroom. The WCOB faculty came up with the idea that they could bring the global experience to the classroom. The logic behind this idea is that the globalization phenomenon increasingly requires collaborative work to be conducted online through advanced telecommunication technologies. Without traveling overseas to have a physical meeting to get work done, employees/business associates are required to work together over long distances and overcome barriers including culture difference, language, and time. It means that business communication skills required to overcome language and cultural barriers over telecommunication media would be increasingly important, and they are necessary for business students. Through a connection of their own international faculty, SHU contacted the School of Business Administration at Bangkok University (BU) to discuss the possibility of developing a Global Experience Project (GEP) together. BU showed strong interest in the idea of a joint-effort GEP. Two instructors from Sacred Heart and BU volunteered to develop a global experience project and pilot in their classes in the fall of 2013. What interesting is that both classes did not teach the same subject. Sacred Heart’s class was the introduction to management information systems, while BU’s class was the database management. BU’s class was more technical oriented and their business students had stronger technical skills than Sacred Heart’s. To overcome these challenges, they came up with an idea of supply chain activities. SHU students’ role would be a business owner and BU students’ role would be a system developer. SHU teams would outsource BU teams to develop database systems to support their business operations in the US. SHU teams would come up with a detailed business operation and effectively communicate with BU teams. BU teams would deliver database systems that reflected the business requirements from the US. Eight SHU-BU teams were paired. SHU students were required to contact BU teams in Thailand through email, an instant messaging application called Line, and Skype. Both instructors closely monitored the SHU-BU-team conversations through the Line app. Two weeks before the final project due date, BU teams delivered their database systems to the SHU teams for the final feedback. The SHU students reported that they had great experience working on the GEPs and even developed friendships with their collaborators in Thailand. The success of the first GEP led to three more collaborations from 2014-2016. In 2015, the University College Cork (UCC), Ireland joined the GEP with SHU and BU. SHU-BU teams competed with SHU-UCC teams. The success of this three-university collaboration led to the second collaboration between three universities in 2016.
Laosethakul, K. (2017, July 3-5). A case study of global project collaboration between three universities from three countries [Conference paper]. 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona Spain. Doi:10.21125/edulearn.2017.1968