15 August 2011

University World News - GLOBAL: Leadership education gets boost through UN

‎There are 3 main components for capacity building - entrepreneurship, which is creating something from nothing through technology; business and [rule of] law; and global leadership and global partnership, said Kim, who believes all three are essential to develop future leaders who can address world problems.

Read interview of President Kim, of UNAI Hub for Capacity-building Handong Global University from University World News.
23 August is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition|23-august-is-the-international-day-for-the-remembrance-of-the-slave-trade-and-of-its-abolition|Tue, 23 Aug 2011 17:17:43 +0000|News,What’s happening|en|The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition, celebrated today 23 August, has a special meaning as 2011 is the International Year for People of African Descent.



It is estimated that more than 12.5 million Africans were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean and enslaved.

The day pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.

Each year the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students and artists, to organize events to commemorate the day.

Educators promote the day by informing people about the historical events associated with slave trade, the consequences of slave trade, and to promote tolerance and human rights.

Schools and youth organizations are invited to organize, promote and sustain activities in co-operation with cultural institutes, historians and other specialists and the media, to increase awareness of the slave trade and slavery, its causes and consequences, including modern forms of slavery, to encourage solidarity with the peoples that have suffered because of slavery and to celebrate the African Diaspora.
Statement by Kiyo Akasaka to the UNAI Forum, Seoul 2011|statement-by-kiyo-akasaka-to-the-unai-forum-seoul-2011|Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:56:26 +0000|Events,News,What’s happening|en|

 



Statement by Kiyo Akasaka
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
to the
United Nations Academic Impact Forum: New Partners for Change: the United Nations and the World Academic Community
Forum Hall, Hotel Shilla, Seoul, 10 August 2011


Thank you, President Park [of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)].

President Kim [of Handong Global University],

Eminent university leaders,

United Nations Academic Impact friends - including, and in particular, our dear students!

Ann Yeong Haseyo! [Hello]

Mannaseo Bangab Seubnida. [I am glad to meet you!]

I am delighted to return to Seoul and to Korea – dynamic Korea - and to once again enjoy so many delicious Korean dishes, including my family’s favourites – kimchee and bibimbap!

We are grateful for your support to the 2011 United Nations Academic Impact Forum in Seoul: New Partners for Change: the United Nations and the World Academic Community.

Less than one year ago, in the presence of a number of you here in the room today – indeed President Kim and President Adams, and many others – a new initiative was launched by  our Secretary-General at United Nations Headquarters - the United Nations Academic Impact.

Our global alliance is now more than 650 institutions strong, with more than 100 countries from every continent.

And I am very happy that more than one-third of the speakers at this Forum have an institutional affiliation to the UNAI.

Today, our Secretary-General demonstrated his strong support to the UN Academic Impact by his presence.

When he was unanimously reappointed to his position by the United Nations General Assembly two months ago, he spoke of the “ultimate power” we have together.

The power of partnership.

This gathering, this conference, our initiative, is a symbol of that power.

The power of partnership to transform.

The power of partnership to protect.

This is an idea inherent to the culture and national experience of your great country.

In the verse of the poet Lee Song-bu –

Rice plants join together
And depend on one another.
The more scorching the sunbeams grow,
The more fully they mature, take care of themselves,
Entrusting themselves to their neighbours.


This beautiful metaphor of how self-preservation depends upon a readiness to work with - and entrust oneself to - those around you, is at the heart of what the United Nations stands for.

Next month, in September, we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Republic of Korea’s membership in the United Nations. Speaking on that day in 1991, Foreign Minister Lee Sang-ock attributed the economic success of Korea to its “close links with the international community” and affirmed that “this inter-dependence and the relationship of mutual cooperation are expected to be further consolidated by our admission to the United Nations.”

It was especially fitting that the admission of the Republic of Korea took place on the tenth anniversary of the International Day of Peace.

The International Day of Peace is itself a symbol of the contribution of academic energy to the United Nations. It was at the suggestion of Kyung Hee University that the International Association of University Presidents proposed, in 1981, the annual observance of an International Day of Peace - a recommendation that the United Nations General Assembly endorsed that very year.

Over the twenty years of Korea’s United Nations membership, the success of the “consolidation,” of which its Foreign Minister spoke, has been dramatic.

The Republic of Korea has been a member of every major United Nations body, including the Security Council. We have had a Korean President of the General Assembly and we have a Korean Secretary-General. One of the most daunting and courageous peacekeeping missions today - that in Cote d’Ivoire - is headed by a Korean, Special Representative Choi Young-jin.

More than six hundred Korean uniformed personnel work under the blue flag of the United Nations in nine peacekeeping missions. A summit on nuclear security will be hosted here next year.

A Republic of Korea initiative for African development was launched in 2006 and the amount of overseas development assistance to that continent has more than doubled since then.

The Overseas Emergency Relief Act of 2007 enabled a swift and timely response to natural disasters in China and Myanmar less than a year later. Over the past two years, it has invested a hundred million dollars for emergency food aid and the strengthening of the agricultural sector in poorer countries.

And in 2018, the eyes of this world will look again to Korea when you will host the Olympic Winter Games.

Your experience of rapid economic development and the role that education plays in the progress of a country – the main themes of this forum – will provide important lessons for other UNAI members and their countries in the move towards sustainable development.

The United Nations Academic Impact is a bridge on which good lessons and best practices flow for mutual learning.

Looking at your collective efforts, it is clear that the Republic of Korea has consciously worked, as its distinguished representative, Han Seung-soo, said to the United Nations General Assembly last year, to break the syndrome of “where you live determines how you live.”

The United Nations Academic Impact seeks to extend that thought.

Where you study should not determine what - you study. But what you study, wherever that is, will always have global possibilities.

Possibilities for the United Nations to do its work better, in partnership with the academic community.

That is one of the primary intentions of the United Nations Academic Impact.

We have seen how the business world has come so far to assume corporate social responsibility. Our challenge to the academic community is for you – now - to assume “intellectual social responsibility.”

Indeed, when I listed some of the many areas of the Republic of Korea’s involvement with the United Nations, I was struck by how each of these areas depend on the contributions of many different academic disciplines – all of which, today, contribute to global governance.

Peacekeeping needs engineers. Development requires doctors. Disaster relief involves architects. Disarmament has both a scientific and a political dimension. Combating climate change also depends on sound science.

The future for our mutual collaboration is enormous. And today’s information and communication technologies make such collaboration greater than ever before.

Dear Friends,

The United Nations Academic Impact is fortunate to have Handong Global University as our global hub for capacity building in higher education. President Kim has spoken passionately about the need for education and excellence in research.

I should also like to acknowledge the idea of “convergence,” which Mr Park’s university – Yonsei - has made so familiar in the area of learning.  Its premise is simple: that skills and talents can be united for common purpose, rather than competing for individual success, because it is ultimately the success of common purpose that assures individual success.

In that sense, we have come full circle, from inter-dependence to convergence. The line that has drawn that circle is education in its many forms - learning, teaching, research, and innovation.

In the beautiful words of the old Korean sijo verse, we also hear about the convergence of time:

The old teacher never saw me;
he lived long before my time.
Though I may never meet him,
I can see the road he travelled.
With his wise road before me,
what reason for me to stray?


I am particularly touched by this poem because - as the son of a schoolteacher myself - it shows how the enduring values of education are not diminished by age or history.

It also shows how education requires dogged persistence, hard work and endurance over the long-term. The Korean people are well known for these qualities.

In fact, this reminds me of a story that our Secretary-General told us one day. He said that, in Korea, one love letter is never enough to attract the attention of the man or woman whom you have fallen in love with. At least ten love letters are needed to make a difference! Persistence…persistence...persistence.

Indeed, education is eternal and began long before the borders of today’s nations were drawn.  The values it instils are clearly universal. Even today, education commands an enormous power to bring together peoples whose nations may not be the most comfortable with each other. And it offers the possibilities of what Michael Adams calls “academic diplomacy.”

Finally, let me say that we are particularly happy and privileged to have so many students participating in this Forum - students who can see the road you, and academic leaders before you, have travelled.

I commend the imagination of the organisers of this Forum who invited the representatives of each of the UNAI global hubs to bring a student with them. I know your meetings will be enthusiastic and exciting and a fitting culmination to the end of the International Year of Youth tomorrow.

When we launched the United Nations Academic Impact last year, we also announced an initiative called “ASPIRE” – which stands for “Action by Students to Promote Innovation and Reform through Education.”

I am delighted to see the enthusiasm this idea has received by young men and women in the Republic of Korea. Since the launch of their chapter less than three months ago, ASPIRE students in Korea have already held an inspiring seminar entitled “Students: We Can Solve the Problem - Connect, Collaborate, Change!”

What a wonderful message, capturing as it does not only what young students can do, but what the UNAI - and, indeed the United Nations itself - should do. By connecting to each other, by collaborating with each other, we can be the source and the strength of change.

In so doing, we will serve the almost seven billion of us on this single planet, who depend on the paths that you will chart for a life and a world that is safer, more fulfilled and - like your beautiful mugung flower - graceful but always resilient.

Gam-sa-hap-ni-da.

Thank you.
Calling All UNAI Students & Leaders: An Invitation to Connect & Write About Youth Health |calling-all-unai-students-leaders-an-invitation-to-connect-write-about-youth-health|Tue, 30 Aug 2011 21:50:59 +0000|News,What’s happening|en|

Continue the conversation started in April 2011! Students of some 700 UNAI member institutions are invited to connect and engage around behavioral health and wellness.  Students can ask advice, get advice, talk about the concerns students face, or share innovative ideas on how they are helping each other to thrive and succeed both academically and personally.

http://blog.samhsa.gov/category/office-of-behavioral-health-equity/

In April 2011, UNAI hosted a virtual conference on psychological health in academia.  UNAI member institutions, missions, non-governmental organizations, and ASPIRE high school students engaged in a cross-cultural and generational dialogue on promoting behavioral health awareness, ultimately building healthy individuals and communities.

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Center for Excellence at Morehouse School of Medicine in collaboration with SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, invites the students of some 700 UNAI member institutions, to connect through continuing the dialogue around behavioral health and wellness.  Students can ask advice, get advice, talk about the concerns students face, or share innovative ideas on how they are helping each other to thrive and succeed both academically and personally.

To beginning blogging, simply click on the following link and then choose what category most fits what you would like to share, learn, or speak out about.

http://blog.samhsa.gov/category/office-of-behavioral-health-equity/
Give Peace Another Chance|give-peace-another-chance|Thu, 01 Sep 2011 19:57:44 +0000|Events,News,What’s happening|en| Kyung Hee University

On Wednesday 14 September, in observance of the annual International Day of Peace, UNAI organized a symposium in partnership with Kyung Hee University (KHU) in the Republic of Korea. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the event, and was followed by Dr. Inwon Choue, President, Kyung Hee University and Kyung Hee Cyber University.

The theme of the symposium was Give Peace Another Chance and its key element was a round table on Higher Education and Human Dignity, and performances by Nashville singer Beth Nielsen Chapman and New York musical group Kaleidhaphonic. The programme was linked by video to Seoul, where Kyung Hee University joined the New York event.

Speakers include:
Ambassador Eduardo Ulibarri
(Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Committee on Information);
Francis Deng
(Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide);
Ambassador Aftab Seth (Educationist, diplomat and writer);
Norhan Basuni (CUNY Baccalaureate student who was a witness to the Tahrir Square events);
Dr Kim Yer-su (former Secretary-General of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and former rector of Global Academy for Future Civilizations at Kyung Hee University);
and Beth Nielsen Chapman (Singer and Song-writer).




This year's observance of the International Day of Peace was significant since it was the thirtieth anniversary of its inception. It was Kyung Hee University's then President, Dr. Young Seek Choue, who proposed the idea at a conference of the International Association of University Presidents held in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1981. The proposal was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 30 November 1981 in resolution 36/67, which declared that the Day shall be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples and invited all Member States, organs and organizations of the United Nations system, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, peoples and individuals to commemorate in an appropriate manner the International Day of Peace, especially through all means of education, and to cooperate with the United Nations in the observance of that day.

Read the Concept paper.
See the Kyung Hee University Page.
Watch symposium webcast on UN Multimedia.

About the International Day of Peace




Mr. Rodolfo Piza Escalante

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. In 2001, the General Assembly by unanimous vote adopted resolution 55/282, which established 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire. The UN invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

Rodolfo Piza Escalante, from Costa Rica, introduced the draft resolution on the International Day and Year of Peace, at the 75th plenary meeting of the General Assembly, on 27 November 1981. Th resolution was adopted on 30 November 1981, at the 77th plenary meeting.
LUMS National Outreach Program – Raising the Hopes of a Nation|lums-national-outreach-program-%e2%80%93-raising-the-hopes-of-a-nation|Fri, 09 Sep 2011 15:11:54 +0000|News,What’s happening|en|

Past to Present:

Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), providing educational excellence for 25 years, is amongst the leading universities in South Asia. The university is the brain child of sponsors belonging to the country’s leading private and public sector corporations, who dreamed of establishing an institution which would be a viable alternative to education comparable to leading international universities.

This vision became reality when the university was established in 1985. The first batch of students joined the MBA program in 1986. Since than LUMS has expanded at a phenomenal rate. Currently LUMS comprises of three schools, namely the Suleman Dawood School of Business, the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law and the School of Science and Engineering, offering a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The mission of LUMS has been to provide world-class educational opportunities to talented students of Pakistan. The LUMS leadership has always advocated a culture of academic excellence, tolerance, research, diversity and freedom of thought.

Funding the Flourishing Talent of Pakistan

LUMS prides itself on being an institution where merit is given the utmost importance and where a need-blind admission policy is implemented. In the last 25 years, more than PKR 1.5 billion has been disbursed to financially disadvantaged students. Conscious of the need to do more to provide the talented yet underprivileged students of the country, a chance to study at LUMS on full financial aid, the university launched the National Outreach Program (NOP) in 2001. The program that promised to change the lives of young men and women of Pakistan has proven to have done so over the years.

The primary objective of this program is to identify disadvantaged students from across Pakistan and polish their skills to match the rigorous LUMS undergraduate programs admission criteria. In order to give the potential candidates maximum advantage, the applicants are identified two years ahead of the starting date of the undergraduate programs.

Identification Process

LUMS works with the government, welfare and trust schools to identify talented and needy students from across Pakistan especially from small cities, villages and the underdeveloped areas of large urban centers. The representatives from the NOP office travel to remote areas and make presentations before the high school students and introduce LUMS. They provide guidance to these students so that they can apply for admission at LUMS through the NOP. LUMS considers it its responsibility to reach out and communicate the message of the NOP to these remote, underdeveloped areas, many of which are even without the bare minimum amenities.

Once identified the applicants are put through a painstaking process so that they are able to compete with students coming from leading private schools. After the initial screening of applicants on the basis of their past academic performance and their household income (less than USD 300 per month) LUMS conducts a NOP Evaluation Test in 16 cities. Students performing extraordinarily in this test are invited to attend a three week long summer coaching session at LUMS. The entire cost of this coaching session is borne by LUMS with an objective of mentoring applicants so that they are able to understand the dynamics of a multiple choice based test.

At the end of this session the NOP applicants have a clear idea of the efforts which will be required to gain admission at LUMS. A few months after the summer coaching session, the students appear in the LUMS undergraduate admission tests which are similar to the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs). All NOP applicants who make it to LUMS on merit are offered a full scholarship due to their low household income. The NOP scholarship is worth $30,000 (for 4 years) and covers full tuition fee, hostel expenses, living and books allowances.

LUMS has a developed a mentoring program for the NOP scholars who make to LUMS successfully so that they can easily adjust to the university environment. This helps them to adapt to the challenges and life on campus quickly and conveniently. The mentoring program is run with the help of faculty, senior students and alumni.

Changing Lives

Despite their superior learning capacity, these young scholars would have been unlikely to afford further studies at a leading university of Pakistan. In the last decade, more than 460 brilliant minds have been inducted at LUMS through the National Outreach Program, from across the country. LUMS, with the support of its friends and sponsors, is now more determined than ever to sustain the growth of this important initiative and if possible to increase the existing scope of the National Outreach Program. It has undertaken the responsibility of searching high and low for talent and offering underprivileged students what they deserve – a promising future. In other words, LUMS is dedicated to changing lives, not just of one individual or family, but of entire communities. This program is the hope for a brighter future of Pakistan.

National Outreach Program Success

The performance of the NOP scholars at LUMS has been commendable. To date, 78 of the NOP scholars have graduated from LUMS. Of these 75, 11 have received Fulbright scholarships to study at Ivy League universities in the US. Several NOP scholars have received other fellowships to study in the UK and Germany. Three NOP scholars have joined PhD programs and many have attended semesters at international universities through exchange programs. Those students who opted to work after completing the LUMS undergraduate program were recruited by leading organizations such as Unilever, Proctor and Gamble and Standard Chartered Bank, among others. This year a NOP scholar scored the highest GPA amongst the graduating undergraduate class of 2011 and was awarded three gold medals. Many students have maintained their high academic performance and have secured a place on the Dean’s Honor List. A number of NOP scholars are engaged in extracurricular activities at LUMS as well.

Currently 66 of the NOP scholars are young women. One of the NOP students, who is the daughter of a cab driver, graduated with honors from LUMS two years ago and is currently working at Deloitte in the UK. Many female students from remote areas tend to refrain from applying for admission at LUMS, as they do not get the permission to travel as far as Lahore. Now, however, due to the NOP team’s focused efforts, there are an increasing number of female applicants.

Looking to the Future

LUMS wants to ensure that the National Outreach Program remains sustainable on a long-term basis. The only way it can hope to achieve this goal is by raising funds, strengthening resources and multiplying outreach efforts.  This program is not just a scholarship. It is an initiative aimed at changing the lives of talented Pakistanis and by extension improving the lives of their families and communities. LUMS is confident that philanthropists, foundations and socially responsible individuals and companies, will come forward and help advance the NOP cause.

LUMS is the first private sector university of Pakistan to launch an initiative such as the NOP at the national level. The LUMS community is proud of this crucial community development initiative and hopes that other universities will launch similar programs as together we can change the destiny of families and communities across the country.
UNAI participates in the Social Good Summit, 19-22 September|unai-participates-in-the-social-good-summit-19-22-september|Sat, 17 Sep 2011 06:00:00 +0000|News,What’s happening|en|

Mashable and the United Nations Foundation present the 2nd annual Social Good Summit (SGS), which is organized to coincide with the High-Level Meetings and the General Debate of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly: 19-22 September. The Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.

14 October Update: you can watch some of the presentations at the following address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ST-U_YYuvU&feature=autoplay&list=PL0F1F9C5B5C6E7674&lf=autoplay&playnext=3

UNAI has been invited to participate in the Summit by starting an e-discussion around selected topics that will be addressed at the Summit.

We would like our member institutions and students around the world to join this series of e-discussions. Three representatives of UNAI members will be moderating the e-discussions. The topics for the UNAI member e-discussion can be seen below. Moderators for each topic are professors and experts from various universities.  All e-discussions will be associated with some core questions. You can also participate directly in the SGS by registering for the Livestream (http://mashable.com/sgs/rsvp/) . You will receive an email reminder 30 minutes before the Livestream of the event.

Date: 19 September (Monday) - 22 September (Thursday)
Agenda: http://mashable.com/sgs/agenda/
RSVP for Livestream: http://mashable.com/sgs/rsvp/


Topics selected for the e-discussions

Tuesday 20 September

 

Empowering Women and Girls: Hollywood, the United Nations and the Influence of Media (1:30 – 1:50 p.m.)
Panelists: Geena Davis, Founder, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (@GDIGM) and Brian Gott, Publisher, Variety
UNAI Moderator: Lehigh University Michele Vella

 

Women and Girls Lead: Where Storytelling, Gaming and Public Media Converge (3:30 – 4:00 p.m.)
Panelists: Academy Award Winning-Actor, Geena Davis (@GDIGM), Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS (@PaulaKerger), Abigail Disney, Executive Producer of Women, War, War & Peace(@WomenWarPeace) and Asi Burak, Co-president of Games of Change (@ABurak), moderated by Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations of the United Nations Foundation (@ASherinian)
UNAI Moderator: Lehigh University Michele Vella

Wednesday 21 September

 

 

How Micro-financing is Enable Social Change (1:30 – 1:52 p.m.)

Panelists:Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank (@Yunus_Centre), and Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist(@MattBish)
UNAI Moderator: University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

The Transformational Power of Skype in the Classroom (2:00 – 2:20 p.m.)
Panelists:Tony Bates, Chief Executive Officer of Skype (@Skype) and (@SkypeClassroom)
UNAI Moderator: University of KwaZulu-Natal

 

 

Thursday 22 September

 

 

 

The Arab Awakening: APPS& Aspiration (1:35 – 2:00 p.m.)
Panelists: Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Affairs and Policy, Mercy Corps, Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, Mercy Corps (@MercyCorps), Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Salman Shaikh, Director, Brookings Doha Center
UNAI Moderator: CUNY Baccalaureate
E-discussion on Skype in the classroom|e-discussion-on-skyp-in-the-classroom-starts-join|Mon, 19 Sep 2011 14:13:17 +0000|News,What’s happening|en|


The immense benefits of technology and its application to education delivery have been evident across the globe. Skype is a social networking tool that can be effectively applied in delivering lectures in the classroom, ensuring an interactive mode of communication between learners and teachers. In this essence, it shortens the distance between learners in different places and brings the outside world into the classroom. Skype is a cost effective learning tool, cuts costs associated with travelling and subsequently saves time. Because Skype uses videos and high quality graphics, it can be an essential part of learning especially in the medical field. It allows the engagement of a large number of people in discussions; interaction is a key component of the learning process. Skype can also be used for communication between supervisors and supervisees thereby saving valuable time and providing prompt responses to areas that need clarification. Due to different bandwidth, Skype can also be available in text format and in the same manner it still ensures instant feedback in areas of low connectivity.

Drawing from the experience of students who participated in the UKZN Poverty and Inequality course at the School of Development Studies, they noted that the physical place of learning is becoming less important as Skype connects students to experts. Sharing of ideas with people from diverse backgrounds and in different regions through Skype was an invaluable experience that the students would always cherish. The Skype experience also shows the significance of ICT in development, this noted by its usefulness in bringing education to areas that face human resource constraints since experts can always provide their services online. Previously, Skype has been used mostly for distance learning purposes but it has proved to be effective when used in combination with ‘traditional’ methods of teaching. Skype, social networking tools and other additional communication tools complement the ‘traditional methods’ of teaching thereby bringing a different dimension to education, especially the classroom set up.

The discussion extended its focus on the impact of technology as a key dimension that has transformed education delivery.

However, for Skype and other networking tools to be more effective in the classroom, there is a suggested need for ‘additional technologies’ and the presence of ‘champions’. Champions (facilitators) will ensure the smooth flow of the discussion by means of leading and coordinating.

However, Skype uptake can be low in the classroom due to learners being unused to thinking independently and a ‘fear of being shown up as inadequate.’ Moreover, it should be noted that use of Skype should not replace the ‘traditional methods’ of learning but should complement them.  In summary, Skype and social networking tools do have perceived transformative change in the way of learning and teaching but there still remains further need of investigation to find that balance between quality internet connectivity in the developing regions and innovative and traditional teaching methods in the classroom.

* Professor Julian May, South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment, School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal moderated the e-discussion along with his team.  The team consisted of Ms Kathleen Diga and Mr. Collins Mucheuki (UKZN) as well as participation from SDS’ students from Prof May’s Poverty & Inequality class. UKZN student assistance was kindly provided by South Africa’s National Research Foundation through the SARChI Chair as well as UKZN Teaching and Learning Innovations and Quality Enhancement Grant 2011 (TLIQEG 2).

Discussion details:
21 September

Kathleen: Great summary and great quote of the day!

Helen: Hi Everyone. Im also in my second year of development masters at the School of Development Studies, UKZN. I was also a member of the Poverty and Inequality class with Professor Juian May. im coming the the end of my sixth year of study and the P&I class was the first time i had experienced Skype in the classroom. in fact i only started using Skype at the beginning of this year. I think it is a valuable way of learning. it allows interaction with different experts which can enrich seminars. it probably makes being a guest speaker in a class less stressful as the classroom is brought to you rather than having to travel there. it also allows the classroom to be assessable anywhere in the globe. this is especially adventitious to classrooms in developing countries which may not otherwise be exposed to academics and experts from else where in the world.

on a personal note Skype is the way in which my family is now staying in contact as my Dad lives in Botswana and my Mum and i are in Durban. it is not only easy to use but it has also reduced the phone bill from R1600 to about R400 (line rental). @ Julian, in the wet season we lose our phone frequently so i think ICTs is the new way of communication.

Facebook is also a great way of learning, if there was no FB would we be able to have this discussion? It keeps people informed and it also keeps people connected. having class groups is an excellent way in communicating outside of the classroom and also helping to keep everyone included. I also find FB a good way in bridging gaps between professor/lecturer and student. I have on numerous occasions heard people say that they feel intimidated by or nervous around their lecturer, FB gives the opportunity to engage with your lecturer on a different level and get involved in discussions. Since i have now lectured on a part time basis i understand the importance of good student/lecturer relationships as a basis for ongoing learning.

it is a pity that FB is not seen as a learning tool by the university. you have to have your own access to the internet to access FB as it is a banded site from the student portal. i think this is a missed opportunity on the university's part as FB is a great way keep in contact with its students and also a great way for advertising events etc. i also find this ironic as student relations sends out messages on FB so if you don't have access you are ecluded. luckily the prices of smart phones are coming down therefore more and more people are being able to get connected using ICTs.

Julian: @Ting, UNISA, the distance learning university is very well regarded, and perhaps seen as a better institution than many of the contact universities. But then Nelson Mandela and many of our struggle heros were able to study through UNISA at a time when they were denied access to the well resourced 'white' universities. However I am not aware of UNISA making much use of ICT supported learning. Perhaps there are others that can comment...

Day 2 Summary: Skype in the classroom continued...
Time Frame summarized Monday 23:00 to Tuesday 22:00
Total number of contributions: 10

The discussion on the role of Skype in the classroom continued and it was noted that Skype is a cost effective learning tool, cuts costs associated with travelling and subsequently saves time. Testimonies from students who participated in the UKZN Poverty and Inequality sessions using Skype show that the physical place of learning is becoming less important as Skype connects students to experts. Sharing of ideas with people from diverse backgrounds and in different regions through Skype was an invaluable experience that the students would always cherish. The Skype experience also shows the significance of ICT in development, this noted by its usefulness in bringing education to areas that face human resource constraints since experts can always provide their services online. Previously, Skype has been used mostly for distance learning purposes but it has proved to be effective when used in combination with ‘traditional’ methods of teaching. Skype, social networking tools and other additional communication tools complement the ‘traditional methods’ of teaching thereby bringing a different dimension to education, especially the classroom set up. However, it should be noted that use of Skype should not replace the ‘traditional methods' of learning but should rather complement them.

Quote of the day: Marin Mueller ‘Given the shortage of teachers across the world, the use of remote teaching technology, while not preferable to having a teacher in every classroom, is far better than the alternative of students not having teachers at all.’

20 September
Tinghua: @ Julia, in China's case, ICT in eduction mainly refers to distance education whereas traditional way of teaching has been little changed in classroom. I would argue the cost-benefit efficiency of ICT in education is main reason. To generate more revenue, it is reasonable choice for Chinese universities to target more students and teach them spontaneously through online teaching since there is no 'teacher/student ratio' issue.

However, it raises another challenge, that is, inflation of distance education degrees. In my country, degrees from formal education are more appreciated than that of distance education. How is situation in your country? I am curious if students and employers treat two kinds of degrees equally?

Julian: Hi all, I arrived home from Pretoria to find the telephone out of order and no adsl! However I can still connect via iPhone . So can new icts be a way of accommodating poor state services or weak academic infrastructure? @ting, why do you think chinese universities were able to use soups/ict so effectively? or willing to do so?

Kathleen: @Marin - brilliant to know from your side that you think we are getting closer to not needing to ask the question of where we are learning due to advanced usage of certain communication tools, I have also learned alot from our inaccessibility issues and how in the meanwhile to make due with what we've got here in South Africa! And brilliant example from your calculus class of distance education... I wonder if there are options to make these examples a reality here. I know during the teacher's strike, they were using movie theatre (cinemas) as centres of supplementary learning. Any other examples?

@Tinghua - brilliant to hear the QQ experience (and Aus and UK) and of course you bring up a good point of finding that balance of the learning habits contextualise in where one lives. and I am waiting for the day my supervisor gives me the same message while he is on travel!

Finally @Timothee thanks for the example of how tools like Skype could have a potential of address human resource issues in place like DRC for example - I wonder if there are examples out there of reaching under resourced areas to get this type of education out? Also thanks for sharing feedback on using your mobile for recording class; you can always ask to leave your recorder close to the speaker to get a better volume - I'm sure they don't mind! If you want a copy of the 3 P&I lectures on video, let me know! I have them in the office or else check out www.youtube.com/PovertyUKZN for some clips.

Timothee: Hi, I am a Masters student in the school of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Honestly speaking the use of technology promises a lot of leaning benefits. Since i started my first year masters coursework, my cell phone has been so useful in facilitating my learning. Some times it does happen I am not in a mood of studying and therefore can't concentrate on what the lecturer is communicating. In this event, my cell phone aids my brain as it has the capacity of recording for over an hour. I have found this helpful because most of the time when i get home and my mind is settled i usually replay the recording and learn what i could have learned in class. This is also important because it allows me to keep a collection of audio lectures and seminars by key thinkers. One of those i can recall is Professor Immanuel Wallenstein.

Speaking of other communication tools for learning let me comment about Skype. I have just experienced the use of Skype for the first time in lectures this year. I was so curious during our Social Policy seminar, to ask where the guest who was speaking to the class through Skype was speaking from. I was impressed when Catherine, our school coordinator responded that the presenter was actually speaking from Geneva. The first idea that came to my mind was how many students in poor countries, like my own (DRC) are academically impoverished due to lack of academic resources including highly experienced lecturers, readings and so on. I realized that if technology was provided to them, the issue of human resource shortage in the education sector could be overcome through networks like Skype which could put them in touch with those big thinkers.

So the provision of technology is very important. However, there is a need to improve the quality of both the visual and the audio side of these tele-lectures (or remote controlled lectures) which are channeled through Skype. To be honest, I would appreciate it if i were able to use my cell phone and record a better sound of a tele-lecture. I tried to do some cell phone recording in all my Skype-seminar sessions but the sound was so disappointing.

Tinghua: When we discuss Skype and classroom, actually we hold the assumption that these social media and networking tools were available. I would argue in reality, the topic has different social-constructionist meanings to students and teachers in different countries.



As @Sean said “this is my fifth year of university education, and yet it was the first time Skype had been comprehensively used to facilitate the learning process in the classroom”, in my country China, Skype has been used by small groups of young people as social networking tool (QQ, Chinese version of Skype is more popular), but in terms of teaching and learning, it still does not incorporate into classroom. I think it is relevant to education policy. China Ministry of Education promotes technology usage in distance education but not formal classroom teaching and learning. Also, it depends on general learning habit in countries, just like some like digital books, others prefer the smell of printed copy.

In contrast, when I studied in the UK and Australia, I was fully exposed to social networking tools and teaching. I would argue social media does not only change teaching method (for example, online conference amongst several campus) but it also changes student-supervisor’s relationship. I was impressed by my PhD supervisor’s fun message, “ I am on leave for one month. Keep me update of your thesis. See you on Skype!”

In short, personally I strongly support Skype in education, but it depends on its availability, individual country’s education policy and people’s preference.

Marin: Hi everyone, I'm also a master's student at UKZN, and moved to South Africa from the US to enroll in the School of Development Studies. On multiple occasions, I've been asked Why did you come all the way to South Africa? Couldn't you learn about development in the United States? The beauty of using skype and social media as tools for learning is that the where of learning is becoming less and less relevant--as students in Julian's class, my peers and I had access not only to UKZN's staff but also to experts from various development-related fields across the world.

Despite the previously discussed problems with finding a strong enough internet connection to support skype discussions, I feel that these struggles serve as a clear reminder both of the potential ICT has for development and the need to implement stronger technological infrastructure across the world. The ability to share ideas across cultures, paradigms, and borders proved valuable for our class, but was a challenge even with the technology provided by the university. The reminder that ICT has significant potential to impact development but is still highly inaccessible in many parts of the world (yes, despite significant recent improvements) was a valuable lesson to us in and of itself.

There are some really exciting implications for Skype at all levels of education. At my high school in the US, several students were enrolled in a calculus class that wasn't offered by the school. They were put in an empty classroom with a tv monitor and a camera, and integrated into a classroom at another school where the class was being taught. This avoided the potential problems of either arranging transportation for the students to travel between two campuses or simply not allowing the students to enroll in the more advanced class. Given the shortage of teachers across the world, the use of remote teaching technology, while not preferable to having a teacher in every classroom, is far better than the alternative of students not having teachers at all.

I'm also a master's student at UKZN, and moved to South Africa from the US to enroll in the School of Development Studies. On multiple occasions, I've been asked Why did you come all the way to South Africa? Couldn't you learn about development in the United States? The beauty of using skype and social media as tools for learning is that the where of learning is becoming less and less relevant--as students in Julian's class, my peers and I had access not only to UKZN's staff but also to experts from various development-related fields across the world.

Despite the previously discussed problems with finding a strong enough internet connection to support skype discussions, I feel that these struggles serve as a clear reminder both of the potential ICT has for development and the need to implement stronger technological infrastructure across the world. The ability to share ideas across cultures, paradigms, and borders proved valuable for our class, but was a challenge even with the technology provided by the university. The reminder that ICT has significant potential to impact development but is still highly inaccessible in many parts of the world (yes, despite significant recent improvements) was a valuable lesson to us in and of itself.

There are some really exciting implications for Skype at all levels of education. At my high school in the US, several students were enrolled in a calculus class that wasn't offered by the school. They were put in an empty classroom with a tv monitor and a camera, and integrated into a classroom at another school where the class was being taught. This avoided the potential problems of either arranging transportation for the students to travel between two campuses or simply not allowing the students to enroll in the more advanced class. Given the shortage of teachers across the world, the use of remote teaching technology, while not preferable to having a teacher in every classroom, is far better than the alternative of students not having teachers at all.

Kathleen: @Milda, wow, thanks for sharing your experience. 20 chat members from 11 countries! I think I have much to learn on how you accomplished such a feat! What are the necessary skills for a facilitator to deal with a diverse crowd, and what type of learning was gained by you and I guess the participants?

@Hilary & @Milda I guess it also getting that first bit of self-confidence to finally make a contribution either via Skype or other media tools. How do we make a creative environment that encourages and nurtures any feedback no matter how big or small?

Milda: Great discussion first of all. I just have a few comments: When it comes to skype and the issue of band width, we all know it can lead to challenges. I must say i have had a few really good experiences with communicating via Skype chat. One of the discussions had about 20 chat members from 11 different countries. It worked really well. The only necessity is a facilitator. I can elaborate if there is any interest for it.

@Hilary, yes many students prefer to be spoon-fed. I am wondering whether we are interested in targeting those students and engaging them more via the use of technology, or if we are trying to improve and make learning a more dynamic process via technology for all students. I would say that the approach would vary greatly, depending on the aim.

Kathleen: @Sean - interesting points especially on the transition for students in getting used to this type of learning... it is a good point to make when we can find some university students (of all levels undergrad, post-grad, etc) who maybe exposed to such technological tools for the first time at their campus! We've tried several techniques to help with transition: having extra tutors (tech sessions), continuous updates on email, FB, Moodle, putting materials online (check out our Skype sessions on our P&I youtube page:www.youtube.com/povertyUKZN) What else needs to be done to prepare students for Skype type of learning?

Thanks also for the point that Skype still needs to complement traditional learner-teacher classroom engagement. What about those who are learning only virtually?

Kathy: @Kathleen - Certainly the asynch chat that Den talked about in his dissertation was to bring new teachers (in VERY rural areas) together with more experienced teachers who were often based in urban areas. This is what the internet has made available to us.

I'm talking on facebook rather than Skype because I can not be available during Skype synch times.... family commitments and no home connectivity. Our students can't use University connectivity for facebook during working hours because of University rules....

I can't talk for the rest of Africa, but access to the technology although feasible is not always easy. Perhaps other African wouldbe participants can explain their access issues.

Sean: Hi all. Im a second year masters student at the School of Development Studies, UKZN. Recent concluded seminars for Professor Juian May's Poverty & Inequality classes. This is my fifth year of university education, and yet it was the first time Skype had been comprehensively used to facilitate the learning process in the classroom.

Overall I felt the use of Skype (along with comminication technologies, particularly Facebook) contributed immensely to the learning experience during the course. We made use of Skype on three seperate occassions, all of which allowed us to engage with individuals who's papers were studying in class. The use of Skype on these occassions provided us in the class with an opportunity to interrogate rationales, motivations and specific ideas that emerged from these papers with those that wroter them, and I felt overall the class took advantage of these opportunities.

The main challenge to the effectiveness of using skype is access to an adequate internet connection and bandwidth. In response to Julian's comments above, a text version of Skype would not have the same impact, and in such cases, I think the use of social networks such as Facebook group discussions would work a lot more effectively (outside the classroom).
Julian's suggestion for the presence of champions to ensure smoothe discussion is also vital, especially as students get used to the whole idea of this format of learning.

This leads me to my final comment. Skype allowed us to interact with people situated in different parts of the world, by drastically reducing the cost (instead of flying them over to join us in the classroom) by essentially annihilating space and time. Hopefully over time the use of Skype will be better utilised more frequently in the classroom to further encourage these interactions (interactions with other styudents from around the world would be really interesting to!)

However, I strongly believe the use of Skype and other communication technologies should facilitate and not replace 'traditional' learner-teacher classroom engagement. I do worry that as technolology does become more accessible, if unbridled, it tends to erode traditional physical interactions. I have heard that in some countries entire lectures are conducted by lecturers on a screen, and I believe this is a step too far.

To conclude, Skype may add a valuable dimension to the classroom learning process by reducing certain barriers to interactions that assist learning and debate, however, it should have some constrains whereby it it used to faciliate 'traditional' clasroom learner-teacher relationship, not replace it.

Kathleen: @Michele - it sounds like the uses of Skype & social media has really enhanced your supervision work in your field. When you it makes you become more attuned to educating on best practices.. do you mean the use of the tools are making you take on supervision strategies you wouldn't have previously?

@Michele & @Michael - I love how you both have mentioned a form of inter-cultural exchange as a result of using such tools. May I ask, is the participation even amongst the participants or some more than others?

Julian: Social Good Summit: The Role of Skype in the classroom.
Timeframe Summarized: Monday 19/09/2011 08:00 to 23:00

Skype and other forms of social networking are useful tools in the classroom as they ensure immediate responses to questions. In this essence, they shorten the distance between learners in different places and bring the outside world into the classroom. Interaction is a key component of the learning process. Because Skype uses videos and high quality graphics, it can be an essential part of learning especially in the medical field. It allows the engagement of a large number of people in discussions. Skype can also be used for communication between supervisors and supervisees thereby saving valuable time and providing prompt responses to areas that need clarification. Due to different bandwidth, Skype can also be available in text format and in the same manner it still ensures instant feedback in areas of low connectivity. However, for Skype and other networking tools to be more effective in the classroom, there is need for ‘additional technologies’ and the presence of ‘champions’. Champions will ensure the smooth flow of the discussion by means of leading and coordinating. However, Skype uptake can be low in the classroom due to learners being unused to thinking independently and a ‘fear of being shown up as inadequate.’

Other Resources
http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet19/oriogun.html

Sibanda, D.B. (2009). The design of a virtual community of practice to facilitate communication, information and knowledge sharing amongst art educators in Botswana Junior Secondary Schools. (Unpublished Masters dissertation University of KwaZulu-Natal)

@Michael, it would be interesting to hear some perspectives from your students, is there any chance that they could be encouraged to participate? And perhaps are there any of my students that could comment on our recent experiment in the Poverty and Inequality class just completed?

19 September
Michael
: I am a high school teacher and the advisor of a UN High School Aspire Group (East Stroudsburg South HS). The use of social media, skype, and distance learning technology has literally accelerated education into a Renaissance period of access to instant information, culture, people, and brings the world into the classroom. The majority of my students are the first in their families being educated in the US. They are from countries all over the world including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Poland, and Bulgaria to name a few. These students bring with them a voice and clarity that gives dignity to their cultures but more importantly invites the entire classroom into their world, history, and current state of their homeland, with these students serving as virtual ambassadors to countries which would not normally be covered in their high school curriculum. The use of social media and skype allows us to be right there as we watch the world outside the classroom. It provides an investment that is genuine and authentic. Skype and social media give students a personal connection to the real people of the Egyptian Revolution, the children starving in the Horn of Africa, the people living in shelters months after the Japanese tsunami and the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. These news stories disappear and students can see and interact with people in the most difficult situations trying their best to survive. The use of skype and social media though technology brings humanity into the classroom.

Michele: I am not a teacher but a doctoral student in psychology. As part of my doctoral training, I am supervising international graduate students in mental health disciplines using social media technology (i.e. skype) as they navigate behavioral health issues within community clinics and school systems including prevention, intervention, and risk assessment management strategies. Stigmas, silences, barriers, and lack of infrastructure for behavioral health needs create substantial health disparities and abridge full human potential throughout the lifespan. I feel that using social media as part of a supervision and mentorship process has helped me become more attuned to educating on best practice in mental health; make accessible newest practices and research for my supervisees; and have a mutual learning experience, engaging in an inter-cultural dialogue that enhances multicultural competence. Using social media technology (given assumed confidentiality) would allow more persons (including students within school systems) with behavioral health needs and looking for helping services to connect , not suffer in isolation , and reduce real or perceived barriers and stigmas to finding appropriate care. In summary, I think skype is a powerful teaching, learning, and helping/health promotion modality.

Kathleen Diga:@Kathy, thanks for your thoughts on the conversations that develop and that building on learning. And what about a conversation outside of one's imagined learning borders? At the School of Development Studies, we have had the opportunity to test out Skype to have guest lecturers for our Master's of Development Studies. We had three opportunities to chat with poverty experts and student evaluations had stated their enhanced learning in engaging through video Skype with these experts and asking further questions about their journal articles. I see on a map from Skype in the classroom website show only 1 or 2 participants from Africa. Besides trying to understand why Skype is not being used in classroom on this continent, I wonder what is working in other developing countries??? Any experiences?

Hilary: @Julian. I am not aware of any numeric tipping point, but literature concerning forum participation suggests that uptake is poor and that is primarily due to two reasons - learners being used to being spoon fed and fear of being shown up as inadequate. If there is a tipping point it is based on buy in and not numeric participation. There is literature too in rubrics for participation in online discussion. As an example:http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet19/oriogun.html

Kathy:@Kathleen... Skype can be used in text only format, this does not use much bandwidth. There are numerous other resources that can do the same. Higher bandwidth often comes with graphics and complex database structures where the system has to travel back and forth reading logins etc. In terms of quality of teaching it depends on what is being taught and how its being taught.

I'm a social constructivist. I think it is important to have conversations in learning, much like we are having here. But there are some disciplines that are very visual and high quality graphics not only add value to the learning experience but essential to understanding (e.g. medicine).

For me Skype (or similar) would be ONE tool to use amongst many.

Kathleen: @Kathy - brilliant to know from you that Skype is viewed as tech which supports low bandwidth... and when we say low, how low is the minimum before Skype fails to offer quality service and then it actually lowers the quality of teaching... is there a such thing?

Kathy: Not in that research... there was a relatively small group of participants and purposive sampling. Generally I think the variables are too great to pinpoint any one variable as key to an intervention being un/successful

Julian: Good point @Kathy, we are summarising the results of a class-room intervention that combined several technologied including Skype, Moodle, e-mail and Turnitin. However it is unlikely that any of these would have had much impact had it not been for the 'champions'. Is the any evidence to suggest a 'tipping point' at which group participation become sustainable and not reliant on champions?

Kathy: Rather than looking at specific technologies I think it would be more useful to investigate use of generic types of technologies. In my view Skype can be seen as a technology that supports low bandwidth relatively cheap synchronized discussion either analogue (talking) or digital (texted).

Research conducted by Den Sibanda (2009) in Botswana showed there was interest in the use of technologies to foster informal learning especially synchronized chats but these needed to be supported by 1. a “champion” (someone to drive the discussion) and 2. Additional technologies such as cell phones to organize scheduled meetings. People who needed to travel long distances to access reliable connectivity wanted immediate responses from their peers.

Reference: Sibanda, D.B. (2009). The design of a virtual community of practice to facilitate communication, information and knowledge sharing amongst art educators in Botswana Junior Secondary Schools. (Unpublished Masters dissertation University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Julian: Good morning all from Durban, South Africa, and welcome to this e-discussion reflecting on the themes being presented at the Social Good Summit. We would like to begin by reflecting on the use of Skype, and perhaps other forms of social networking, as an education tool. We would be interested in learning about experiments that educators and students may have tried, your experiences and your assessment of the value of such forms of e-teaching.