Global Partners in Education Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, April 2011

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Journalism Education for Contemporary Challenges: Global Understanding through Virtual Classroom

Niti Asheesh Chopra, Manisha Pathak-Shelat

Abstract


In this article we have tried to share the success story of our participation in East Carolina University’s Global Understanding – Virtual Classroom Project. We were part of the initiative for three years (2006-2008) and linked with seven different Universities during the proceeds of the Project. The presentation is from a Journalism Education perspective-based on our experience as lead teachers in the project combined with students’ feedback through a focus group discussion held with them.

We have consolidated this article in keeping with the same spirit with which we participated in it. Our belief that journalism educators need to break away from the traditional approach and focus student efforts on “critical self-reflection" that can improve understanding of transnational social and cultural issues—stood reinforced after participation in this project.

We thus remain convinced of the efficacy and relevance of the Virtual Classroom Project in today’s constantly evolving global education scenario.  ‘Global Understanding through Virtual Classroom’ helps future journalists develop cultural sensitivity and comprehensive perspective that are now essential qualities of meaningful journalism. The article seeks to answer the following research questions:

What is the student perception of the project with reference to educational gains?
Has the participation in the project any influence on the cultural sensitivity and participants’ attitude about other cultures? Has the participation enhanced their understanding of other cultures?
What are the insights from the project with reference to future direction of journalism education?


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