What's Going On in the Forum? Bridging the Camps and the Campus
Monday, March 7th, 2016
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM
There is increasing interest in the potential of technologically enhanced learning to create conditions whereby students studying around the world can engage with each other to create and critique knowledge about things that matter. Variously referred to as "collaborative on-line international learning" (COIL, 2015), "globally networked learning" (AIF, 2015), and "connected learning" (UNHCR, 2015), these initiatives share a commitment to putting digital technologies and learning platforms into the service of connecting learners from around the globe in virtual classrooms that let them teach and learn from each other. This commitment is consistent with one of the aims of the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project which states that, "courses are designed with the aim of enabling refugee students to participate in the creation and critique of knowledge, certainly about forced migration, but also about contemporary theories of globalization, nationhood, post-coloniality, environmental sustainability, identity, belonging, and hope, among other things, from within the experience of forced migration"(BHER, 2015). In August, 2015, students from York University in Toronto, Canada and the Dadaab refugee camps in northeast Kenya participated together in a course entitled "Education for a Sustainable Future". This paper will focus on student interaction and student engagement in the "All Class Online Discussion Forum". It asks, "Does participation in post-secondary study, and in globally networked, on-line discussion forums in particular, enable students to feel that they are making a contribution to the creation of new knowledge and understanding about important issues including, but not limited to, forced migration?"