March 3 Lunch Seminar to Discuss Virtual Exchange

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

March 3 Lunch Seminar to Discuss Virtual Exchange

“We live in a highly globalized world. Our students are graduating and going to be working in a highly interconnected, globalized workplace. It is critical that they pick up those global competencies and skills to be successful in their future careers,” -Dipra Jha, associate professor of practice and director of global engagement for the Hospitality, Restaurant, Tourism Management program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jha will be the keynote speaker for a lunch-and-learn on virtual classrooms on Tuesday, March 3 at 12:00 p.m. in the East Campus Union Sunflower/Goldenrod room. Register by February 27 to guarantee your lunch and seat. Can't join us in person? Tune in from wherever you are in the world using the Zoom link here

We believe it is more important than ever that students are prepared for the globalized, interconnected world that they will eventually enter into as professionals. While we encourage participation in our faculty-led, for-credit education abroad programs, despite opportunities for scholarship assistance, it is not always a viable option for every student, whether financially or otherwise.

With this in mind, the university and its global offices continue to work toward creating local opportunities for students, as well as faculty and staff here, to have exposure to global issues. One example of this is the first in our new seminar series, featuring Dipra Jha, who will share his experience as one of several faculty members across the university who have conducted courses with virtual classrooms, an exciting technological and pedagogical inroad into connecting students from around the world. This is especially useful in the teaching around in the area of hospitality: a major global industry as well as a top one for Nebraska, coming in as the state’s third largest external revenue source after agriculture and manufacturing, bringing in an excess of $4.9 billion annually and supporting more than 47,400 jobs.

Virtual classroom projects represent a viable manner in which we can provide such local-global experiences for students.We hope that faculty across campus will consider teaching such courses in the future and invite all who are interested to attend the seminar on Tuesday, March 3 at 12:00 p.m. to learn more. Lunch will be served, but registration is requested. Can't join in person? Tune in from wherever you are in the world via Zoom using this link

About the course:

During the fall semester, Jha relaunched his virtual exchange course as one of the six faculty projects selected for the Office of Global Strategies’ Global Virtual Classrooms grant. His first experience with teaching a virtual exchange class was his popular “Three Countries; One Classroom” project in Fall 2018 with his “Introduction to the Lodging Industry” course. Across 7,500 miles and a 9-hour time difference, Jha connected his students with those of his peers at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Oman Tourism College in Muscat, Oman. Jha’s Fall 2019 course since expanded to “Six Countries,” with new partners in the Ukraine, India and Denmark.

The breakthrough for Nebraska’s virtual exchange offerings came in 2018 when the university was awarded a prestigious Stevens Initiative grant from the Aspen Institute. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Initiative is an international effort to build global competency and career readiness for young people in the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa regions, while growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange.

Jha’s “Six Countries; One Classroom” provided an opportunity for Nebraska students to directly engage with peers and industry experts in multiple countries through collaborative online international learning (COIL) sessions. In addition to learning about the lodging and hospitality industries in these locations, students learned from and learned about each other during the semester.

"I have never been more eager to participate in a voluntary presentation until we learned about the COIL project,” said Lindsey Turner, a junior from Crete, Nebraska. “Having never been outside of the U.S. before, I have only learned about other cultures through my own research or textbooks, but the COIL project fostered conversation that benefited everyone participating. Zoom-conferencing with students from different parts of the world has opened my eyes to the opportunities and cultural similarities/differences that I couldn't have learned from textbooks.”

After the successful Stevens Initiative grant at Nebraska—which included six virtual exchange courses and reached more than 280 students in the U.S., Jordan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates—the Office of Global Strategies continued encouraging faculty participation through its own Global Virtual Classrooms internal grant. Between 2019 and 2021, the grant will reach an additional 400 students across more countries and diverse academic disciplines.

As emphasized in Chancellor Ronnie Green’s State of the University address in celebration of its 150th anniversary, Nebraska is committed to its mission of teaching, research and serving. Along with other university efforts and innovation, virtual exchange courses will help UNL reach greater heights as a “world-leading 21st century Land Grant University–a University truly without walls.”

About the presenter:

Professor Jha is recognized as an international expert in luxury hospitality and tourism strategy. Jha frequently collaborates with communities, government entities and private sector organizations on customized research, training, and consulting projects.

At Nebraska, Professor Jha teaches lodging management, guest services and hospitality law. He is a recipient of UNL’s University Distinguished Teaching Award as well as College of Education and Human Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award among other honors. In 2018, the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) recognized him with the prestigious John Wiley & Sons Innovation in Teaching Award.


For more on Jha’s course and other faculty members’ work in virtual exchange at Nebraska:

Nebraska aims to be global leader in virtual exchange, University Communication, Office of Global Strategies

Office of Global Strategies announces inaugural Global Virtual Classrooms grant awardees, University Communication, Office of Global Strategies

Three Countries, One Classroom: Opens Doors, Connects Minds, College of Education and Human Sciences