Global Classroom in International Development Studies (Master)

29 March 2023

Educational project

Global Classroom in International Development Studies (Master)

This project aims to promote blended and challenge-based learning by establishing a global and transdisciplinary classroom in International Development Studies Master (IDSM) at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning. At IDSM, students are encouraged to engage with studying development and the associated social, economic and environmental sustainability from a translocal and transdisciplinary perspective. This perspective opens possibilities for students to learn about various perspectives on sustainable development, however, in-class lectures do not sufficiently provide an opportunity for students to actually experience such a perspective. This project proposes blended learning to overcome this limitation. 


In September 2020, due to COVID-19 and the shift to online education, the introductory course of IDSM – Development Themes, where various critical themes of international development are introduced. A panel of development professionals working on challenges around the globe became part of the online lectures and since students greatly appreciated this, it became part of the course in September 2021, even though the in-class teaching resumed. However, in a large classroom (as the course usually has about 100 students) without a full hybrid teaching equipment, interactions between online and offline environments were not as smooth as expected. This project establishes a new methodology and learning opportunities for UU students and staff to be part of an innovative global classroom where transdisciplinary education is pursued at a global scale without the half-hybrid struggles.

Project description

This project proposes to use a blended learning approach with two concrete activities: (1) global classroom, connecting different parts of the world where various development and sustainability challenges are observed and a UU classroom through an optimal set up of connecting online and offline environments; (2) engagement with development professionals outside academia – public, private and civil society actors – who share their actual experiences and generate discussions with our students. The project fully mobilizes existing teaching staff members’ research networks to connect the professionals and students. In this way, our research and education activities are also fully aligned in this project.

In order to realize this global classroom, the project requires

  1. Educational support for setting up learning objectives and assignments for students to integrate their learning with professionals into the course assessment.
  2. Technical expertise and initial support to optimise the use of hybrid classroom and students’ uses of microphones.
  3. Student assistant for helping the lecturer to prepare for the classroom in cooperation with the technical experts from the university, and monitor the online discussions.

Goals and results

The expected results include:

  1. enhanced students’ learning on various and critical translocal perspectives on sustainable international development;
  2. collaboration between professionals and teaching staff and consolidation of research/teaching networks;
  3. innovative education experience in line with blended, challenge-based learning.

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