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Global Citizens Educating Future Global Citizens: Using Social Media for Environmental and Social Justice

Linda Ralston (University of Utah, USA)
Session Information
November 21, 2013 - 9:40am
Leadership, Values and Society
Areas of Special Interest: 
Social Networking
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Europe 7
Session Duration: 
35 Minutes
Information Session 6

A Case Study: How engaging students in a social media awareness campaign increases learning effectiveness in global citizenship.

Extended Abstract

Prior to the session beginning, attendees will receive a handout with a link to a Canvas website withAll materials related to the session and instructions how to tweet questions for the Tweet Feed for the session. Questions will be addressed periodically during the session. If we do not respond to all questions during the session, we will tweet responses after the session. During the final five minutes of the session, we will encourage attendees to tweet their own ideas for learning activities to promote global citizenship. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to continue the dialogue after the session to share their own ideas and seek advice regarding their own efforts to design learning activities related to global citizenship.

Session Agenda:

  • Introduce the concept and need for global citizenship
    • Tweet Question: How many attendees currently teach a course on global citizenship? If yes, what is the grade level for whom the course is targeted?
  • Review the university initiative for international awareness
    • Tweet Question: Do you have a core requirement requiring international awareness, global citizenship, or related values?
  • Introduce the 2 courses:
    • Global Citizen
    • International Tourism
  • Review the learning activities designed to fulfill the learning outcomes
    • Blogging: The Clean Water Initiative, Responsible Travel & Fair Trade
  • Check out the links for free blog hosts for education.
    • TweetChat: Tweeting for Human Rights and World Peace
  • Involving guests in your TweetChats
    • Pinterest: Pinning for Endangered Species
    • Infographics for education: Climate Change, Fair Trade, and Endangered Species and Places
  • Free web software for designing infographics
  • TweetChat: Tweet your ideas for global citizenship learning activities.

Overview: Education for global citizenship has received increased attention over the past decade but it is certainly not a new concept. Andrzejewski (1996) defined global citizenship as knowledge and skills for social and environmental justice. This resonates with the "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. Article 1 of this declaration stated that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." The globalization of the economy and the increasingly interconnected world has stressed the urgency for the education of students ofAll ages in preparation for a role in this new world. Study abroad programs have long embraced the concept by grounding education for global citizenship in a student's personal experience in an international community setting. Unfortunately, notAll students can afford traveling aboard but this does not lessen the need for learning and engaging in activities that help forge an active global citizen. Core competencies in global citizenship have been adopted by educational institutions in United States, Canada, Great Britain, Norway, Ireland, and Slovenia are a few of the leaders in this effort. Oxfam and the Asia Society are just two of the non-profit, non-governmental organizations that have become active in supporting academic organizations with the distribution of resources to educate our future leaders and global citizens.

The University of Utah has established the Upper Division International Course Requirement to ensure that each undergraduate student with a broad base of knowledge about global issues and about global perspectives in a comparative context. The purpose of the requirement is intended to introduce students to international frames of reference so that they may think critically about long-standing and newly emerging issues. Each course that is approved for the International designation must have as its primary focus an international, transnational, or comparative focus that includes a variety of perspectives. Further the courses must focus on cross-border phenomena (borders conceived in the broadest sense: language, cultural, economic, political, etc.) and on contemporary issues, or show how historical approaches are relevant to contemporary issues.

This session will provide a case study as to how two courses fulfill these standards and incorporate the use of social media to empower the students to reach out to a broader community to educate others on these issues. The online Global Citizen course targets the general student body whereas the hybrid International Tourism course targets students studying in the parks, recreation and tourism industry.

The Global Citizen course serves as a guide for international travelers and those desiring a career in the global marketplace. Students learn to make responsible choices when planning and engaging in travel experiences regardless of the purpose of the international trip. The course fosters ongoing connections that build understanding and bridge culture differences, compassionate listening, conflict resolution and other skills necessary to promote cross-culture communication and responsible travel.

The International Tourism course investigates current trends and issues in international tourism. The course utilizes the case study method to examine issues from the perspective of the international tourist, the business manager, host community members, and government officials. Global tourism is a dynamic phenomenon influenced by global events and the demand for tourism, therefore the topics may vary from year to year.

This session we will highlight the resources available to support the topics of climate change, world peace, human rights, endangered species, intercultural respect, fair trade, sustainable and responsible travel, among others. Each example will illustrate how the students achieved the learning outcome through a variety of learning activities, such as, blogging for clean water in South Africa, pinning images to increase awareness of endangered species, tweet-chats to promote human rights, and "infographics" to advocate for fair trade practices and human rights. Participants will receive examples of assignment instructions, guidelines for student use of social media, and evaluation rubrics for the assignments.

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will able to:

  • Define global citizenship.
  • Identify two new uses of social media for increasing awareness for global issues, such as, climate change, fair trade, and human rights.
  • Identify 2 free online resources for designing infographics.
  • Describe the effectiveness of social media to actively engage students in global citizenship.
Lead Presenter

Dr. Linda Ralston is the Director of the International Tourism and Hospitality Management program, Coordinator of the Hospitality Management, and Director of Distance Learning for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She is the Instructor of the University of Utah CyberPedagogy course (Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence). She has taught international tourism, hospitality management, customer service, and services marketing since 1991. She has received the Utah Commission on Higher Education's Award of Excellence for Distance Learning and the Integration of Technology, the University Public Professor Award, the Brochard Learning Scholar, and the Society of Parks and Recreation Educator's Award of Excellence in Teaching.