As the semester is coming to a close, I wanted to reflect on some of the courses I have taken. This semester I am enrolled in the USC iPodia Program (ENGR 345). This is a unique program that allows students from around the world to come together in a single course and collaborate. The official course name is Principles and Practices of Global Innovation.
The iPodia Program is broken up into two Sessions, a morning and night session one day a week. Here, students such as myself webcam with other students from different universities around the world! This year, we are collaborating with students from India, Israel, South Korea, and China. We “attend” the same lecture at the designated time, during which we intermittently break off into smaller groups to tackle innovation problems and cases. The class demands a great deal of interaction and participation, but in doing so, allows for a more rich learning environment given the different student ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
Outside of the classroom, I have the opportunity to meet with students from the different countries over Google Hangout or Skype to work further on our group projects. It is quite interesting to hear how their university structure is so much more different than ours and the impression America sets upon them. I will say though, one of the hardest parts of the course is coordinating between time zones so that everyone can find a suitable time to meet.
At the end of the semester, we will travel to Israel where we will get the chance to physically meet the students we have been webchatting with over the past semester. It will be great to finally shake their hand rather than just see them on a computer screen. While in Israel, we will have other presentations and workshops throughout the trip, but also get to see some of the cultural sights and national landmarks. Having never been to Israel, I believe this will be a unique opportunity to travel abroad to a place I may not normally travel by myself.
If you have any questions regarding the program please ask! More information can be found at http://ipodia.usc.edu/.