Educational professionals from 24 countries visited Utah State University as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in February. The group met with several universities in eight different states focusing on education in a digital age.
“When the Department of State reached out and asked me which universities would be a good stop for this group to learn about distance and online education, I knew immediately USU fit the bill,” said Sachin Pavithran, director of policy for USU’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. “Many of the IVLPs commented on how other universities taught them about a lot of concepts and theories, but at USU they were able to see all of these concepts come together in a practical way.
The visitors saw firsthand how USU leverages technology in education, how technology impacts student learning and how it is integrated into existing curricula. The IVLPs were walked through the process of broadcast classes throughout the state and how courses are conducted through USU Online.
“USU offered us the opportunity to see cutting-edge high-tech solutions in action for distance learning,” said Hassan Rached, English language inspector and teacher trainer for the Ministry of Education in Tunisia. “My experience at USU gave me insights on how online teaching can be delivered effectively. I also came away with a lot of ideas on how to create a more inclusive learning environment after spending time in the Classroom Innovation Lab.”
The IVLP’s visit in Logan, sponsored by USU’s Center for Persons with Disabilities and USU’s Academic and Instructional Services, gave attendees a look at how USU makes education accessible to all. While in the Classroom Innovation Lab, run by Academic & Instructional Services’ Kevin Reeve and Robby Sproul, the IVLP group tested the virtual and augmented reality sets, the Microsoft Surface Studio and the Write-On Wall.
According to Titus Tokpah, founder and executive director of MediaAid Foudnation from Liberia, USU was one of the most impressive stops the group made during their three-week trip.
“Among all the institutions we visited, all of the IVLPs testified of the amazing innovations and discoveries by Utah State University and the Utah Educational Network,” he said.
Many of the IVLPs were able to network with USU professionals and create new friendships. Moving forward, USU will serve as a support and collaborative partner with international organizations to ensure technology is used to support and improve higher education for students across the globe.