UMF awarded U.S. Department of Education grant to fund Virtual Global Classrooms Project

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FARMINGTON, ME  (December 7, 2020)—The University of Maine at Farmington is excited to announce it has been awarded a nearly $200,000, two-year Federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help fund a Virtual Global Classrooms Project.

Linda Beck, associate dean of the UMF Office of Experiential and Global EducationLinda Beck, associate dean of the UMF Office of Experiential and Global Education, sees the UMF Virtual Global Classrooms Project as an affordable and sustainable way for students to pursue an interest in international and foreign language studies particularly during a time when international travel has become challenging.


The project will create virtual global classrooms at universities in other countries where UMF students can collaborate with faculty and students in other countries, including UMF’s international partners in France, Spain, Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong and Japan while gaining international cross-cultural experience through remote learning.

Over the course of the two-year grant, UMF faculty will revise or develop new courses to include Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) in their curriculum. COIL is a method of international virtual student exchange spearheaded by Kansai University in Japan and the State University of New York at Albany. The COIL approach will provide UMF with an innovative, cost-effective way to further the internationalization of its curriculum and broaden student access to global education, which is often cost-prohibitive.

“We are so grateful for the U.S. Department of Education’s support and excited to offer this wonderful opportunity to our students,” said Linda Beck, associate dean of the UMF Office of Experiential and Global Education. “This project will provide students with an affordable and sustainable way to pursue their interest in international and foreign language studies particularly during a time when international travel has become challenging.”

The project will also permit UMF to internationalize its new First Year Fusion (FYF) program that combines First Year Seminars with an initial week of intensive experiential learning. The FYF program was first piloted in August 2019 with three groups of students conducting field research and experiential learning around the State of Maine. With funding from the DOE grant, UMF plans to pilot FYF programs to Japan and Senegal for the Class of 2025.

In addition to fostering internationalization of the curriculum, the grant’s activities are intended to strengthen student interest in studying world languages by introducing them to and exciting their interest in international studies early in their college career. The grant also provides funding for professional and curriculum development for UMF’s World Language program and its more recently established World Language Education program, which was created in 2018 to meet the growing need for World Language teachers in Maine’s secondary schools.

Through the DOE funding for faculty training, curriculum development, student travel and the strengthening of the University’s international partnerships, the new Global Classrooms Project will help UMF students develop the skills they need to thrive in a global economy and assume their roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

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EDITOR’S NOTE:
Link to image on WordPress: https://www.umf.maine.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1/2020/12/RP201-015.jpg
Photo Caption: Linda Beck, associate dean of the UMF Office of Experiential and Global Education, sees the UMF Virtual Global Classrooms Project as an affordable and sustainable way for students to pursue an interest in international and foreign language studies particularly during a time when international travel has become challenging.
Photo Credit: Submitted Image

April Mulherin
UMF Associate Director for Media Relations
office: 207-778-7081
cell: 207-491-0064
april.mulherin@maine.edu

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