Teaching Globalization, Globally: A 7-Year Case Study of South Africa–U.S. Virtual Teams

Derrick L. Cogburn, Nanette S. Levinson


This article reports on a project conducted from 1999–2006 that involved a substantial collaboration between South African and U.S. universities to build human capacity for the knowledge-intensive global economy through geographically distributed collaborative learning. The project used a highly interactive, rich media, synchronous and asynchronous learning environment to foster U.S.–South Africa student team learning. Particular attention was paid to the use of commercially available Web-based collaboration technologies that work well in both developed and developing country university settings. The study had one overarching research question: Can universities in developing as well as developed countries use a suite of commercially available Web-based collaboration technologies to successfully deliver an advanced global graduate seminar? Data for the study came from narrative evaluations and post-hoc surveys of student participants. Focusing on providing a model that can be used in disparate multidisciplinary and university settings, the article highlights both the technologies and the pedagogy that recognize cultural differences and cross-national collaborative opportunities in university settings.


globalization; higher education; South Africa; global economy; collaborative learning; web-based collaboration; developing countries; cross-national collaboration

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