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Course module aims to ease transitions abroad

By Geoff Ash

One of Iceland's most traditional dishes is Hàkarl, a beheaded, gutted shark that is buried underground to ferment for several weeks, and then hung to dry.

While this may not be the most useful knowledge to the average traveller, it is just one "byte" of information found in Mobility 1000, a new online course module developed by Memorial's International Centre in partnership with Distance Education, Learning, and Teaching Support (DELTS).

The module, which recently won a national award for the use of technology in teaching and learning from the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, is a resource for students, faculty, and staff who plan on studying, working, or doing research abroad. It is the first central, comprehensive resource of its kind at Memorial, says Jeremy Reynolds of the International Centre.

"One goal of the module was to consolidate all of the existing pre-departure information that existed on campus and store it in a centralized location," he said. "By working with the International Programs Office, Go Abroad Office and using our own pre-existing resources, I believe we were able to do this. The current setup also makes it scalable. The module was originally intended for exchange students, but as we receive more requests for additions, it can be upgraded to include pre-departure for students heading on international work terms and internships, field schools or for faculty and staff travelling abroad."
The challenge now will be to make sure that the module remains current, he says. A comprehensive review will take place over the summer and a shorter review will occur during the winter.

The information contained in the course is a result of extensive research on foreign countries, focusing on how someone might prepare to live there. In addition to a regional and cultural orientation, the module has detailed information about the universities and institutions available for exchange opportunities.

Student Andrew Harvey recalls a wealth of interesting information he discovered while helping to create the module.

"I particularly remember the trivia that would come up as I dug up new facts like – did you know that, at any given time, an average of one million people are travelling by train in China?" he said. "As well as some of the fantastic, and perhaps little known, study destinations currently offered by Memorial.

Scandinavia, New Zealand, and China all stood out as study abroad destinations that sparked my imagination."

To learn more about experiences and opportunities abroad, visit www.mun.ca/international or www.mun.ca/goabroad.

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