RIT professors win award for global collaboration

First-year enrichment connects students at international campuses

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Students in the First Year Enrichment: Pathways to Service Learning course “meet” through the RIT Global Collaboration Grid to discuss living spaces, transportation and fun things to do outside of class.

Five faculty members are the winners of a NASPA Bronze Excellence Award, for connecting students from multiple RIT campuses in Henrietta, Croatia and Kosovo via a virtual classroom.

Ana Maria Šimundić, Bob Foley, Maureen Barry, Julia Norrgard and Albina Balidemaj won the award for their collaboration between sections of the First Year Enrichment: Pathways to Service Learning course. The award was in the category of administrative assessment, information technology, fundraising, professional development and related. NASPA is an international association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

The pathways course affords students from RIT’s international campuses the opportunity to meet in a live, virtual setting, facilitated by the RIT Global Collaboration Grid. The RIT Global Collaboration Grid is an ongoing project using students employed by the Research Computing Lab to design, create and deploy innovative and advanced technologies for real-time global collaboration.

“The project aims to connect all of RIT’s global campuses simultaneously with high quality video, audio and applications for teaching, research, cultural exchanges and business,” says Gurcharan Khanna, director of research computing at RIT. “The pathways classes fully utilized the four-screen big wall projection system in the Center for Student Innovation to show live HD video streams from several campuses at once, in addition to student-produced films, Google Earth views showing where students lived and shared student desktops.”

The Excellence Awards are given out to candidates who demonstrate traits such as having a positive impact on student learning, transitions, retention and success.

Founded in 1919, NASPA comprises more than 13,000 members in all 50 states, 29 countries, and eight U.S. territories. NASPA Excellence Awards recognize the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services and effective administration.

To watch recordings of some of the Pathways to Service Learning meetings, go to the research computing website.