Macedonian students with Dr. Steve Faulke and Carine Ullom
A group of students from the Department of English Language and Literature at the Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology in Skopje, in the current spring semester of the 2012/2013 academic year have the opportunity to be part of quite special and unique course, “Regions of the Balkan and the U.S.”. The course simultaneously integrates students from Ottawa University in Kansas and the English Department at UKIM. Both of the students groups are linked via an on-line academic platform called Blackboard where they have the chance to explore and learn both about U.S. and Balkan culture in general, to delve deeper into important historical moments, discover admirable geographic landscapes, get acquainted with a variety of ethnical groups and perform other creative tasks. Apart from their regular tasks, the students also communicate regularly through different technical tools like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts.
The course is led by visiting professor at UKIM, Dr. Steven Foulke coming right from Ottawa University in Kansas and Dr. Rumena Buzarovska as a co-teacher from UKIM. The technical online support and the online training of the UKIM students is provided by Carine Ullom. Thus, we must admit, this is something quite new and different. The ongoing activities also bring within a little sense of premonition as to where the future of education in Macedonia is headed in the years to come. For more extensive information, here is some insight from Steve and Rumena.
1. What is the reason that sparkle the initiation of the special course Regions of the Balkan and the U.S.?
Dr. Steve Foulke: The short answer to the first question about the genesis for the idea of the online course linking students from UKIM with those at Ottawa University in Kansas came from my wife, Carine Ullom. A few weeks after I received notice from Fulbright that I would again be teaching in Macedonia, Carine mentioned the idea of the online course. I quickly agreed with her. We then contacted Rumena Buzarovska, and she soon warmed up to the idea.
It is worth noting that when I was at UKIM in the spring of 2007 on a Fulbright, I knew then that I wanted to bring back my experience in Macedonia to my students in Kansas. In the years following I would often make reference to Macedonia in my lectures to my students at Ottawa University, but I struggled to find a way to connect them to Macedonia. I sensed that there must be a method in which I could make Macedonia more real to them, but I really struggled find a bridge. I am convinced that this online course can create meaningful connections between students in Skopje and Ottawa University.