We’re pleased to announce the 2011 GoAbroad Innovation Awards finalists in the category of Innovative Use of Technology. We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order.
Athena Study Abroad Ask Athena
Athena Study Abroad’s Ask Athena program wizard is both efficient and effective for its audience. With a short quiz, Ask Athena pushes students to think about their wants, needs and preferences for study abroad options in a fun and novel way. The questions address issues such as actual course work and location, to climate and transportation preferences, hoping to cause students to pause and think about their options and take into account the different aspects of studying abroad. Ask Athena utilizes a simple and efficient use of technology in an amusing and interesting way to prepare students for the reality of the program they are choosing overseas.
Augsburg College Dual Social Work Program Blog Project
Augsburg College piloted a program to connect current on-campus social work students with peers on the “Social Work in a Latin American Context” study abroad program in Mexico. Students in SWK 280: Diversity and Inequality in Professional Practice and students in SWK 294: International Social Welfare: The Mexican Context set up blogs. The students in Mexico blogged about learning experiences they were having in the community, such as visiting maquiladoras, social service agencies, and living with rural and urban homestay families.The students in Minneapolis blogged about cultural differences and other diversity issues. Both groups were assigned to read the other group’s blog, write a blog post themselves, and make at least two comments on each course’s blog. The goal was to enhance the students’ learning in each course. One student participant commented, “[N]ot only has this experience helped us to learn about expectations Mexican clients may bring with them…, but it has also opened our eyes to the expectations, norms, and values we as social workers from the United States might also bring to the interactions.” In addition, the faculty member in Minneapolis made a presentation to both classes through a Skype connection.
Butler University Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) Student Dashboard
Butler University Institute for Study Abroad‘s Student Dashboard is a custom tool developed by IFSA and available only to IFSA students. The IFSA Dashboard widget is an application the students add to their personal page on the IFSA Student Network . The IFSA Dashboard takes each student through their application process, which can sometimes take up to eight weeks for study abroad immersion programs. The tool includes a video for each of the nine steps of preparing to study abroad and is dynamically programmed to tell each student specifically where he/she is in the process and exactly what he/she needs to do next.
CEA Global Education Mobile Access
Recognizing that a growing number of students are using their mobile phones to research study abroad opportunities, CEA recently implemented QR Codes in print collateral and posters on campus. Student can scan the QR Codes with their smartphones and any number of free QR scan apps. The code takes the student to a mobile version of the CEA website, providing them with essential bite-sized information relevant to their search for information. Recognizing that no one wants to read a 300-page document on a 2×4-inch mobile screen, CEA minimized the homepage to include a program search, advisers’ information and an abbreviated lead form for more information. Users have the option of clicking on a button at the top of their screen to go to the full CEA website.
International Studies Abroad (ISA) Custom Google Maps
International Studies Abroad has integrated custom-built Google maps into all of their city pages (e.g., Prague). Students viewing these web pages can now visit and search a customized and interactive map of each host city to find location-based recommendations relevant to their time abroad. In order to solve the problem of information overload and provide students a simple yet informative view of each location, Site Specialists from each program mark important locations throughout the city and country, such as the ISA offices, universities, excursion locations, historical sites, recommended restaurants and main transportation hubs. Highlighting the effectiveness of these services, the maps on these pages are among some of the most viewed pages on the ISA website.
Congratulations to the finalists! The winner of this category will be announced at the GoAbroad invitation-only reception during the upcoming NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference and will be posted to the GoAbroad blog. Other category finalists have being announced this week. Next week, we will announce the finalists in the Student Abroad Video contest and voting for best video will commence shortly after all the finalists have been announced.