Global Classroom

Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue

There is often talk of a "Georgetown bubble" on Main Campus. The videoconferencing pops that bubble and invites different perspectives that one wouldn't necessarily find on the Hilltop.

Matthew Smallcomb (COL '09).

CNDLS helps to fulfill Georgetown’s global mission by supporting a number of projects which facilitate intercultural dialogue through innovative use of technology.

The SOLIYA Connect Program

Students in Professor Cynthia Schneider’s Diplomacy and Culture class participate in the Soliya project, founded by a nonprofit organization in New York City and supported at Georgetown by CNDLS and the Gelardin New Media Center. Soliya uses Web-based videoconferencing technology to connect students at universities in the United States and the Middle East through weekly online meetings, where they collaborate on projects and discuss current events. Participants have found that the Soliya project has increased their awareness not only of the diversity of opinions of students across the globe, but also of their classmates at Georgetown.

Georgetown’s innovative telepresence classroom builds on the inspiration of the Soliya Project and others, enabling Georgetown students to experience a sense of global community without leaving campus. Georgetown’s Telepresence classroom uses cutting-edge immersive telepresence videoconferencing technology to connect students on the Hilltop with students at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. The Telepresence system effectively creates a mixed virtual classroom composed of students in Qatar and in D.C., all taught by one instructor.

The Telepresence classroom was first used by Professor David Edelstein for his course on the Causes of War. Not only will future courses in a variety of disciplines be taught in the Telepresence classroom, but University administrators plan to organize lectures and roundtables utilizing the Telepresence system.

There’s intellectual growth that is happening not just because these are extraordinarily bright students, but because they’re put in a position to have interactions and experiences that they’ve never had before.

Professor David Edelstein (School of Foreign Service)