Students in Appalachian State University's International Human Resource Management (MGT 3670) course are building a global mindset, without leaving Boone.
The students are part of a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) course offered through the Department of Management in the Walker College of Business in collaboration with Providence University in Taiwan.
Bridging borders, differences
COIL courses provide students and professors the opportunity to connect across countries for collaborative projects and discussions as part of their coursework.
28 App State students will work in virtual teams with 27 students from Providence. Over the course of nine weeks, the student teams (including students of at least three different nationalities in each team) will collaborate on a three-part project, developing a human resource management manual for a Taiwanese company and one of its subsidiaries, in India, Vietnam or the Czech Republic.
The COIL course was developed in partnership with App State’s Office of International Education and Development and in collaboration with the AHEA – the American Higher Education Alliance.
"The student body at Providence University is very diverse with students from South Africa, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and the Americas," said Dr. Rachel Shinnar, who teaches the course. “This is an exciting opportunity for our students to collaborate across cultures and find ways to bridge differences in time zone, language and culture.”
“Working with the students in Taiwan provides a different perspective," said a past participant. "They have different skills, and successfully completing the project requires that we effectively combine our knowledge with theirs."
Continuing virtual options
Spring 2023 is the second semester the course has been designed as a COIL course; the first COIL course was taught in Fall 2021, when travel was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These courses are a viable alternative for students whose financial or family situation prevents them from traveling internationally," said Dr. Shinnar. "COIL-based courses give all students an opportunity to develop global awareness and a global mindset by collaborating with their peers from a different country. Rather than hearing about virtual, cross-cultural teamwork, students in MGT 3670 get to experience this process firsthand."
The experience may leave some better prepared for an international business career.
"I enjoyed working with people from different cultures and backgrounds; even simple communication felt different," said a past participant. "I feel more prepared for my career having worked with people from vastly different backgrounds.”
"This is a good experience for our App State students to learn the benefits and challenges of collaborating virtually, across time zones and languages," said Dr. Shinnar.
Fostering a global mindset
Fostering a global mindset is an integral part of the Walker College mission and values, and business faculty develop and lead numerous short-term study abroad programs to countries around the globe.
The college also provides scholarships to allay travel costs with the hope of making an international experience possible for any student who is interested.
“Programs like Dr. Shinnar’s provide unique ways of fulfilling the college's mission of fostering a global perspective in our students,” said Meredith Church Pipes, the college’s Global and Civic Engagement Specialist. “While an international experience on the ground is irreplaceable, providing virtual opportunities for collaboration allows more students to benefit from this experience than only those who can afford the plane ticket.”
The Walker College also offers a virtual section of Global Supply Chain, Logistics and Analytics in India, an in-person faculty-led program to Bengaluru, India.
MGT 3670 provides a study of human resource management with emphasis on the global economy. Topics include human resource practices of multinational firms involved in international strategic alliances, joint ventures, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Students learn the main functional areas of HRM like recruitment, training, compensation and performance management in multinational organizations. Learn more at bulletin.appstate.edu.
About Walker College of Business International Programs
The Walker College of Business encourages students to study abroad and provides a variety of short-term international programs designed to develop international business skills and intercultural knowledge. These faculty-led programs have proven to be invaluable for many students. Scholarships are available. Fluency in a second language is not required and students can earn credit toward their degree. For more information on future opportunities, please contact Global & Civic Engagement Specialist Meredith Church Pipes, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit international.business.appstate.edu.