Students at UH West Oʻahu, Japan learn together through COIL

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University of Hawaii-West Oʻahu students can get the feel of a study abroad experience through collaborative international online learning, or REELwhich brings together international classes through online technology to enable students to learn and work with each other.

Business management teacher Keith Sakuda taught REEL lessons for uh West Oʻahu students through a partnership with Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) in Japan. In collaboration with Stephen Zurcher, KGU professor of management and dean of the Asian studies program, the REEL The project has been exploring new models of international education since spring 2020.

REEL at uh West Oʻahu is about accessibility,” Sakuda said. “For students who cannot leave Hawaiiit is the only option to enjoy some of the academic and personal benefits of studying abroad.

Andrew Morrison took Sakuda’s GMT 341: Behavior in Organizations REEL class in fall 2021.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the course, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes I’ve taken in uh West Oʻahu“, said Morrison. “Working with Japanese students, especially having the chance to read their articles, was one of the most interesting parts because you see how another culture writes and approaches different problems in business.

Another student, Jamie Whitesaid she liked being able to study with Japanese students.

“It was refreshing to experience their culture firsthand with their teacher (Zurcher), who gave great insights,” White said. “…I personally would like to see this class in every college major for better relations with Japanese students, culture, and future business relations.”

According to the American Council on Education, REEL is a research-based method of virtual exchange involving faculty from two or more countries collaborating to develop a common curriculum for students to work together online to complete assignments that meet shared learning goals.

Sakuda said, “Traditional barriers to studying abroad, such as location (neighboring islands), attendance status (part-time), employment status (professional work), student status generation, limited financial resources and family obligations (single parent or family caretaker) – can be overcome using flexible, cost effective and scalable solutions offered by REEL.”

He said a recent GMT 370: Global external environment REEL course, in which he merged his class with KGUthroughout the semester, would have been the only fully integrated course REEL this past spring in the uh system, and possibly the only fully integrated US-Japan system REEL in the country.

In GMT 370, uh West Oʻahu and KGU the students met once a week via Zoom and had video presentations, assignments and several group projects. In April, the class also featured guest speaker Robert Noddin, recently retired president and CEO of AIG Japan Holdings, who spoke about understanding political risk management and developing an international career in business – a learning opportunity for both Hawaii- and students based in Japan.

uh West O’ahu’s partnership with KGU will continue until fall 2022, when Sakuda will again teach MGT 341: Behavior in Organizations, a fully integrated course REEL Classes.

Learn more in Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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