Beirut-based Architectural Firm Wins Design Competition for Engineering Complex at AUB  
Trustee Philip Khoury Named MIT Associate Provost  
AUB and UAE Center Sign Agreement to Offer EMBA Program to Emirate Institutions  
Fourth AUB Faculty Seminar on Teaching and Learning with Technology  
New Faculty: Hussein Shahidi  
New Faculty: Kirsten Scheid  
New Faculty: Tima al Jamil  
Office of Grants and Contracts Celebrates World Intellectual Property Day  
Staff Profile: Ghaleb Halimi  
Fifth Annual FEA Student Conference Held  
Engineering Alumni Recognized for Outstanding Achievements  
Studying Biodiversity in Lebanon and the Region at AUB  
Construction Update  
Renovated AUB Archaeological Museum Inaugurated  
Renovated Pediatrics Clinic Opened  
Women's Rights Club Holds Conference on Gender and Sexuality  
Tenth Annual AUB Job Fair Largest Since Its Inception  
Letters from a New Campus by Daniel Bliss  
Winners of the Coca-Cola 'Make Every Word Count' Essay Competition Announced  
AUBMC Research Group Awarded NIH Grant  
Science Students Reveal Bonds Between Chemistry and Art  
Understanding the Political Economy of Islamic Movements  
Extreme Makeover: AUB Graduate Transforms Gulf Television  
Science, Math, and Technology Fair Promotes Environmental Thinking  
School Fair 2006: Prospective AUB Students Visit Campus  
Situation of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon  
Remembering the Writer, Khalil Takieddine  
Promotions 2005-2006  
Piano Recital by Arnimée Choukassizian  
Lecture on Space Exploration by World Expert  
Teleconferencing Brings Students Together Across Continents  
"Something Is Happening": Fairuz and Ziad Al Rahbani  
Cultural Genocide and Assyrian Cultural Survival  
Lecture on the History and Origins of American Islamicism  
Business School and Arts and Sciences Team Wins Soccer Championship Match by Narrow Margin  
  Red Cross Club Celebrates its 26th Anniversary at AUB
  History of the American University of Beirut: A New CASAR Course
  First Stereo-photography Exhibit at AUB  
  Photo Exhibition by President John Waterbury  
  The Cats of Renée Deek: End-of-Year Theater Workshop Performance  
  Film on Euthanasia-A True Story  
  Part Two of the CVSP Forum  
  Out of Place: Memories of Edward Said  
  Mozart and Schumann Celebrated at Assembly Hall  
  Austrian Chamber Music Duo Performs at AUB  
  Mathematician Alain Connes Visits AUB  
  Rima Khcheich Concert Plays to Sold-out Crowds at Assembly Hall
  Women's Auxiliary  
  33rd Annual Folk Dance Festival Hosts 20 Performing Schools  
June 2006 Vol. 7 No. 8

Teleconferencing Brings Students Together Across Continents

Rami Khouri (AUB) conducting a teleconferencing session with Ralph Begleiter(University of Delaware)

Better known as a syndicated columnist and editor-at-large for The Daily Star, Rami Khouri has been teaching an innovative course at AUB, along with another journalist-turned-professor, former CNN correspondent Ralph Begleiter at the University of Delaware. Throughout the semester, 14 AUB students have been electronically discussing issues of media and politics with a group of honors students at the University of Delaware (UD). "Helping students in both countries see and understand the other culture in more complex and nuanced ways," is how Rami Khouri described the main idea behind this transnational academic experience.

The concept for the exchange grew out of Assistant Professor Roman Kulchitsky's course on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East, in which different experts came in to lecture. When Khouri spoke to the class on media and politics, it was a big hit, and from that experience emerged the idea. Knowing that Ralph Begleiter had been seeking to teach a class jointly with university students in the Middle East, Khouri talked with him about doing a joint course between AUB and UD. What resulted was a partnership between Begleiter's Global Agenda foreign affairs class and Khouri's Media and Politics class in the Political Science and Public Administration Department.

Each student group had separate reading lists, lectures, and guest speakers, such as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, at UD and Brent Sadler, a current CNN foreign correspondent, at AUB. The two groups came together for a total of nine teleconference classes throughout the semester. The format for these sessions evolved over time, until it settled on five minutes of comments and questions from UD students and then five minutes from AUB students. The simultaneity of teleconference technology allowed students here to see and hear the students in Delaware in real time. As Kulchitsky put it, this technology "removes distance as a constraint."

As Professor Begleiter explained it, "To me, the great benefit was to see flashbulbs popping in the minds of our students as they exchanged ideas and opinions every week with students living in a very different culture thousands of miles away." In addition, AUB students were paired with Delaware students to do a joint research paper.

One of the major challenges with a course of this type is the cost involved. UD covered half the costs and, on AUB's end, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) cosponsored the course. CASAR Director Patrick McGreevy pointed out that this course "fits in with our mission of increasing understanding between the US and the Middle East."

The last teleconference class was held on May 4. Students from both UD and AUB expressed surprise that the groups were not so different from each other and had many of the same views. Concerning how the course changed them, one Delaware student said that as a consumer of media, she would make more of an effort to look at things from the other perspective and think to herself, "How would it be seen in Beirut?"

The professors are also collecting pre- and post-survey questionnaires from the students to get a sense of what worked and what didn't, how the course has impacted them, and to learn more about the process. As Kulchitsky remarked, "This is not about using technology for the sake of using technology, but about the learning opportunity that the technology creates." Regarding the possibility of future similar courses, Begleiter said, "The best outcome would be that someone, perhaps the university itself, would want to endow this concept so it would become an absolutely standard occurrence..." During the wrap-up session, one AUB student said the class was "an amazing experience we may never have again." From the observations of both the students and the professors involved, it is hoped that this will not be the case.