Glasgow: Health, Culture and Identity is a second year class that provides an introductory overview to the History, Culture and Identity of Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, from the medieval period to the present day. An exciting and interdisciplinary approach will be used for the teaching of the class, involving history, literature, film, and material culture. Student-centred and independent learning will be encouraged by students undertaking visits to key historical locations in the city. Themes covered in the course include the medieval city, the Reformation, Act of Union, the Enlightenment, immigration and emigration, urban expansion and industrialisation, Empire, sport, technology, culture, architecture and health. The class aligns itself to the teaching and research cluster of Scotland and the world in the History section of the School of Humanities, and the Culture and Place theme in the English section, as well as vision and themes of Strathclyde’s Institute for Future Cities. The interdisciplinary nature of the class will appeal to students from HaSS and other Faculties. The class has attracted considerable attention from both home-based and international students and intellectual interaction between these two groups of students is strongly encouraged.
The week-long exchange took place in March 2017 with students spending equal amounts of time together in Glasgow and Maynooth. Both groups organised a range of academic, professional, cultural and social experiences with very limited support from university staff. There were no costs involved for either university for this exchange.
Students were required to undertake collaborative learning (within existing groups) leading to the production of a group poster to showcase civil engineering technology in a foreign country. Each group (n=65) was aided by an International student mentor enrolled on a UG or PG course within the Department of CEE. The role of the mentor was to provide guidance on their home country (culture / customs / life) as well as some ideas about appropriate civil engineering buildings & structures.
Once completed, the posters were displayed for all students to view. Each student (n=260) then submitted a one- page reflective blog on their experience undertaking the coursework. Students who participated in the production of the poster and who submitted their blog received a 100% grade. Whilst this approach to grading may appear unorthodox, the overarching aim of the coursework was to expose the students to a multicultural learning experience.
The immediate gains can be gauged from the positive statements (verbatim) made by students in their blogs. In the longer term, it is envisaged that the students will develop a growing maturity in relation to cultural and global issues, particularly those issues that will have a bearing on their profession.