Saint Louis University

Global Distance Learning



Helping students better understand global systems and the interconnected nature of our world and its people can be greatly enhanced by designing a course that works in partnership with an international university, college, organization, or business in an online or blended learning environment. Advances in educational technologies, from video conferencing programs to Google Apps, and SLU's many international partners and campus in Madrid, Spain, make globally networked learning opportunities increasingly more possible for faculty and students at Saint Louis University.

However, global learning can be complicated by the fact that many global partner institutions may not have the same technological capacities or access as SLU, and it's especially important for faculty to actively consider how to design culturally aware, responsive, and accessible online learning experiences that engage and motivate students. While sitting and watching another class from afar is one method of global distance learning, there are many other models that actively engage participants in the learning process.


Some examples of distance-education delivery models include:

Distance education delivery models by Mary Burns of the Education Development Center

This table is used with permission and attribution to the author and the Education Development Center: Burns, M. (2011). Distance education for teacher training: Modes, models, and methods. Washington, D.C.: Education Development Center, Inc., 10. Retrieved from


Teaching Resources 

  1. COIL Faculty Guide for Course Development: Email to get a free copy of this comprehensive e-guide, which includes a definition of what globally networked learning is, ways to locate an international partner, how to garner institutional support, and negotiating course design and learning goals with your partner. Especially helpful are the intentionality, investments, infrastructure, institutional networks, and individual support questions (Childress, 2011, p. 140) raised on COIL's "Getting Started" section of its website, which can be found here
  2. American Council on Education's Internationalization Toolkit, which gives instructors access to everything from the big-picture considerations of designing a global program (sample internationalization plans and MOUs/MOAs) to the more teacher-centered concerns of curriculum design, learning outcomes, and assessing student learning in internationalized contexts. 
  3. Association of American Colleges and Universities' "Developing a Global Learning Rubric: Strengthening Teaching and Improving Learning" by Chad Anderson and David Blair. This article also links to the AAC&U's incredibly helpful Global Learning VALUE Rubric. There are also several related VALUE rubrics that may be helpful to faculty designing global distance-ed courses: Civic Engagement, Intercultural Knowledge and Competence, and Ethical Reasoning. 
  4. SLU's Center for Global Citizenship: 
  5. SLU's International Faculty and Staff Association (IFSA): 
  6. SLU's International Programs, Global Impact and Profile, and the International Initiatives Committee:


Designing a Global Distance Course at SLU

For more information about a list of University supported technology tools to help you design technology-mediated interaction for your global course, visit the ITS website to learn more about campus-wide learning technologies for faculty.

If you are a faculty member or graduate student interested in talking with someone in the Reinert Center about internationalizing your class, click here to request a teaching consultation.


Recommended Reading

Burns, M. (2013). Technology closes the distance: Global solutions show the variety, equity, and accessibility of distance learning options. Learning Forward, 34(3), 28-31. Retrieved from

Childress, L.K. (2010). The Twenty-First Century University: Developing Faculty Engagement in Internationalization. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Cochrane, T., Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Cronin, C., Gordon, A., & Keegan, H. (2013). Building global learning communities. Research In Learning Technology, 21, 1-13. doi:10.3402/rlt.v21i2.21955

Murphy, D., Haughey, M., & Evans, T.D. (2008). International Handbook of Distance Education. Bingley: Emerald.

Sadykova, G., & Dautermann, J. (2009). Crossing cultures and borders in international online distance higher education. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(2), 89-114.

Xiaojing, L., Shijuan, L., Seung-hee, L., & Magjuka, R. J. (2010). Cultural differences in online learning: International student perceptions. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 13(3), 177-188.


Resources You'd Like to Share?

Do you have resources on internationalizing a course or teaching global distance courses that you would recommend to other instructors at Saint Louis University? Drop us a line at to share those resources and we may include what you recommend on this teaching resource webpage.

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