Lynn Clark, a junior business administration major (with a minor in agricultural business management), already has traveled several continents in his lifetime and, as a result, has developed an interest in learning about different cultures, customs and laws.
So enrolling in Dr. Ron Campbell’s new International AgriBusiness Law course was a no-brainer.
And somewhat of a life-changer.
“Because of the excellence of the course, I have become significantly more aware of and engaged in global and international issues … more than I could have ever imagined,” Clark said. The course, which he completed in the spring, inspired him to pursue studies in Japan, South Korea and China this summer. His experience in the course also has opened doors for Clark “to explore areas that I might want to pursue in future graduate studies,” he says.
The experimental distance education course ARE 495 is delivered through “Elluminate Live” technology, which allows live participation by nearly two dozen students scattered throughout North Carolina.
“We designed the course to give students a new perspective,” Campbell said. “In addition, this course is meant to hone the students’ skills in learning and communicating through modern technology.”
The topic also is timely, Campbell said.
“Last year, North Carolina exports jumped to an all-time high, with more than $3 billion of our state’s agriculture being sold overseas,” Campbell said, citing data from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). “I believe it’s critical to teach students, especially those interested in agricultural business and law, about North Carolina’s participation in the world market.”
Students participated in the live, online course sessions by using headsets equipped with microphones. They also formed break-out groups for problem-solving exercises and worked in pairs to complete research projects and presentations that they delivered to the class through the web.
The course was offered one night a week, making it accessible to non-traditional students, many of whom work full-time day jobs.
Two special guests delivered presentations through online video technology last semester, and students were able to ask questions and contribute to the dialogue through their computers.
Fresh from a visit to China, Peter Thornton, assistant director of international marketing for NCDA&CS, gave a talk on North Carolina’s international agriculture. And earlier in the semester, Dr. Ron Schrimper, a popular instructor and former head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, gave a lecture on the North American Free Trade Act.