Transforming Educational and Business Practices in Belarus: Collaborative Learning at a Distance
distance learning; Belarus; newly independent states; web projects; international virtual roundtable discussions; collabortive learning; community connections business program; Center for International Collaboration
Taylor & Francis
Journal of Teaching in International Business, 14 (2/3), 41-66
The Bryant College Collaborative Learning at a Distance (CLD) Program in Belarus was designed to promote collaboration across diverse cultural, political, and philosophical boundaries. CLD programs can assist the Newly Independent States (NIS) in meeting the political, social, and economic challenges associated with the transition from a centralized, administrative command economy to a more democratic and diversified society. Cost-effective, collaborative distance learning projects can help to address the problem of limited educational resources and prepare faculty, undergraduates, entrepreneurs, andNGOleaders for better understanding the role of civic responsibility as a foundation for western business practices. The ongoing Internet-based, Bryant College CLD Program, including educational institutions, research facilities and business firms, focuses on a non-hierarchical model, emphasizing reciprocal, interactive learning and problem-solving. Components include Web-based courses, International Virtual Roundtable Discussions via E-mail, seminars on business skills and Web design, Internet protocol video conferencing between the U.S. and Belarus, a faculty exchange and training project, and a business internship program aimed at providing hands-on experience with business and NGO leaders in the U.S. This project demonstrates that Internet-based, collaborative learning can transcend cultural and language barriers and advance the development of a business environment supportive to the entrepreneurial spirit.