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Conceptualizing Your Course

  • Faculty teach two courses concurrently on KIIS Summer programs; on Winter and two-week Summer programs, Faculty teach one course.
  • KIIS courses change from year to year and most are taught in English.
  • How would you conceive of a two or four-week course v a traditional fifteen-week course?  What are the disadvantages and advantages?
  • How will I make use pedagogically of the foreign (cultural) setting?  What are the challenges and benefits of teaching my course abroad?
  • What is the balance you foresee abroad between “traditional” classroom teaching and excursion learning?
  • Encourage your students to conceptualize studying abroad as a “24/7” learning experience.  Far more so than on-campus, the distinction between “classroom” and “non-classroom” learning often is blurred.  A student’s most significant and memorable cross-cultural encounter very well may occur outside the “classroom.”  While certainly not always the case, keep in mind too that students who study abroad often are more engaged with the course/program material than they might be in a “traditional” home-campus class.
  • How would you imagine/craft an excursion abroad?  Consider the advantages and disadvantages of, say, a walking lecture tour you might provide your students.  How might you promote more active student learning opportunities, be it at a museum, a market, or a local neighborhood, etc.
  • KIIS experience suggests active learning methodologies (e.g. Place as Text), which insert students into social environments and foster close observation of the local culture, better develop critical thinking skills, cross-cultural understanding, and a heightened sense of confidence and leadership.
  • Five useful learning strategies include mapping, observing, listening, discussing, and reflecting.
  • What would one of your student assignments abroad look like?  Typically, lengthy research papers abroad are not realistic; shorter and frequent oral and written reflections often work better. Whatever your approach, regular student reflections are essential, be they seminar-style debriefings and/or individual written reflections. Student oral presentations can be effective too.
  • What readings will you select?  Are there readings that make more sense in a foreign cultural setting than those you might select for a home-campus course?
  • As with a survey course on campus, often times “less is more” when teaching abroad.  Give serious thought to your course objectives and learning outcomes, given your international KIIS program setting and the length of your program.  What do you want your students to take away from this education abroad experience?
  • Have your students familiarize themselves with the host country before departure.  The better prepared, the higher the likelihood of intercultural competence.
  • Be flexible— it is quite possible that not everything abroad will go as planned.
  • 1 ½ -2 hour course blocks

Syllabi Due Dates

  • Summer Faculty

    Syllabi Due: July 1

  • Winter Faculty

    Syllabi Due: January 15

We ask for your syllabi early because many students, department heads, advisors and administrators from across KIIS Consortium Institutions require them to approve student participation in your respective KIIS courses.

Email syllabi (in Word) to Maria Canning

Should you need to make any changes to your syllabi after the due date, email Maria your updated syllabi, for re-posting on the KIIS website.

Course Credit & Grades

  • KIIS course credit is issued by Western Kentucky University (WKU), our Sponsoring Institution, and is transferred back to students’ home institutions.
  • That said, each consortium institution determines its own transfer equivalencies, which likely is a decision you will make in conjunction with your Department Head/Chair. Plan to share your course equivalencies with your KIIS Campus Rep.
  • Each KIIS course is 3 credit hours (unless noted) and requires a minimum of 37.5 academic contact hours.
  • KIIS (WKU) does not award +/- grades (only full letter grades).
  • Students must complete all course work during your KIIS program.>
  • You must submit student grades to your KIIS Program Director at program’s end.
  • Program Directors then enter all student grades in your KIIS Account or email them to Haley McTaggart within one week of your program’s conclusion.

Classrooms Abroad & Internet Usage

Review your KIIS program page and itinerary and then speak to your KIIS Program Director to develop an understanding of your program details, possible excursion sites, classroom space and available transportation.

Classroom space varies by program. Some may include your typical classroom setting with a screen and projector. On other programs, you may be teaching your courses in hotel breakfast rooms or cafes. Much academic learning also occurs by way of excursions where you are teaching on-site in museums, at historical sites, etc.  

A typical course block is 1 1/2 – 2 hours, which may take the form of “traditional” classroom and/or excursion based learning. In some instances, programs will have individual class or whole group half or all-day excursions.

Internet/WiFi likely will not be as fast or reliable abroad. Anticipate that you and your students may not have reliable daily Internet access. Plan your course content and assignments accordingly. They may need to hand-write assignments or provide oral presentations to show knowledge of course content.

We encourage you to provide course materials (PowerPoints, articles, music, videos, etc.) prior to departure so that students may print or download them on their personal devices. If textbooks or course materials (e.g. camera, software, art supplies, etc.) are required for your course, provide students the information on your syllabi so they can purchase the items ahead of time. That said, avoid requiring students to purchase overly expensive reading materials or hardware/software. You should download any materials you might need to teach your course before you go abroad.

Discuss on-site communication plans with your KIIS Program Director and students. You may need to relay pertinent information about your courses, changes in the schedule, meeting location for excursions, etc. in multiple ways (Facebook, WhatsApp, email, weekly meetings, etc.).

Excursions / Experiential Learning

Some programs have 1 ½ – 2-hour course blocks and some include 4-hour course blocks on a weekly basis to provide ample time for you to lead course excursions. Programs may include half, all-day or over-night excursions for the entire group as well.

Prior to excursions, discuss what you want students to investigate. Once on-site, you might send them in small groups to observe different aspects of the people, activities or environment.

Student learning occurs 24-7 while abroad, not just in designated class times. Allow regular opportunities for students to reflect on their cultural learning experiences and to report on their investigations from their unique lenses.

Discuss the importance of flexibility with students. Anticipate delays or cancellations. Some sites may be closed upon arrival even though the website says it’s open. Make backup plans so that you may continue with your learning objectives.  

Student Attendance Policy

KIIS program participants are expected to be punctual to and in attendance at all classes, meetings and required excursions, and to remain with the program for the full academic period. Unexcused absences from classes and/or mandatory meetings will result in a lowering of the student’s final grade, as will excessive tardiness. Multiple unexcused absences could result in expulsion from the program. Any absence from an academic class session must be excused for medical reasons.

Syllabi Content Sections

  • KIIS Program & Term
  • Course Number (if known) & Title
  • Your Name and Email Address
  • Statement that “Syllabus Subject to Change”
  • Course Description
  • Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
  • Assignments
  • Grading Policy
  • Attendance Policy
  • Academic Honesty Policy
  • Readings, Textbooks or Required Materials

You may include additional sections, photos or design elements that showcase your personality or pertain to your course, schedule, excursions, etc. For non-language courses, avoid listing prerequisites on your syllabi.

If you desire to teach an honors or graduate section of your course, contact Maria Canning.

Save your Word document syllabus in the following format:

  • CourseRubricNumber-BriefTitle-Program
  • e.g. HIST490-DayToDayInAncientGreece-Greece

Email your syllabus (including any updates) to Maria Canning.

Sample Syllabi

You may develop new/original course syllabi, use sections of existing KIIS syllabi, or adapt your syllabi from a previous course.

To access existing KIIS syllabi, visit the Course section on individual KIIS program pages. If you do not see your academic discipline, contact Maria Canning for assistance.

To search for KIIS courses:

“While I enjoy teaching about Latin America on campus at Marshall, my students learn far more about the region in their courses with me abroad. Beyond just reading about politics in a book, you actually get to see politics in action on the street and hear it from the voices of those directly involved.”

– Shawn Schulenberg, Marshall Political Science Professor, KIIS Argentina & Chile Director

Teach Abroad With KIIS

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