As a professor, how can my students participate in the Connect Program?
If you are a professor or university staff member and would like to learn more about participating in the Connect Program, please fill out this form and we will get back to you shortly.
As a student, how can I participate in the Connect Program?
Since our program is integrated into curriculum, we generally establish relationships at first with professors or university administrators. But in some cases, there have been exceptional students who have been able to convince their universities to adopt the program, so if you are willing to commit the time and energy to help advance that conversation at your university, then please fill out this form and we will be in touch with you soon.
How does Soliya select participating universities?
Soliya structures each Connect Program semester to ensure balanced dialogue through equal representation of students. Soliya conducts outreach to a range of higher education institutions and coordinates participation to ensure diverse representation from different regions.
What academic disciplines does the Connect Program relate to?
The Connect Program can be integrated into a variety of existing courses but is most commonly integrated into courses in the following disciplines:
- International relations
- Religious studies
- Media and communications
- Conflict resolution
Is there a fee for participation?
The cost of participation is based on the number of students enrolled at each university. Institutions unable to cover the full cost per student may apply to Soliya for financial assistance. As a mission-driven organization, we strive to include as many institutions as possible, regardless of ability to pay.
What is required of participating universities?
- Each university will select five to 30 students to participate in the Connect Program.
- Soliya recommends that the program be offered as part of a credit-bearing course and will assist university staff in finding the best way to integrate the program.
- Each university should identify a technical point person responsible for ensuring access and configuration of computers on campus
- We hope university faculty become genuine partners in the Connect Program, providing creative suggestions and critical feedback about program design and implementation.
What will Soliya provide to participating universities?
- Software and media elements necessary for participation in the program.
- A “Curriculum Menu” for faculty to customize their specific intended learning outcomes.
- Extensive introductory and training materials for students, the sponsoring professor and technical support staff.
- Consistent technical and program support.
- An exciting learning opportunity for students that will bring current events to life and give them key critical thinking, communication, media literacy and technical skills for the 21st century.
How much time is required of participating faculty and staff?
- During the first two weeks, a professor, staff member or graduate student should spend three to four hours per week to set up the program and ensure that students are registered.
- After that, a professor, staff member or graduate student will spend approximately one hour per week on coordination. Soliya will provide ongoing support as needed.
- Again, a technical point person should be designated to work with Soliya to configure the computers and help students become accustomed to the technology.
What is the timeline of the Connect Program?
- Fall semester: eight to ten weeks from October to December.
- Spring semester: eight to ten weeks from March to May.
What do we ask of participating students?
- Before the program, students participate in a brief online orientation.
- During the program, students participate for an average of three hours per week.
- Students complete a final media production project.
- Students complete brief pre- and post-evaluations about their experience.
What criteria should be used in selecting participating students?
Ideally, participating students will be:
- Fluent in English.
- Motivated and mature.
- Able to work well without extensive supervision.
- Interested in cross-cultural communication.
* They need not have any previous experience in video production.
How is the Connect Program accredited at participating universities?
There are two ways the program can be integrated into coursework:
- A university can structure a course specifically around the Connect Program using the curriculum created by Soliya’s Academic Advisory Committee, which provides select academic materials that complement the online discussion. Many universities have structured participation and credit in this way, including the American University of Beirut, Tufts University, the American University of Sharjah, and the University of Amsterdam.
- A university can integrate the Connect Program into existing courses and as a supplement to an existing curriculum. Connect can be a course requirement or a supplement, such as a final project or extra credit. The American University in Cairo, the University of Iowa, Al Akhawayn University, Carnegie Mellon University’s Pittsburgh and Doha campuses, and Clark University have done this.
Soliya will work closely with each participating professor to ensure that the Connect Program fits into the course and meets the learning objectives.
What are the technical requirements?
The program is designed to provide a rich online experience with minimal technical requirements. Soliya’s technical team supports the set-up of technology on campus and trouble-shoots throughout the semester.
Ideally, universities provide students access to five or six computers during flexible hours, since groups meet across a variety of time zones. Computers should have the following specifications:
- Windows XP (recommended) Windows Vista, or Mac OSX or higher.
- Pentium III or equivalent; G4 or better for Macs; 256 MB of RAM.
- 500 MB of available hard drive space.
- Internet Explorer 6 or higher and Flash Player 9.24.00 or higher.
- A Webcam, USB headset/headphones and a microphone.
- Minimum bandwidth of 200 Kbits/sec download and 100 Kbits/sec upload is required. Wireless Internet cannot be used.