Welcome to the Global Learning e-Portfolio site. It provides resources to implement an e-portfolio approach focused on intercultural learning and other high impact instructional practices. This site includes assessment tools and technology for implementing online cross-cultural conversations in your classroom. Studies in both study abroad and online intercultural education are finding that students’ ability to maintain engagement through sustained interaction (Berg, 2009), and to engage in reciprocity with their peers at the other institution “builds intercultural skills” (Ware, 2013).

We encourage group projects and teamwork as a part of this e-portfolio. Collaboration has been validated as a critical part of cross-cultural learning while abroad (Rhodes, Biscarra, Loberg, & Roller, 2012). We will build on this research through an e-portfolio that requires the elements of those studies, evaluate the effectiveness of our learning activities and refine our e-Portfolio template in such a way that the learning may be reproduced in other types of class or co-curricular activities. A safe environment for testing their intercultural skills better prepares students for these interactions “in the real world”.

The tools and approaches of this site are intended to be content-independent, and workable for faculty in all of our colleges, but the specific assignments may look different depending on the field. Faculty at OSU coordinate with faculty at a foreign institution and create learning environments for their students to engage academically. This site provides them with a template of learning activities, facilitative tech tools and a cross-cultural collaboration framework for a group media project. Please get in contact with the Middle East Studies Center if you have questions or would like additional support for implementation.

The Middle East Studies Center developed this learning resource in partnership with Dr. Danielle V. Schoon, Senior Lecturer, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and the input of many faculty and instructional design professionals at Ohio State and beyond. The original motivation for developing this learning framework was to provide access to authentic intercultural experiences to every OSU student, regardless of race, gender, religion, ability, sexuality, or economic status.  This remains a goal of the program and our guiding force.

Students at Istanbul University participated in our Global Learning e-Portfolio program in 2017 and 2018 and joined a collaborative project to co-author an e-book with OSU students. You can see the results of that project in the published book, Windows into Turkish Culture, at https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/windowsintoturkishculture/ Students at Istanbul University gave our students insights into the diversity and history of Turkey by sharing local information, research and creative works from Turkish authors, and their own experiences.

The Global Learning e-Portfolio’s Primary Elements

  • Learning activities designed to increase intercultural awareness, and strengthen cross-cultural teamwork skills. Conversations are facilitated first to achieve communication and collaboration objectives.
  • An e-portfolio to capture important learning milestones and achievements.  We recommend a private e-portfolio in addition to one for public display. The private space encompasses all artifacts, feedback, and reflections possible, while the public e-portfolio focuses on key achievements the individual wishes to highlight. See the FAQ for further details.
  • Buckeye Badges help to engage students and function as an assessment tool for the instructor. They are easily publishable to e-Portfolios and the achievements they verify help to build resumes.
    • The Global Community Building Buckeye Badge. This badge reflects an articulation between academic learning objectives and skills for a competitive job market, especially with regard to cross-cultural effectiveness. It also lays the groundwork for the next badge.
    • A cross-cultural collaboration framework, as outlined in the “Global Media ProjectBuckeye Badge.

Students participate in online conversations with students in Turkey to develop their cross-cultural communication skills, then may collaborate on a team-based project. We piloted this combination of online conversations and a collaborative project for the first time in the fall of 2017, in Dr. Danielle Schoon’s Turkish Culture class. The results of the collaborative project was this e-book, Windows into Turkish Culture.

The methodology for this model centers on e-Portfolio practices. This means students reflect on their learning frequently and take an active role in their learning. E-portfolio learning includes reflection and co-constructing knowledge as a central part of the educational process, aspects which are of particular value for intercultural learning.  e-Portfolios are also a means to “to increase access to higher education for a broad and diverse population . . .and to capture and reflect the multitude of modes through which today’s students demonstrate their learning” (AACU, 2014) and have been identified as “the best way of assessing learning in the online environment” (Sangra, Porto, & Jung, 2014). Both e-portfolios and co-credentialing are gaining traction in the pursuit of internationalizing the curriculum; universities such as the University of Pittsburgh and their University Center for International Studies, who are constructing more attainable and accessible global learning pathways and credentials for all students starting freshman year and going through post-doc.

The pilot received much interest amongst OSU departments and national organizations (letter of support). You can watch a presentation about the results of the pilot here, and others on the presentations page.  One of the outcomes of the pilot is the toolbox for implementation on this web site. These sorts of tangible products are another benefit of the program which increases its impact.  Our long-term goal is to scale up the program to other classes and disciplines. We are actively sharing these resources, pedagogy for online global learning, and strategies for implementation, through presentations in our own departments, our university, and at national conferences.


The Role of Badges

Badges are the assessment tool we employ in this program (If you are unfamiliar with this idea, please see the FAQ regarding badging). The use of badges develop students’ substantive knowledge of another culture, develop respect for different cultural perspectives, and require them to achieve cross-cultural teamwork skills, all three of the priorities of Global Competence (“Putting the World into World-Class Education: State Innovations and Opportunities,” 2008).  Our goal is to create a set of best practices, and a set of tools that will allow these badges to be implemented across the curriculum. At the same time, badges are becoming accepted as co-curricular credentials that are essential for making higher education relevant to “real world” job market demands (Stony Brook U, Career Center ), and are a critical part of the trend at universities to become learner-centered institutions.

Students are able to earn Global Learning Buckeye Badges for communicating effectively online with peers at the Middle Eastern university.  Buckeye Badges, the university’s co-credentialing system, are based on rigorous standards for demonstrating achievements.  We administer the badges with an app students can access on their devices or any computer with internet access. The app, Suitable, facilitates the badging, collecting pre- and post-test data, micro-reflections as they complete different steps of their assignments, and finally indicating successful completion.  This approach increases student engagement through the “gamification” of the assignments while the collection of evaluation data occurs unobtrusively.  In our Cross-Cultural Conversations (CCC) pilot, 100% of the students earned the Community Building Buckeye Badge, which verifies that students communicated effectively, while 63% earned the Global Media Project Buckeye Badge.  The badges are earned by demonstrating communication and perspective-taking skills, and the ability to work effectively in a cross-cultural team.  We recommend looking at our Evaluation page for a more in-depth and detailed look at our evaluation methods.



Ohio State University has been piloting globally-oriented badges for online community building and collaboration since late 2015.  This project started with conversations between Professor Joy McCorriston, Department of Anthropology, the Middle East Studies Center, and the Office of Distance Education and e-Learning in 2014.  We were looking for a way to provide access to experiential cultural learning other than study abroad, as many constraints prevent students from experiencing the Middle East first-hand. Our initial goal was to create an app that would give students access through their smartphones, but we decided to explore existing tools first.  We are pleased to have found promising software which we will pilot this Fall. Social Studies Education Professor Mehmet Acikalin, Istanbul University, has been a great partner. He and his students have provided invaluable feedback, and continue to be instrumental in the development of the learning activities and future direction of the program.


We ran a pilot to test the above model in 2017.  We based our instructional design on the premise that sustained, authentic, cross-cultural interaction has a powerful catalyzing effect on intercultural awareness. Current research indicates that time spent interacting with locals, and cross-cultural collaboration maximizes student learning abroad (Paige, 2009; Berg, Connor-Linton, & Paige, 2009; Berg, 2009; Berg, Paige, & Lou, 2012; Rhodes, Biscarra, Loberg, & Roller, 2012). We considered this research, along with research on the strength of the online environment for intercultural learning (Merryfield, 2003; Jung, Gunawardena, & Moore, 2014) when designing the core learning activities and assessment rubrics. We also considered the importance of job readiness, and the need students have for documented evidence of their achievements.


Tangible Results of this Program, Products:

  • Students produced a co-curricular transcript in Suitable which listed their competencies, based on the ongoing assessments and evidence that we verified throughout the project, culminating in the Buckeye Badges.
  • Students and professors co-authored Windows into Turkish Culture
  • A Road-tested Toolkit for other faculty to reproduce these results in their courses.

Next Steps

  • Form a community of practice around these learning activities.
  • Form a large online community of students who have participated in the program.
  • Redevelop courses to include this component and internationalize OSU’s domestic curriculum.
  • Establish digital MOU’s for enhanced access to each other’s institutions.
  • Provide students access to students at participating foreign universities who join the social media area designated for meeting and socializing.
  • A private informal discussion area for communication with faculty and facilitators.

Long-term plans

  • Establish e-portfolios and badges in the culture of Arts and Sciences.
  • Create a “workbook” based on an aspect of daily life in two cities (Columbus, and the other city) that requires research, proper citation and the need for “informants” from the other country.
  • Adapt a course outside of the humanities. Perhaps in the Arts or Hard Sciences.


  • Intern position to facilitate more programs.
  • Study abroad scholarship fund for students who complete the program.
  • Conduct a case study to further understanding of this learning.
  • Travel funds for professors to go to Turkey, or other partner countries, for site visits at the partner institution.
  • iPads for peers in Turkey, or other partner countries.
  • Suitable subscription at Ohio State