This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

About this seminar





Course creator and facilitator:

Anna Batchelder, Chief Education Officer and Co-Founder Bon Education (United Arab Emirates)


Course description: 

This 1-month virtual seminar is for educators, learners and parents who are keen to discuss and compare education systems from around the world. 

The course is divided into 4 modules each containing 2-3 online short videos (3-20 minutes each), optional reading, asynchronous discussions and an optional synchronous discussion (via Skype) around the following topics:

  • Global definitions of learning and education (June 4-10, 2012)
  • Cross-country education borrowing and lending (June 11-17, 2012)
  • Educating the whole person (June 18-24, 2012)
  • Creating sustainable education systems (June 25-July 1, 2012)


Learning objectives:

Participants will:

  • Build a personal definition of learning and education after viewing a number of education case studies from around the globe.
  • Discuss the merits and drawbacks of borrowing and lending education policies, procedures and curriculum across countries, relating what is learned to their personal education contexts.
  • Define what it means to educate the "whole person" and discuss how to integrate more holistic teaching and learning practices into their own lives.
  • Think about how to create and promote more "sustainable" learning ecosystems around the world.
  • Share their own personal education experiences, ideas and questions related to international and comparative education.




This course welcomes any and all people excited to share their ideas, experiences and questions in a global and comparative context. 



The emphasis of this seminar is on dialog and exchange between participants (written and via Skype).

Assignments will be light (watching videos and reading blogs/articles from key thinkers and doers in a variety of education contexts around the globe). 

The videos and readings in this seminar do not necesarily represent the views of the course facilitator, but are rather meant to encourage the exchange of ideas and discussion. Participants are welcome to suggest additional videos, readings and resources to each other.

The goal of this seminar is to provide a forum where key issues in international and comparative education can be raised, discussed and explored openly and with respect.



June 4-July 1, 2012

Participants are requested to participate in weekly online discussions at their own pace. Optional Skype discussions will be on the following dates:

  • June 10th (Sunday): 11:30am Eastern Standard Time
  • June 17th (Sunday): 12:30pm Eastern Standard Time
  • June 24th (Sunday): 1:30pm Eastern Standard Time
  • July 1st (Sunday): 11:30am Eastern Standard Time


Above image available under CC license by joone4u via Flickr Creative Commons. Course image images available under CC license by brianglanzsanjoselibrary and jcrojas.

Task Discussion

  • Van   June 2, 2012, 9:55 p.m.

    Who determined the selection of definitions for this curriculum?

  • Anna   June 3, 2012, 4:49 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Van   June 2, 2012, 9:55 p.m.

    Hi Van.

    As the seminar facilitator and creator, I did. The topics were selected based on my experience studying International and Comparative Education at Columbia Teachers College and my experiences working in education in the USA, UK, Japan and UAE.

    If you have other topics to add, you are welcome to add modules and invite others to join in conversation.


  • Van   June 4, 2012, 2:48 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Anna   June 3, 2012, 4:49 a.m.

    Right on. In your time at Columbia Teachers College, what kind of educational outcomes were discussed and promoted the most?

  • Aleksei Malakhov   June 4, 2012, 3:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Van   June 4, 2012, 2:48 p.m.

    While accessing the effectiveness of voucher programs, the main criteria were math and literacy tests results in public and private schools.

    We also compared economic payoffs for different levels of education.

  • Van   June 4, 2012, 5:17 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Aleksei Malakhov   June 4, 2012, 3:38 p.m.

    standardized tests?

  • Aleksei Malakhov   June 5, 2012, 10:39 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Van   June 4, 2012, 5:17 p.m.

    Oh yes, those. Literacy and math.

  • Anna   June 6, 2012, 1:31 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Van   June 4, 2012, 2:48 p.m.

    It really depended on the course. In some cases standardized tests, dropout rates, labor market participation, etc (for students). For teachers it was things like time in profession, cheating (to help students on tests), leaving curricuriculum out and charging students to "learn the full curriculum" after school (i.e. in places where teachers make so little $, this happens), student outcomes (test scores)...

    What I felt was largely missing in the outcome discussions were harder outcomes to measure like "happiness," "fulfillment," "ability to act on ones dreams/desires," "outlook," etc. Not that studies don't exist in ed to measure these kind of things, but they are fewer in numbers...