TTU teams with Japan's Dohto University to offer online professional communication course

It could have been described as a student exchange program on a technological scale.

Tennessee Tech University recently hosted a three-week study group made up of about 35 students from Japan's Dohto University. The visit helped familiarize students from both institutions with a partnership that, this semester, offers its first joint Internet course in international professional communication.

"I'm excited and proud that we can offer a joint Web-CT course with Dohto University that helps teach students how to interact positively in a global professional environment," said TTU President Bob Bell. Web Course Tools, or Web-CT, allows instructors and students to coordinate course work via the Internet.

TTU's Dr. Bob Clougherty, instructor and director of the Institute for Technological Scholarship, agreed. "As the world becomes increasingly global and digitized, the ability to communicate across cultural lines in a digital format is of paramount importance," he said in the course introduction.

Clougherty and Dohto University instructor Kazumi Ohno designed the class to help students from each nation gain a greater understanding of each country's business and social culture by communicating more effectively electronically.

But the benefits for the institutions' course partnership extend well beyond cyber-space.

"Being able to offer a class such as this has many different advantages on multiple levels," Clougherty said. "Being able to interact with new people and share ideas is what education is about, and I believe this will be the way ideas are shared in the future. That puts TTU on the cutting edge."

He and Ohno, as the course instructors, have also learned a great deal. "If the students learn even half as much as he and I have learned in creating this course, then it will be a worthwhile experience."

A graduate student assistant under Clougherty's direction is also spending the semester at Dohto University in Japan.