As part of an honors course, students at Ashland University in Ohio are engaging with students from around the world, reports WMFD-TV.
Using video conferencing technology, AU students dialogue with peers in other countries, including those in the Middle East. The students converse once a week for two hours, discussing common readings.
The goal of the program, according to WMFD, is to see how the students from the Middle East and the United States see things differently and how the news stories vary between the groups. Ashland University honors program director Christopher Swanson told WMFD that he hopes the video conferences open the eyes of his students, force them to look at the media in a different way, and help them understand that news stories are sometimes biased.
A similar program was installed at Davidson University in 2003, allowing students, faculty and community members to participate in a live video conference with about 30 English-speaking students at the University of Baghdad.
The conference aired on Abu Dhabi TV, a ratings leader throughout the Arab world. Director Ali Al Ahmad told Davidson University's website that the discussion would "help us understand that there are real people behind the rhetoric coming from government leaders."