By design, the third and fourth years of study in degree programs offered through BHER were to be 80% on-line. There were financial reasons for going on-line having to do with a reduced number of trips to Dadaab and reasons having to do with efforts to accommodate students “on the move” who might re-locate, re-settle, or re-patriate during the course of their studies. We wanted students to be able to continue to study from wherever they might be living. This committment to on-line learning presented challenges when it came time to negotiate degree offerings at York. Several academic units were approached (Administrative Studies, Public Policy and Administration, Science, Environmental Studies, Development Studies, Equity Studies) none of which were interested in offering a degree with such a heavy on-line component. We were encouraged by colleagues at the Centre for Refugee Studies, many of whom are Geographers, to approach the Department of Geography to discuss the possibility of offering a BA to students in Dadaab. We met with the Chair of the department who expressed interest and who, in turn took the idea to a Department meeting where the idea was given approval in principle. Over several months, there were meetings to determine what courses would be deemed essential for the awarding of a Geography degree. Once those courses were determined, and with the support of an award from the Academic Innovation Fund, course directors developed strategies to include BHER students studying on-line into course that were being taught face-to-face on campus. Each of these courses had a TA responsible for providing academic support, conductinbg weekly tutorials, and marking BHER student work.
[BHER Consortium team, please add text here]