UT Austin Faculty Octavio Kano-Galvan Partners with the Universidad Iberoamericana for a Second Semester

Hispanic Heritage Month

The University of Texas at Austin promotes international programs during the academic year and Professor Octavio Kano-Galvan has had the opportunity to participate in the Texas Global Virtual Exchange (GVE) initiative. Texas Global “advances UT’s academic mission by leading, coordinating, and supporting the university’s international engagement efforts and providing opportunities for students and faculty to engage with their peers around the world”.

Professor Kano-Galvan learned of the GVE funding opportunity and he reached out to Professor Gerardo Saucedo at the Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO) in Mexico to explore a potential partnership for the GVE. This is now the second semester that they have partnered to teach the GVE. The course was first taught in Spring 2021.

To participate in the Global Virtual Exchange (GVE) Initiative, UT Austin encourages faculty to reach out to international institutions and establish a partnership with a faculty member to co-teach a course with similar academic objectives. “I chose IBERO because I researched their course offerings and faculty were interested in partnering to teach a course that could be very hands-on,” Octavio states, “GVE is one of many Texas Global initiatives at UT and in order to participate in the program a UT faculty member needs to submit a proposal for review.” According to Professor Kano-Galvan, the GVE initiative fosters meaningful, sustainable, and accessible international experiences for all students. He is pleased to be teaching Digital Social Media Production as a virtual exchange for the second semester in a row.

Mobile video production for social media includes projects throughout the semester that allow students to work together and create outstanding completed assignments on a variety of topics that make great portfolio samples. Octavio enjoys the interaction between students from UT and IBERO. “It is fantastic,” he exclaims regarding the experience, “I have had the opportunity to learn more about the pedagogical approaches of colleagues at an institution abroad and I appreciate being a witness to the students’ interactions and the diverse perspectives.” He strongly believes international education is fundamental in the world we live in, “I feel very privileged to have this opportunity. I have learned from it and so have the students.” In addition, Professor Kano-Galvan thinks the classroom setting offers the possibility to discover new ways of thinking. He mentioned, “Students from UT and IBERO sent me emails expressing their gratitude for being part of this experience. Their words made me more confident about the impact of the academic experience and their awareness of other cultures.”

During Spring 2021, the entire course was taught via Zoom due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. This was an interesting and complex experience as students had to be all the more creative to produce videos while quarantined. This fall semester, the students enrolled in the Digital Social Media Production course are fortunately getting the benefit of being in-person as well as virtually with their peers, both synchronously and asynchronously. They are sharing their projects and other presentations via Zoom and discuss the technical aspects as well as context and more. It has been energizing to support students as they explore their individual creativity and the course also is very much connected to my experience in video production work. Students had an amazing time collaborating with their peers. The variety of project topics allowed students in both countries to discuss and create projects that involved both cultures. What made it even more interesting was that we also had the opportunity to work with an enrolled UT student who resided in China at the time due to virtual learning. The learning outcomes were met and the students appreciated the opportunity to work across borders.

September was the beginning of Hispanic Heritage month, and this Digital Social Media course’s participation through the GVE program allows UT students to gain knowledge from students who are attending the IBERO. With all of the gratitude that Octavio received, I added that it was an amazing way to expand and gain video production skills while also engaging with international students and learning about their culture. In addition, I was curious and asked Professor Kano-Galvan if he’d considered keeping the initiative going in the near future. “The program is designed to establish partnerships and implement the virtual exchange. Since the course has been so well-received by the students, I am planning to make the virtual interaction and partnership on-going for many more semesters. Every semester I will adjust the learning objectives as needed to ensure sustainability for both institutions,” Professor Kano-Galvan says, “There is a GVE second phase funding opportunity which requires the partnership of a third institution abroad. I am hoping to submit a proposal for this opportunity and collaborate with a faculty member at De Montfort University in the UK along with Gerardo Saucedo at the IBERO. This will allow students to engage across distinct world regions and it will make for a fascinating approach teaching in a global context.”

The team here at TXADPR would like to wish everyone a very happy Hispanic Heritage month. It is a time to celebrate and recognize the many diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of the American Latino community. Much like Octavio Kano-Galvan’s efforts here at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Maritza Gutierrez
Peyton Hammond