The Floating Classroom: Best Practices Teaching on Semester at Sea

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Ray Young


As the M.V. Explorer circumnavigates the globe, faculty and students form a learning community called Semester at Sea. Professors are challenged to bring a global comparative perspective to their discipline, and engage students’ learning outside the classroom. This research asks what best-practice teaching methods did Semester at Sea faculty use between the years of 2006 and 2013? To what extent are these methods creative, student-centered, problem-based, experiential, comparative and/or multidisciplinary? Using an online survey instrument, a random sample of faculty alumni responded to a questionnaire about their teaching methods. The results found that respondents used a mixture of pedagogical approaches along a spectrum of objectivist to constructivist techniques, favoring lecture and class discussion as instruction methods, and individual research projects, exams and papers as assessment indicators. Respondents stressed the need for a repertoire of approaches to keep students engaged, and often used their in-country experiences as a way to connect with their students.


Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education

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