Teaching Sustainable Development Goals through Virtual Exchange in Design Thinking Courses


  • F. Jordan Srour Lebanese American University https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7623-723X
  • Christy Suciu Boise State University
  • Seth Woody Boise State University




design thinking, virtual exchange, sustainable development goals


The stated objective of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to serve as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity around the planet. If this blueprint is to become a reality, the inclusion of the SDGs in university curricula is essential. Yet how can we be sure that we teach a unified and shared view of these goals? This paper examines the value of using virtual exchange in teaching the UN SDGs in Business School Design Thinking courses. Specifically, the experience of a partnered course run at both the Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics and the Lebanese American University’s Adnan Kassar School of Business serves as a case-study. Results from a survey of both student groups indicate that the experience of working with students from outside their home culture did improve their cross-cultural communication skills. Furthermore, learning about the SDGs was a valued experience. However, learning about the SDGs in collaboration with “foreign” team members was eclipsed by the broader experience of engaging with students outside their home culture.

Author Biographies

F. Jordan Srour, Lebanese American University

Dr. Jordan Srour serves as the Assistant Provost for Educational Resources and Innovation at the Lebanese American University (LAU). In this role she works to promote the use of innovative pedagogies through LAU’s Center for Innovative Learning. As an Associate Professor of Operations Management she enjoys introducing innovative activities within her own courses.

Christy Suciu, Boise State University

Ms. Christy Suciu is an accomplished lecturer and researcher in the domain of innovation, strategic management, and design thinking within the management department in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University. At Boise State University, she has developed and taught three different “Design Thinking and Strategy” courses in the MBA program.

Seth Woody, Boise State University

Mr. Seth Woody is a recent graduate in Marketing from the College of Business and Economics (COBE) at Boise State University. In addition to serving as the COBE Innovation Challenge Coordinator, Mr. Woody serves as an assistant within the college’s Design Thinking courses.