Research Finds Students Increased Their Cultural Awareness

Faculty at OSU, from Engineering and Business to language departments, are implementing intercultural pedagogy. The results from our spring 2021 study on Arabic, Persian and Turkish language and culture courses demonstrated growth in intercultural competence.  Online collaboration with students in countries in the Middle East allowed students to experience authentic culture and enhanced the assignments. The goals were to test whether the tools and methods we piloted in Turkish courses the previous year achieved similar outcomes in other language and area studies courses and to continue to improve and grow the potential of intercultural development (a foundational theme within the new General Education curriculum) in OSU humanities courses. We used the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to assess student learning outcomes, specifically intercultural development. For each course, students completed the IDI at the beginning of the course and again at the end of the course to measure growth in intercultural competence. A paired samples t-test was conducted to compare the Perceived Orientation (PO) and Developmental Orientation (DO) scores of the students at the start of the course to the PO and DO scores of the students at the end of the course. The results from spring 2021 courses demonstrated growth in intercultural competence.

Our research was conducted in the following 5 courses:

  • AU20:
    • TURK3350DL Contemporary Issues in Turkey with Danielle Schoon
  • SP21:
    • AR 2112 Colloquial Arabic II with Marie-Therese Labaki
    • Persian 1102 Elementary Persian II with Mehrak Kamali
    • Turkish 2241DL Turkish Culture with Danielle Schoon
  • SU21:
    • TURK2241DL Virtual Education Abroad in Istanbul with Danielle Schoon

Our ePortfolio¬† assignments consist of online cross-cultural conversations and collaborations (based on the principles of Collaborative Online International Learning – COIL – ), reflection assignments, and the IDI. Online discussions took place between the students enrolled in the above courses at OSU and students at schools in Turkey, Iran, and Lebanon. Please see our presentation “Implicit Bias in American Classrooms and the East/West Dichotomy” for the 2021 Innovate Conference for our latest approaches, tools and pedagogies. Video of the presentation: Video transcript: or download the PowerPoint:

Image of infinity symbol, with text: "reflect, gather, feedback"

By Mosborne01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

As a result of this work we have created evidence-based, practical, ready-to-use tools for faculty who would like to implement specific learning activities for intercultural development, such as the online cross-cultural conversations on our Toolkit page. A community of practice is forming at Ohio State – across a wide range of disciplines, from Engineering and Business to languages departments – who use principles of intercultural awareness development – whether by implementing the IDI or by using curriculum designed accordingly, or both. Many are participating in webinars organized by the Global Education Office, the Innovate Conference, and the new learning community sponsored by the Office of International Affairs and the Drake Institute of Teaching and Learning.