The purpose of the learning activities offered here is to maximize student learning from authentic cross-cultural experiences they have online, and from readings and other sources providing substantive academic knowledge of the other cultural context. They should learn about themselves as cultural beings as they learn about and from their conversation partners and about the “other” culture. Students also develop intercultural awareness in order to research another country with a better understanding of the perspectives in that country. We are currently conducting a study on the intercultural outcomes of this approach to learning.
Approach to Learning: We promote an approach to learning which integrates frequent reflection, aims for real-world competencies, and integrates literacy with experiential learning. The methods and practices employed are authentic and High Impact. High impact practices for global competency may also include experiences like education or work abroad and collaborative online intercultural learning (COIL). We look to research on education abroad for elements of our approach, especially with regard to how to maximize learning from cross-cultural experiences (Paige, 2009). We achieve our goals for learning by:
- Creating mini-challenges based on the assessment framework to both validate and gamify the learning. We use Buckeye Badges for this purpose.
- Eliciting frequent reflection prompts, integrated into the learning as students co-constructed knowledge with their professor and student peers in Turkey.
- Scaffolding the learning by starting with communication skills, and build upon those in the team project. Students are required to demonstrate perspective-taking through-out.
Learning objectives: increase in intercultural awareness; increase in cross-cultural effectiveness; substantive engagement with global issues and/or global perspectives on local issues. Demonstration of ability to engage in dialogue based on understanding, ability to gain knowledge of “the other” by learning from global perspectives and from peers in other countries, without romanticizing, exoticizing or essentializing difference; ability to explain and give examples of deficit understandings of difference; ability accurately to describe cultural linguistic and ideological diversity of world regions and locales. With regard to online cross-cultural coversations; students demonstrate active listening skills (see our ground rules), and skillfully and accurately elicit peers’ perspectives on what they are discussing. Finally, they should demonstrate that they can be a true team player by successfully completing a collaborative project with their peers in the classroom and online in the other country.