Question 47

47. Looking back, what do you feel was most unique about this experience for your students?

NU: Again, the opportunity to work on a creative writing project with, essentially, a stranger from another country. It seemed to energize everyone. 

Griffith:  The opportunity for artists to work creatively with people from a different culture whilst being physically based within their familiar environment.  There was considerable collegiate respect engendered by the mixture of distance and virtual intimacy of participants.

Meeting and interacting live with people who are on another continent.  Learning about new cultures, languages, foods, music, art, history, etc.

The most unique experience of the GLC was the cross-cultural dialogues between students. This served to lessen cultural stereotypes. For the VU students, their knowledge of the US was confined to popular culture as seen in Hollywood westerns. The distinctive and diverse culture of the El Paso region shattered many of their preconceptions and led to many embracing the diversity and heterogeneous nature of American society.  In short, many of the VU students not only saw similarities in the formation of the two nations but were able to historically contextualize their differences.

Another unique experience was the personal and academic collegiality that blossomed between students (and staff for that matter!) 

My students emphasized that the collaborative experiences taught them how much they have yet to learn, not only about other cultures and history, but about their own culture and history. (CCC)

My students really appreciated the freshness of opening their classroom to a global space.  This concept was completely new to them, at times a challenge, but surprisingly and fortunately, most of them had sufficient technological experience to adapt relatively quickly. (UB)

The UVIC students felt like they already knew American by virtue of the cultural, economic and political hegemony of the US; however, interacting online with American students was a different experience for them. The Canadian students learned lots and some had their biases or stereotypes confirmed! 

The ESC students didn’t actually feel like they knew much about Canadians, beyond biases or stereotypes they had picked up in cross-border encounters. They were surprised to discover some of the rationale and underlying feelings that had perhaps given rise to the stereotypes. Since ESC students generally are older than the conventionally aged college student, the experience of communicating with a peer group that was considerably younger than them also was eye-opening for them.

The opportunity to collaborate with students from “somewhere else” on assigned writing tasks.

The presence of an international sister seminar in real time, gathered as a group on a single monitor, allowing for simultaneous oral instruction and discussion, and the opportunity to have and build upon out-of-class contacts with foreign peers, were entirely unique for all concerned. 

Most unique was the intercultural learning experience and the opportunity to think about connectedness of diasporic communities through the students’ and faculties’ own virtual connections to their collaborators.

I think that the connection with students at the partnering institution was the most unique experience for students in the course. The UWM students were also able to “live” the course, as it was given on their home territory in the residential housing. Also, I think that the variety of activities and the unique combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities always kept students on their feet.

In usual culture class, students learn Japanese culture from an instructor and literatures in a knowledge-centered way. However, this course let them learn the culture experientially by actually communicating with Japanese students in Japan. Also, I think that the group work was the best venue for American students to learn what intercultural communication is and to foster intercultural competence. 

At SJSU, many students are from other parts of the world, so interacting with multi-cultural students is not unique; but the opportunity to interact with natives in their native land and compare and contrast in a conscious, structured, and reflective way was very different.

The most unique part of the experience for the students was learning to learn from others as opposed to learning only about others.  Additionally, the destabilization of the traditional notion of what a classroom looks like helped students erase the false dichotomy between the classroom and the world.  As such, learning was understood to occur through their interactions with their counterparts across the globe not just from their teachers.

The simulation.

The most unique COIL outcome for students was the synchronous video conferencing when students were able to see and interact with each other face- to- face. Also significant were students’ final PSA projects where students in each country were able to present their work in a global arena for a global audience.

An additional variable unique to this experience  was the Women and Gender Studies course topics, which largely facilitated student engagement among COIL participants in each country.  This topical appeal is true of Women and Gender Studies as an area of knowledge that intersects the human  condition, which  offers a wonderful  hook to bring diverse student groups into the fold of an international course. Because of its multidisciplinary dimension  and its contemporary application, the Women and Gender studies  discipline lends itself to studying other cultures,  and it provides  a strategic backdrop to overlay and  link in a COIL partnership.  

A  final point significant to this COIL partnership was its discipline duality where students in Russia were studying English in addition to gender. The linguistics goal and bilingual  competency of our Russian partners enabled an English language teaching and learning platform, which opened the door for American students to  interact and communicate with Russian students  in ways that would not have been possible as part and parcel to a Brockport General Education Women and Gender Studies course.   Students on the Brockport side gained significantly here  in areas of cultural sensitivity and cultural competence. Equally noteworthy, many Russian students wrote of their linguistic training goals and their appreciation of the opportunity to practice and perfect their English language speaking and writing skills.

HSE - The opportunity to listen to lectures of an American professor and to compare it with what they are getting at their own university in term of intents and presentation, as well as to speak directly with American students in class. I also think that they learnt a lot from the course, taking into consideration the fact that the majority were not historians and thus did not know much even on the history of Stalinism.

GMU - I think the students found the very nature of the course unique. They did make comments from time to time in our separate classroom discussions that made me feel the discussions with Russian students were opening their eyes to another world beyond the United States. They seemed particularly impressed that these Russian students were undertaking significant college level work in a second language. I tried repeatedly to impress upon them that the Russian students were doing the same work as the Americans but doing it as if at the same time in a foreign language class. This really did make an impression. I also think from our discussions that they found the course topic deeply moving and often troubling.

The ability to bring theory to practice made this course unique. We were fortunate in that the content of the course (i.e., Intercultural Communication) is itself the heart of globally networked courses.  Thus, students had a first-hand opportunity to apply the various theories and concepts they were learning in class. 

RAMA: The most unique thing was when they could talk to and play for the students in the other countries.

NCCU: The most unique experience for my students was the ability to interact and forge relationships with international students, and to learn how similar they are, though they are from different cultures

UNISA: Online interactive learning is a relatively unique experience in South Africa as a whole. We would have loved to see more of our students make use of this experience. The culture of this kind of study needs to develop amongst the music students.

ability to communicate both synchronously (they especially liked this part, I think!) and asynchronously with students, who reside in other  country(US)

ULPGC: the whole experience was unique for our students, above all the fact of being part of another teaching structure. Academic diversity resulted to be pretty exotic and a drive for our students.

The face-to-face meetings we had when we visited each other’s institutions.