San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.568.1 - 25.568.14
Enhancing Cross-Cultural Interaction in Courses with a Large Component of Visiting Study-Abroad StudentsAbstractInternational student mobility programs enhance the global exposure of students, andrepresent a vital and increasing component in the offering of many Universities worldwide.These programs often involve the travel of a group of students to an overseas location, wherethey, in addition to a variety of cultural activities, also register for a series of courses towardstheir degree completion. These courses are taken jointly with their local peers. Whilecollaborative exchange programs among different universities often target individual studentmobility, and the travelling student (or small group of students) generally represents aminority in the overseas class, in the case of branch campuses, and due to the seamlessintegration of the academic coursework and perhaps more systematic organization of thestudy abroad experience, an increasingly homogeneous and larger travelling student groupcan result, which may in turn imply that the visiting students can represent a large fraction ofa class. This more even distribution between study abroad and local students can generateclassroom dynamics that effectively split the class into two groups, and thus are notsupportive of the cross-cultural interaction dimension of the international experience.This work discusses the observed barriers to cross-cultural collaboration in the classroom atthe international campus of a US institution, where this effect has been noted in asenior/graduate level course about renewable energy systems that was composed by over50% of study-abroad students from the US main campus. Class dynamics of preferablyworking with peers from the same background developed, in part due to an easier out-of-classaccess to these peers, and in part due to a higher comfort level in the peer interaction. Whilethe academic learning outcomes were met by both groups, this experience has shown that inorder to increase cross-cultural interaction in the classroom, specific learning criteria andoutcomes that stress global competencies need to be introduced. This paper presents thelessons learned in the process (including out of classroom factors that affect in classroomcollaboration), and presents a work in progress of designing appropriate learning objectives,activities and assessment tools to foster the development of global competencies in classeswith a large and homogeneous component of study abroad students.
Friess, A., & Esparragoza, I. E., & Connole, D. (2012, June), Enhancing Cross-cultural Interaction in Courses with a Large Component of Visiting Study Abroad Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21325
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