Teaching and learning experiences from cross-cultural online exchange

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Teaching and learning experiences from cross-cultural online exchange
This presentation reports on a cross-cultural collaboration between a university in the US and a university in Denmark – for both institutions, participants were students in 2. semester courses on linguistics (Danish students studied English). In cross-cultural teams, students had to work on research proposals together. Teachers were available as supervisors. The aim of the cross-cultural collaboration was for students to get an opportunity to work in cross-cultural groups and, for the Danes, additionally by working with native speakers of English, be motivated to use their English with peers in an authentic environment thus honing their communication skills in a cross-cultural setting. Moreover, the intended academic outcome was to get students to work on research proposals and hone their methodological awareness (US/DK)

The presentation will discuss some best (and worst) practices experienced during the online cross-cultural collaboration. Best experiences showed that the authenticity of the cross-cultural environment motivated great engagement (communicating and working seriously on the project) from many students. It seemed that the authenticity of the communication, i.e., students had to communicate in English rather than could, was a highly motivating factor. Some bad experiences were that students found it difficult to motivate group work across the time difference and experienced communicative and cultural misunderstandings.

The experience will potentially be relevant in helping other teachers plan for and execute cross-cultural group work. The idea of doing online, cross-cultural collaboration is very good in that it provides an authentic communicative environment. I thus recommend setting up cross-cultural teams in order to get students engaged in second language communication and learning. Also, many Danish students were surprised to discover their own strengths in, e.g., doing group work, compared to the US students. However, the execution is complex, especially when there’s a time difference involved and when everything is online already (i.e., making perhaps for online fatigue). However, judging by the students who had a good experience, the project is worthwhile carrying out and to be recommended to teachers in general.
Period8. Nov 2022
Event titleTeaching for Active Learning : TAL 2022
Event typeConference
LocationOdense , DenmarkShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational