Danielle Schoon, Ph.D.
How Are You Teaching?
Promoting Intercultural Understanding Online
TURK 3350: Contemporary Issues in Turkey.
Long before COVID-19 precipitated a pivot to online course delivery options, Danielle Schoon, lecturer in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; Melinda McClimans, assistant director of the Middle East Studies Center; and Cindy Jiang, senior research associate in the Office of International Affairs, were developing an online program that promotes intercultural understanding through participation in online conversations between OSU students and their international peers.
Their work was part of an Implementation Grant from the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning.
Cross-cultural interactions and collaborations facilitated by study abroad are proven to expand intercultural understanding and maximize learning outcomes. Today, thanks to the internet, students interact with their peers from other cultures with greater frequency and ease than their counterparts from previous generations, but these exchanges do not typically take place in an academic environment.
In Schoon, McClimans and Jiang's program, through a series of safe, guided, and sustained interactions, students engage in a series of productive and intellectually challenging conversations with their peers at Turkish universities. These conversations take place with clearly articulated ground rules and expectations like active listening and acknowledgement of differences. As a result, students gain increased intercultural awareness, practice marketable tech skills, and benefit from many of the same intercultural learning opportunities afforded by study abroad, but in a far more accessible format.
For spring 2020, Schoon implemented the program in the online course TURK 3350, “Contemporary Issues in Turkey.” In addition to the participation in coursework led by Schoon, students received points for timely completion of pre- and post- course Intercultural Developmental Inventory assessments, administered by Jiang, to measure intercultural competency. Students also participated in online discussions moderated by McClimans, and submitted regular reflections that helped Schoon tailor classroom activities to address timely conversations throughout the semester.
To learn more about the team's research, watch this short presentation.
If you would like to implement this program in your classroom, or if you would like to participate as a conversation moderator, contact Melinda McClimans.firstname.lastname@example.org.