#SUNYCIT – Real World Intercultural Classroom Collaboration via Social Media

#SUNYCIT - Real World Intercultural Classroom Collaboration via Social MediaSocial media is a powerful set of tools that I believe are underutilized in higher education. I was pleased to see a presentation of two different courses from two different campuses using social media. Anita Levine from SUNY Oneonta used Edmodo and Padlet and Sean Nixon from Ulster County Community College used Facebook. Here are their stories. 

Levine and Nixon explained their overall goals to partner with other countries were twofold:

  • worldmindedness.
  • intercultural awareness through authentic learning opportunities.

Anita Levine

Levine began the presentation and shared her learning and teaching experiences with a Croatian and American partnership.  She used a program called Edmodo to build community; it has a similar look and feel of Facebook but was more private.

She also used a program called Padlet. This is where students did their research and project development. Students were arranged in teams, typically, 2-3 students from each country. She indicated that it is not manageable with a larger group. Part of the Croatian student requirements was to work on their English. Levine used Google Sites to display a number of Padlets at one time.

Once the project was complete, the students had to present their project to the rest of the class. I believe this was through Skype.

Sean Nixon

Sean Nixon created a graphic design course and wanted to share his love of different cultures with his students. As a result, he found another instructor through the Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), and then collaborated with the instructor through Skype. They formed a Mexican/American partnership. They decided to create a course where students had to work with a client in another country; that client was a fellow student. Each student had to envision a product logo, and their partner had to create it. Students took the roles of professional designer/client. Instructors provided professional oversight.

Nixon used Facebook for their course. They set up a private Facebook group to share ideas. As part of the setup, students could only create a post and not delete it. Students could also post files to Facebook for fellow student critique. Nixon also shared examples of the projects created in his course. You can see these in my notes.

Lesson Learned

Nixon recommends keeping projects short, no longer than 4-5 weeks.

Levine shared a number of recommendations in her handout, Recommendations for Developing your Own Telecollaboration Project. You can find this in my notes. In this document, she also shared a number of resources relating international collaboration.

This presentation showed interesting examples of collaborative work across borders. I liked how they used social media type tools to create community. I can see a number of ways that this can be applied to our campus, and I will be reaching out to various faculty to share these ideas. However, you are part of the JCC community and want to try something like this, please contact a member of the TEI team.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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