The project was realized through the Global Liberal Arts Alliance partnership, which seeks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience among liberal arts institutions around the world. It involved active participation on the part of not only students and facutly, but also staff members at the two institutions, and showed that teamwork and true engagement lie in the heart of a successfull globally connected course.
Getting to know another culture through learning its language is just one of the steps to developing an intercultural competency. Another important element is acquiring dialogue etiquette and the ability to cooperate with peers from around the globe towards achieving a common goal. Lastly, such global projects can only be accomplished provided that participants possess sufficient level of digital proficiency and digital etiquette. “Facebook texting is not a measurement of digital literacy”, pointed out professor Dillmann. “Students need to learn how to use tools like Google Docs, video conferencing tools such as Jabber and Hangouts, as well as desktop sharing tools.” Apart from providing forum for students to enhance their language comptency level, this initiative aimed at teaching students skills sets that would allow them to make meaningful contributions to their globalized societies.
Throughout the course students had to complete e-mail communication assignments, shared information about interesting aspects of their home institutions, engaged in an extremely useful exercise on overcoming intercultural differences and held a conversation via Google Hangout on air. Each of the four components was followed with detailed in-class discussion on how the particular tasks were performed, what obstacles students faced and how they managed to resolve them. Both professors shared that students were extremely excited about the project, showed a sincere commitment to the tasks and many student pairs reconnected after the conversation assignment in order to continue their chats.
The growing interest of universities around the world in exploring the vast possibilities of modern technologies clearly indicates that the creation of a global learning community is indeed possible and under way. As an institution that stays abreast of the latest trends in the educational field, AUBG is committed to provide both its students and its faculty with a variety of opportunities to enrich the learning process. This said, the two globally linked institutions have pledged to continue their academic collaboration and move a step closer to achieving their mission – global community of learners and education without borders.
Story and photos by Venera Nikolaeva