Speaker: Sandra Lopez Rocha (intercultural learning specialist, Student Success Office)
Intercultural competence (IC) is an area of personal development that informs and influences interactions across formal and informal contexts involving cultural difference. Although there are numerous programs aimed at supporting learners’ engagement with IC components, there is a limited availability of comprehensive programs offered as open access resources.
This project was made possible through a grant from eCampus Ontario with the purpose of developing content for a short duration learning opportunity, which was supported by a cross-campus team of collaborators. The project focused on a) promoting learning, appreciation, and understanding of cultural differences, b) creating opportunities to engage respectfully across cultures, valuing cultural perspectives and life experiences, and c) utilizing intrinsic and extrinsic strategies to interact and communicate across cultural groups.
The final product consists of three accessible and interactive modules on 1) awareness and attitudes (e.g., learning about stereotypes, biases, and microaggressions), 2) expanding intercultural skills (e.g., cultural values, non-verbal communication, and ways to expand one’s knowledge of global issues), and 3) skills (e.g., observation, reflection, communication, critical thinking, and empathy).
Key characteristics of the modules include the ability to select specific content and activities, learners’ ability to interact with the modules at their own pace, a variety of interactive activities using different types of media, sample answers for all activities, further strategies, self-assessment, and glossary of terms. All content and activities are supported by intercultural development theory and real-life examples that make the content relatable and engaging.
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