The authors were involved in an international project in which first year (freshman) students studying comparable IT courses at two universities, one in the United States and the other in Australia, formed virtual teams and engaged in collaborative learning and content creation via the Internet. Each team was tasked with jointly producing a short "Skypecast" (an audio podcast recorded over Skype), in which team members from each institution participated in conversations on topics related to technology and culture. The students had to overcome issues related to cross-cultural communication, as well as other challenges that arose from working with people whom they were unable to meet face-to-face, across disparate time zones. This paper presents an analysis of the views and experiences of the students from both institutions, elicited through surveys and focus group interviewing. The findings suggest that in addition to developing their technology skills and enhancing their understanding of the course material, the exercise provided the students with exposure to diverse perspectives from their peers on the topics studied. It also fostered the development of generic skills in research, interpersonal communication, and teamwork essential to the 21st Century knowledge worker. In the absence of the need to produce tangible objects of shared activity (Skypecasts) and without the explicit articulation of common goals within each team, the students may not have used the available technology to engage in the processes of collaborative dialog and problem solving that were evident in their reflective self-reports. In addition to its successes, the problems encountered and lessons learned from the experience are discussed, before outlining the authors' future plans. It is hoped that the paper will be of value to other educators wishing to undertake similar efforts, and make a contribution to the development of best practice in the area of Internet-mediated,cross-institutional collaborative learning. Chan, A. et al, Facilitating cross-cultural learning through collaborative Skypecasting.8th Conference on Information Technology Education (ACM SIGITE'07) and the article DOI is http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1324302.1324317.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGITE conference on information technology education (SIGITE 2007)|
|Place of Publication||New York, USA|
|Publisher||Association for Computing Machinery|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
|Event||ACM Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE) - Sandestin, USA, New Zealand|
Duration: 18 Oct 2007 → 20 Oct 2007
|Conference||ACM Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE)|
|Period||18/10/07 → 20/10/07|
Chan, A., Frydenberg, M., & Lee, M. J. W. (2007). Facilitating cross-cultural learning through collaborative Skypecasting. In J. J. Ekstrom (Ed.), Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGITE conference on information technology education (SIGITE 2007) (pp. 59-66). Association for Computing Machinery.