This applied research project investigated the culturally-based academic learning needs of internationally educated professionals seeking enrollment in post-secondary career programs. The project included: a needs analysis, two focus groups with subject matter experts to prioritize the course content, and course development.
The research uncovered common academic conventions, practices, and expectations often unfamiliar to the target group and which contribute, in many cases, to their being unsuccessful in academic settings. The findings were used to inform the development of a self-paced course with both intercultural theory and practice (through case studies, decision points, and reflection) which uncovers common cultural practices in Canadian academic settings.
Online Development (Previous Course)
In 2015, the School of Global Access adapted the course, Leveling the Learning Field, into an online, self-directed, 15-hour course focusing on how culture and language affect the success of internationally educated students in the Canadian post-secondary academic context.
Course content introduces students to the Dimensions of Culture concepts, helping students to recognize their own cultural identity and the cultural differences that will be at the core of common miscommunications they may encounter. Modules present academic scenarios, discussion opportunities, self-assessments, and multi-media activities that support students in developing skills to identify intonation, clarify and confirm information, understand politeness strategies, ask questions, and make suggestions.
Leveling the Learning Field is a 14-hour course which has both online and classroom components. The online component introduces the concepts through presentations and assigned readings. The classroom component reinforces the concepts through activities and discussions. The course helps students:
- Broaden their worldview and develop a more global perspective
- Increase their self-awareness
- Develop an understanding of the differences in classroom and academic expectations
- Build strategies for navigating challenges in their new academic environment
Who is the course for?
- New international students
- Prospective student mentors/ambassadors
- Any student who would like to develop their global and intercultural competence to be able to interact more effectively with people from other cultures.
* In July 2018, this course was redeveloped into the current blended learning format.