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Internationalising The Student Experience: Perspectives From An Enabling IT Course

Dr Pranit Anand

University of Wollongong

Developing communication skills, including an appreciation for cross-cultural communication is an aspirational aim for most education institutions. This is o en developed through in-class group work activities involving, where possible, students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Some institutions also focus on extra-curricular activities like sports and social clubs to promote the development of these important skills.

Similarly, most higher education courses expect students to develop adaptability skills when it comes to technology, which allows them to adapt |and use appropriate technology tools for different problems. Technology courses are o en challenged by emerging technologies, o en by the time the instructions and activities are developed to teach an existing technology tool, it is already made redundant by better, more efficient technologies. Being ‘future ready’ has become a buzz word in most education programs, unfortunately without too much detail about how to go about developing this important attitude among students.

This presentation will share an assessment approach where students at UOW College Australia and UOW College HK collaborated on a project to solve real-life social challenges faced by not-for-profit organisations located in various developing countries. Small teams of students from both locations worked on developing social media solutions for identified not-for-profit organisation of their choice. During this process, they collaborated with each other, communicated with the not-for-pro t organisations, developed all the tools and documentation and presented their solutions to the organisations, all via various forms of Internet and other communications technologies. This provided students in Wollongong and HK to experience truly transformative international perspectives, including developing a sense of responsibility for a shared planet, shared future, common humanity. Students also acquired an appreciation for appropriating technologies through immersive learning experiences. Feedback from the not-for-pro t organisations have been extremely positive, and the students, while finding the activity challenging, found it to be extremely engaging and worthwhile.