Partners In Dialogue: Creating Meaningful Learning Environments

Partners in dialogue: Creating meaningful learning environments Olga Kovbasyuk and Patrick Blessinger International HETL Association During the spring semester of 2012, we conducted an online course entitled “Coming of Age on Screen”. The aim of the course was to foster US-Russian dialogues from the perspective of meaning-centered learning and thereby improve intercultural communication competencies. We would like to share our pedagogical experiences from that course. This course brought together 50 students from the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia and Mount Holyoke and Brandeis Universities in the USA. The students and faculty discussed films while practicing Russian and English communication skills. The classes used videoconference technologies, Skype and Facebook to interact with each other, synchronously and asynchronously. This experience allowed us to address the following questions: How can an open meaning-making environment promote dialogic and authorial teaching-learning strategies and behaviors? How might we decrease unnecessary power distance [...]

Higher Education Needs to Build Global Learning Communities

Higher education needs to build global learning communities Patrick Blessinger and Olga Kovbasyuk International HETL Association Globalisation in the 21st century continues to bring about many new political, economic, social, and technological developments. Today’s students therefore tend to be more digitally savvy, mobile and transitory, socially connected, and more democratic in their worldview. This new reality has placed greater demands on educators in all countries to create more contemporary learning environments that reflect the pluralistic nature of life on our planet. To that end, we believe that virtual global learning communities have the potential to create more authentic and experiential learning spaces for students. Global learning is the cultivation of multiple, diverse, and global perspectives. It allows one to develop the intercultural competencies necessary to become a global citizen who can understand issues from multiple perspectives and gain a deeper appreciation of and tolerance for diversity of all types (cultural, [...]

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