Concrete examples

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Grant 6 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #11284


    I have decided to take the concrete example of an activity that I have been using quite successfully for some time in order for students to become familiar with one of the common theoretical models of cultural dimensions. It is a group activity in which, after I have given a short presentation of the background to the model, the students familiarize themselves with the different dimensions of the model so that they are able to recognize instances of them in their own and other cultures. They do this by reconstructing the theoretical model based on some short documents that I provide them with.

    Often the students decide themselves to first work on the task individually (I’m happy for them to do that) and then they get together to compare their ideas and try and come up with a group response. The students are asked to identify where they would place themselves in relation to the dimensions of the model, where they would place their home culture and where they would place France (or whatever country they find themselves in).
    We debrief the activity as a group and then I finish off by showing them examples I have chosen of the different dimensions from different countries.
    Placing the activity on the grid, I would say that it comes on the directed side and that it moves from individual to social.
    If I wanted to move this to a more autonomous orientation, I could ask the students to research the model themselves using internet. They could then organize themselves into groups and collaborate on creating a presentation using different media that would allow each group to show their individual relationship to the dimensions, indicate where their country of origin is in relationship to them and where they see their host country in terms of the dimensions.
    I honestly don’t know whether this would constitute an improvement or an “enhancement” to the activity.  It could be done with laptops/tablets and an internet connection and a classroom equipped with a beamer. It could be done in class time (as now) or be given as a homework task.
    The nature of my course is fairly interactive and students have the chance to express opinions and instincts throughout. They often work on small group activities that can involve producing short presentations, posters and sometimes sketches or short videos.

    The evaluation is part individual and part group. Sometimes there is a mark given for participation, it depends.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by  Grant.
  • #11400


    Hi grant, thanks for the post. It sounds like you incorporate many of the dimensions and quadrants in this task. I particularly like the small group digital media activity. Perhaps bringing the outside world in using Twitter may serve you well as an extension to the task… Out of interest, can you give more detail on the task – it’s level etc.

  • #11577


    Hi, I don’t actually use the “technology enhanced” version of the activity at the moment. I am a fan of Kolb’s learning (and teaching) styles model and try to incorporate it into my lesson plans. I’ve been thinking a lot obout Twitter recently as I have been trying to use ocTEL to get to grips with it. I’ve been amazed at the amount of information that has been exchanegd and the % of interactions on this course that have been conducted via Twitter. I am based in France and I have a suspicion that, at least in academia and among students, Twitter is not a very commonly used means of communication. I’ll have to try and find out.

    I am not personally comfortable enough yet with Twitter to envisage using it in a teaching situation “to bring the outside world in”. I can, though, see some interesting things that could happen by doing this as the person who conceived the model and his institute are on Twitter (I’ve just started to follow them!). However, even if I become more proficient with Twitter, I’d probably have to spend time getting the students to create accounts and explaining how Twitter works to them – which would take up time I don’t have.

    With regards the task, it can be used at different levels and I currently use it at L-1, L-2 and M-1 (I don’t know if that makes sense outside of France so basically, first and second year bachelors and first year master’s). The students are mainly on business courses (bachelors) or engineering courses (masters).

    The model consists of 6 dimensions of which we look at 4. I give the students a short written definition of each dimension to be looked at. I also give them a short list of characteristics of these dimensions. Finally, they have the tables which present all the characteristics of the dimensions and from which I have removed certain characteristics (which are in their short lists). The activity consists in becoming familiar with the dimensions via the definitions and then completing the tables of characteristics  with those that are on the short list. Students then reflect and exchange about how they relate personally to the dimensions, where they see their home country in relation to these (many of my students are international ie. non-French) and where they see their host country.

    I hope you can make some sense of this. It’s obviously perfectly clear to me 😉






  • #11670



    many of the social media channels are blocked by academic institutions. some VLE have their own chat plugins built in, for example moodle has the chat plugin which is very similar to twitter. i have used it in the past. like all technologies this depends on the type of students that you have as some can be reluctant in posting in the chat areas.


  • #13513


    Most of my students – they range from 1st year bachelor’s to 2nd year master’s – seem to stuck with Facebook (closed FB groups for their group work), Skype and a small number on Google docs. They also use the VLE basically to pick up documents and occassionally drop off documents. I think this is very much because of the way higher education is set up in France to be very teacher-centred and I’m really wondering whether it’s going to be possible to introduce other tecbnologies without a wholesale paradigm shift – which will take some time to bring about.

  • #14208


    Hi mchaudhry- I accept that not all students are open to contributing to chat areas and forums even- having experienced this with my own classes. How do we cater for these learners online? Has anyone found some good solutions for this situation? (I know I’m slightly straying from the point of this activity…)

    • #14386


      Here are a few ways to encourage learner participation online (e.g. taking part in forums and so on):

      • present the merits of their social interaction before the lessons and assignments come up in an induction of sorts. Basically, what’s in it for them?
      • set up a clear, well-crafted example that learners can look at to understand what is expected of them. In other words, what/how does it look like?
      • include participation in the student/course handbook as key to their success in their own education and learning. This lays down the requirements for their own success.
      • set up forum activities that ask learners an open question; get them to answer this question without seeing other responses; then once they have posted their own response, have them read and respond to at least 1 or 2 other posts. This can help learners consider other viewpoints, their own academic language and idea formation when communicating with others.

      For anything informal I suggest the creation of Facebook PAL (peer assisted learning) groups. This idea is not my own, but is being used for a variety of courses. Google Sarah Honeychurch and and you’ll find her presentations and research into PAL groups and their positive impacts on the teaching/learning process facilitated by peers with little interference from tutors.

  • #14342


    I’m not sure exactly how we do this but I think it passes by creating a sense of community and belonging that can create trust and openness. In almost all the online courses I have previously participated in, they began with face-to-face sessions that allowed for the creation of this trusting community spirit. That is challenging enough. How you do that when there is no f2f component is even more difficult. From a purely pesonal perspective, it is the main challenge I am finding with this course. The content is great, the resources are fantastic, but I’m not getting the sense of community that would take it to another level. I think that this has been identified as one of the main reasons for people dropping out of MOOCs and is obviously what motivates many people to set up learning communities within MOOCs where they can meet physically. I’d love to hear how people try to create this community when things have to remain uniquely online.

  • #15066


    Hi Dustin,

    Thanks for these thoughts and tips. I’ll definitely try and incorporate this into what I do in the future. I’m also going to go and have a look at Sarah Honeychurch’s presentations. The idea of Facebook PALs sounds like something that I could use.

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