ALTC 2010: E-cards from Plymouth: considering the practical and socio-cultural experience of international students

Chelo de Andres Martinez, Diana Masterson, Patrick McMahon

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The Cloudworks Team
31 August 2010

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The socio-cultural perspective adopted to design this interactive multimedia orientation programme for Chinese students who come to Plymouth for the final year of their degree will be presented. Students from China have limited time to assimilate and adapt to cultural and academic change. They often struggle and their achievements suffer as a result. We apply the glocalisation (Doherty: 2005) concept to their experience by facilitating exposure to local versus national information via online resources. The student voice has been accessed via questionnaires and interviews that have informed the content and design of our e-cards. E-cards are reusable learning objects (using Xerte and Flash) that integrate audio, text, image and video to illustrate practical aspects of living and studying at Plymouth from an international student perspective. E-cards present strategies to broaden students’ social activities and offer practical language advice following technology enhanced learning principles. The working hypothesis behind the design to create the e-cards proposes that using interactive multimedia tools will help this cohort of students to familiarise themselves with Plymouth and its university before or soon after arrival. Preliminary findings of our prototype evaluation and recommendations will be disseminated locally and nationally. We will welcome participants to discuss the impact of e-cards on our future plans. By exploring the campus and the city from an informal learning perspective before they arrive for their study, we aim to reinforce these students' sense of belonging. It is anticipated that interpersonal and communication skills will be strengthened and they may become better equipped to overcome the initial uncertainties associated with cultural shock and academic change. This project has been funded by a Teaching Fellowship grant from the University of Plymouth. Evidence of the impact on future cohorts will be monitored and disseminated in future research.

Chelo de Andres Martinez
23:09 on 10 September 2010 (Edited 23:10 on 10 September 2010)

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