Coventry University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4027-4032
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The landscape for learning and teaching is continuously changing with Universities recruiting students from around the globe, who demonstrate different learning styles influenced by their culture and experiences. (Hans de Wit).

One of the many challenges this poses is the facilitation of valuable learning experiences to all learners irrespective of their background. Coventry University has invested in a project called OIL, Online International Learning, where learners are encouraged to learn from each other across the globe and use online platforms to facilitate that learning. Petty’s (2002) research demonstrates that constructivism and cooperative teaching methods foster independent learning, deeper learning and higher achievement, develops and builds on critical and analytical thinking and makes for a more enjoyable learning experience.

The OIL project aims to provide students with the opportunity to learn from learners from different cultural backgrounds. The topics are considered from differing cultural and learning perspectives. The aim of this is two-fold: it allows students to understand that depending on prior learning and cultural background may impact on learners views of a subject or topic, creating awareness of the learners own cultural approaches. The OIL project also aims to develop the learners’ cultural awareness capabilities and embraces cultural diversity. All of these are skills that will enhance global graduate status and make learners more employable in the future.

A small academic team are piloting a newly designed concept that involves learners and colleagues from Universities across Europe. Within the Framework of a Module called “European Business Practice” a combination of established and innovative methods are being used. This is aimed at approximately 150 Business Management students in the final stage of their undergraduate degree.

The lecturer discusses a range of content related issues of European Business Practice such as fiscal policies, trading across Europe and the World, the impact of the Schengen agreement, Innovation, Research and Development and Education across Europe, Free movement for work across Europe and others. The didactical concept of this module combines the following elements: Lectures introducing key concepts, “flipped – classroom”- approach which facilitates participatory learning opportunities and online discussion forums, linking to approximately 150 students of partner Universities across Europe to include Spain, Denmark, Belgium, France, Turkey, Switzerland and Germany for a fair representation of countries with “different” issues in respect to European Union Membership, but also a fair representation of learners from all over the globe learning in an EU country.

Assessment will require learners to prepare an online portfolio of a current EU issue and how affects differ across Europe and why. The learning is facilitated through online forums which are aided by staff of all partners participating in this pilot.

It is anticipated to measure success of this new and innovative way of learning by comparing student’s satisfaction to previously gathered data of when this module was delivered in a more traditional format.

In the context of this paper the didactical concept of OIL, is described in detail explaining its complex metrological structure. Continuous efforts for further optimization of the concept are delineated.
Internationalisation, global, collaboration, flipped classroom, pedagogy, online, cultural learning, cultural diversity, inclusive learning.