About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1687-1697
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

ACQUIRING SKILLS FOR VIRTUAL MULTICULTURAL COLLABORATION A BLENDED LEARNING COURSE DESIGN

I. Fischlmayr

Johannes Kepler University (AUSTRIA)
Today’s business world is not only becoming more global but also more virtual. In other words, the tremendous advancement of new technologies also brings along new forms of communication and collaboration. Exchanging information via e-mail, negotiating over Skype or posting messages on Internet platforms has become daily business for many employees and managers in multinational companies. But still, a lot of them do not have the abilities to use videoconference systems, webconferencing or webmeeting tools in a professional way or have difficulty in communicating with the help of new media as they all require different skills.

On the job, people seldom have the chance to learn or train these skills but are demanded to use them professionally. For many, this means enhanced stress, distraction, less active participation, and consequently, lower performance. Therefore, modern education and teaching designs should include training how to handle these tools as well as explicit reflexion about the change coming along with virtual communication and collaboration.

This paper will introduce a blended learning course design offering an example how to confront students with the challenges of virtual collaboration and at the same time the possibility to acquire and train the skills needed for communicating with the help of electronic media. The design has already been tested with international business students, which allows an insight into first experiences and students´ reflexions as well.

The course is mainly based on using different Webconferencing systems. Students shall become familiar with participating at and also moderating a webmeeting with the use of programs such as Adobe Pro Connect Meeting, WebEx or DimDim. During the virtual seminar lessons, they will be confronted with discussions on challenges typically coming along with virtual collaboration such as the difficulty in relationship building, trust, technology, communication etc. Furthermore, students are assigned to small virtual teams in order to complete specific tasks and to reflect upon the use of these systems. In these teams, they are encouraged to communicate via Skype, Facebook or similar ones as well although face-to-face meetings would be thinkable.

In other course sessions, half of the participants will meet face-to-face in a video-equipped classroom, the other half will participate in front of their individual computers following the seminar again with the help of webconferencing systems. During these sessions, issues such as isolation, ignorance, conflict, the social consequences of virtual work etc. will be dealt with and reflected upon.

Face-to-face meetings are only held at the very beginning and the very end of the seminar, in order to first make the students familiar with the course design and to enable relationship and team building, and later on for an in-depth reflexion of their experience and learnings.

The paper will present the course design in more detail, providing reasons for each course element by discussing former findings from the literature. Statements taken from the students´ essays shall give an insight into specific experiences and feedback on the course.


@InProceedings{FISCHLMAYR2009ACQ,
author = {Fischlmayr, I.},
title = {ACQUIRING SKILLS FOR VIRTUAL MULTICULTURAL COLLABORATION A BLENDED LEARNING COURSE DESIGN},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1687-1697}}
TY - CONF
AU - I. Fischlmayr
TI - ACQUIRING SKILLS FOR VIRTUAL MULTICULTURAL COLLABORATION A BLENDED LEARNING COURSE DESIGN
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 1687
EP - 1697
ER -
I. Fischlmayr (2009) ACQUIRING SKILLS FOR VIRTUAL MULTICULTURAL COLLABORATION A BLENDED LEARNING COURSE DESIGN, EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 1687-1697.
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