1 Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LATVIA)
2 Exigen Services Latvia (LATVIA)
3 Cognitee Inc. (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 2191-2196
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1487
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Majority of courses at universities developed for foreign students from various cultures use the approach “once size fits all”. However, it is becoming clearer that courses either developed for particular group or MOOC’s are not culturally neutral. Culture is multi-layered and can be described in a national, religious, ethnic, linguistic, age, special needs, profession and even gender level. Most frequently, culture is described in a national level. Large portion of universities courses that are developed for foreign students use English. Often these courses are a direct translation from already existing courses in native language, which is used in a particular university. This setting is often applied and described as foreign designer is designing products for users from particular local culture. There are also different settings that could be applied, including hiring designer from local culture to design study course that is appropriate for particular culture students. Universities can apply different course design strategies from which most mentioned are internationalization and localisation strategies. The internationalization is a process which is used to create products or services that are not sensitive against language and cultural differences. On the other hand, the localization is a process which is used to adjust product or service to certain language and culture. Existing studies show that the localization strategy must be used in order to perform a successful design of cross-cultural study course for target culture student group.

Two design models can be applied for cross-cultural study course design. One is the culture marker model, and the other is the culture dimension model. Existing research show that culture marker identification and modification is one of the most accessible solutions for cross-cultural study course design.

This research introduces culture marker identification procedure that includes application of developed tool prototype “L10n Adviser” which allows extracting culture marker information from foreign culture such as preferred colours, font or font family, calendar, layout of information, etc. To automate information extraction set of target culture website URLs are imported to the tool and website analysis is performed with image processing methods. Afterwards information is extracted and displayed as set of guidelines for study material development, mainly focusing on information layout and design of tests, presentation materials and handouts.

Introduced culture marker identification procedure and tool are applied in Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies to improve study course materials for foreign students group from India and Bangladesh. Results of procedure application show that main adjustments must be made to information layout in lecture materials, colour schemas, fonts and use of date format.

Proposals for synthesizing culture marker model results with additional application of culture dimension models such as Hofstede dimension model and Hall dimension model are discussed.
cultural diversity, cross-cultural study materials, culture marker model application