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Designing the Virtual Exchange Team Experience

A successful Click module is built with three main components: team building exercises, an intermediate learning activity, and a final or capstone project. Read on to find out more about how to design each part!

We recently completed Sessions 2 (Content and Structure) and 3 (Finalizing the Plan) of our design workshop series! The focus: creating the capstone project, designing the student experience by creating a collaborative culture, and grading. If you need a recap of what we did in Session 1 (Click Goals), check out our blog post.

Team building: To create a successful Click module for your students, it is important to foster positive collaboration and cross-cultural teamwork. While we are all familiar with classic icebreakers used to start the conversation at the beginning of classes, group meetings or meet and greets, this simply is not enough! It is important to integrate team building activities into multiple parts of your project, especially at the beginning.

  • Start with something light and social. For example, team members share their music tastes and favorite movies in a WhatsApp group. This allows them to start conversations and see cultural differences in pop culture. It also incorporates technology and team building at once.

  • Move into a deeper activity that may begin to incorporate some of the course content. For example, in a spring 2020 marketing Click module, teachers asked their students to make observations about the Starbucks website in their own countries. They were quickly able to see cultural differences when they shared their observations with the team.

  • Take the group temperature frequently! Check-in with students throughout the Click module. Are groups working together nicely? Are they keeping in touch?

Intermediate learning activity: The intermediate activity is designed to prepare students for success in the final, capstone project. This activity entails international collaboration and teamwork. Students work together towards a common goal. Important - it is not simply sharing materials and comparing answers, but rather truly working together as an international team.

  • In a spring 2020 film Click module, international student teams wrote the scripts that they would later use to create, produce and record a short film on the topic of life in quarantine. It was a low stakes task and they were able to receive teacher feedback to make improvements before moving to the capstone project: recording and editing the short film.

  • In a spring 2020 bank marketing Click module, student teams prepared a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) that they would later use in their capstone project: creating a presentation with recommendations for the bank.

Capstone project: The final project should encapsulate the Click module goals and give students the chance to show how well they have achieved these goals. The project requires and fosters group work, team building, and cross-cultural collaboration. It also achieves the Click global learning goals: preparing students for a global workforce, improving 21st century knowledge and skills, and using technology. Take a look at our case samples to see a summary of previous Click capstone projects.

Our process:

Although the team building and intermediate activities build up to and provide scaffolding for the capstone project, our design process begins with thinking about how the capstone project stems from the learning objectives that teachers create for their Click module. From there, teaching partners work backwards to prepare students for success in their final project and achievement of their overall learning goals.

Layering activities:

It is important to mix individual, team and whole class experiences. Why? For one, it helps teachers grade or assess individual student work and contributions. It also helps teammates get to know each other and collaborate on an international project. The whole class experiences build a sense of cross-cultural community and allow students to learn from each other. As you look at the activities you have planned, think about the following questions:

  • Do you have time to accomplish those activities in the timeframe of the VE module?

  • Would you like to include more whole-class activities but haven’t planned them yet?

  • Are your activities scaffolded in a way that will help students succeed?

Giving frequent and meaningful feedback:

As you make decisions about how to grade a VE module, teachers must agree on how it will work. Students should feel the grading is fair, and that is achieved in part by making sure each teacher assigns the same number of points for each task. However, the overall grade for the VE module in the course may be 20% of the total course grade for one class and 30% for the other. Although the final weight of the project may differ, point values for each activity should be equal. Another way to ensure fair grading is to use the same rubric between both teachers and classes. You may also consider having students evaluate their own teammates, both those in another country and those in their home course.

Questions? Anything to share from your own experience? Contact us today!

May 12, 2020

Blog post by @AlexaJeffress

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