- Nancy Ruther, EdD
Through the Teachers' lens: It's a wrap on CLICK projects 2021-22
If wrapping up CLICK 2021-22 season was a film script, we opened the scene with our students telling us about their dynamics, both challenges and rewards, in CLICK projects. Then we panned back to faculty reactions to the fall 2022 training series with their cohort. For the closing scene, we share the faculty’s “final take” on the total CLICK process from start to finish.
First, 100% of teachers who responded to the Post-CLICK faculty survey said that they would recommend other teachers incorporate CLICK into their classes. We must be doing something right! They also affirmed that their students fully met the home course requirements through the CLICK collaboration.
The CLICK teachers' reasons clustered around benefits both for teachers and students.
In addition to wanting to continue with Virtual Exchange, teacher responses showed that CLICK is an investment whose benefits carry over after the project and beyond the participating class.
“[This was my] Second CLICK project. Great training and support from Gazelle International. I can't think of a better way to quickly connect like-minded teachers over the Atlantic. Students were thrilled to interact with partners. A great experience!” – IUT Nancy-Brabois
“This project has been such a great experience. I've been very lucky to have a great US partner. Working with Northern Essex Community College was so easy. This positive and open-minded state of mind has helped us a lot in carrying out our project until its end, with amazing involvement from the students in the two institutions.” – IUT Longwy
“I am looking forward to continued CLICKing! This first experience has had a few hurdles, but nothing that is insurmountable. “ – Tarrant County Community College
Teachers joined CLICK to expand their students’ global opportunities, and it worked!
Many respondents said that the best part of the CLICK experience was the students’ participation:
“Having all my students interacting in English for 90 minutes and between lessons with US students. Having students enjoying interacting in English.” – IUT Longwy
“Finding a link between American Lit 2nd years and 2nd year Master students in International Procurement, a real leap!” – IUT de Sceaux
“This experience was a wonderful way for my students to realize how different and enriching people from another culture can be. They were thrilled and I was too! Wonderful experience to be continued!” – IUT Nancy-Charlemagne
“I think the most significant success I experienced was the knowledge and experience students gained from this project. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I am constantly looking for ways to improve learning for students. This did it!” – University of North Alabama
“CLICKing is an innovative method our students can participate in to build cross-cultural collaborative skills as well as apply concepts to work place local and international interests. This can happen without the cost of travel and opens up the possibility to meet others in differing cultures and share ideas and experiences.” - Northern Essex Community College
“The students mentioned that their top challenge was the time difference, so to have succeeded in creating a final product collaboratively... is a huge success. There was success in having the more introverted students open up and work with their partners and in having our students to learn to ask each other questions and actually speak to each other. Our live meetings were loud!” – IUT Longwy
“I think I had a lot more interaction with my students and got to know them better. I think it introduced them to an exchange that we don't really have an opportunity for at present on our campus. I think they also saw that I was available to meet their needs as they arose and to problem solve as a team. “ – Tarrant County Community College
“All students, whatever their origins, were on an equal footing and got involved in their virtual exchange. In Longwy we've got many international students from Africa for example, and they've enjoyed getting involved in virtual exchange like any other local students. It's been inclusive and based on enriching each other.” – IUT Longwy
“One of my students participated in the international day presentations at IUT. Positive feedback from students who enjoyed working with their groups” – Jefferson State
“My students found it amazing that being multi-lingual is seen as an asset for students in France to have. Most of the French partners can communicate in at least three languages and some up to 4 or 5 languages. One student was feeling sad that they had not pursued learning at least one other language well.” – Northern Essex
A final word:
CLICKing teachers want to keep CLICKing and recommend that their colleagues start for their own benefit and that of their students.
“This kind of project can seem time consuming at first but it's so enriching for both the students and teachers that you quickly forget this downside. I'd advise any teacher to try it because the feedback is so positive.” – IUT Longwy
“Keep it up! The fact that you keep the project completion and presentation within the course team and not competing against other teams is a positive approach. At the end, facilitators and students may critique and celebrate their own accomplishments without being compared to others. Cross-cultural project building is difficult enough without being compared to others. Yes, there will always be competition in the marketplace, but students also need opportunities to learn skills prior to being thrown into the competitive arena.” – Hillsborough Community College