Cross-Cultural Comparison of Student Perceptions and Performance in a Multicultural, Interdisciplinary and Bilingual Online Educational Project

Cross-Cultural Comparison of Student Perceptions and Performance in a Multicultural, Interdisciplinary and Bilingual Online Educational Project

Manuel Cuadrado-Garcia (University of Valencia, Spain) and María-Eugenia Ruiz-Molina (University of Valencia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-074-7.ch018
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Abstract

Exchange agreements between universities and new technologies are influencing the education-learning process during the past few years. E-learning has become an educational tool with several applications and the main aim of facilitating student learning process and adapting it to the social and professional reality. In this study, the authors present an online project based on a multicultural, interdisciplinary, and bilingual collaboration developed between two European universities: the University of Valencia (Spain) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom) through the free access academic platform, Moodle. Additionally, the chapter examines the significant differences in student perceptions and performance and problems arising from cultural differences.
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Theoretical Framework

An increasingly number of European universities is offering courses taught in foreign languages, exposing students to teaching of several contents through the medium of a foreign language (Wilkinson, 2004). This approach has been named Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and is considered as a suitable way to improve students’ command of foreign languages without devoting too much time to their teaching. In addition to the benefits related to language skills, the CLIL is believed to help prepare students for internationalization, and to enhance students’ intercultural communicative competence (Coyle, 2008; Marsh, 2008).

In order to develop students’ communication skills it is crucial to create a classroom environment that enables students’ interactions. In this regard, peer-to-peer e-learning activities have proved to be more efficient, effective and satisfactory for students in comparison to alternative activities and/or environments (e.g. Rada, 1998; Chiu, 2007). In particular, it has been considered as an excellent vehicle for culture learning (Griffith, 2007; Müllering and Ritter, 2008) and cultural interchanges (O’Dowd, 2007).

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