Using Email as a Cultural Bridge in the Learning Process for Transnational Students

Using Email as a Cultural Bridge in the Learning Process for Transnational Students

Sandra Wilson Smith (Rowan University and Union College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-779-4.ch014
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Abstract

Today many American composition and rhetoric courses are theme-based and have an embedded focus on social, political, and/or popular cultural issues. This kind of course can be especially challenging for transnational students who are less conversant with this cultural information than many of their native-born peers. In these classes, writing assignments that incorporate interviewing as a part of the information gathering process often allow transnational students to build a kind of cultural bridge between their native country and the U.S. Email can be used to help facilitate this process. What the author focuses on in this case is how email discussion can be incorporated organically into a learning/writing task, and how this discussion can be student-framed. The fact that the students initiate the email communication of their own volition taps into the positive qualities that computer-mediated communication (CMC) has. The students are empowered to act autonomously and construct their own learning activity.

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