Living in a digital world: Enhancing students’ intercultural awareness through global research projects

 

This initiative, part of the ‘Living in a Digital World’module, was designed to give students chance to undertake professional research projects within global contexts, thereby enhancing their intercultural aware- ness as well as employability skills.

 

Link to Education Strategy Pillars

  • Intercultural and international engagement
  • Embedded employability
  • Research inspired teaching

Aims

The module team devisedinternational field trips in which students could undertake original research projects. This enabled students to take responsibility for their own learning, and to collaborate with each other in a professional context. Students also gained the opportunity to increase their intercultural awareness and international experience, as well as showcasing their work to a global audience.

Students undertook projects in a range of European destinations including Milan, Oslo, Belgrade, Tallinn, Magaluf and Bilbao. Projects focused on topics such as‘the tribe’ in Magaluf’s night-time economy, and the Scandinavian dream of the ‘equitable society’.

Upon return to Coventry, students participated in aprofessional academic conference to showcase their skills. At the conference, students engaged with the wid- er world via social media platforms and live streaming, again on a global scale. The conference coincided with the end of the students’ course, acting as a bridge between their university and professional careers. Numerous media outputs were produced as a result of the project. Building on their original experience, some students were inspired to undertake a follow on project. This included collaborations with media industries in Serbia and further international conference presentations, as documented on YouTube.

Impact

  • The project enhanced the department’s open media ethos, and its global nature raised CU’s international profile.
  • All of these benefits led to the project being awarded a Cov- entry University Staff Excellence Award for International Initiative.

Student Feedback

“Living in a Digital World really enhanced my learning as it gave me the opportunity to gain deeper insight into other cultures. It also gave us the chance to put the theory we had learned throughout the course into practice.”

 

“The module completely embodied the reasons why I decided to study [the course]. [...] This module not only directly supported my learning in a practical sense, but has also given me the unique opportunity to expand my networks overseas.”

 

Top Tips

  • Students can gain a wealth of professional skillsthrough conducting, and presenting, original research projects.
  • International field trips support the development ofglobal graduates and increase intercultural awareness.