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USING CANVAS DISCUSSIONS

TO FOSTER INTERCULTURAL
CONVERSATIONS
By Anne Tuominen, Lindsay Custer, Brandy Long
Senior Assoc. Faculty (Sociology), Full-time Faculty (Sociology), Asst. Director
of eLearning
Cascadia College

HOW to do this?
◦Through organized study abroad
◦Through engaging students’ private
experiences abroad
◦Through cross-cultural online
conversations, the COIL model
(Collaborative Online International
Learning):
◦Between students in two different
societies
◦Between domestic and international
students

Building a

Cross—
cultural
bridge

Collaboration
between
Japan
Women’s
University
and
Cascadia
College

Considerations for the cultural
online exchange
◦Use Canvas, since U.S. students already in a Canvas
course
◦Choose topic that was familiar to the Japanese
students as the discussion would be in English
◦Include opportunity to share both visual images and
discussion
◦Structure discussion points
◦Model the exchange exercise with the two professors

The conversation topic “Borrowing Cultural Symbols”

Structuring the assignment

Technological set-up
◦Create new section in US Canvas course
◦Manually add 113 foreign student names
and emails
◦SIS Import feature
◦Manual adjustments
◦Locking quizzes and sensitive course
items

Creating new accounts and
using SIS import

Two choices: how to add
the students to the
course

Canvas
course
roster, with
section for
Japanese
students

Hi everyone! I’m Lindsay Custer…in
Tokyo, Japan…..The Japanese have
borrowed many Western holidays
including Christmas, Halloween…

Professors model the
exchange

Hi Professor Custer and students…I’m Anne
Tuominen…at Cascadia College…What I see
in Prof. Custer’s selected images is a mixing
of cultural symbols….

Results
Participation:
◦4 active Japanese participants, out of 28
who ultimately accepted invitation to the
course (113 invitations sent)
◦16 out of 32 U.S. participants, including 2
International students
Problems:
◦Bugs/glitch: Non US native computers some
times have translation challenges in Canvas
where files don’t upload properly or lock
when uploading.
◦Files not in students’ accounts, so couldn’t
troubleshoot if it was Canvas or network
◦Time difference/linguistic differences created
challenges in mediating problems

Rich
exchanges,
despite the
numbers and
small
glitches

Hello, my name is Tina
*, U.S. STUDENT,
and I am a student at Cascadia
College…….I decided to use a photo that
recently came across my Facebook feed
(below). It is an appropriated by many
Americans in today' society. The…photo
is basically making fun of the fact that
Americans always get tattoos of Chinese
words or quotes, yet the Chinese culture
never gets tattoos of words or quotes in
English.
I thought this photo was interesting
because I had never thought of using it
as a reflection of appropriation in this
class, but I believe that it is fitting.
*pseudonyms used in student examples

Hi Kimberly, I’m Mariko Japanese student

Hi everybody, I’m Lisa,
U.S. student,
The picture I chose for
this was one of singer
Kesha wearing a
feathered headdress like
those of the Native
American culture would.
….[It] is being
appropriated in this
example through United
States pop culture.

Hi, I’m Yuki,
Japanese
student,
This is an
example of
Western style
wedding in
Japan…..

Hi, my name is Calvin, International
Student at U.S. institution….
….and I am majoring in bussiness transfer in Cascadia.
I really like your example. Honesty, I alwasy thought that pizza is
orginal from US. I was quite shock that the pizza was from Italy.
(italians alwasy made delicious food, no doubt.) …… I dont really
expect that the US pizza is just a bigger version of Italy pizza. it
more likely suit to be here. Everyone…accetped this type of food.
As same as many Asian restaurant, it is unfortunately that they
lost their orgenal taste, but they have second chance to live in
this land, serve….here, and amuse here. it is a great example,
and reminded my a lot!! Thanks for share.

What did our Bridge accomplish?
√An online cultural exchange using a tool available in
many institutions
√Increased access to cultural competency opportunities
for community college students and women’s university
students
√A lively exchange of images and discussion between
students across societies on a topic of sociological
importance
√An opportunity for International Students in U.S. to
participate in a conversation in English comfortably

Related Interests