Title

Raising Cultural Awareness in Undergraduate Students through an Online Pen Pal Program

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

With society becoming increasingly global, it is more imperative than ever that students develop cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills. However, studies have found a lack of cultural communication in the United States (Matthews & Thakkar, 2012), especially within states such as Montana, which has a population that is 89 percent Caucasian, where students’ opportunities to develop these abilities are much more limited. This research project focused on the creation of an international pen pal program to assess whether letter exchanges between individuals from different cultural backgrounds could increase cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills in college students. Participants for this study were randomly assigned into an experimental group and a control group using wait-list control group methodology. Both groups completed an online pre-test, with the students in the experimental group going on to complete a three-week correspondence with an international student through an online Moodle platform. After three weeks both the control and experimental groups completed a post-test, which evaluated whether the program had any effect on students’ cultural awareness. In order to allow both groups an opportunity to participate in the program, after the post-test was completed the initial control group then completed their own three-week correspondence with international students. Results of the pre-test and post-test will be analyzed and shared with the course instructor. If the intervention is effective, the instructor will consider incorporating the assignment into the course curriculum.

Category

Interdisciplinary (GLI)

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Apr 28th, 2:00 PM Apr 28th, 2:20 PM

Raising Cultural Awareness in Undergraduate Students through an Online Pen Pal Program

UC North Ballroom

With society becoming increasingly global, it is more imperative than ever that students develop cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills. However, studies have found a lack of cultural communication in the United States (Matthews & Thakkar, 2012), especially within states such as Montana, which has a population that is 89 percent Caucasian, where students’ opportunities to develop these abilities are much more limited. This research project focused on the creation of an international pen pal program to assess whether letter exchanges between individuals from different cultural backgrounds could increase cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills in college students. Participants for this study were randomly assigned into an experimental group and a control group using wait-list control group methodology. Both groups completed an online pre-test, with the students in the experimental group going on to complete a three-week correspondence with an international student through an online Moodle platform. After three weeks both the control and experimental groups completed a post-test, which evaluated whether the program had any effect on students’ cultural awareness. In order to allow both groups an opportunity to participate in the program, after the post-test was completed the initial control group then completed their own three-week correspondence with international students. Results of the pre-test and post-test will be analyzed and shared with the course instructor. If the intervention is effective, the instructor will consider incorporating the assignment into the course curriculum.