The World Wide Web and Cross-Cultural Teaching in Online Education (information science)


The increasing number of virtual universities and online training with a global reach indicates that the opportunities and demands for successful cross-cultural communication expand exponentially, and that instructional paradigms are shifting. Online and distance education is increasingly becoming part of traditional universities as well (Irele, 2005). In 1997, over 60% of all public institutions of higher learning in the U.S. offered distance education courses; by 2001, that number rose to 90% (IES, 1997; 2001). In Canada that number is currently estimated to be 85%a. An online teaching environment “goes beyond the replication of learning events that have traditionally occurred in the classroom and are now made available through the Internet”; it provides for different and new approaches to learning, and calls for “flexible teaching….that incorporates a variety of access opportunities as well as a variety of learning modes” (CATL, p. 1). Online teaching here refers to teaching that takes place in programs and courses that incorporate an online component such as WebCT, those that rely completely on WebCt and other similar applications to deliver course or program content, as well as courses offered internationally as part of institutions’ distance education degree programs. As online teaching is gaining prominence, educators are compelled to interact meaningfully with individuals from different cultures daily. These interactions demonstrate that teaching and learning are culturally-based processes and that instructional content and how it is experienced reflects the values and practices of a particular cultural group.

The new realities place new demands on educators’ knowledge and skills. The cross-cultural context of instruction poses a number of challenges associated with cross-cultural communication in general, such as different communication and decision-making styles, different approaches to task-completion, knowledge, disclosure, and different attitudes toward the learning situation in general. These challenges can lead to misinterpreting the intentions behind certain actions and behavior. In addition, teaching in an environment where many students possess knowledge that they do not, educators have to become collaborative designers, instructional planners, mentors and facilitators of learning, rather than transmitters of authoritative knowledge in a traditional sense. They need to acquire greater familiarity with different learning styles, as well as understand that many of the components determining the nature of learning styles and attitudes toward learning are culture-based (Chorney, 2007; Hao, 2004; Kim, 2001).

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the properties of the online environment in general are inherently suited to help educators reconceptualize their role and engage in constructive cross-cultural communication. This is due to the new technologies’ potential to enable collaborative teaching in an environment of diverse users and to support multiple learning styles. At the same time, the presence of collaborative technology itself does not guarantee that successful cross-cultural communication and learning will take place. The disembodied nature of online communication can sometimes add to the inherent challenges that accompany face-to-face cross-cultural communication.

Instructors who teach in cross-cultural contexts online will need to engage with the new technologies in a more purposeful way and apply that engagement to program design and teaching practice. They will need to devote some time to designing for interaction and collaboration in order to overcome common challenges in cross-cultural communication.

A more systematic study of the open-ended and interaction-enabling properties of the World Wide Web would help those who design for diversity in online educational environment. The open-ended and interactive nature of the World Wide Web, as the main platform for online cross-cultural teaching, can serve as a conceptual model to help teachers overcome common challenges in cross-cultural communication.


As e-learning is gaining prominence, and as distance education turns our world into a “global village”, compelling educators to interact meaningfully with individuals from different cultures daily, it is becoming clear that both learning and teaching and culturally-based processes, and that instructional design is not culturally neutral (Campbell, 2004; Chorney, 2007). Instructional content, and the way that content is experienced, reflects the values and practices of a particular cultural group—most commonly, English speaking western cultures. Unless greater care is taken, this situation can alienate a number of students.

Since all education is based on interaction and communication, and cultural differences are often at the root of communication challenges, educators’ ability to deal with those differences will determine largely how successful they are in practice. In cross-cultural contexts, teachers acknowledge that learners bring prior knowledge and experience to the learning environment. In these contexts, teachers can no longer see themselves as exclusive sources of knowledge. Rather, they need to see themselves as guides who facilitate the learners’ navigating through networks of existing meanings to create new ones. They need to encourage learners to make connections between previous and new knowledge, to integrate previous knowledge with new knowledge, and transfer it from one context to another. In the new paradigm, teachers teach “for transfer”, and embrace collaborative teaching.

Collaborative teaching rests on the assumption that learning is “more of a process than a product, in which internal meaning is made through the building and reshaping of personal knowledge through interaction with the world” (Campbell, 2004, p. 152). Collaborative teaching means engaging learners in the learning process and encouraging them through various activities to construct knowledge in a way that is meaningful to them. Teaching collaboratively means being willing to recognize and practice explicitly the reality that there is always more than one way to solve a problem, and more than one point of view in interpretation. Collaborative teaching is reflective, as it implies that instructors will be willing to reflect on their teaching, words, claims, and so on, on an ongoing basis, and be prepared to change their perspective at any given point if change is needed. The instructor who is committed to teaching collaboratively will be teaching students the nature and value of successful communication and collaboration by example.

Like the organization of materials on the WWW, this teaching model is inherently nonlinear, as it encourages the making of connections and identifying of differences among a multiplicity of perspectives on the same issue in no particular linear order. The collaborative model is based on flexible thinking, and is best achieved through the practice of so-called “transformative communication”. There are a number of indicators that transformative communication is happening. Among them are the following:

1. The student teaches the instructor something that he or she did not know before, either about the technology or about content.

2. More emphasis is placed upon finding support or backing for a position than on conforming to an authority.

3. Students participate in setting the agenda for the class by helping choose content, learning methods, or both.

4. Students are calling the instructor’s attention to valuable learning resources.

5. While the instructor helps establish expectations and articulates a clear assessment standard, the students collaboratively guide much of their own learning.

6. The instructor finds him or herself saving student work—not merely as examples of student work, but as content resources for future reference (cf. Sherry & Wilson, 1997).

This flexibility of approach relying on collaboration and learning as a process becomes crucial in the context of cross-cultural instruction. Individuals process information and approach learning in different ways, which results in different learning or “mind” styles. There are a number of different classifications concerning learning styles (cf. Gardner, 1983, 1993, 1999; Keefe, 1979). One such classification accounts for cognitive differences among learners according to two criteria: the way learners acquire information—though concrete experience or abstract conceptualizations; and according to how they internalize or process information—through active experimentation based on the method of scientific, deductive reasoning, or reflective observation (Kolb, 1984, 1985). Some learners prefer and appropriate knowledge and information offered through text, others through images and graphic representation. While most students have become proficient in interpreting text or print, only a portion of those students is actually composed of so-called “verbal learners,” those who prefer to learn from texts and lectures (Campbell, 2004, p. 178).

Individual responses to the learning situation will be influenced by the learners’ prior knowledge and the way they think of the individual’s past experience, and this, in turn, will depend in some definite measure upon each person’s background, including the individual’s culture. While models of cognition are not entirely predetermined, they are also shaped through social interaction (Helwig, 2005; Nations Johnson, 1993; Oishi, Hahn, Schimmack, Radhakrishan, Dzokoto & Ahadi, 2005; Smetana, 2002). Since individual development is mediated by social interaction in a culture-specific, historical setting, and since culture influences one’s cognitive processes, including the attitudes governing the assimilation of information, there is common ground on which culture and its impact on cognition can be studied (Abi-Nader, 1999; Neff & Helwig, 2002). The relationships between learning styles and cultural backgrounds are therefore strong and complex (Hao, 2004; Kim, 2001).

The nature of this relationship and its implication for cross-cultural education can be understood in the context of the often cited differences among cultures and the attitude those differences shape. There are a number of ways according to which cultural differences have been conceptualized (cf. McCutcheon, 1993). One recent model interprets the differences in terms of a “global learning style,” associated with Japanese learners, vs. an “analytical learning style,” associated with learners from Europe, NorthAmerica, Australia, and New Zealand (Ito, 2002). Japanese students, who are seen as exemplifying the “global learning style” are generally image-oriented, cooperative, learn by experience, depend on insight and intuition, prefer indirect expressions, value the subjective, and avoid standing out. On the other hand, learners associated with the “analytical learning style” generally learn by reasoning; they compete, assert themselves, value the objective, are text oriented, and prefer direct expressions (Ibid.).

What is clear is that attitudes toward learning are built into the education system, and that as difficult as they are to systematize, they will influence the learners’ own approaches to learning and knowing. In turn, this is likely to result in different communication styles, different attitudes toward task completion, disclosure, assertiveness, and so forth. However, it is very important that these classifications, like any other attempt at systematizing human thought and behavior, are understood in a broad, nonrestrictive sense. Individual characteristics will always vary and overlap and no single model can completely define any one person.

Although we can and should continuously strive to learn as much as we can about the values and assumptions of different cultures, we can never hope to learn everything there is to learn about all cultures. The issue, here, therefore, is not so much about learning cultural content, as much as it is about learning a method of approaching and dealing with cultural differences in general. Since we tend to design “from our own experience and based on our own needs and values” (Ito, 2005), educators who teach online and in a cross-cultural context need to reflect on the diversity among the students they teach, and the implications of diversity for the course and program design. The activity in which knowledge is developed and used is neither separable not ancillary to what is learned, but an integral part of it, as both learning and cognition are fundamentally situated and embedded in the context in which they take part (Seely Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1998). Teaching and learning, in both content and methodology, are interdependent processes, just as activity, concept, culture, and affect and cognition are interdependent and inextricably linked (cf. Seely Brown et al., 1989).

Due to these realities, educators need to reflect on their own cultural and pedagogical assumptions. Seeing that our own culture provides the lens though which we see ourselves and others in the world, it is of paramount importance to reflect purposefully and specifically on the values and experiences that have shaped our own pedagogical approach. This kind of reflection with the purpose of attaining greater understanding of ourselves as members of a particular culture will aid in instructional planning and design in a cross-cultural context, and lead to the practice of collaborative teaching. This approach is of crucial relevance in cross-cultural communication where the existence of multiple perspectives will be the beginning point of interaction.

Although it may seem that the instructor who teaches collaboratively teaches only method and not content, this is not the case. This practice, on the one hand, demonstrates the teacher’s engagement with his or her discipline or subject, which is an active process and the basis of good scholarship. On the other hand, it enables students to develop a composite understanding of the subject matter and understand the connections that exist between different approaches. It shows students the “the legitimacy of their implicit knowledge”; it stresses that “heuristics are not absolute but assessed with respect to particular tasks” and thus always situated. It also helps students to “generate their own solution paths.. .making them conscious, creative members” in the process of knowledge creation (Seely Brown et al., 1989, p. 40).

As a conceptual model and a platform where most online education takes place, the World Wide Web offers unprecedented opportunities for instructors to accommodate preferences relating to different learning or “mind” styles, different models of acquiring and processing information, and different ways of creating knowledge.


The nature of the online environment can support the features of active and collaborative teaching and the reconceptualization of the teacher’s role. The World Wide Web is a “universe of network-accessible information” (W3C, 2001). Through the use of hypertext, multimedia techniques and Web 2.0 applications, “the web is easy for anyone to roam, browse and contribute.” Examples of Web 2.0 applications, such as Wiki projects, refer to collaborative computer software used to create collaborative websites that now provide an infrastructure for an even more dynamic user participation, social interaction and collaboration, and demonstrate the direction of future knowledge creation and dissemination. As a concept, the WWW thus represents a “seamless world in which all information, from any source can be accessed” and connected though links (Ibid.).

As a conceptual model, the WWW demonstrates the coexistence of and interrelationships between multiple and apparently contradictory perspectives on a single issue. It is a good example of a “space” allowing for various “narratives”, and “knowledges” to circulate, and to be added to existing collections and systems of meaning (cf. Seely Brown et al.,1989, p. 39). The WWW exemplifies that there is not only one kind of valid knowledge that can be viewed as absolute and universally applicable. It shows instead that there are various kinds of knowledges, situated within various communities of knowing, each operating according toparticular cultural dynamics, yet sharing in universal issues that affect us all. When applied to the educational context, these properties also point toward a collaborative model of instruction, suitable for a culturally diverse student body.

Collaborative teaching practices are in many ways exemplified by the open-ended structure and nonlinearity of the Web, which has great potential to support communication across and among diverse communities of knowers (Campbell, 2004). The diversity of materials found on the Web and their coalescence is similar to the diversity of perspectives and knowledges that coalesce within a cross-cultural community of learners. Like collaborative teaching and learning, the loose organization of the World Wide Web demonstrates the coexistence of multiple and apparently contradictory perspectives on a single issue. One Google keyword search will retrieve hundreds of documents linked by one single term, but applied in a variety of contexts. This characteristic of the Web environment, just like collaborative and cooperative teaching, emphasizes the importance of individual contexts to which a single concept can be applied productively. In the fluid online environment, supported by teaching that is social and interactive, learners no longer rely on a situation where the instructor provides a single learning context and suggests the desired connections among the offered concepts. They are encouraged to generate connections between problems and solutions, and apply the findings in a transformative way to a variety of contexts meaningful to them.

The Web, as a platform in which collaborative teaching can happen, is open, flexible, multimodal, and networked, and as such it provides “the richest opportunity to date to bring the elements of active learning together” (Campbell, 2004, p. 154). It resists systematization in a traditional sense, it allows for multimodal teaching and learning, and it accommodates multiple ‘literacies’ and learning styles. The non-linear and interactive multimedia capacity inherent in the Web and forms of CMC can present knowledge and information in ways that combine orality, literacy and “videocy” (Ulmer, 1989, p. vii). In this way, CMC and the properties of the World Wide Web can support the complex range of learning needs, characteristics and preferences. Web-based communication tools such as email, relay-chat, forums, and synchronous (i.e., realtime) conferencing are seen as potentially enabling dialogue. In turn, dialogue encourages critical thinking and cooperative learning, and enhances opportunities for “generative learning, wider diversity of ideas, most reflective thinking, and increased creative responses” (Oliver, Omari & Herrington, 1998). The hypermedia most effectively support tasks and forms of interaction requiring high-level reasoning, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking (Nunes & Fowell, 1996; Ryser, Beeler & McKenzie, 1995).

Forms of online teaching and learning relying on CMC, in general, have been termed “collaborative technologies” since they have an inherent affinity with definitions oflearning emphasizing social, interpersonal, and collaborative interaction. Even simple, text-based CMC “equalizes the participants to the extent that everyone, regardless of gender, race, authority, age, etc., is limited to exchanging texts” (Markham, 1998, p. 155). There are factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as economic status or individual facility with manipulating texts in CMC, as they may affect the potential equality of participants (Mason, 2002). It is clear, however, that new models of communication enabled by the WWW lead to breaking down, or at least diminishing the distinction between ” private and public writing” (Bolter, 1991, p. 102), and thus potentially create a space for constructive communicative intimacy. This trait is valuable in cross-cultural CMC where the onus is on the instructor to create a sense of trust and open-mindedness in an inclusive and culturally diverse learning community. The potential of the Web to support collaborative teaching, multiple learning styles, and to foster critical thinking is especially important for cross-cultural teaching where the diversity of learning styles is matched and often conditioned by diversity in cultural perspectives.

The nonlinearity of the presentation of materials and ides on the World Wide Web is a useful conceptual and philosophical model for collaborative, cooperative teaching and learning. The nature of the presentation of material and ideas on the WWW encourages active, intentional involvement on the part of learners, as there is no longer one “solution” or a single “interpretation,” but a variety, all situated within their own context and knowledge. Due to its multimedia capacity, online communication and the WWW facilitate the use of tools promoting connectivity, transfer, the seeking of interrelationships among texts and/or audio-visual materials. They enable the creation of various interpretive contexts in instruction, relevant given the cultural differences in learning and communication styles. The nonlinearity of the Web models scaffolding as a way of grouping materials; it promotes the idea that conceptual knowledge cannot be separated from the contexts in which it is represented, as well as that learning works best when it is situated in the individual learner’s implicit knowledge.

There are a number of practical issues that instructors who teach collaboratively in cross-cultural contexts in online education could consider in order to utilize the conceptual potential of the WWW. What follows are some issues arising from the ideas presented:

1. Success in communication depends on the context of reception: The outcome and success of communication in general is largely dependent on the context of reception. In face-to-face interaction, body language allows interlocutors to interpret meaning that may not be present in verbal content. This context is mostly absent in online communication. With cross-cultural communication in particular, educators should be awarethat “cultures vary in what they consider humor and taboo, which may give rise to misinterpretation and resentment, and that speed of delivery .as well as turn-taking should be respected, as much as the rules for entering conversations in progress” (Zeinstejer, 2002). In addition to using emoticons to reveal the intention in which a statement is made and the hoped-for response, a good way of dealing with potential ambiguity would be to acknowledge openly at the beginning of the learning unit that language, as a communicative tool, is embedded in a number of culture-specific uses, and as such, it can be ambiguousb.

2. Design for interaction and collaboration by gaining a clear sense of “audience”: In order to avoid some of the common challenges that accompany cross-cultural communication, instructors could ask participants to fill out a “pre-course” questionnaire. In designing the questionnaire, the instructor may consider how to obtain answers to questions such as: Who are the learners? What is their attitude toward interaction? What do they need or want to learn? In what contexts will the learning be applied? What do they already know?

3. Organize material in a nonlinear, open-ended format and provide opportunities for learning in context: Part of the interaction and the structuring of materials should be done in the form of scaffolding, which is a nonlinear, open-ended way of organizing data and enabling learners to adopt the suggested material in a way that allows them to apply it to their own needs, values and contexts. Scaffolding also enables learning in context in that it encourages “continuous sorting and sifting as part of a ‘puzzling’ process—the combining of new information with previous understanding to construct new ones” (McKenzie, 1999). Open-endedness of approach can be also encouraged by involving students at all level of instruction in “the choice of content, method, medium, reward, assistance, feedback, quantity, pacing, sequencing, or difficulty of instruction” (Sutton, 2004, p. 34), and by creating opportunities for group-learning.

4. Set clear and explicit expectations for online behavior and communication: Because of different cultural attitudes toward communication and participation in a group, it will be the instructor’s role at the beginning of the learning unit to express general expectations for online behavior and communication. These expectations should be explicit about removing language that appears to stereotype learners and reducing the violations of cultural rules during discussions (Zein-stejer, 2002). The instructor may model continuously the idea that many of the beliefs we take for granted are in fact culturally determined, and that successful communication is based on an honest, benevolent and non-judgmental approach to cross-cultural differences.

5. Provide opportunities for different kinds of online interaction: Collaborative interaction occurs when learners have the opportunity to engage in activities enabling individual learning, learning done in pairs or through email (one-to-one), through the use of a bulletin board (one-to-many), and the use of computer conferencing techniques (many-to-many) (Hao, 2004, p. 25). The variety of interactions will successfully address the variety of different learning styles, as well as the students’ culturally-determined approaches to communication and to knowing.

6. Asynchronous communication is preferable for online learning: Asynchronous communication—enabled by tools such as discussion and bulletin boards, blogs, messaging, surveys and polls—provides opportunities for active input from all members of the learning community with flexibility in time and place, so learners have greater control over the learning environment (Carr, 1998; Graham, Scarborough & Goodwin, 1999; Hao, 2005), as well as an opportunity for “vicarious interaction”. Vicarious interaction takes place when a student actively observes and processes both sides of interaction between another student and instructor. This type of interaction is of special value in cross-cultural education as it promotes indirectly, but through conversational situations, awareness and understanding of the issues involved in cross-cultural communication (Chorney, 2007). Synchronous or “realtime” interaction enabled by tools such as Web, audio or video conferencing, chatting, instant messaging and white boarding, is a good supplement to the asynchronous delivery medium (Hao, 2004).

7. The evaluation scheme should be varied and flexible: When knowledge is understood as an active, flexible process of “meaning negotiation” in which multiple ways of arriving at different “knowledges” exist, are validated and lead to the same learning goals, the nature and design of student evaluation shifts. In a cross-cultural educational context, content itself may be redefined from emphasizing the gathering and arrangement of factual information in traditional academic formats, to emphasizing various aspects of the research process resulting in a variety of nontraditional formats that can be evaluated with equal academic rigor. Content can be information, as well interpretation of information by experts, novices or students. It can be in the form of research reports generated individually or with a partner/group, arguments, journalistic accounts, and essays represented through text, graphics or any other multimedia format. Similarly, in addition to the instructor, peers can provide feedback.

These practical approaches can help instructors create online learning environments that are inclusive, and that demonstrate the dynamic of successful cross-cultural communication in an educational context using the potential offered by the WWW and CMC.


The long-term value of the collaborative approach in cross-cultural teaching contexts can be seen in the correlation between dominant media and cultural practices, including education. Whereas traditional ” mass education tended to see life in a linear fashion based on print models and developed pedagogies which broke experience into discrete moments and behavioral bits,” new critical pedagogies enabled through the online medium could produce “skills that enable individuals to better navigate the multiple realms and challenges of contemporary life” (Kellner, n.d., p. 9).

A more systematic study of the ways diverse information can be linked and presented on the WWW can take us one step further toward revisioning the goals of education in the 21st century. Most important for the future, further study of collaborative online education in relation to cross-cultural contexts has the potential to provide concrete answers to the call for meaningful reform of higher education (cf. Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002). Technology and international distance education are already an undeniable presence and a growing trend in higher education. The student body increasingly reflects an extraordinarily diverse array of cultural backgrounds. These facts place an increasing need on institutions and instructors to develop new approaches to educational quality in a way that would serve meaningfully the needs of contemporary students who live in complex, technologized and interconnected world.

Modeling collaborative teaching practices on the WWW may promote the forms of learning needed for the 21st century, as they have been identified by the “Greater Expectations National Panel Report” (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002). Taking into consideration that the intellectual and practical skills today’s students need are extensive, sophisticated and expanding with the explosion of new technologies, and the changes they have brought to education, cross-cultural collaborative teaching in the online environment will help students become “intentional learners”. Intentional learners are those who can “adapt to new environments,” who can integrate different kinds of knowledge from a variety of sources, who can “demonstrate intellectual agility and the ability to manage change,” and who have the skills to engage in a meaningful dialogue and deal with the interrelations within and among global and cross-cultural communities (adapted from the recommendations of the National Panel Report, pp. xi-xii). Futureresearch may investigate whether systematization of training in cross-cultural communication and collaboration in a variety of contexts, including online education, would help alleviate many of the crises in cross-cultural communication we face today.


As a concept, the WWW can illustrate many of the philosophical aspects that should accompany successful cross-cultural communication. Many of the practices associated with collaborative teaching and not new and are being used by many instructors in any classroom. However, the increase in online educational programs compels us to thoroughly examine pedagogical practices and the goals of teaching in an increasingly interconnected global world. These new educational trends encourage us to explore and apply systematically certain teaching practices that can improve the quality of cross-cultural education, especially when delivered by monocultural teachers.

Intentional assessment of the nature the World Wide Web in its potential to enable successful cross-cultural communication in online education can result in the development of pedagogical strategies suited to contemporary realities and the needs of contemporary students (cf. Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002). The changes will ensure a decrease of instances where many cultural groups feel excluded from e-learning opportunities because the instructional content and the nature of the interaction is not culturally inclusive (cf. Campbell, 2004).

The online environment, usually synonymous with the World Wide Web, can be used as a tool and a model to encourage cross-cultural interactivity and to support forms of open-ended, collaborative teaching techniques. The structural flexibility that is the hallmark of this kind of instruction is similar to the structural flexibility and conceptual “open-endedness” of the Web. The multiplicity of perspectives represented on the Web and their coexistence could remind us that being exposed to and learning to see the world from another’s point of view is a process ofcognitive and social growth that can deepen our understanding of ourselves and others.


Analytical Learning Style: (In contrast to global learning style); According to one classification, a style of learning associated with students from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and with being text -oriented and competitive, asserting oneself, learning by reasoning, preferring direct expressions, and valuing the rational and objective.

Collaborative Teaching: “Open-ended” teaching practice according to which learning is a process achieved through social and interpersonal interaction. It demonstrates the coexistence of multiple and often contradictory perspectives on the same issue; it encourages the discovery of connections among those perspectives, and emphasizes the importance of individual contexts to which new concepts can be applied productively.

Collaborative Technologies: Technologies enabling computer-mediated communication (CMC) have been termed “collaborative” because of their inherent affinity with definitions of learning emphasizing social, interpersonal, and collaborative interaction.

Cross-Cultural Communication: Communication between members of different cultures through which each member’s values and patterns of thinking, communication and behavior are often revealed as contrasting the values,patterns of thinking, communication, and behavior of the other.

Culture: Sets of social relationships, values, patterns of thinking, communicating and behaving that reflect ideas and actions established and accepted by one group of people as habitual, appropriate, or traditional.

Global Learning Style: (In contrast to analytical learning style); According to one classification, a style of learning associated with Japanese students, and with being image-oriented and cooperative, avoiding standing out, depending on insight and intuition, learning by experience, preferring indirect expressions, and valuing the subjective.

Intentional Learners: Model learners of the 21st century, as identified in the Association of American Colleges and Universities Report (2002). They are those who can adapt to new environments, engage in meaningful dialogue, integrate different kinds of knowledge from different sources, demonstrate intellectual agility, and the ability to deal successfully with interrelations within and among global and cross-cultural communities.

Learning Styles: a broad, nonrestrictive combination of cognitive, affective and physiological factors influencing how a learner perceives, interacts and responds to the learning environment.

Transformative Communication: The model of communication between students and instructor through which collaborative teaching happens. It emphasizes the instructor’s willingness to learn from students while helping to establish expectations and clear assessment standards.

Vicarious Interaction: Indirect kind of interaction that takes place when a student actively observes and processes both sides of interaction between two other students or between another student and instructor.

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