Professors Dr. Munazza Ambreen (AIOU) and Dr. Jason Laker (SJSU) partnered up in fall 2014 to plan for a joint project between their spring 2015 classes. Their COIL project COIL Gender and Emotional Intelligence includes two live videoconferences in March-April, one-on-one video chats between students from both universities, and a written reflection assignment. Classes’ first video conference took place on Monday March 30, 2015 at 8:30 pm PST (9:00 am in Pakistan). The conference featured student introductions, an activity briefed by Dr. Laker, and his short lecture on men, masculinity, and disability.Students were visibly excited to meet each other, and their comments testify of human curiosity and the value of this intercultural exchange:
A joint session was conducted between Dr. Laker & his class with our class. I joined the class during the session.This was the very first experience to take a lecture on Skype. It was very interesting for me because it is very informative. Dr. Laker’s style of teaching is very friendly, and I learned from that session. Our fellows were taking keen interest in this session. It seemed multicultural classroom, and students of both cultures come close and remove the gap of misconception. This interaction was very remarkable and fruitful. I leaned and enjoyed the session. Thanks.
— (AIOU student)
I hope that you will be safe and sound as well as your family. I am very thankful for too much cooperation during the online Conference. I have learned a lot of things from you, and in fact, it is wonderful contribution of you peoples. I am rarely so much impressed from you people and family like environment. We are fortunate to have such wonderful, thoughtful friends.
— (AIOU student)
The activity which was carried out last Tuesday was first time observed by me in my life regarding the improvement in education. As man is a social animal and ultimately he adjusts himself in every environment with its natural instinct. After observing this kind of inter cultural activity, the misconception about so many factors have been removed. The overall participation on both ends was highly remarkable, which means that we as a human being are more adaptable. This kind of activity should be in the future also.
— (AIOU Student)
It was an amazing conference. Believe me, it was my first experience and I enjoyed very much. We interchanged classroom culture and shared our views. It was also interesting to bridge the gap between two different cultures. Both classrooms were not too different. It was the best use of technology that I was feeling: we are all sitting together and discussing with each other. Madam, it was an amazing activity with your endeavors and Dr. Jason Laker showed his cooperation.
— (AIOU students)
I was reminded that although there are obvious & nuanced differences between people, at the core we are the same. For example our families are often the center of our lives. One Pakistani student shared that he learned from an early age that he would be responsible for his own family and for his parents. Many men in the U.S. are also taught that they will be responsible for their family. One nuanced difference is that we expect parents to support themselves into their elder years because we see dependence as being a burden.
Being able to speak with people thousand miles away it is so amazing. I never thought in my life I will talk to people in Pakistan. I really got to see how they view education. They were very polite and seem to be very interested. Being able to see and talk to those students in Pakistan validated that education to them is a privilege. They take it very serious and well respect the educators like you and their professor.
— (SJSU student)
The partnership with students from Pakistan has been a wonderful and memorable experience. As a future counselor, this Skype session has taught me that I have to be culturally competent and respectful to people from all over the world. One thing I noticed is that students from Pakistan were being very respectful by introducing each other and sharing their educational experience as future educators. This event has taught me that I have to be equally respectful and professional as my fellow peers in Pakistan.
With this small glimpse, I was struck by the level of preparation and respect the class had for the project. I learned that they are serious about developing strategies in education and eager to learn. I am looking forward to learning more about and from this dedicated group of students.
— (SJSU student)
Classes’ next videoconference will take place on Monday April 6th at 8:30 pm PST.
For more information we invite you to take a look at a short video from AIOU showcasing their perspective of the COIL exercise:
by Minna Holopainen, Professor of Communication Studies, San Jose State University