Does My Country’s Social Media Work for You? A Virtual Team Project with an International Twist

Susan Luck, Stephanie Swartz, Belem Barbosa, Isabella Crawford

Abstract


According to a 2017 study by Forbes, Inc., in 2016, 500 companies earned roughly two-thirds of GDP in the US and 37% of the world’s GDP-- nearly $28 trillion in revenues and over $1.5 trillion in profits.
The world’s businesses are just that: world businesses. And to compete and be successful in these world businesses, no matter at what level of employment, employees need intercultural communication competency skills. The days of being fairly confident that employees within a division will share one’s culture are over. Without employees who have the ability to understand and work within the framework of each other’s cultural communication, those world businesses will falter.
However, although universities are placing an increasing emphasis on providing theoretical education in intercultural competence, studies from the workplace show that this increase in emphasis has not yielded desired results. In fact, the U.S. National Association of Colleges and Employers 2018 Jobs Outlook Survey found, among other results, that the percentage of graduating seniors and young employees who believed that they were proficient in global/intercultural fluency was much higher than the percentage view of employers (Bauer-Wolff, 2018). As both teachers and researchers, the authors believe that part of the disconnect lies in the difference between learning about intercultural differences and actually experiencing those differences.
In an effort to promote intercultural competency in students despite the constraints that might prevent them from studying abroad, university instructors are bringing the world into the classroom through collaborative online international learning (COIL) (SUNY Center for COIL, 2010). International virtual team projects bring students into direct contact with counterparts across the globe and simulate real-life international project experiences. In globally networked learning environments (GNLEs), students are encouraged to apply theoretical knowledge to actual intercultural interactions (Starke-Meyerring, 2010).


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Copyright (c) 2019 Susan Luck, Stephanie Swartz, Belem Barbosa, Isabella Crawford

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