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Project 1: Online Intercultural Exchange (OIE)

As part of my exploration of the use of web-based technologies, I set about exploring how an OIE could be incorporated into a DE learning process.  I approached Action Lesotho, an Irish humanitarian NGO working in Lesotho in southern Africa.  Having gained consent from the local coordinator, and staff, and after initial private one to one skype interviews, we agreed to run an online course for staff and other professionals in the local area on Community Intervention Management (Appendix 2 – course outline). Local facilities were provided and Lesotho participants attended a real-time online class twice a month.  To recruit UCC students I attended a non-accredited course on Global Citizenship, which was open to all students and advertised the project through UCC’s student email system. Six UCC students attended the online exchange with nine in Lesotho.  I also invited three participants living in Canada, the UK and France whom I had met at intercultural training courses.  ORLA? All signed consent forms. I developed the online infrastructure on my website, using the Learning Management System, Sensei, a WordPress plugin.  I wrote and recorded lessons and added audio-visual material.  I set up Buddy Press, another plugin, which enabled an online discussion forum.  The ten online workshops took place twice a month in real-time with the Lesotho participants and were also recorded. Other students listened online and the discussion forum became a rich source of narrative analysis. The participants in Lesotho asked for written assignments to improve their English.  To gather data, I used the initial in-depth interviews with each participant (Appendix 2), an online group evaluation interview at the end, forum discussions (Appendix 2), planning session (Appendix 2) and ‘field notes’ written after each class.  The ‘key participant’ I focused on for this project is called ‘Andy’ (not his real name).  Andy also took part in other projects as described below.  He was an international student from the U.S. studying for his masters in International Relations at the School of History UCC.

tion Lesotho, an NGO based in Lesotho and Ireland and UCC Students.

Online training in community intervention management and intercultural communications with community leaders in Lesotho and UCC students.

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