Spanning Physical, Cultural and Discipline Boundaries Through International Digital Collaboration

Conference: The IAFOR International Conference on Education in Hawaii (IICE2023)
Title: Spanning Physical, Cultural and Discipline Boundaries Through International Digital Collaboration
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Helen Cripps, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Thomas Mejtoft, Umea University, Sweden
Melissa Fong-Emmerson, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Claire Lambert, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Christopher Blöcker, Umea University, Sweden


As Intercultural, interdisciplinary, and international skills are now a requirement in higher education, a collaboration between marketing students at Edith Cowan University (ECU), Australia, and engineering students at Umeå University (UmU), Sweden, commenced in 2017. This collaboration enables students to participate in an international cross-discipline business simulation, where students from both institutions collaborate on a development project focusing on the design process with interlinked assessments and the outcome being apps designed for an Australian market. By students identifying business problems to be solved that the prototyped app can address, facilitates open communication, dynamic idea exchange and joint ownership of the project as the two student groups address the assessment brief. The seven iterations of the collaboration have been evaluated through student surveys, focus groups, and interviews, which has resulted in continuous improvement of the collaboration. Data collected show enriched learning experiences focusing on professional skills through their collaboration across borders and disciplines and developing their sense of self-efficacy in cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills.

Building on the experience gained from the ECU-UmU collaboration, a series of virtual study tours was conducted to provide internationalised learning experiences for students who are constrained due to finances, home/work commitments, and travel restrictions. The tours use a variety of digital tools to ‘visit’ global experts with ECU students collaborating with Sri Lankan students on assessments relating to global business challenges. In both these projects digital platforms create vibrant cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary asynchronous learning experiences regardless of student’s location or professional or private commitments.

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