For many instructors, 2020 brought a need to transition from face-to-face to remote learning and adjustments to teaching strategies. Student intercultural competence (IC) development is one way universities can prepare agricultural students for diverse workforce settings. In 2019, we embedded IC development as a student learning outcome for an introduction to animal agriculture course. Through the course, we demonstrated student IC growth as a result of intercultural learning (ICL) assignments, with many students, however, reporting that they did not see the value or connection to the assignments. In Fall 2020, the course transitioned to remote delivery, creating a challenge to incorporating intercultural learning opportunities. The objective of the study was to measure changes in student IC before and after participating in the remote course with ICL assignments embedded into animal science topics. Students (n=161) were assigned to an intervention (n=93) or control (n=68) group based on their randomly selected laboratory period. Students in the intervention group received five ICL assignments focused on global animal agriculture while students in the control group received five unrelated reflection assignments. A pre- and post-course Intercultural Development Inventory was administered to all students (response rate=88.2%). Students in the intervention group had a greater increase in IC compared with the students in the control group (p< 0.01). Positive responses from an end of the semester focus group indicated that students felt the ICL were relevant and interesting. Taken together, these results indicate that embedding ICL assignments into online curricula can foster the development of student IC.
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
Wickenhauser, J., Ebner, P., Flaherty, E., Karcher, E. L. (2021). Remote learning and intercultural competence: Fostering student skill development during a global pandemic. HubICL Research Repository. https://hubicl.org/publications/139/3