This guide provides materials to help faculty develop assignments that strengthen cross-cultural skills through experiential learning activities inside and outside classroom.
Experiential learning activities can include, but are not limited to, globally-focused projects with students from another country or culture, study abroad, faculty-led trips to a foreign country, service learning activities with people from a different culture, online intercultural courses (COIL) and more.
These experiential learning activities can build a range of cross-cultural skills, such as cultural self-awareness, cultural worldview and knowledge, effective communications, and other skills. These skills are identified in a series of rubrics created by the American Association of Colleges Universities (AACU). A team of cross-cultural experts from across SUNY have combined the rubrics to create a super rubric that will be used as an assessment instrument. The rubrics contain definitions, as well as benchmarks for each skill.
This guide will provide examples to integrate reflections into your classrooms and experiential learning activities. Appropriately worded reflective assignments are crucial to assessing the attainment level of your chosen cross-cultural skills.
The following guide developed by UC Berkeley can be used to plan an Experiential Learning Activity for a course.
(How will the experiential learning be linked to course concepts?)
Tasks to Accomplish Objectives
(papers, reports, journals, presentations, etc)
(How will the student be evaluated? What does success look like?)
About Guided Reflections
To learn whether or not students have gained cross-cultural skills, you will need to ask the students to reflect on what they have learned from the experience/course. Reflections can ask the student to connect the experience to course content, readings, and to other outside experiences. Students should be asked to think critically about the experiences and examine how they have impacted them, their identity and their attitudes towards others. Reflections can be done as a group, though this format will make it difficult to assess the individual's’ attainment of one or more skills as their responses will be influenced by their peers.
When would you use the Cross Cultural Experiential Rubric
- To determine the level of cross-cultural skills in your class (could be done at the start, middle, or end of the course)
- To measure skills gained during the course/experience
- To help design and assess the effectiveness of activities/assignment for their ability to enhance cross-cultural competencies
- To develop a better pre-departure orientation for study abroad
- To enhance a faculty- led, overseas course that includes cross-cultural components
- To assess the effectiveness of different kinds of cross-cultural experiences
- To give faculty the ability to develop learning outcomes for cross-cultural experiential course, cross-cultural service learning, etc.
- To support strategic plans and accreditation plans that include cross-cultural competencies
- Identify which learning outcomes apply to the course/experience.
The Rubric contains a list of 8 skills, their definitions and a rubric for measuring skill alignment. Choose which skill(s) are relevant to your experiential learning activity(s), courses, and/or assignment.
- Create/adapt course assignments that align with specific skill (s) you
have identified. Add the skill to your course/assignment learning outcomes
Examine the wording of your assignment(s)/activity(s). Make sure that the students will be able to achieve the identified skill upon completing the activity(s). Often the activity itself, for example, a student interview with a person from another culture, is not witnessed by the faculty member. To ascertain whether the student has gained any cross-cultural skills from the experience, a reflection should accompany the activity.
The reflection activity should relate directly to the definitions of the rubric element for the learning outcome of the assignment or course. For example, consider the learning outcome of cultural self-awareness.
Your reflection activity could be the name game:
Sample Assignment: Name Game
Ask each student his/her name and then ask the following:
Why were you given that name?
Is it linked to another person in the family? how?
What are the naming conventions in your family? Is that convention related to your cultural background?
What does your name mean?
Do you like your name?
If you could rename yourself, would you do that?
Do you think your name affects the way people interact with you?
For other activities, see Activity Guide.