This module is quite different from the others in three ways. First, the materials are generated by the students themselves rather than by the instructors. Second, the images will vary from year to year since the students themselves decide what topics they want to illustrate. Third, the work done by the students can span an extended period of time throughout the semester, as opposed to the other modules which constitute specific units to be analyzed for two or three weeks.
To add a visual dimension to the materials under study.
To discover how to communicate their own culture with images.
To compare their respective cultural realities and reflect about the meaning and impact of visual information.
The content will be determined by the students’ choices. They will choose their own topics and what visual materials they will upload (these can be photographs they take themselves, scanned materials, or videos gleaned from the internet).
It is always good to provide students with initial ideas. These images can be used to, for instance:
- Document or clarify the meaning of a word or a reality in their own culture. These visuals would make the respective cultural realities behind those words immediately visible.
- Demonstrate a concept or illustrate a particular aspect of their own lives (campus life; what, where, and when they eat; a daily schedule).
- Show how specific products are advertised in their own culture. Students could choose advertisements for products and compare how those products are presented in their respective cultures.
As a teacher, it is up to you to judge the appropriateness or feasibility of the topics students will work on. The most important is that they choose topics that are neither too narrow nor too broad.
Note: You and your partner teacher will need to design and follow a calendar since this module unfolds along a series of steps.
Introduce and explain this module to the students at the beginning of the term, since it is quite different from the others. Tell them that they will have the opportunity to illustrate aspects of their own culture, as seen through their own eyes.
After students have completed the analysis of the initial questionnaires, ask them to start thinking about which topics they might be interested in illustrating and then send suggestions to their exchange partners (either via a dedicated forum you have opened, chats, or video conferences). Their partners will do the same. In the end, there will be several topics. Have students form cross-cultural teams (2 or 3 students from each culture is ideal) and agree on which topics they will illustrate.
Have students post their images onto a photo sharing site, forum, blog, or wiki.
Ask your students to compare, outside class and then in class, the photos taken by themselves and their exchange partners on a same topic: what do these photos reveal? How similar or dissimilar are they? Does the kind of photos taken say something about the culture? etc. Students can either make presentations based upon their observations or they can share theirobservations in the discussion forums.