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|Internationalization at home: enhancing global competencies in the EFL classroom through international online collaboration
|Simões, Anabela Valente
|Higher education institutions today are expected to not only equip students with the skills and qualifications required to succeed professionally, but also to prepare them to develop active learning strategies, build successful interpersonal relations—both at local and global levels—and be active citizens who are able to handle change and uncertainty. Synonymous with the notions of “virtual mobility” or “internationalization at home”, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is an educational approach with the potential to enhance the development of this broader skillset while providing students with an opportunity to interact with peers from across the globe. The purpose of this paper is to present a cross-cultural pedagogical activity implemented within a class of Business Communication undergraduate students from the University of Aveiro (UA), in Portugal, together with volunteer students from the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, in Thailand. In this exploratory study, the authors sought to gauge the effectiveness of such virtual global learning approaches and understand how UA students self-perceived their own skillset development. Based on qualitative and quantitative information, it was possible to conclude that students’ perceptions were generally positive and that cognitive, social, and intercultural competencies, as well as other critical 21st-century skills, were successfully addressed.
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