Intercultural Extraneity
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Out of the comfort zone

I would like to start this reflection post by saying that I had totally different expectations regarding the course itself and how it was going to develop, but on the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised with a numerous of its aspects. Though that, at some moments, the course was pretty much stressful and challenging, I really am glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and that I experienced a different approach in my studies than the ones I was used to in previous years.

When it comes to the site design, I must say that it is pretty much easy to orientate within the site itself. I like the simple layout and accessibility in particular. We are able to look back on our posts and glossaries from the previous weeks just by entering one of the categories pointed out at the top of the page. Moreover, I like the way in which we, as students, contributed to the content of the site itself which I find very important. But on the other hand, one of the main things that I was struggling with was how to include a link into my post/glossary, and I think that we should have been given a bit more extended explanations regarding that aspect.

As for the forum, at first I was a bit confused when it comes to the forum rules, but as the time passed by I was pretty much familiarized with them and how to use them regarding my forum posts. I think that the main strength of the forum itself is that we were able to discuss different topics, share our own viewpoints with our colleagues and connect them with the relevant topics that we went through each week. The main point of the forum is to keep the conversation going which I enjoyed in particular. This approach is very innovative, creative and refreshing.

One of the main things that I would like to talk about in this reflection post are assignments. Assignments were, truly, unavoidable when it comes to understanding the topic of each week clearly. As they were quite demanding, but on the other hand very interesting, they required collaboration within the group which I really enjoyed. As a group, we were able to share different ideas on how the particular task should be done and to contribute equally in completing it. One of the assignments that I enjoyed in particular was creating a mind map in connection with the Neil Postman’s interview. I personally use mind maps when I am preparing myself for the exams and I find them very useful and interesting to create, so I was really looking forward to completing that particular task.

Course objectives were clearly stated in every single video lecture as well as in the syllabus, and I really like the way in which we learned how to use 21st century skills while completing every single task in this semester. This was the first time I actually actively used these skills in completing my tasks and that I was encouraged to think deeply about them and why they are so important.

When it comes to the reading material, I found it really interesting and useful regarding the topics we covered each week. The additional material which was provided was a bit extensive, but on the other hand I tried to cover at least one of the articles provided because I think that researching is the starting point of writing any reflection paper or essay. When you think about the quality of the work you submit in the end and how these materials really help you to better understand the task given, you feel accomplished and satisfied with your own work. That is why I think that the reading material (both obligatory and optional) is very important and useful.

One of the main things I really liked about the course this semester were video lectures. I think that they were very useful and easy to access. We could download the files and watch them whenever we can and also go through them several times if needed. But what I missed the most were face to face lectures which I prefer more than online lectures. I think that we lacked online conferences and that, maybe, we should have had more of them where we could discuss different topics and engage with each other more.

I was really surprised with the topics which we went through this semester. I was expecting something totally different, more historically based content, rather than topics we covered so far. But I can say that the topics we covered are really useful and important. One of the topics I liked the most is the one about the Big Tech and how we lack privacy on the Internet. Also, I would like to mention the topic of Social Dilemma and our inability to categorize information, as one of the topics that sparked my interest the most. The topics that I struggled with the most were the ones assigned for the week 2 and week 3, but from this point of view, I think that I was a bit confused at the beginning of the semester with all the aspects and rules that this course incorporates and that this was the main reason why I really didn’t enjoy them.

All in all, I have to say that even though this course was quite demanding and at some point I was pretty dissatisfied with my contribution to the class because I didn’t know if I am completing the tasks in the right way, I like the way in which we had the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues and share different thoughts and opinions regarding the topics covered. Moreover, I learned how to use different skills and incorporate them in my posts and comments. I learned how to think about the various topics and not just do the given tasks for the sake of getting a positive feedback and, in the end, forget about their purpose. I was encouraged to take notes while listening to the video lectures and in that way I was able to create a glossary for each week. Also, I have to mention that we, as students, were able to contribute to the syllabus and its content, which really surprised me in a positive way. Our communication with you, as a professor, was on point in every single aspect which I really appreciate. I am glad that I gave this kind of approach a chance, even though at the beginning I was a bit stressed and dissatisfied with it.

A.Š.

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