Intercultural Extraneity
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Overwhelming at times

To start off, I would like to say that this course has been one of the most challenging ones I, personally, have taken this year, in more ways than one. From the website which was, admittedly, rather difficult to navigate in the beginning, to the tasks which were at times confusing and extensive, everything posed a challenge. It took some time to adapt to the way this course operated, but once I learned the ropes, it was relatively easy to apply the knowledge to completing the weekly tasks we were assigned.

With that said, the site design was utterly confusing at the start, and while I did get used to it and learn to navigate it, I will be bold and say that some changes are most definitely in order. Making a separate category for the weekly videos and the homework assignments would be great to start, and potentially leaving the videos available for a later date. The group approach – which, to be fair, other professors seem to be favouring this year, too – is one of my least favourite aspects of navigating the website as well, because it usually fell to one person to collect the others’ responses and to post them, which complicated things several times (e.g. failing to post week 2 glossary even though it was written out due to the time it took to explain how to navigate the website, while two other groups had posted theirs in the meantime, making the whole thing moot, anyway). However, the forum was a wonderful addition to the course, because it allowed us to interact with other groups, exchange opinions, and start debates among ourselves. Forum rules were very useful as well, because they helped us hone our writing skills and have creative, productive discussions.

Additionally, assignments were mostly interesting and, more importantly, often on topics we hadn’t given much thought to before, such as Big Tech or fake news/credible sources. Thus, they were rather engaging as we had to take a different approach to something we were already familiar with. However, some of them were too extensive and took up a lot more time than you – or we –thought they would, because they required a lot of individual research to even get started, but this could be attributed to poor time management (though it should be taken into consideration that we have had a significant obstacle this year in having to juggle all of our online classes, doing homework assignments for all of them, and simultaneously finding time to study for our upcoming exams). To be fair, they were incredibly useful (weekly glossaries in particular), and I did have a lot of fun researching/writing them so I will refrain from complaining too much. Our course objectives were clear from the beginning, though, and they were incredibly useful because, as I’ve stated, we were dealing with topics we hadn’t considered before. Thus, course objectives have helped hone my 21st century skills, and caused me to actually think about what I do online, instead of just mindlessly scrolling. The selected reading materials were engaging and appropriate for our level of learning, and most importantly, well-suited for the weekly topics. The sheer amount of the required/additional reading materials did get a little overwhelming at times, but overall the reading materials were appropriate.

The video lectures were perhaps the most useful part of the course, as they were concise and to the point, very useful in helping me understand the weekly topics we were tackling, and the delivery was clear and didn’t digress too much. Another great aspect were the presentations with bullet-points that accompanied them, since they were a great way to summarise the most important points of the topic. Speaking of topics, I rather liked that they covered a wide variety of subjects, while still maintaining relevance to the course. Perhaps my favourite was the topic from week 3 that dealt with Internet privacy, what we put out there, and how our governments are involved in all that. It made me think of the curious way in which our society might develop and all the ways that governments using AI can go wrong. My least favourite topic was Context/content, because I, personally, didn’t find it too engaging. And as the final point, I hesitate to say that the course is difficult, but instead I will say that it was overwhelming at times, and one could fall behind quite easily. However, it was rather useful and, honestly, unexpected, since this was the first time I had to take an approach such as this to learning and attending classes. In particular, taking notes wasn’t even necessary at times, since all the weekly tasks made sure that I would remember the information later, as well as having all of the assignments there to be perused at a later date.

To conclude, while the website could use some work, and did take some time to get used to, this approach to learning and online lectures was very helpful and useful, as well as being innovative and something we hadn’t done before. It showed us a wide range of subjects which were interesting and relevant to what we do in our everyday lives without even thinking about it. Finally, it helped us work together to complete assignments, as well as exchange thoughts and opinions on topics we probably wouldn’t have debated otherwise.

This post may be used for research purposes.

By: J.P. – mmmpast

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