Cultural Analysis of Exchange Studies

Subject EDUC20071 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 6 hours face to face seminars, 64 hours online contact (4 x 16 weeks)
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours (including self study)


Students should have completed at least 75 points of undergraduate subjects.


This subject can only be taken while students are on Exchange overseas or are Studying Abroad

Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students should have completed at least 75 points of undergraduate subjects.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Shanton Chang

Subject Overview:

With the transition into new overseas learning environments students abroad usually manage this experience in isolation. Studies have shown that while extended periods of intercultural engagement are important for student development of independence and intercultural communication skills, it is just as important for students to have a framework for analysing their own intercultural interactions. Such frameworks and reflections serve to enhance students’ ability to interact and lead effectively across cultures.

The aim of this subject is to assist students as they engage in self-reflective practices and exchange these reflections with fellow students online to better understand their overseas learning experiences. Encouraging students to reflect on their overseas learning within a supportive community of peers will promote, facilitate, and support enhanced learning practices for students who participate in this subject. Apart from exchanging information and advice with each other, students will also read and reflect on research that has been conducted by others in this area of studying abroad.

The delivery of this subject is governed by the differences in locations and time zones students are located in. As such an online discussion forum will be created as analogous to real “classroom” discussions where questions will be posed and can then be answered by students over the course of a week or so. Students will access these online discussions to reflect on their own experience and by reading the online material provided by the subject coordinator.

Learning Outcomes:

The aim in providing this subject is to add further value to Exchange Students’ Study Abroad experience. This subject can better facilitate students’ transition into new and unfamiliar teaching environments. By exchanging experiences and strategies; by reading research papers; and by reflecting about studying abroad, students may be better able to identify key issues that may be inhibiting their learning ability overseas. Ultimately as students become better equipped to interpret and understand how they are learning they may then be able to better identify future career paths or opportunities for ongoing collaborative international work experience.

This subject will enhance students’ competencies in the following areas:

  • Exposure to and understanding of advanced academic research on intercultural interaction effectiveness.
  • Ability to reflect on overseas learning experiences within a supportive community of peers.
  • Cross-cultural analysis of their discipline areas of study.

At the completion of this subject, students should:

  • Be familiar with the concepts associated with Culture Shock and Intercultural Effectiveness
  • Have improved intercultural communication skills
  • Be able to discuss the different international and cultural perspectives that may exist around their chosen discipline area
  • Better understand the implications and complexities of intercultural communication.
  • Ongoing online discussion with moderation from tutors/lecturers. Ongoing (10%)
  • Short reflective ongoing discussions (1-2 pages) based on weekly discussions and on the readings for each of the four themed modules. These four reflective discussions will be assessed out of 10 marks each. Ongoing (40%=10 x 4)
  • A peer-review report (3-4 pages) about what and how well students are learning from their own and other students’ reflections on the discussion forum. This review is assessed based on the strengths of students’ analysis and reflections in conjunction with references to support their discussion, due by the end of week 8 (20%)
  • A final report about their overall overseas learning experience (max. 2000 words and may include illustrations, tables and figures). Part of this report should include a reflection of their Discipline as experienced in another culture, noting any differences and / or similarities. Students should conduct a “field study” at the University they are based at to explore differences in teaching approaches and expectations of student learning processes. Students should investigate underlying cultural impacts that influence overseas teaching and learning practices and compare these with practices at the University of Melbourne, due by the end of week 16 (30%)
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of the subject, students should have learnt more about how to:

  • Interact successfully across cultures
  • Improve their analytical skills – specifically the ability to conduct analysis using different cultural perspectives
  • Enhance their ability to formulate and articulate rational argument through on-line discussions
  • Develop further their abilities to engage critically with the subject literature
  • Learn to apply theory to practice in online discussions and reflections
  • Optimise the capabilities of online social networking tools.

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