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The influence of internationalised versus local content on online intercultural collaboration in groups: A randomised control trial study in a statistics course

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Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) has been highlighted as a beneficial learning experience for students in blended and online settings. In highly diverse and international contexts, CSCL also allows students the opportunity to encounter new ideas and values from peers with different backgrounds. However, previous research has highlighted that there are wide variations in student participation levels in CSCL activities and that many students experience social and cultural tensions when working with diverse peers. These issues may damage the quality of online collaboration and limit the potential gains of CSCL. In this study, we explored one evidence-based solution for encouraging CSCL participation: the internationalisation of the online academic content used for collaborative activities. Using a randomised control trial method with 428 undergraduate students in an introductory statistics course, we compared individual and group-level participation in an online collaborative task when students used content from the local context compared to content from international contexts. Our findings suggest that internationalisation of online content can encourage individual-level participation and decrease the disparity of participation within small groups when the content is situated in countries that are personally relevant to students’ own backgrounds. At the same time, participation was influenced by individual demographics and group dynamics.

    Research areas

  • Cooperative/collaborative learning, Cross-cultural projects, Improving classroom teaching, Interactive learning environments, CULTURAL DIMENSIONS, LEARNING ANALYTICS, CURRICULUM, CSCL, PERFORMANCE, HIGHER-EDUCATION, STUDENTS, EXPERIENCES, GROUP WORK, PARTICIPATION
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-95
Number of pages14
JournalComputers & Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018