CIC's CourseShare Helps Students Explore Reactions to Korean Ferry Tragedy

Apr 29, 2014

A recent Rutgers University news article highlights how the CIC CourseShare program brings students together from across different CIC schools to explore cultures and learn less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). Nearly 65 LCTLs and culture courses – Uzbek, Czech and many others – are offered through CourseShare. 

The Rutgers Today article  describes how students at Rutgers, Penn State, and the University of Michigan had the opportunity to dig deep on the international media's reaction to the sinking of the Korean ferry
Sewol in their “Korean Language and Culture in Everyday Life” class, hosted at Penn State and taught by Penn State Professor Susan Strauss, an expert in applied linguistics.

From her classroom in State College, Pa., Strauss can address the Rutgers and Michigan students through monitors in their classrooms. She also can display notes and articles from her computer, like this statement from a CNN correspondent: “South Korea is a culture that prizes obeying your superiors.”  Or a Reuters report that said, “Many of the children did not question their elders as is customary in hierarchical Korean society, and paid for their obedience with their lives.”

"Which aspects of Korean culture reported by media actually help us and the world understand what happened and why? Which, instead, minimize and exoticize Korean culture?" Strauss asked the class.

Strauss encourages her students to view cultural traits and representations through a lens of critical analysis and discourse and to be keen observers of how language shapes perceptions, interactions and ideologies. The class has centered on analyzing the patterned structures, grammars and lexicons in everyday Korean and English.

She knows her students in all three locations by name and sight, making a point of interacting with each student during every class. The students at all three universities not only have a good view of her, they also can see each other. In the Rutgers classroom, Hee-Chung Chun, a lecturer in Korean who serves as proctor, is able to manipulate a camera to focus when a student speaks. Chun also can split the monitor’s screen, so that Rutgers students can see and interact with their counterparts at Michigan and Penn State simultaneously.

For more about the class, see the full article. 

For more about CourseShare, visit the program’s portal that lists confirmed classes and classes in varying stages of collaboration.



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