UMS Faculty Focus Blog

UMS Faculty Focus

The UMS Faculty Focus blog publishes articles on effective teaching strategies for technology-enhanced, classroom, online, blended, or flipped learning experiences.  Faculty e-Learning Grant recipients and other UMS faculty are welcome to contribute. Please contact the UC Faculty Development Center if you are interested in writing an article for UMS Faculty Focus at


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Student to Student International Collaboration


I have the good fortune to be writing this from Liberec in the Czech Republic. I am a senior faculty member at UMA in the discipline of psychology with an enduring interest in cross cultural (and clinical) psychology. I'm enthused about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and the applied research in "student centered teaching."

For the past five years or so, with two colleagues here at Technical University of Liberec (TUL), we have been trying out various approaches to collaborating in real time as well as asynchronously, at the course level as well as at the student to student level. We've had enough success to continue on and the world is changing so as to make our work easier. Currently I'm teaching two UMA courses online and co-teaching four TUL courses. In these courses we've embedded the expectations that students will participate internationally in both real time and asynchronously.    

I'm posting this in the hopes of networking with UMS faculty and learning about the experiences of faculty across the disciplines, in leveraging 'mobile' communication tools (in our case Google Communities, small group video conferencing and polycom) to provide UMS students with the opportunities and incentives to collaborate with their Czech counterparts at the level of specific assignments (e.g. course projects, research etc.). What interests do you have, what experiences (good and bad) and what are your thoughts about these opportunities going forward?

Bottom line, we can now connect (videoconference) quite easily over almost any distance. Students are experienced in social media, video conferencing and digital literacy but who is harnessing this capability in the service of cross cultural collaboration and exploring our course content?

I'll be happy to blog about our experiences if asked but don't want to simply be going on about our work. I can be reached at I'll occasionally check back here and will return to Maine in May. I look forward to sharing our work.  - Ken Elliott  


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Timothy Surrette
Hi Ken, I love this idea. Each spring semester I teach a course at UMA titled EDU 395 - Field Experience. While enrolled in this course all students complete a 100 hour clinical experience at a K-12 school here in Maine. Concurrently, the students meet synchronously via ZOOM video-conference tool on a bi-weekly basis. The synchronous class meetings provide an opportunity for the students to collaboratively reflect on their clinical experiences. Anyway, I was thinking how neat it would be if there were a similar course for education majors at TUL and perhaps these TUL students could join one of the EDU 395 synchronous class meetings. Anyway, I look forward to discussing this more with you when you come back to Maine.

Take care,
Posted on 3/30/18 10:17 AM.
Karen Miller
HI Ken:
I would be very interested in knowing more about your experience and "challenges." I teach Folklore classes, which at this point are "hybrid" classes (one week we meet F2F and the in-between weeks are online work). I am interested having cross-cultural class dialogues so that students have an experience of how the expressive culture of others can convey very different messages according to the context. Then again, because of the increasing use of social platforms, there can be very similar understood meanings, for example, the use of memes, which resonant and are often understood worldwide! I think a cross-cultural project would be an not only engaging for the students but challenge their assumptions of what they know is "obvious and true."
Posted on 4/6/18 12:51 PM.
Kenneth Elliott
Tim - Glad to read of your interest. Let's talk for sure when I return (mid May), In the mean time, consider contacting Andrea R to explore the possibilities. As well, I believe that Rob K (ENG) is doing this kind of work with his students in Latvia. See you soon.
Posted on 4/12/18 2:38 PM in reply to Timothy Surrette.
Kenneth Elliott
Karen, - DE lighted to read of your interest and your course would seem like a good fit for this course element. I can be reached at and we could talk via a vidoconference or ... I'll be back in Maine mid-May and would love to discuss this with you. By way of further encouragement, I believe that our administrators will soon sign an extension for our cooperation agreement with Technical University here in Liberec. This may mean new opportunities for support appearing shortly after may. This is encouraging for sure.
Posted on 4/12/18 2:43 PM in reply to Karen Miller.