Past Sessions

Strategies for Bringing New Dimensions to Intercultural Learning into the Classroom and Beyond (May 19, 2021)

This panel presentation was part of Celebrate Learning Week  and engaged with the themes of student experiences and diversity and inclusion.

The session involved a panel of instructors from a diverse range of disciplines sharing about how they have promoted intercultural learning in their classrooms and how they have guided their students to reflect on their own positions and interactions, in relation to other cultures. Participants in this session learned more about a number of pedagogical approaches that enable more meaningful and respectful intercultural learning.

Among the topics that were discussed are Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) projects that involve exchanges among students across partner universities to promote students’ critical reflectivity, cognitive dissonance, and their general intercultural skills.

From a self-identity exercise to collaborating in groups to produce a visual representation of another culture, students are asked to engage in different activities and challenge their frames of cultural reference.

Another project drew on the impact of synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) in a community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) to explore how online socialization between learners of different target languages provides affordances for 1) reciprocal language learning, 2) changing participation within this virtual community of practice, and 3) learner agency as the ability to engage in metalinguistic and cross-cultural talk with language-exchange partners.

These projects help students to achieve the goals of:

  • developing knowledge, understanding and appreciation for different cultural values;
  • creating more capacity for openness and self-awareness;
  • reflecting upon Intercultural Competence activities; 
  • developing cross-disciplinary skills of collaboration, teamwork, problem solving, and communication to promote ongoing and future cultural and linguistic exchanges

Panelists also shared about the technologies that they have used to facilitate this intercultural learning virtually.

Some of the UBC-supported technologies that were discussed included:

  • how Canvas tools were leveraged in new ways and connected students with partners in other universities through Canvas Catalogue;
  • annotation-based discussion and group work using the Collaborative Learning Annotation System (CLAS);
  • using Zoom to enable synchronous communication for language-exchange learning between learners of different target languages


Watch Presentation Download Slides 



Brianne Orr-Álvarez

Assistant Professor of Teaching
Director, FHIS Learning Center
Language Program Director, Spanish



Strang Burton

Associate Professor of Teaching
Language Diversity, Linguistic Pedagogy
Department of Linguistics


Luisa Canuto

Assistant Professor of Teaching
Language Program Director, Italian
Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies


Saori Hoshi

Assistant Professor of Teaching | Japanese Language
Department of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts



Misuzu Kazama

Lecturer | Japanese Language
Department of Asian Studies



Joenita Paulrajan

Program Manager | Intercultural Studies and International Development Programs

UBC Centre for Intercultural Communication


Organizing Canvas Materials for Easy Student Navigation (December 10, 2020)

During online teaching, we rely more on students’ self exploration of course materials in off-line learning. Thus, it is crucial that our Canvas course site offer a clear structure of course materials and class progression. In this session, Qian Wang, Associate Professor of Teaching and Director of Language Programs in the Department of Asian Studies, discussed how she is using Canvas Modules effectively to organize teaching materials for easy student access. She also shared different ways of using Canvas Pages to facilitate student navigation and guide students through each learning module. Using Modules and Pages effectively will not only help students navigate but also saves time for instructors.



Associate Professor of Teaching
Director, Language Programs
Department of Asian Studies



To the Next Level: Personalizing Online Courses to Foster Student Connection (SEPT 14, 202o)

In online teaching, showcasing who you are as an instructor is critical for personalizing the online learning experience and for building relationships with students in a virtual environment. Sharing about yourself can also help provide a transition between asynchronous and synchronous learning experiences for students.

In this session, Robyn Pitman (Lecturer, Department of Sociology) will be demonstrating how instructors can do this using pre-recorded materials for asynchronous learning and how to connect them to course materials. Participants will be given concrete ideas about how to personalize their courses using examples from two courses in Summer Term 2. Examples include including music, videos from pop culture, personal photos and disclosures, and course trailers to name a few.


Watch Presentation Download Slides



Department of Sociology



Using Close Reading in Remote Online Classes (September 4, 2020)

Back by popular demand! This session was originally delivered in the summer but, due to popular requests, is being hosted again this semester.

Teaching close reading can be challenging in any classroom content. In this session, English instructor Gillian Jerome will share her strategies for helping students practice close reading in the added challenge of an online environment.

Using an inventive mix of learning technologies, Gillian incorporated group activities in Collaborate Ultra break out rooms, social annotations on PDF through the Collaborative Learning Annotation System (CLAS) and peer review of their own writing with the aid of ComPAIR, to help her students engage with text and understand the writing process at a deeper level.

Come join us to learn more about Gillian’s online teaching strategies and the best practices she has developed.




Gillian Jerome
Sessional Lecturer
Department of English Language and Literatures