Category: Heritage Telecollaboration

HT News: Fall 2016

From the desk of Valeria Belmonti.

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team!

We hope that everyone had as enjoyable and productive a summer as we did. Below are some updates from our projects and activities.

Project Development

During the summer, we finalized the design of two telecollaborative modules which will be piloted this semester in Professor Cheng’s Heritage Chinese class at Hunter College, in partnership with Professor Guo’s English class at Inner Mongolia Normal University in Hohhot, China.

This semester we will also begin to analyze the data collected in the other pilots that were run by HT faculty last year. The findings of this research will eventually be disseminated through publications; we will release more information about our studies and publications towards the end of this semester.

Conferences

As communicated in June, our HT projects will be presented at the upcoming ACTFL Convention in Boston. Below you will find the details of our presentations. We hope to see you there!

Telecollaborative Mobile Apps

Presented During:  ACTFL Roundtable Presentations III
Friday, November 18, 2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Room: Exhibit Hall A & B1

Roundtable Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

Participants will be introduced to freely available mobile applications that can assist in connecting students to other speakers or learners of the target language and engaging them in telecollaborative projects. Programs’ interface and setup will be demonstrated, followed by a discussion on sample learning activities and teaching ideas.

Heritage Telecollaboration and the Construction of US Latin@ Identity

Saturday November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 261

Session Presenters: Laura Villa, Aránzazu Borrachero, Michael Rolland

How can heritage language educators use telecollaboration (TC) to tackle questions of language variation and identity? Presenters will offer insights from two pilot courses connecting US Latin@ students from diverse areas and backgrounds, encouraging students to rethink Latin@ identity while working to expand their linguistic repertoires.

Intercultural Discussions with Foreign Partners Using Smartphones

Saturday, November 19, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Room: Room 204B

Session Presenter: Valeria Belmonti

The presentation shares a task-based model of telecollaboration in which students complete intercultural activities with foreign partners using the free mobile application WeChat. Sample tasks, assessments, excerpts from student chats and presentations, and the feedback of from students and instructors will be discussed.

PLEASE NOTE: Even though two of our sessions will take place simultaneously, you can also obtain more information about our projects by stopping by our booth during the convention!

Our Chinese HT projects will also be presented at the NECTFL 2017 Conference, which will take place in New York City, February 9–11, 2017. For more information please visit:http://www.nectfl.org/.

Workshops

On October 1, we will conduct a professional development workshop for the language faculty at Bennington College, VT. The topic of the workshop will be Telecollaboration and Technology for Language Teaching and Learning. If you are an educator interested in organizing a technology professional development opportunity for your language teachers, please contact Valeria Belmonti at vbelmonti@gc.cuny.edu.

Networks

During the summer, we established a partnership with the UNI-Collaboration network, a European-based platform aimed at supporting the organization of online intercultural exchanges among universities. Our HT coordinator, Valeria Belmonti, has joined the Uni-Collaboration Liaisons Team and she will be, together with Sabine Levet at MIT, the US liaison to the UNI-Collaboration organization.

Inspired by the work of the Uni-Collaboration network and by the continuously growing interest for our Spanish HT projects, we are also in the process of creating a virtual network dedicated to US Spanish educators interested in designing domestic telecollaboration projects to explore topics and issues related to Latin@ Identity in the US. Stay tuned for more information.

Valeria Belmonti is the Associate Director of Technology at CILC and Coordinator of the Heritage Telecollaboration project.

HT – Spanish Modules

Modules

Materials for Modules

Many of the materials listed in the modules are specific to one of the cities participating in the pilots. The historical, regional, and political contexts in which your institution situates itself should help dictate what materials are most meaningful to your students and your class. Regardless of which materials are used, it is important that students have access to visual or audiovisual materials that provide meaningful input and help prepare them for the activities.

Proficiency Level(s) and Language Use

The modules were initially designed and piloted for Spanish heritage language learners in the Intermediate High to Advanced High proficiency range (ACTFL proficiency scale, 2012). However, modifications can be made to adapt them for a variety of proficiency levels. The materials are in English, Spanish, or in both languages. Activities can be conducted in Spanish or English depending on the proficiency level of learners and the specific goal(s) of the activity.

Guidance for Creating and Evaluating Writing Assignments

​Additional guidance on how to create effective writing assignments can be found here.

Student Reflections: Conventions, Formatting, and Spell-Check

Some website creation tools do not check Spanish spelling. Students may be instructed to write their blog posts, replies, or reflections in a Word document using a Spanish spell-checker, then cut and paste their text to the website.

Group Work

Some activities in this course are planned for small groups (3-4 students). Instructors should match up a small group from one school with a small group from the other school. These groups may change during the semester so students have a chance to work with different peers.

Learning Objectives

The activities were developed to support the following learning objectives:

GENERAL EDUCATION

INTERCULTURAL LEARNING

COGNITIVE AND LINGUISTIC

TECHNOLOGY USE FOR LEARNING

Write, read, listen and speak clearly and effectively

Use analytical reasoning skills

Use information management and technology skills effectively for academic research and lifelong learning

Integrate knowledge and skills across disciplines

Differentiate and make informed decisions about issues based on cultural and political value systems

Work collaboratively in diverse groups directed at accomplishing learning objectives

Identify and compare specific urban spaces in cities that have been impacted by and continue to be impacted by migratory movements from Spanish-speaking countries

Understand the intercultural dynamics that the Latinx presence adds to the urban fabric and cultural diversity of cities at various levels: individual, communal, cultural, and governmental

 

Read and listen critically and analytically, including identifying and evaluating major assumptions and assertions of an argument

Write clearly and persuasively in varied academic formats and across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media

Develop skills to critique and improve one’s own and others’ texts

Become aware of dialectal and register differences in Spanish, as well as the social consequences of their use

Develop the ability to use formal and informal registers in Spanish according to context and choice

Create original works as a means of personal or group expressions

Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, employing a variety of digital environments and media

Demonstrate research skills using appropriate technology, including gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources

Understand and use web applications

HT Module – Family and Migration

Produced by
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar

Download Module as PDF

Preparation and Resources

Objectives

Students will work independently and with their peers from both institutions (C1 and C2) to:

  1. investigate their family origins, including their migration histories and reasons for coming to the United States
  2. explore the relationship between their family’s country of origin – its history, politics and economic context – and their family’s migration experiences
  3. investigate how the history and politics of the United States are related to their family’s migration history

Materials

  1. Documentary: Harvest of Empire. Dirs. E. López and P. Getzels (2012)
  2. Information for creating in-text APA citations and APA-formatted References/Works Cited sections:
    1. In-text citations (APA style)
      1. http://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
      2. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/
    2. Creating a References/Works Cited Section:
      1. http://irsc.libguides.com/apa/formatreference
      2. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/583/03/

Technology Resources/Requirements

  1. Class website
  2. Video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime [to be used with Mac/Apple users]

Activity 1: Contextualizing Family Histories

The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about the broader economic, political, and social contexts surrounding the migration of their families to the United States through a documentary film and through individual research.​

Preparation for Videoconference

Harvest of Empire

Show the first 15–20 minutes of Harvest of Empire in class and discuss it with students. What are some initial impressions, reactions, and questions that emerge for them in watching this first block of the documentary? What are some ideas that surprise them? What did they already know? Assign the rest of the movie for students to watch on their own in preparation for next steps in this module.

In class, divide students into small groups to discuss Harvest of Empire. Have each group choose 1–2 countries they are interested in and assign 1–3 additional countries to each group for discussion. (The goal is for all eight countries to be covered by the different student groups in the class.) See below a list of suggested questions for discussion of the countries included in the film. In addition to focusing on individual country histories, have students discuss the questions included in the Conclusions block below. When students have finished their small group discussions, debrief as a class, building upon student ideas and offering additional insights as needed.

  1.  Questions (adapted from original online resource [no longer available]):
  2.  Puerto Rico
  3.  Why was the United States interested in Puerto Rico? Cite historical facts and economic factors.
    ii.    How has the United States benefited from Puerto Rican migration? How have Puerto Ricans benefited?
    iii.    What type of discrimination have Puerto Ricans faced in the United States?
  4.  Guatemala
  5.  What did Arbenz try to do in Guatemala?
    ii.    Is the United States responsible for the killings of Guatemalan soldiers? Why or why not?
  6.  Mexico
  7.  What is the meaning of the statement “We did not cross the border, the border crossed us”?
    ii.    Describe the relationship of Mexicans in the southwestern United States during the last 150 years to U.S. society, culture, and economy. What role(s) have Mexicans played? Do you think this is fair? Why or why not?
    iii.    What does the story of the Mexican doctor tell us about immigrants from Mexico and why they come to the United States?
    iv.    What have been the effects of NAFTA in Mexico? What about in the United States?
  8.  Cuba
  9.  How do you explain the fact that, during the first half of the 20th century, Cuba was both independent from and dependent upon the United States?
    ii.    Why did the Cuban refugees come to the United States after the Cuban revolution? What were they hoping to find, create, and/or change about their lives and those of their families?
  10.  The Dominican Republic
  11.  Why did the United States initially support Trujillo? Why did it stop supporting him?
    ii.    What have the experiences of immigrants from the Dominican Republic been in the United States?
  12.  Nicaragua
  13.  How would you describe the Somozas?
    ii.    Who helped put an end to Somoza’s domination?
    iii.    What did the Sandinistas do in Nicaragua?
    iv.    Explain the “Iran-Contra” scandal. Why was it a scandal?
  14.  El Salvador
  15.  The United States has historically been supportive of, or at least permissive to, political regimes which advocate and employ torture as a means of suppressing the general population in El Salvador. Why?
    ii.    The United States has historically admitted Latin American military leaders into the School of the Americas who later return to their countries and enact policies and actions that violate human rights. Why do you think this continues into the present day? Would you have supported Bishop Romero? Why or why not?
    iii.    What does the following quote from the documentary mean?: “When you finance and train a group of uniformed butchers who perpetrate massacres and destroy entire towns, you cannot say that people are emigrating, but rather that they are fleeing.”
  16.  Conclusions
  17.  Explain the title of the documentary.
    b.    What is its thesis (main idea and goal)?
    c.    What advantages and challenges do many Latin American immigrants experience when they arrive in this country?
    d.    Does the United States have a moral obligation to help people in the countries in which it has created instability? Why or why not?
    e.    At the end of the documentary, Juan González says: “We are all Americans of the New World and our most dangerous enemies are neither one nor the other, but the great wall of ignorance that exists between us.” What does he mean by this?
    f.    What most surprised you in the documentary? What did you find revealing? What did you find painful? What was inspiring to you?
    g.    After watching the documentary, have your perceptions of immigration, and the political, social, and economic contexts in which it takes place, changed?
    h.    What is the “spirit of America” that is mentioned at the end of the documentary?

(See additional teaching resources here.)

Background Research

Depending on the students’ research skills and experience, instructors may have to review and practice how to search for appropriate sources both online and offline, how to cite sources within a text and in the References/Works Cited section, how to avoid plagiarism in its different forms, how to summarize information in support of an argument, and other relevant topics.

​Inform students that they will conduct independent research about the political, social, and economic circumstances that existed in their families’ countries of origin leading up to and during the years in which their families migrated to the United States. Remind students to look for explanations, not simply descriptions or data. Suggested questions to guide students’ investigations include the following:

Set the political stage for your family’s country of origin at the time of their migration. Who were the country’s leaders? What political groups were in power? Were there other political actors, either inside or outside of the country, at the time?

  1. What was happening in the world at this time? What was the country’s relationship to the rest of the world politically and economically?
  2. What was the political, economic, and social state of affairs in your family’s country of origin at the time of their migration? What effect did such a context have on the population? How did this influence some people’s choice to immigrate to the United States?
  3. Are the immigration stories of other individuals and families in your country similar to your family’s story? In what ways? What, if anything, is unique about your family’s story?
  4. Were there any actions taken by the United States in your family’s country of origin which influenced its stability, safety, and/or ability to provide opportunities for its people? Consider economic, political, and/or social forces, pressures, and tensions across borders and between leaders and political groups.
  5. How was immigration from your family’s country of origin depicted by the U.S. media, politicians, and other public entities at the time? Find a news story or report that provides an example of this public discourse. How are immigrants from your family’s country of origin described and how is immigration described in broader terms? What stands out to you about this, if anything?

​Important: Remind students to take notes while they do their research, which they will then share with the rest of the class and with their peers at C2 by uploading them to the class website as a blog. In addition, have students create a Reference list for the sources they have consulted, which they will also include in their uploaded notes.

Task: Videoconference

Inform students that they will be meeting with the students at C2 to discuss their research and collaborate on new understandings about family migration and the historical, economic, and political contexts in which it takes place. In preparation for the videoconference, ask students to read their C2 peers’ research notes (see “Pre-Videoconference Activities: background research”), write three questions they want to ask them, and publish them as a question bank in the project home site. Sample questions include the following:

  1. What have you discovered in your research that you didn’t know about your family’s country of origin? Is there anything that you still want to find out?
  2. Have you had a chance to discuss your findings with any other member(s) of your family?
  3. If so, what was their response to your sharing the research you completed?

Have students discuss the questions they have generated in small groups with the students at C2 via videochat. When students have completed their chat with their peers at C2, have them upload their notes on the conversation to the class website in blog format.

Post-Videoconference Step

In-Class Discussion

  1. Ask students to read at home the notes uploaded by their C2 peers.
  2. Meet as a class to debrief about the videoconference experience. Ask students to reflect on what they found interesting, surprising, troubling, inspiring, etc. about their conversations with the students at C2.
    1. What new insights do they have about their own family backgrounds and histories, as well as the broader community histories this may reflect?
    2. Ask students to identify any patterns, similarities, differences, and/or unanswered questions that emerged in their discussions with the students at C2.

​How might this new knowledge contribute to knowledge sharing and solidarity building?

Activity 2: Exploring Family History through Interviews

The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about their families’ migration stories through interview-based research, and to compare these histories with those uncovered by their peers at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference

Blog

Have students write short blog comments on the class website in which they discuss what they know about their families’ personal migration histories[1]. Ask them to reflect on the following. How did your family get here, when, and why? Invite them to include anecdotes that they are comfortable with sharing. When students are finished, have them each comment substantively on another student’s blog, asking clarifying questions or drawing comparisons and contrasts with their own posts.

Family Interview

Prepare students to conduct research about family migration histories and experiences. They will accomplish this in the form of interviews conducted with a relative from their parents’ generation or from the previous one. In addition to the interview, students may include pictures of photographs, artifacts or other realia shared by their relatives, or create drawings of their own. It is important to inform students that interviews can bring up sensitive topics, memories and emotions, and that they must get permission from their interviewees to include any of the information collected, while also agreeing to omit anything that interviewees prefer to keep private. Interview questions can include some of the following:

  1. Tell me about how you came to the United States. Why did you emigrate from your country?
  2. Why did you choose the United States?
  3. What and who did you leave behind in your country of origin?
  4. Do you have any contact today with the country where you come from?
  5. Have you visited your country of origin since you have been in the United States?
  6. What language or languages are spoken in your country of origin and in your region of the country? Do you speak it/them with your family here or back home?
  7. Do you think it is important for your children to speak the language(s) of your country of origin and/or your region of the country? Why or why not?
  8. Did you study English before coming to the United States? Have you studied English since you’ve been here? Explain.
  9. In what language do you dream? In what language do you think?
  10. What is it like to live between two countries, two cultures, and two languages?
  11. Did you bring an important personal object with you when you emigrated? Why did you bring this with you? Do you still have it? If so, would you mind if I took a picture of it?
  12. Do you have a photograph of yourself or another artifact from the time before you migrated? If so, would you mind if I took a picture of it?

Have students post to the project home site their completed interviews along with an image; for example, a photograph they took of a family artifact, an image they drew to document the experience, or something else. Ask them to include a short (3–5 sentence) description of this image, including an account of why they chose it to represent their family’s immigration story.

Ask students to read at least two interviews (one from a C1 peer and one from a C2 peer) and comment on them on the home site.

 Task: Videoconference

Ask students to form small groups (3–4 students). Inform them that they will work together to discuss with their C2 peers the artifacts they posted to the project home site and their interviews with their relatives. Instruct students to take notes on the ideas and themes that emerge during the telecollaboration, paying attention to similarities and differences between stories, perspectives, and experiences. Some ideas and questions to discuss with their C2 partners may include:

  1. What was it like to research your family’s migration history?
  2. What new facts and stories did you learn?
  3. What feelings and reactions did this bring up?
  4. What commonalities and/or differences have you detected between your family’s migration history and that of other students in C1 and C2?

Post-Videoconference Step

In-Class Discussion

Have a class conversation addressing students’ observations about the experience of exchanging images and family migration histories with the students at C2. Some guiding questions may include:

  1. What was it like to share your family’s migration history with the students at C2, and to learn about their families’ stories? What feelings and reactions did this bring up?
  2. What commonalities and/or differences emerged in your family’s migration history compared to that of other students in your class? What about the students at C2?
  3. What role did/does language play in the telling, recording, and reporting of your family’s migration history? Are there some experiences, details, etc. that need to be expressed in one language rather than the other? Explain.
  4. Are there any general themes/ideas that have emerged in our shared immigration backgrounds? How might these ideas be a basis for building shared understandings and solidarity among immigrant groups?
 At Home: Written Reflection

Prepare your students to reflect on this experience in a written response. Invite them to draw upon their research and the activities they have completed in this module to write a 2–3 page essay summarizing what they have learned. They should write in narrative form, rather than responding to questions point by point, about the topics listed below. Prior to assigning the written reflection, discuss the rubric with the class. See a sample reflection at the end of the document. Remind them also to include the bibliography that they have used. These reflections will be posted on the project home site and shared with their peers at C2 for comments/feedback.

  1. What is your family’s country of origin? Describe its historical, political and economic context before and around the time your family migrated to the United States.
  2. What do you know about the history and politics of the United States in relation to your family’s country of origin and to Latin America in general?
  3. What are the connections between the contexts described above and your family’s decision to migrate?
  4. What have you learned from working with your C2 peers? Analyze and explain similarities and differences between families’ experiences and stories.

Have students post the reflection on the class website. Ask them to comment substantively on and/or ask questions about two other reflections either by their classmates at C1 and/or the students at C2. For example, they can state that they like/identify with the reflection, but they should also think critically about what was said, why the creator did what s/he did, etc., and comment on this. Have students respond to one comment that they received about their own reflection.

[1]Please note: As an individual’s or family’s immigration story is both personal and powerful, instructors should be sensitive to issues of safety and privacy. Students’ decision to share – or decision not to – should be paramount and thus be respected without question. A related issue to be considered is the sharing of personal/family information on the project home site; given the current political environment, students may justifiably feel anxiety about issues of exposure related to their or their family members’ status. In such instances, we suggest that instructors consider employing alternative ways for students to share family stories that do not reveal any identifying information, e.g., writing a collective post for the class, anonymizing posting, etc.

Rubric: Reflection

Sample Reflection

Familia y emigración

Todos los estudiantes de C1 y C2 vienen de familias de inmigrantes, pero hasta ahora no nos habíamos interesado por saber un poco más de estas historias de inmigración: cómo es que estamos aquí o por qué nuestras familias- papás, abuelos o bisabuelos- emigraron. En este módulo de Familia y Emigración todos hemos tomado conciencia de dónde provenimos y de que, gracias a nuestra familia de inmigrantes, estamos donde estamos, con una mejor vida y con un buen porvenir, sin necesidad de pasar sufrimiento, de aguantar hambre por la pobreza o sin tener dónde vivir por culpa de decisiones políticas y económicas de los poderes que nos gobiernan.

​Mi familia viene de Guatemala. Al investigar sobre Guatemala he sentido que descubría un nuevo país. Hay tantas cosas que desconocía. He sabido que, antes de que los españoles llegaran, Guatemala fue la cuna de una civilización muy desarrollada, con 2,000 años de antigüedad: los mayas. No me voy a extender sobre la historia maya porque quiero hablar sobre las razones que llevaron a mi familia a emigrar, pero me ha gustado mucho saber que en mis orígenes hay una cultura indígena muy avanzada que se mezcló con la cultura española durante la colonización.

Voy a saltar hasta los siglos XIX y XX para hablar de la presencia de los intereses comerciales de los Estados Unidos en Guatemala, que se reflejan muy bien en la historia de la United Fruit Company en mi país. La United no estuvo presente solo en Guatemala, sino que se enriqueció con los productos de la tierra de varios países de Centroamérica y Sudamérica. He encontrado un poema de Pablo Neruda titulado “La United Fruit Co.” que dice:

la Compañía Frutera Inc.
se reservó lo más jugoso,
la costa central de mi tierra,
la dulce cintura de América. (Canto general, 1950)

Y así fue. Con la complicidad de las oligarquías guatemaltecas y gobiernos como el de Justo Rufino Barrios (1873–1885), Manuel Estrada Cabrera (1898–1920) y Jorge Ubico (1931–1944) la United se convirtió en la fuerza económica más importante del país. Esta situación cambió con la llegada de Juan José Arévalo (1945–1951) y, sobre todo, Jacobo Arbenz (1951–1954). Arbenz intentó llevar a cabo una reforma agraria que iba en contra de los intereses norteamericanos. Por ejemplo, la United Fruit tendría que devolver tierras al Estado. Esto hizo que los Estados Unidos, a través de la CIA, apoyara un levantamiento militar contra Arbenz, a quien acusaron de comunista y loco.

A partir de entonces se desató una guerra civil en Guatemala que duró más de treinta años. La guerrilla campesina, el ejército y los grupos paramilitares de ultraderecha se enfrentaron y dejaron decenas de miles de víctimas. En 1982, otro golpe de estado militar puso en el poder al general Efraín Ríos Montt, responsable de un genocidio contra los indígenas. La violencia extrema continuó con otros presidentes hasta que se firmaron los acuerdos de paz en 1996.

En total, la guerra civil dejó más de cien mil muertos y cuarenta mil desaparecidos y obligó a más de cien mil personas a dejar el país. Mi familia sufrió en carne y hueso la violencia política de Ríos Montt. A mi papá lo obligaron a pelear con el ejército y después lo dejaron libre, pero un tío de mi papá, que se opuso a colaborar con el ejército, fue asesinado. Lo dejaron tirado en el monte, muerto. Enterarme de lo que mi familia pasó antes de llegar a Estados Unidos fue sorprendente.

Al leer las investigaciones e historias personales de los estudiantes de C1 y C2, he averiguado que muchos venimos de familias que buscaban un refugio para poder seguir viviendo, para salir adelante; que la mayoría de nuestros padres han venido a los Estados Unidos sin saber inglés y sin papeles, y superando grandes obstáculos; que nuestros países tienen problemas en común, como la desigualdad y la pobreza, que obligan a que las personas emigren. Aprendí que las políticas de Estados Unidos también son responsables de estos movimientos de migración. Estados Unidos es un país que, así como da, también quita y comete injusticias.

Bibliography Consulted

Aguilera, Gabriel. Realizar un imaginario: la paz en Guatemala, Guatemala, UNESCO/FLACSO, 2003.

Higonnet, Etelle (ed.). Quiet Genocide: Guatemala 1981–1983. Routledge, 2017.

Neruda, Pablo. “La United Fruit Co.”. Canto General. Spanish Poems. 2 mayo 2016 spanishpoems.blogspot.com/2005/04/pablo-neruda-la-united-fruit-co.html.

Sabino, Carlos. Guatemala, La Historia Silenciada: (1944–1989). Fondo de Cultura Económica de Guatemala, 2008.

Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Dir. Eduardo Lopez y Peter Getzels. Independent Pictures, 2012.

HT Module – Access to Higher Education

Produced by
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar

Download Module as PDF

Preparation and Resources

Objectives

Students will work independently and with their peers from both institutions (C1 and C2) to:

  1. Compare the institutional similarities and differences between C1 and C2 through data collection, analysis and reflection
  2. Explore and expand their knowledge of the higher education system in the United States
  3. Reflect on their educational choices, including topics such as access, location, programming, and other institutional features
  4. Analyze issues of inequality in the context of higher education

Materials

  1. Readings and Videos: Below is a suggested list of resources that address each of the themes which appear in this module. Instructors are encouraged to select/add the resources that would be most meaningful for their particular group of students as well as the regional and demographic context of their institution.
    1. Community Colleges
      1. Las ventajas de un community college
      2. Colegios comunitarios; por qué elegirlos
      3. Colegios comunitarios, límites y desafíos (I, II, III)
      4. Los colegios comunitarios ofrecen educación para los trabajos que Trump sigue prometiendo; entonces, ¿por qué los castiga tanto?
    2. Educational Inequalities in the United States
      1. Educación de peor calidad y más abandono entre negros e hispanos
      2. La educación en Estados Unidos: un acceso desigual
      3. El sistema educativo de Estados Unidos presenta claras desigualdades raciales
      4. Cómo la desigualdad asfixia a EE.UU.
      5. “A Tale of Two Schools” (video)
      6. “Tale of Two Schools: Race and Education on Long Island – Part 1”
      7. “TEDxWashingtonHeights – Monica Martinez – A Latina’s Story of Attaining A Higher Education.m4v”
    3. Student Debt and Other Challenges in Pursuing Higher Education in the United States
      1. El impago de la deuda estudiantil se dispara en Estados Unidos
      2. Las razones por las que millones en EEUU no terminan la universidad
      3. Estados Unidos: ¿racismo y desigualdad en la universidad?
      4. Life of Privilege Explained in $100 Race [to be shown in class]
  2. Fact Books from C1 and C2: Depending on the institution of higher education, instructors may be able to locate Fact Books containing detailed information about the student body, faculty, costs, and other information about their home institutions. See the Queensborough Community College Fact Book for an example.

Technology Resources/Requirements

  1. Class website
  2. Video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Skype, or Facetime (to be used with Mac/Apple users)

Note

This module will be most effective – yielding better class discussion – if the two telecollaborative schools differ in terms of demographics as well as institutional context (geographic location, professor and organizational characteristics, political surroundings, etc.). Ideally, the collaboration would be between a 4-year school and a community college.

Activity 1: Understanding and Analyzing Data

The purpose of this activity is for students to explore quantitative data about their institutions and the implications of these data vis-à-vis educational inequality, and to compare these ideas with their peers at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference: Reviewing Institutional Fact Books

Prepare students to collect data in order to write a summary (see Pre-Task B). Provide students guidance about what type of summary to write. (A helpful starting resource for writing a summary can be found at 10 características de un resumen.)

Have students review the data sources for their college (C1) and the partner institution (C2). Ask them to focus on salient similarities and differences between these two sets of data. What stood out to them as surprising, striking, and/or worth a closer look? Have students take notes on any data/information that they found worthwhile to discuss in class.

Divide the class into small groups and ask them to look for the following information in the Fact Books and/or other resources for C1 as well as C2. Inform students that some data may not be available in their institution’s Fact Book or in the equivalent resource for C2.

Student information:

  1. Student enrollment
  2. The three majors with the highest enrollment
  3. Percentage of men and women
  4. Average age
  5. Ethnicity and race, including changes in the last ten years
  6. Primary language(s) spoken
  7. Place of residence
  8. High schools that students graduated from
  9. Graduation rates in three, five, and six years
  10. Percentage of students with financial aid
  11. Average income of current students
  12. Outside employment, including number of hours worked per week
  13. Number of students per instructor
  14. Tuition cost

Instructor information:

  1. Ethnicity
  2. Gender and rank
  3. Workload (how many credits they teach per semester). If this information is not in the Fact Book, have students ask you or another professor.

Preparation for Videoconference: Class Discussion

After students have reviewed C1’s Fact Book, reviewed the equivalent resource for C2, and taken notes on the above information, have them reconvene as a class to debrief. What were their findings, and what was striking, interesting or predictable about them?

Prepare students to write a summary (350–500 words) explaining the major similarities and differences that they have found. Their summary should cover the following points:

  1. What new information surprised you about your college? What information surprised you about C2? What did you find unsurprising?
  2. What do you think a Fact Book like this tells us about an institution of higher education? What do you think it leaves out?
  3. What information might be different for a different type of college (community college, four-year college or university)? Why do you think so?

Task: Videoconference

Advise your students that they will be preparing to discuss with their partners at C2 the data they have found about the two colleges. Divide students in small groups and ask each group to prepare a list of questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2. The list might include questions such as:

  1. What did you learn about your college by reviewing the Fact Book? What surprised you? What confirms certain things you suspected or observed? Does this information change your perspective about your college? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think and talk about “inequality” in your educational institution? If yes, in which context(s) (with instructors and classmates in class, with classmates outside class, with friends, family, etc.)? Think about what inequality means in economic, racial, gendered, and educational terms.
  3. What do you think of educational inequalities in the US? Are they considerable or negligible? Why? What broader inequalities do you think they reflect?

Pair small groups of C1 students with small groups of C2 students. Have them pose their questions to each other via videochat. When students have completed their chat with their peers, have them upload their notes about the conversation to the class website in blog format.

Post-Videoconference Step: Class Debrief

Debrief about the videoconference in class. Ask what students learned over the course of discussing the similarities and differences between C1 and C2. In small groups or as a class, talk about the notes that students took during the conference sessions, and have them include the information they gathered from their Fact Books.

Prepare students to reflect on this experience in the reflection. Prior to assigning the written reflection, discuss the reflection 2 rubric with students. Inform students that they are preparing to write reflection 2, a 2–3 page essay (see sample at the end of this document) about their perspectives on higher education in general in the United States, and how this connects to their experience as a student in a 4-year college or a community college. Remind students to write in narrative form rather than responding to questions point by point. Invite them to incorporate the following themes, discussing what particularly interested them for each theme:

  1. Education in the United States: What have you learned in this module? What topics have you found interesting, and how do they connect to your own educational experiences? Evaluate the education you have received up to this point. Do you think that it has been a quality education? What would you change about the education you have received?
  2. The telecollaboration experience: What was the experience of sharing insights with your peers at C2 in the telecollaboration like? How do you think this added to your understanding of your own educational context and experiences, as well as of larger questions and struggles in education in the United States today?
  3. New ideas, new directions: As a society, what can we do to provide educational equality for all children? For example, you might look into issues of policy (affirmative action as applied to education, education policy, housing policy, voting policy, etc.); social issues like racial segregation or income inequality; teacher education/preparation; programming that supports marginalized students and communities; and so on.

Have students write and post the reflection on the class website. Ask them to comment substantively on and/or ask questions about two other reflections either by their classmates at C1 and/or students from C2. Have students respond to one comment that they received about their own reflection.

Activity 2: Exploring Positive Experiences and Challenges in Higher Education

The purpose of this activity is for students to explore the concepts of privilege and educational inequality as systemic and historically informed features of their current experiences in higher education, and to draw connections between these experiences and those of their peers at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference: Choosing Your College

Have students discuss the following question as a class or in small groups: “Why did you choose a community college or a 4-year college for your education?” Using the board, brainstorm a list of possible reasons, including such themes as finances, location/proximity, reputation, convenience of schedule, and so on.

Discuss the term “privilege” with students. Have them write one or two sentences explaining what they understand by “privilege.” Facilitate a conversation about these ideas and expand upon them as a class.

Create a list of words and/or sentence starters that relate to privilege. Suggestions include: privilege/privilegio, access/acceso, rights/derechos, finances/finanzas/economía, advantages/disadvantages/ventajas/desventajas, prejudice/prejuicio, barriers/barreras; Going to college is made possible when…/Asistir a la universidad se hace posible cuando… Use this list to create the questionnaires (see https://cultura.mit.edu/cultura-questionnaires for guidance), which can then be posted as hyperlinks on the project home space.

Work with the instructors at C2 to agree on a timeline for students’ completion of questionnaires and the publication of results. Invite students to complete the questionnaires in one sitting by responding to the prompts in any way that makes sense to them. Students can be encouraged to write in Spanish, English, or a combination of both languages.

Once students from both C1 and C2 have submitted their responses, publish the results from class on the project home site in a side-by-side comparison with the responses from the students at C2. (See example here.)

After publishing the results, discuss them in class with students, inviting them to identify similarities, differences and patterns within and between the two groups, and asking students to formulate possible explanations for these differences. Have students work in pairs to make a list of questions for discussion that they will ask the students at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference: Watching Life of Privilege, In-Class Discussion

Show students the film “Life of Privilege Explained in $100 Race

Have students discuss the video in small groups using the following suggested questions as a guide:

  1. What is your initial reaction to the video? What is it like to watch this with your classmates?
  2. Do you think this is an effective way of teaching what “privilege” is? Why or why not?
  3. In an exercise like this, where do you think you would be positioned? Why?
  4. Is it important to know what your position in the “competition of life” is? Why?

Discuss students’ responses to these questions as a class, and build vocabulary to support discussion.

Preparation for Videoconference: Building Background Information

Have students read the readings and watch the videos selected for class. Have them answer guiding questions and post their responses along with a picture they have taken of a place at the college that has meaning for them (e.g., a public meeting place, a classroom where they took a class that made an impact on them, etc.). Inform students that they will be commenting on the posts by the students at C2 as well. Guiding questions might include the following:

  1. When you were making decisions about college, what institutions did you consider? What factors or characteristics of these institutions helped you make the final decision? What was most important to you?
  2. Did you consider other options? Which?
  3. The resources you have reviewed speak about educational inequalities in the United States. Respond to the following questions in a paragraph: How do these inequalities manifest in society? What are the causes?
  4. You already have had experience in the educational system of this country. What have you observed and/or experienced with respect to the forms of inequality that were raised? If you are comfortable doing so, give specific examples.
  5. Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: “There can be no equality in our society if the same educational opportunities do not exist for everyone.” Include supporting details and examples to fortify your position.

After students have published their own posts, have them comment on two or more of the posts that the students from C2 published. Also have them respond to the questions and/or comments made on their posts.

Task: Videoconference

Advise students that they will be preparing to discuss the topics of privilege and forms of inequality in higher education (including prejudices and barriers based on race, class, etc.) with their partner group at C2. In small groups have students prepare a list of questions they would like to ask their peers. Sample questions:

  1. What was your reaction to the video “Life of privilege explained in $100 race”?
  2. What other resources did you review from the Materials list? What did you think about them and what feedback would you give the creator of these materials?
  3. Do you consider your university a place for privileged students? Why or why not?
  4. Do you have classmates or friends who rely on student loans? What have they said about this?
  5. Why do you think that educational inequalities are so great in the US? What broader inequalities do you think they reflect?

Pair small groups of C1 students with small groups of C2 students. Have them pose their questions to each other via videochat. When students have completed their chat with their peers, have them upload their notes about the conversation to the class website in blog format.

Post-Videconference Step: Blog

Meet as a class to debrief about the videoconference experience. Ask students to reflect on what they found interesting, surprising, troubling, inspiring, etc. about their conversations with the students at C2. What new insights do they have about their own educational institution, as well as about the community and region where it is located? Ask students to identify any patterns, similarities, differences, and/or unanswered questions that emerged in their discussions with the students at C2. How might this new knowledge contribute to knowledge-sharing and solidarity-building?

Rubric: Reflection

Sample Reflection

Reflexión sobre las diferencias entre las universidades
College 1 es una universidad comunitaria y pública y College 2 es una universidad privada de cuatro años. Soy una estudiante de College 1 y, al escuchar a los estudiantes de College 2, me he dado cuenta de similitudes y diferencias que son positivas y negativas.
Una diferencia muy notable es el costo de la matriculación. College 1 cuesta por semestre $2,800 por doce créditos y al año cuesta un estimado de $4,800. En contraste, el coste de matriculación de College 2 es aproximadamente $40,000 por un año, más $9,000 para los estudiantes que quieran vivir en los dormitorios. Comparando las dos instituciones, está claro que algunos estudiantes deciden matricularse en un Community College por ser más económico que una universidad privada. El costo de ambas instituciones no es la única diferencia. También hay muchas diferencias en el currículo académico. College 1 no tiene un amplio y extenso currículo académico como College 2. College 2 tiene más variedades de carreras. Al tener un currículo académico más amplio y extenso, los estudiantes tienen más posibilidades de encontrar una carrera apropiada para sus intereses.
Una diferencia que me llamó mucho la atención es la cifra de graduación de ambas instituciones. En College 1, que es una institución de dos años, es 17% en tres años, lo que está muy por debajo de College 2, que es 67% en cuatro años. Me hubiera gustado que la cifra de graduación fuera más alta en College 1, pero al escuchar a mis compañeros hablar sobre los motivos por los que la cifra de graduación es baja, puede entender bien por qué algunos estudiantes no pueden graduarse en dos años. Factores como la economía de la familia, el tener que trabajar y las responsabilidades familiares impiden que algunos estudiante se gradúen a tiempo.
College 2 ofrece dormitorios, algo que College 1 no tiene. Me hubiera gustado haber asistido a una institución que ofrece dormitorios, ya que es una experiencia única. Desde mi punto de vista, los estudiantes que viven en dormitorios aprenden a ser independientes y responsables. No solo eso. Como han comentado algunos compañeros de College 1, nosotros vivimos con nuestras familias y estamos muy afectados por todos los problemas familiares que van surgiendo. Si viviéramos más lejos, podríamos enfocarnos más en nuestros estudios y menos en nuestra situación familiar.
Otra diferencia que hay entre College 1 y 2 es el espacio que los estudiantes tienen en la clase. En College 1, hay como 30 o más estudiantes en un mismo salón. En College 2, en un salón hay, como mucho, de 15 o 20 estudiantes. Cuando hay más estudiantes en una clase, a los profesores se les hace mas difícil ayudar a los estudiantes que lo necesitan. En cambio, donde hay menos estudiantes, los profesores pueden explicar con más detalle y de forma más individual para que el estudiante pueda entender la materia. Además, cuando hay muchos estudiantes en la clase, no todos participan y a veces ni siquiera llegan a conocerse. Pero, aunque las universidades privadas ofrecen clases más pequeñas, son muy caras y una gran cantidad de los estudiantes se gradúan con una buena parte de la deuda. En nuestra conversación con College 2, me pareció interesante hablar de “el estigma” que hay contra las universidades comunitarias. Hablamos de que en algunas zonas del país y en ciertas escuelas secundarias hay un sentimiento de que las universidades comunitarias son peores que las universidades de 4 años. Se piensa también que las universidades comunitarias son para personas que no tienen dinero o personas que no son inteligentes. Yo no era consciente de esto.
Encontramos que en muchas escuelas secundarias, la opción de asistir a universidades comunitarias ni siquiera se plantea y que muchos de los estudiantes de College 2 no sabían que era posible la transferencia de una universidad comunitaria a la universidad de 4 años. En cambio, hay escuelas secundarias en las que los consejeros nos presentan primero la opción de universidad comunitaria y nos hablan muy poco de la de cuatro años. Ambas instituciones ofrecen deportes, organizaciones y eventos sociales para los estudiantes. College 1 ofrece deportes para hombres y mujeres, como basketball, balonmano, natación, fútbol y otros más. También tiene organizaciones como el Drama Society, Creative Writing Club, Chemistry Club, Mock Trial Association, etc. Sin embargo, he obervado que College 2 también tiene asociaciones para estudiantes que se dedican a temas de justicia, de derechos humanos e incluso de derechos de los animales, algo que, por ejemplo a mí, me interesa mucho.
En general, creo que las universidades comunitarias son una muy buena opción para los estudiantes con menos recursos económicos, como es el caso de mis compañeros de College 1. También es buena opción cuando los estudiantes no saben qué especialidad estudiar. Es ridículo que estos estudiantes derrochen su dinero por un período de dos años a la hora de decidir su especialidad. Por otro lado, me he dado cuenta de que College 2 tiene mejor reputación y probablemente los estudiantes tengan mejores trabajos después de graduarse. Yo realmente no era consciente de que hay tantas diferencias entre estudiar en un tipo de universidad o en otra. Creo que durante la escuela secundaria no nos han dado suficiente información a mis compañeros de College 1 y a mí porque, por ejemplo, hasta ahora no sabíamos que en las universidades privadas de cuatro años hay becas. Si hubiera tenido esta información, tal vez habría solicitado estudiar en una institución como College 2.

HT Module – Encountering/Representing the Self

Produced by
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar

Download Module as PDF

Preparation and Resources

Objectives

Students will work independently and with their peers from both institutions (C1 and C2) to:

  1. introduce themselves to their classmates and the students at C2 by means of self-representations
  2. reflect about individual and intercultural differences or similarities as shown in their peers’ self-representations and their own
  3. reflect on and develop critical awareness of the power of visual information

Materials

  1. Self Portrait Collections (photography and painting):
  1. Collage:
  1. Readings:

Note: The articles are loosely organized by theme, but they touch upon intersecting topics. The instructor can select particular reading(s) for his/her particular class, and create an additional readings list for anything that is not included.

    1. Immigration and Identity
      1. Esculpir identidades: artistas ayudan a identificar a los migrantes muertos
      2. Niños nacidos en República Dominicana viven en un limbo de identidad por sus raíces haitianas
      3. A conversation with Latinos on Race
    2. Race/Ethnicity and Identity
      1. Los hispanos explican por qué no se identifican con las etiquetas sociales
      2. Afrolatinos en Estados Unidos: una visión que va más allá de la raza (Chron — Houston)
    3. Gender and Identity
      1. Redefiniendo el género en México
      2. Género e identidad sexual: la realidad asalta la ficción (ABC Cultura)
    4. Language and Identity
      1. Ser latino en Estados Unidos y saber español, una fuente de autoconocimiento y capital cultural
      2. Género e identidad sexual: la realidad asalta la ficción (ABC Cultura)
      3. “Se habla español”: de lengua vergonzante a cool, Estados Unidos ya es un país bilingüe (Infobae)
      4. Dime qué idioma hablas y te diré quién eres | Ivana Sánchez | TEDxYouth@BosquesDeLasLomas
    5. Poetic Self Portraits
      1. Nicanor Parra. “Autorretrato”
      2. Blanca Varela. “Curriculum Vitae”
      3. Rosario Castellanos. “Autorretrato”
      4. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. “A un retrato”
      5. Gustavo Pérez Firmat.
        1. “Bilingual Blues”
        2. “The fact that I am writing to you in English…”
    6. Identity in the Era of Selfies, New Digital Spaces; New Forms of Self-Representation
      1. La fotografía ha muerto, viva la postfotografía
      2. Por un manifiesto posfotográfico
      3. ¿Qué revelan nuestros avatares sobre nosotros?
      4. Lo que el palo para selfies revela sobre nosotros

Technology Resources/Requirements

  1. Class website
  2. Video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime (to be used with Mac/Apple users)

Activity 1: Introductions

The purpose of this activity is for students to get to know their classmates and their partner university peers by introducing themselves with a written self-description, and to draw conclusions about the similarities and differences between students in their school (C1) and the students in the partner school (C2).

Course Overview

Introduce course overview, routines and expectations to the class, particularly the protocol of working with peers from another school. Present the class website to students and demonstrate its use.

Explain how students will publish blog posts and comment on their classmates’ work and the work of the students at C2. Practice using the website as needed.

Preparation for Exchange/Commentary with Students at C2: Self-Introductions, Blog

Have students write a short blog post on the class website in which they introduce themselves to the students at C2. The post should offer autobiographical details in as natural a style as possible, using Spanish, English, or a combination of both languages.

Task: Reviewing/Analyzing Student Self-Introductions at C2

Have students read two self-introductions that the students at C2 have written and take notes for class discussion. Some questions they can use to review and analyze these self-introductions may include:

  1. What information is included in the self-introduction?
  2. What language(s) did they write their self-introduction in?
  3. What kind of person do you think this student is, given the small amount of information you have about them? Why do you think this way?
  4. What do you think you have in common with this person? What makes you different?
  5. What questions might you like to ask this person about their experiences in their town/city and in their college?

Post-Exchange Class Debrief

Have a class conversation about observations of the students at C2. Some guiding questions may include:

  1. What are your impressions of the self-introductions you read? What was it like to write your own?
  2. Are there commonalities and/or differences in your self-introduction compared to the self-introductions of other students in your class? What about the students at C2?
  3. Are there any general themes/ideas that emerge about C1’s educational, political, geographical, and/or sociocultural context? What about the context of C2? What comparisons/contrasts can you draw?
  4. Do you think that comparing individual self-introductions by students from two different educational contexts can reveal larger truths about the places where they study? Why or why not? What limitations might there be in such an exercise?

Activity 2: Self-Representations

The purpose of this activity is for students to explore the concept of self-representation as a creative process of social/cultural identity production, and to make connections with similar explorations by their peers at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference: Exploring Forms of Self-Representation

Review and discuss with students a variety of artistic self-representations (see sample links under Materials). Instructors may choose collections that focus on Latinx identity (1-5 under Materials) and ask students to compare them to collections that are not specifically Latinx (6 and 7 under Materials). Sample questions for the discussion:

  1. What are the elements, objects and ideas that the artists use to express identity?
  2. What identities are being explored in the portraits? What elements do artists use to express or reflect on these identities?
  3. Choose your favorite self-representation from the different collections and explain why you find it compelling in terms of its message and its aesthetic qualities.
  4. In what social and political context was this self-representation probably made? What features of the self-representation indicate this?
  5. Present to students some of the terms that will appear in class discussions: “identity” (cultural, gender-based, race/ethnicity, immigration experience, etc.), “syncretism,” “portraiture,” “self-representation,” “aesthetics,” etc.

Preparation for Videoconference: Class Readings (at home)

Assign some of the readings from the list to the class. Alternatively, ask students what readings they would be interested in (take a class vote, etc.). Have students complete the readings at home, and prepare to discuss them in class.

Preparation for Videoconference: In-Class Discussion of Readings

Discuss the selected readings in class. Here are some starting suggestions for questions that instructors can use as a guide for class discussion:

  1. Immigration and Identity
    1. (“Esculpir identidades”) For many immigrants, crossing the border means gaining access to the opportunity to forge a new, dynamic identity in a new culture. However, the difficult conditions of the journey across the border causes others to lose their lives along with their identities. Analyze how art contributes to their visibility. Do you have any creative ideas about what could be done with these sculpted faces beyond using them to help families identify their loved ones?
    2. (“Niños nacidos en República Dominicana…”) Compare the identity issues of the Haitian children in “Niños nacidos en República Dominicana…” to the situation of Dreamers in the US.
    3. (“A conversation with Latinos on race.”) Discuss the possible meanings of “identity” for immigrants based on your personal experience, the readings, and the testimonies that you saw in “A conversation with Latinos on race.”​
  2. Race/Ethnicity and Identity
    1. (“Los hispanos explican…”) Discuss the ways in which racial and ethnic identity come about and/or are chosen in the article. What is the relationship between racial and ethnic identity and being “American”? How do you think about your own racial/ethnic identity?
    2. (“Afrolatinos…”) Discuss the ways in which the relationship between being “Black” and being Latinx are explored in the article. What social and political ideas are discussed about living as someone who identifies as Afro-Latinx?​
  3. Gender and Identity
    1. (“Redefiniendo…”) Discuss gender identity in the story of Micah. Would Micah be able to identify him/herself with any of the poetic self-portraits you have read?
    2. (“Género e identidad sexual…”) Discuss the various ways in which the article explores gender identity and gender itself. What role can fiction play in creating possibilities for new ways of looking at and thinking about gender? Draw upon examples from the article to support your perspective (even if you disagree with the example(s) you use).​
  4. Language and Identity
    1. (“Ser latino…”) Discuss the relationship between language and identity as presented in “Ser latino en Estados Unidos…” How are language and identity related? Does your identity change depending on the language you use? Does identity change depending on where you are, or who you are with? Does identity change over time?
    2. (“Género e identidad sexual…”) Discuss the evolution of Spanish language use and learning in the United States as presented in the article. What predictions can you make about where this trend might be headed?​
  5. Poetic Self-Portraits
    1. Why would a writer choose a poem rather than an essay to speak about identity or self-identity?
    2. (Parra) What is the profession or occupation of the speaker in the poem? How do you know?
    3. Whom is the speaker addressing? What type of self-image is the speaker transmitting? Find instances in which the speaker uses humor for self-deprecation. What do you think is the effect of this self-deprecating voice on different readers (e.g., you vs. his students, etc.)?
    4. (Varela) What is the attitude of the speaker in describing her/his CV (positive, self-critical, etc.)? What is the meaning of “carrera” in the poem? Who or what is the “sombra”? What definition of “victory” does the poem provide?
    5. (Castellanos) What is the attitude of the speaker in describing herself (positive, self-critical, etc.)? How does the speaker appear to feel about social conventions (the use of the term “señora,” high culture, definitions of femininity and beauty, how suffering is expressed, etc.)? What about life cycles (motherhood, aging, etc.)? Find instances of the use of irony in the poem. Why do you think the writer made this choice?
    6. (Sor Juana) Whom is the speaker addressing? What is the “engaño” and why is it a lie? What does the final verse progression suggest (“cadáver,” “polvo,” “sombra,” “nada”)?
    7. (Pérez Firmat) What tensions and contradictions can you find in these poems? How are these tensions and contradictions expressed (in the creative use of language, in imagery, in other ways)? What does it mean that the poet’s voice does not “belong in English” and “does not belong anywhere else” at the same time?
    8. (Parra, Pérez Firmat) Compare the use of humor in Pérez Firmat’s “Soy un ajiaco de contradicciones” and in Parra’s “Autorretrato.” What or whom are the authors mocking with the use of humor and irony in these poems?
    9. Discuss how gender identity is played out in these poetic portraits. What words, ideas, emotions, and images appear in the poems to express and/or challenge gender identity?
  6. Identity in the Era of Selfies, New Digital Spaces, New Forms of Self-Representation
    1. How has the art of self-representation changed in the age of selfies?
    2. What are the consequences of these changes in how we understand art and identity? Are we “artists” or “creators” of our own identity in an era of instantaneous, publicly visible profiles and social media spaces? Explain.
      How are these changes contributing to blurring the differences between high art (the one we see in museums, for instance) and popular art?
      What are the consequences of these changes in how ordinary people express their identities?

Preparation for Videoconference: In-Class Brainstorm for Creation of Self-Representation

Ask students to start planning the self-representation they would like to create. Have them jot down a short (100 word maximum) written self-representation in class, which can include poetic words and/or phrases as well as longer stretches of text. Instruct students to use any language (Spanish, English, or a combination of both languages) that they think would be meaningful. Once students are finished, have them discuss their work in small groups (3-4 students), and then debrief as a class. Suggested questions for class discussion:

  1. What new ideas do you have about the aspects of identity that we have discussed, and how do these ideas relate to you? What aspects of yourself do you want to share? What aspects do you want to keep to yourself?
  2. What elements would you include to represent yourself (objects, people, places) and why? What do you want to say about yourself with these elements?
  3. What language choices are you making in creating this self-representation? If you don’t use any language, is there a reason for that?
  4. Do these places, activities, objects/images, and words/phrases that you have chosen identify you as Latinx, American, a combination, or something else?
  5. If someone that doesn’t know you sees your object/image, place or activity, would that person guess your age, nationality, gender, occupation, language practices?
  6. How does the city or town in which you live figure, if at all, in your self-representation? How does your identification with this locality influence the way you see yourself, if at all?

Preparation for Videoconference: Creation/Upload of Self-Representations to Class Website (at home)

Ask students if they have any final questions or thoughts before they create their self-representations. Review vocabulary, ideas, and other topics they may need to clarify. For homework, have students create their own self-representations using personal photographs, digital images, text, or a combination of different materials. Have students create a digital version of their self-representations (if they are not already in a digital form) to be uploaded to the class website. Ask students to upload their self-representations to the class website when they are finished, along with a short explanation of why that image represents them (150-300 words).

Preparation for Videoconference: Commentary on Self-representations by Students at C1 and C2

In preparation for the videochat, have students reflect on the self-representations their classmates have uploaded to the class website, as well as the self-representations done by members of their telecollaboration group. Ask students to post a comment on one C1 student’s and one C2 student’s self-representation. Some questions to ask students to consider include:

  1. What elements, ideas, and themes emerged in your classmates’ self-representations? What choices did they make that were similar to yours? What was different? What about the self-representations of the students at C2?
  2. How did you, your classmates, and the students at C2 use language in self-representation? What does this say about how you identify with and experience language?
  3. What themes stand out in our collective work that may represent shared ideas about community, city and regional life, and how habits of self-representation change across generations?

Task: Videoconference

Ask students to form small groups (3-4 students). Inform students that they will work together to discuss their work and the work of their peers at C2. Have these small groups discuss students’ self-representations via the videoconference platform selected for this class. Guiding questions for the telecollaborative discussion may be generated by the whole class.

For the telecollaboration with students at C2, instruct students to take note of ideas discussed with their peers that they find interesting. Some themes they can keep in mind include: self-representation, identity, culture, gender, immigration, race/ethnicity, language, technology, syncretism, regionality, community. Provide students with a graphic organizer to support note-taking (see sample at the end of this document) if needed.

Post-Videoconference Step: Debrief, Creation of Group Summary

After finishing the telecollaboration with students at C2 bring the class back together to discuss this experience in small groups. The questions below can be used as guidance for the chat, but additional questions for discussion may be generated by the whole class.

  1. When you saw the self-representations of your colleagues from C1 and C2, what did you think? What are your general observations?
  2. Is there an image or text (besides yours) that has particularly struck you? Explain. (It can be from C1 or C2).
  3. Discuss three ideas that appear in various C1 texts and images. [Discuss major themes that emerged from the C1 texts and images in terms of regionality, language practices, individual and shared identity, community, etc. What did the C1 students find important to share? What did this say about them?]
  4. Discuss three ideas that appear in various texts and images of C2. [Discuss major themes that emerged from the C2 texts and images in terms of regionality, language practices, individual and shared identity, community, etc. What did the C2 students find important to share? What did this say about them?]
  5. Compare images and texts looking for patterns of similarities and differences. [Compare these themes and make deductions about the similarities and differences of C1 and C2 students, their respective schools, their communities, and their respective regions/cities.]

Using student responses to the questions above, work with the group to create a group summary (1-3 paragraphs) of their telecollaboration experience. Inform students that this summary will be shared with the students at C2 as a class post. Post this summary to the class website and invite students from C2 to comment.

Post-Videoconference Step: Written Reflection

Debrief with students about the telecollaboration. What was the experience like? What did they learn about their peers at C2? What did they discover about their own work, about themselves, and about C2 through this experience?

Prepare students to reflect on this experience in a written response.

  1. Prior to assigning the written reflection, discuss the reflection rubric with students.
  2. Inform students that they will write a reflection, which is a 2-3 page essay (sample provided at the end of the document) about what they learned in relation to self-representation. Remind students to write in narrative form rather than responding to questions point by point. Invite them to incorporate the following themes, discussing what particularly interested them for each theme:
    • Creating my self-representation.What elements did you choose for your self-representation? How did they work together to generate the final product?
    • The telecollaboration experience.What ideas emerged in the discussion of self-representations, including the cross-comparison of images and texts? What did you learn about sharing self-representations with the students at C2? (For example, what new ideas do you have about individual and shared identity, region/city, language practices, and community?) What other observations did you make during the videochat experience?
    • New ideas, new directions.After observing all the self-representations, would you change yours? If so, how? What new ideas do you have about the process of creating a self-representation? How did this experience help you explore and understand your ways of expressing your identity?

Post-Videoconference Step: Commentary on Work by Students at C2

Have students post their reflections on the class website. Ask them to comment substantively on and/or ask questions about two other reflections either by their classmates at C1 and/or the students at C2. For example, they can state that they like the self-representation, but they should also think critically about what this self-representation said, why the creator did what s/he did, etc., and comment on this. Have students respond to one comment that they received about their own reflection.

Graphic Organizer

Rubric: Reflection

HT Module – Fast Food Culture (ZH)

Produced by
Valeria Belmonti, Wei-Yi Cheng, Yun Guo, and Katherine Entigar

Download Module as PDF

Preparation and Resources

Objective

Students will use mobile technology to engage in an intercultural exchange with peers comparing American and Chinese fast food in terms of their products and practices.

Proficiency Level(s) and Language Use

This Module can be adapted for a variety of proficiency levels, from Novice High to Advanced High on the ACTFL proficiency scale. The materials are either in English, in Mandarin Chinese or in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Class discussions can take place in Mandarin Chinese, English or both, depending on the proficiency level of students and the goals of the particular activity. Journal entry prompts can also be adapted to the proficiency level of students. Some journal entries can be written by students in English if the main priority is intercultural critical reflection on the activities, rather than the development of language/literacy. Text messaging will be the primary form of cross-institutional exchange. The pilot project was run between an Intermediate Chinese I course at a university in the US, and an English I course at a university in China. For the pilot version of this module, students were asked to exchange a minimum amount of text messages in L2, which was Mandarin Chinese (simplified characters or Pinyin) for the class in the U.S. and English for the class in China. After the minimum amount of text messages were exchanged in L2, students were free to continue the conversation in either Mandarin Chinese or English.

Note for Heritage Language Instruction

This Module can be adapted to include the linguistic and cultural practices of heritage language learners (HLLs) who speak Mandarin Chinese at home and/or in their communities. If you work with HLLs, follow the indicator “(HLL)”—which is included in various sections of this Module—to find additional steps that will help provide enrichment and support for the continued biliteracy and bicultural development of these students.

Description of Project

For each activity, students will:

  1. Analyze relevant resources
  2. Participate in classroom discussions
  3. Exchange information and opinions with partners via mobile messaging in small groups
  4. Write a journal reflection
  5. Complete dictionary entries
  6. Carry out activities related to language development
  7. Conduct a final classroom reflective discussion

Materials

  1. 快餐文化
  2. 中式快餐的完全定义是什么
  3. The New Definition of Fast Food
  4. Definitions of Fast Foods
  5. DAE Exercise
  6. Red and Green Bun
  7. Grey Bun
  8. Black and White
  9. Duck Burger
  10. Fast Foods Gone Global – McDonald’s Balloon Wedding Party
  11. McDonald’s China promotes table service with emotional spot
  12. China strategy built on digital marketing and home delivery could drive US growth for McDonald’s
  13. McDonald’s latest strategy confirms the death of the American middle class as we know it
  14. McDonald’s all-day breakfast, promotions drive sales
  15. Cafe U.S.: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/mc_cafe.html
  16. Cafe HK: http://www.mcdonalds.com.hk/en/mccafe/menu.html
  17. Salads: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/salads.html
  18. Tea: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mccafe/Asian-tea
  19. Hamburgers CH: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mcdonalds/hamburgers
  20. Hamburgers U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/full-menu/burgers.html
  21. Specials U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/whats-hot.html
  22. https://www.tuifly.be/
  23. https://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_gb
  24. https://www.walmart.com/
  25. http://www.wumart.com/

Please note that the resources included in this document were current at the time of its creation. Make sure to (a) check all links prior to conducting the various stages of this module in order to confirm that the links are still active, and to (b) check that the resources included are relevant at the time of conducting the lesson. We encourage you to review all resources and update them as needed for your particular group of students and according to the context that is current when your course is being held.

Preparation for Instructors

Project Home Site

Set up the project home site prior to the start of class and use it to post all instructions and tutorials that will be shared with students. This will also be the site of a question databank created by you and your students and a place for students to post and update their own pages for a final shared dictionary that their peers may access and use.

WeChat

Become familiar with the WeChat application—including how to create groups and how to share images/video/weblinks—and then create step-by-step tutorials or locate online existing tutorials to share with students. Put students in small groups before the ice-breaking activity. Create a common project group chat to which all students from both courses will be added. This common project group chat will be used to share information and resources between all participants in the project. Have your students download the application ahead of time and familiarize themselves with how to share text, images, videos, and links if they have not done so already.

Cultura-Inspired Questionnaires

It is very important to become acquainted with the Cultura model prior to the execution of Activity 1. We strongly encourage you to visit the Educator’s Guide on the Cultura website to review the description of the Questionnaire activities and the explanation of the Word Association debriefing tasks. For further information on the Cultura model, consult the following resources:

  1. English, K., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language Culture: The CULTURA Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55-102.
  2. Furstenberg, G., & English, K. (2016). Cultura revisited. Language Learning and Technology, 20 (2), 172–178.

It is also important that you confer ahead of time with the instructors at C2 to create a shared timeline for students’ submissions and the publication of results. The Cultura-inspired questionnaires should be developed prior to the beginning of the course.

Create the questionnaires using relevant target keywords such as “fast food,” “McDonald’s,” “hamburgers,” “dumplings,” “healthy foods,” etc. and/or sentences to complete such as “Fast food is…” When creating the questionnaires, instructors should follow these steps:

  1. Create a first question of type “dropdown” or “multiple choice,” which can then be used to filter and aggregate responses from each class. The names of the schools should be used as indicators for this question.
  2. Create “Short Answers” or “Paragraphs” types of questions for the word associations and sentence completions.
  3. Enable participants to submit responses only once.

The link to the questionnaire should then be posted on the project home site group chat right before the execution of Activity 1.

Technology Tools

Accessibility of online tools in China should be checked ahead of time with the partner instructor. Alternatively, this can be also checked by using https://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/.

  1. Project home site: platform for posting resources and questions databank. Options include:
    1. Course Management System (Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, etc.)
    2. Google Sites
    3. WordPress
    4. Facebook Group
    5. Blackboard
    6. Moodle
  2. WeChat Messaging
    1. How to create groups
  3. For Cultura-inspired questionnaires, options include:
    1. Google Forms (see instructions below)
    2. Survey Monkey
    3. Survey Gizmo

Activity 1: What is Fast Food?

This activity is designed to help students make initial connections between how fast food, street food and snack food are conceived of in China versus the U.S.

Pre-Chat Activities

Cultura Questionnaires

  1. Follow the instructions in the section “Cultura-Inspired Questionnaires” under “Preparation for Instructors” to create the questionnaires ahead of time.
  2. Notify students of the deadline to submit their responses and be sure to give them adequate time to complete their submissions. Students should also be advised that they must complete their submissions in one sitting, writing “spontaneously,” i.e. providing the first responses that come to mind. For this exercise they should use L1 (the language of the country where they are studying).
  3. Once all students have submitted their responses, publish them on the project home site’s group chat in a side-by-side comparison of your class’ responses with those of the class at C2. See samples here. The side-by-side comparison can be posted as an image or as a link to an online table/document.
  4. After publishing the results, discuss them with your students, inviting them to compare the results from C1 with the results from C2 in order to identify similarities and differences within and across groups and to formulate possible explanations for these similarities and differences. Based on this class discussion, ask your students to come up with questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2, seeking clarification of C2 students’ responses as well as their perspectives on the explanations that your students have generated. More information on how to guide the debriefing part of the Cultura questionnaire exercise can be found here.

Definition of Fast Food vs. Chinese Fast Food/Street Food1.

  1. 快餐文化
  2. 中式快餐的完全定义是什么
  3. The New Definition of Fast Food
  4. Definitions of Fast Foods

Have students read the articles above in small groups. Use the following questions to analyze the resources as a class.

  1. What do you think about the way that “fast food” is defined in the articles?
  2. What are some of the similarities and differences between these definitions and the ones discussed through keywords associations and concepts generated from the Cultura questionnaire exercise and debriefing?
  3. What are the differences, if any, between how fast food is defined in the U.S.-based sources vs. the Chinese-based sources? (Note: Instructors should emphasize concepts such as fast food vs. Chinese snacks/street food).
  4. In your opinion, how have the ways in which “fast food” has been defined changed over time, and what are the reasons? Reflect on examples such as Chipotle, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc.

 As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask questions generated during classroom discussions and add questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Discuss the definitions of fast food in the U.S. and China in light of the class conversation about the results of the Cultura questionnaires. Ask your peers at C2 the questions generated in class in order to verify possible explanations of the similarities and differences that were observed during class discussion. Analyze with your peers the differences between how fast food is defined in the U.S. and in China according to the articles you have reviewed.
  2. Discuss with the students at C2 the ways in which the definitions of fast food/street food may have changed over time in both China and the U.S. and possible reasons for this. Reflect on some recent examples of fast food chains in both the U.S. and China.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
  2. What was discussed in the chat that struck you as particularly interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
  3. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese definitions of fast food as derived from the Cultura exercise, from the articles analyzed, and/or from the conversation with your partners at C2?
  4. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
  5. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 2: Fast Food Culture in China and the US

This activity is designed to facilitate discussion about the fast food industry in the US and China as well as to encourage students to explore new concepts and information.

Pre-Chat Activities

Fast Food in the US

Use the guiding questions below to introduce vocabulary related to fast food and invite students to share their own experiences and likes/dislikes regarding fast food in the U.S.

  1. Do you eat fast food? If so, what is your favorite fast food chain? If not, why not? What do you like and/or dislike about fast food? Why?
  2. Which fast food restaurants and/or chains are located in your neighborhood? What kinds of food do they serve?
  3. Does your family eat fast food? Have they eaten fast food from both the U.S. and China? If so, how do they perceive American fast food vs. Chinese fast food? (HLLs)

If possible, have students in C1 and C2 visit some fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods or school areas ahead of time so that they can observe the clientele and decor. In class have them discuss the following questions:

  1. Who appears to be the typical consumer? Consider age, social class, race/ethnicity, gender expression, and so on.
  2. Which items (decor, utensils, etc.), if any, seem to be commonly found across the fast food restaurants that you have visited?

Use the trailer for Fast Food Nation to discuss some of the impacts of the fast food industry on American society. Use following questions for discussion:

  1. What are some of the keywords/issues that stand out in the video? (Hint: teenager employment, undocumented workers, minimum wages, etc.)
  2. How do you think “fast food” has changed in the U.S. since 2006 when the movie was released? What do you think remains the same?
  3. How many of you, if any, have worked in a fast food restaurant? How is/was the food prepared and stored? Who is/was your typical customer? Who were your colleagues? What are/were the pros and cons of working at a restaurant/food service business? Share stories and experiences and make connections to the issues raised in the film trailer.
  4. What generalizations and/or stereotypes are included in the film? Do you agree/disagree with how these ideas are presented?
  5. What do you think are the intended goals of the film? Who do you think is the intended audience for the film? Explain.

Fast Food in China

Use the guiding questions below, have students share what they know about Chinese fast food and invite them to draw upon their own experiences and preferences, if any, related to fast food in China.

  1. What do you know about Chinese fast food? What do you expect to find out about Chinese food in this activity? What questions would you like to ask your peers at C2 about their experiences with fast food in China?
  2. Have you ever eaten fast food while in China? Where? Why? What?
  3. What do you expect that you will find in a Chinese fast food chain in terms of menu items, decor and/or objects that you would not typically find in an American fast food restaurant? Explain.

Divide the class into small groups. Have students use their smartphones or laptops, or go to a computer lab (if available), to search for information about popular Chinese fast food chains. Provide a list of chains such as Jiangsu Da Niang Dumpling, Zhenkungfu, LEM Hamburger, PALA, Gll Wonton, Dico’s, Hua Lai Shi, etc. and the links to their websites. A comprehensive list of chains can be found at www.chinasspp.com/brand/中式快餐/. Instruct students to find as much information as possible and be ready to share findings in class.

  1. How many stores does this chain have? Where are they located: urban locations, rural, or both?
  2. Is the food they serve Western-inspired or Chinese fast food?
  3. Find images of the restaurants. Is there anything that jumps out as interesting, surprising, or different when comparing them to U.S. fast food restaurants?

Debrief in class about the similarities and differences between these Chinese fast food chains and American fast food chains, and have students generate questions to ask their peers at C2 regarding the chains analyzed.

Assign students the articles below to be read in class or at home, depending on time constraints. Allocate time in class to assist with language comprehension as needed.

  1. 盘点中国快餐业
  2. 中式快餐带给中国人的五大改变

Divide the class into small groups and have students discuss the articles using the guiding questions below. Debrief as a class. Have students generate questions for their partners at C2 about the concepts and information learned from the articles.

According to the articles:

  1. Is the Chinese fast food market increasing or decreasing? Explain.
  2. Is Chinese fast food an important piece of the overall food industry in China? Why or why not?
  3. What are the cultural and economic advantages of Chinese fast food as compared to Western-style fast food in China?
  4. What types of food does Chinese fast food have that do not exist in American fast food?
  5. Do Chinese people tend to prefer the Western or Chinese style of fast food? Explain.
  6. What are some of the main impacts of fast food on Chinese people’s lives?

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask the questions generated during classroom discussions, and feel free to ask questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Who appears to be the typical consumer of the fast food restaurants that you and your peers at C2 have visited? How do these consumer categories compare in terms of age range, class, etc.? What similarities and differences do you detect, and what do you think might be the reasons for these similarities and differences?
  2. If you were able to visit local fast food restaurants, what are the menu items, decor items or other objects found there that you and your peers think would never be found in a Chinese chain, and vice versa?
  3. Discuss the issues raised in Fast Food Nation: are these issues (minimum wages, teen employment, undocumented workers) relevant to the fast food industry in China? Why or why not? How might they differ?
  4. Is fast food an important piece of the overall food industry in China and in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  5. What are the cultural and economic advantages of Chinese fast food as compared to Western-style fast food in China as discussed in the resources analyzed in class?
  6. What are the impacts of fast food on people’s lives in China and in the U.S. as discussed in the resources and during classroom discussions?
  7. Ask your partners at C2 the questions generated in class regarding Chinese fast food. Respond to their questions regarding American fast food.
  8. Ask your partners the questions that were generated in class about specific Chinese fast food chains. Respond to their questions regarding American fast food chains.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry.Inform students that they will write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
  2. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, intriguing, controversial, strange, or surprising?
  3. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
  4. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
  5. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 3: McDonald’s in China

This activity is designed to initiate analysis of the expansion of McDonald’s to China.

Pre-Chat Activities

Play the video in class to instigate discussion of the launch of McDonald’s in China. While students are watching the video, ask them to keep in mind the questions below and to take notes. After the video, sum up main points by having students share their notes and observations. According to the video:

  1. What did the opening of McDonald’s in Beijing represent for Chinese people?
  2. Why is the Chinese market important/appealing to McDonald’s?
  3. What adjustments did McDonald’s have to make in order to operate in China? Why?

Have students read the introduction of the book (in Chinese) “Golden Arches East.” Then use this PPT (in Chinese) to give an overview of the main points of the book. Have students work in small groups to discuss the following questions, then debrief as a class.

  1. What information from the book were you most surprised to learn, if any?
  2. What information from the book were you already aware of, if any?
  3. How does the text justify the flourishing of McDonald’s in China?
  4. Talk with your family/friends/community: were they in China when the first McDonald’s opened in Beijing? If so, what do they remember about it? What did they think of the launch of an American fast food chain in China at that time? Do they agree with the points raised by the book’s introductory chapter? What experiences have they had with McDonald’s in China, if any? What experiences have they had with McDonald’s in the U.S., if any? How do these experiences compare?

Divide the class into small groups and assign one article to each group. Have students read and discuss the article in small groups. Then debrief as a group.

  1. 美媒:中国人逐渐对肯德基麦当劳失去兴趣 咋回事
  2. 麦当劳在中国成廉价快餐 比起巨无霸年轻人更倾向一杯星巴克
  3. 麦当劳:连年轻人都不再喜欢它了吗?
  4. How does the information in the article compare to the information in the book? How have the ways in which fast food is defined changed since the launch of McDonald’s in China? How have the ways in which fast food is defined changed since the launch of McDonald’s in China? How have the ways in which fast food was seen and defined at the launch of McDonald’s in China changed?
  5. How do young people today feel about McDonald’s, according to the articles?
  6. According to the articles, what are some of the issues that McDonald’s faces in China today, and how does this information compare to what is discussed in the book chapter?
  7. What further questions would you like ask your peers at C2 to clarify the points made in the articles?

Work with students to brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask the questions generated during classroom discussions and feel free to ask questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Do your partners feel that the information in Golden Arches East is still valid in China today? Explain.
  2. How have the practices discussed in the book changed in China, if at all, since the publishing of it? What have been the driving forces behind such changes?
  3. How do your partners explain the flourishing of McDonald’s in China?
  4. Do your partners at C2 see McDonald’s as a symbol of American culture? Why or why not?
  5. Do you see Chinese fast food as a symbol of Chinese culture? Explore this with your peers.
  6. Is it valid to look at food as a symbol of culture? Explain.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 4: Localization Strategies

This activity is designed to initiate analysis of how target fast food companies use localization strategies to adapt their products and services to the different linguistic and cultural practices of China and the U.S.

Pre-Chat Activities

Describe-Analyze-Evaluate

(Exercise developed by Kyoung-Ah Nam with content adapted for this module. More information about this exercise can be found in Deardorff, D. (2012). Building intercultural competence: Innovative activities and models. Stylus Publishing, p. 54-57)

 In class, use the DAE exercises below to explore the concepts of value judgement and the personal/cultural relativity of assumptions. The exercises will engage students in interpreting and evaluating products and practices as well as invite discussion about the importance of frame-shifting when encountering the unfamiliar. (Information about the DAE exercise can be found here.)

  1. DAE 1
    1. Describe: What do you see? Ask students to describe as objectively as possible the images that they see, doing their best not to use any positive or negative connotations in their descriptions.
    2. Analyze: What could help explain what you see? What else must be assumed/known to make sense of these images? Try to think, “This might mean…” Ask students to imagine contexts that could explain each image, and justify their ideas for selecting these contexts. (Note for instructors: Use these links to provide information on justification Grey Bun, Black and White, Duck Burger)
    3. Evaluate: How do you feel about each image? What positive or negative feelings do you have? What is your opinion/judgment of these burgers, and has it changed after learning the context in which they were produced/served? Was describing the burgers objectively difficult for you? Explain.
  1. DAE 2
    1. Describe: What do you see? Show the video without sound. Ask students to describe as objectively as possible the images that they see, making sure not to use any positive or negative connotations in their descriptions.
    2. Analyze: What could help explain what you see? What else must be known to make sense of the images? Ask students to imagine reasons that could explain the popularity of the practice, then re-watch the video with the audio to listen to some explanations of why this practice is popular in Hong Kong. Ask students to research and report about the various McWedding options available on the Chinese McDonald’s site.
    3. Evaluate: How do you feel about this idea? What positive or negative feelings do you have about McWeddings? What is your opinion/judgment of these ceremonies? Has your perspective changed after learning the context for these ceremonies? Was describing this phenomenon objectively difficult for you? Explain.

Ask students to conduct a quick Internet search to learn about McWeddings in the U.S.: Do they exist as a practice? If so, how do they compare with the Chinese version, and what conclusions can be drawn based on a comparison of the two? If they don’t exist, is there any other information they can track down (e.g., failed attempts to bring McWeddings to the U.S., plans to build up this market, etc.)?

Localization Strategies

Assign the handout entitled ‘Product Localization” in order to introduce students to the concept of product localization. Use the last pages of the handout to discuss with students the case study of Starbucks localization strategies in China. Debrief:

  1. Do you think these localization strategies would work in the American market? Why or why not? If you think they would, which sectors of the American market do you think they would be most successful in?
  2. Do you think these strategies would work in other locations abroad? Why or why not?
  3. What are some of the American-based localization strategies that you can recognize in products, practices, decor, etc. that Starbucks applies for the U.S. market? Do you think these strategies vary by region, demographic group, and/or other factors? Give examples.

Referring back to the Golden Arches East book chapter, assign the handout entitled “Localization Strategies” in order to present some of the localization strategies of McDonald’s in China. Ask students to reflect back on what they have learned in the book chapter as well as what they previously discussed with partners. Have students speak with family and/or community members who may offer particular insights into their experiences with these strategies, drawing upon the guiding questions suggested below.

  1. Why do you think these strategies work in China? Would they also work in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  2. Reflect on Activity 2. What are some items that you find in the fast food restaurants in the U.S. that would never be found in China according to your partners, and vice versa?
  3. Reflect on the ways in which McDonald’s employed localization strategies in the Chinese context in the 1990s. Do you think these strategies would work today in China, given what you know about the way the country has changed over time? What about in Chinese American communities in the U.S. today? Explain, providing examples when possible.
  4. What similarities and/or differences exist between the ways McDonald’s products have been created, presented, and sold in the U.S. compared to China? Give examples from the community where you live and the community where your family lives (if these are different), and whenever possible, speak with family and/or community members to obtain various perspectives. You may consider/ask about any of the following: linguistic practices (variants of the same language (Mandarin Chinese in China vs. in the U.S., British English preferences in Chinese education vs. American English), generational shifts (cultural understandings, traditions, etc.), family immigration, changes in political and/or economic context, etc. Feel free to add other points for comparison as they emerge (HLLs)

Divide the class in small groups and have students discuss the following resources:

  1. McDonald’s China promotes table service with emotional spot
  2. China strategy built on digital marketing and home delivery could drive US growth for McDonald’s
  3. McDonald’s latest strategy confirms the death of the American middle class as we know it
  4. McDonald’s all-day breakfast, promotions drive sales

Then, debrief as a class:

  1. Why do you think that these marketing strategies work in your country? Would they also work in the country where your peers at C2 are located? Why or why not?
  2. What are some other localization strategies that you observe McDonald’s applying in the U.S. market? (Note: Students could also be asked to research this information using smartphones or computers).

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask questions generated during classroom discussions and add questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. How do your partners at C2 feel about the localization strategies implemented by Starbucks and McDonald’s in China?
  2. What menu choices, events, and promotions, if any, make McDonald’s in the U.S appear as strange to your C2 partners, and what information can you provide that helps explain such choices?
  3. Compare and contrast the McDonald’s menus from the list below. What menu choices, events, and promotions, if any, make McDonald’s in China appear as strange to you, and what information can your C2 partners provide that helps explain such choices?
  4. How do the “same” concepts of menu items differ between the two countries? Why?

Materials

  1. Cafe U.S.: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/mc_cafe.html
  2. Cafe HK: http://www.mcdonalds.com.hk/en/mccafe/menu.html
  3. Salads: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/salads.html
  4. Tea: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mccafe/Asian-tea
  5. Hamburgers CH: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mcdonalds/hamburgers
  6. Hamburgers U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/full-menu/burgers.html
  7. Specials U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/whats-hot.html

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they solved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
    1. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding localization strategies used by McDonald’s and other companies to adapt to various cultural contexts? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you about cultural differences between hospitality and promotion practices in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between American and Chinese lifestyles as is reflected in these conversations?
    2. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
    3. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
    4. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
    5. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 5: Website Analysis

This activity is designed to help students analyze how cultural values and practices manifest themselves in the way target fast food companies structure and present their websites to potential customers.

Pre-Chat Activities

Use the PPT to familiarize students with cross-cultural web design and the Hofstede cultural dimensions. Use samples embedded in the presentation to analyze differences and similarities between websites created by McDonald’s for specific target countries.

Have students work in small groups to analyze one of the two sets of websites below using guiding questions to direct the class debrief. (Exercise developed by Jeanne Feldman with adapted content for this module. More information about this exercise can be found in Deardorff, D. (2012). Building intercultural competence: Innovative activities and models. Stylus Publishing, p. 104-110)

  1. Airline website sample
    1. https://www.tuifly.be/ BELGIUM
    2. https://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_gb ENGLAND
  2. Walmart example
    1. https://www.walmart.com/ U.S.
    2. http://www.wumart.com/ CHINA

Debrief as a class:

  1. What impresses you? What images are used? What is the balance between text and images? Is the design static or is there movement on the screen? Is the site navigation simple or complex? What are some of the features of the websites?
  2. Conduct a quick language analysis. What are the messages embedded in the text and visuals on each website? Discuss any similarities and differences you encounter.
  3. What cultural values seem to be promoted or portrayed through each website based on Hofstede model? From the Chinese site in the second sample: which element(s) come from American culture/website design? What other cultural insights can you gain by reviewing the sites?

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Have students analyze the two McDonald’s websites according to the Hofstede dimensions and discuss their findings with their partners at C2.

  1. http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/
  2. http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/home.html

These are some suggested guiding questions:

  1. What impresses you? What images are used? What is the balance between text and images? Is the design static or is there movement on the screen? Is the site navigation simple or complex? What are some of the features of the websites?
  2. Conduct a quick language analysis. What are the messages embedded in the text and visuals on each website? Discuss any similarities and differences you encounter.
  3. What cultural values seem to be promoted or portrayed through each website based on Hofstede model?

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that struck you as particularly interesting, controversial, strange or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between the design strategies of different websites as derived from the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they solved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
    1. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding the ways in which cross-cultural website design reveals the values, likes and dislikes of customers within and across contexts? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in about the ways in which Hofstede’s cultural dimensions may help us analyze these websites? What might be missing from this analytical approach? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between American and Chinese lifestyles as reflected in these conversations?
    2. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
    3. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
    4. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
    5. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Final Written Report

In Mandarin Chinese

  1. Discuss either
    1. one fact/product/event/practice of Chinese culture that you have learned about from your partners at C2
    2. or a reading which presented ideas you were not familiar with and particularly interested or surprised you.

Then gather and examine more information about the topic and present your findings. You can ask your partners, family, friends, or search for information online. What did you find out?

  1. Discuss at least one similarity and one difference between McDonald’s in China and McDonald’s in the U.S. Explain.
  2. Explain 5 new Mandarin Chinese words or sentences that you learned from your partners at C2. Cite the exchange and explain further samples of usage.

In English

  1. From the chat transcripts, extract and explain two conversations in which you and your partners disagreed on a point of view. Explain how, in your opinion, your cultural systems influence your divergent points of view.
  2. Did you encounter any language or cultural barrier during the exchange that was particularly difficult to overcome? If so, how were such barriers or misunderstandings resolved? Looking back, how would you respond or express yourself differently?

Rubrics

HT Module – Print Media and Latinx Communities

Produced by
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar

Preparation and Resources

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. use cross cultural comparisons to explain and analyze the concepts of culture, cultural heritage, and cultural diversity
  2. compare community-based and institutional ways of acknowledging and celebrating people of Latinx origin and/or identity in the United States
  3. identify and evaluate print media designed to communicate with a Latinx audience, including advertising and event announcements
  4. apply new knowledge by creating a poster to announce an event, market a product, or achieve another goal with a Latinx audience in mind

Materials

For Activity 1 (Cultura questionnaires)

  1. http://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/gallery/posters-archive

For Activity 2 (Overview of types of print media)

  1.  EZLN Festival CompARTE por la Humanidad julio y agosto de 2016
  2. 8 de marzo con las mujeres y con la madre naturaleza (Centro Español, New York City)
  3. 1er Festival de Culturas Comunitarias (22, 23 y 24 de agosto de 2014)
  4. http://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/gallery/posters-archive
  5. Dίa internacional del reciclaje
  6. “We must protect the honeybees!” League of Conservation Voters Campaign
  7. Ya es hora: ¡ve y vota!
  8. Hispanic Heritage Month (Community College of Denver)
  9. Afro-Latinos: La historia que nunca nos contaron (TV series)
  10. Celebrate orgullo

For Activity 3 (Advertising and Latinx communities)

  1. Singh, N. & Bartikowski, B. (2009) “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Print Advertising Targeted to Hispanic and Non-Hispanic American Consumers.” Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 151-164. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tie.20255/epdf
    1. PowerPoint summary of Singh & Bartikowski’s article (for instructor information): How marketers use culturally relevant content in print advertising to target the U.S. Hispanic consumers
    2. Please note: We suggest that instructors look up several of the advertising campaigns that are included on page 157 of the article in advance to ensure that they will be meaningful for their classes and to review for the messaging, intended audiences, and goals of each campaign for class discussion.
  2. Gatorade Campaign (2014)
  3. Cheetos Campaign [shot of billboard] (2012)
  4. Poster from Jamaica, Queens (NYC): Local Restaurant Advertising for Valentine’s Day
  5. El Callao Restaurant
  6. Eventos Heidi
  7. Images from Chicago’s Hispanic Little Village [street shot of building facade]

Technology Resources

  1. Project home site: Platform for posting resources, results from questionnaires, and student posters. Free options include:
    1. Google Sites
    2. WordPress
    3. Facebook Group
    4. Blackboard
    5. Moodle
  2. Videoconferencing: Application which enables students to communicate via videoconference. (Note: YouTube Live and Zoom provide the ability to record conference sessions.) Free options include:
    1. Skype
    2. Zoom
    3. YouTube Live (also, for guidance on how to create a YouTube account, click here)
    4. Facetime [for Mac/Apple users only]
  3. Cultura-inspired questionnaires: Application that enables instructors to create and submit an online form/questionnaire. Free options include:
    1. Google Forms
    2. Survey Monkey
    3. Survey Gizmo
  4. Resources for poster making: Applications than enable students to collaboratively create a digital poster. Free options include:
    1. Poster making sites:
      1. Canva
      2. Picktochart
      3. Google Slides
    2. Copyright-free online repositories/resources[1]:
      1. Creative Commons
      2. Wiki Commons
      3. Flickr CC
      4. Pixabay
      5. Stocksnap
      6. Pexels

Preparation for Instructors

Project Home Site

Make sure to set up the project home site prior to the start of class and use it to post all instructions and tutorials to be shared with students. This is also the space where you and your students can upload short bios.

Videoconferencing

Practice operating the selected videoconference software. Create a step-by-step tutorial for students or else locate existing online tutorials to post on the project home site.

Cultura Questionnaires

It is very important to get to know the Cultura model prior to the execution of Activity 1. We strongly encourage you to visit the Educator’s Guide on the Cultura website in order to review the descriptions of the Questionnaire activities and the Word Association debriefing tasks. For further information on the Cultura model, consult the following resources:

  1. English, K., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language Culture: The CULTURA Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55-102.
  2. Furstenberg, G., & English, K. (2016). Cultura revisited. Language Learning and Technology, 20 (2), 172–178.

It is also important to establish with instructors at C2 (College 2) a shared timeline for students’ submissions and the publication of questionnaire results. The Cultura-inspired questionnaires should be developed prior to the beginning of the course.

Before the first day of class, create a list of words and/or sentence starters that refer to Latinx culture and celebrations to share with the class. For the questionnaires, see the following suggested lists:

Word association:
  1. cultura/culture
  2. comparación intercultural/cross-cultural comparison
  3. herencia/heritage
  4. diversidad/diversity
  5. comunidad/community
  6. festivo/festival/fiesta/celebración/celebration
  7. publicidad/advertising
  8. activismo//advocacy
  9. afilición comunitaria/community membership
  10. orgullo en la comunidad/community pride
  11. consumidor/consumer
  12. destinatarios/target audience
Sentence completion:
  1. Afiliación comunitaria se define a través de../Community membership is defined by…
  2. Me siento orgullosa/o de ser parte de mi comunidad cuando…/I am proud to be a part of my community when…
  3. En las celebraciones latinxs en los Estados Unidos, se puede encontrar…/In Latinx celebrations in the United States, you can find…
  4. Para mí (no) es importante asistir a eventos latinxs porque…/I (don’t) think it’s important to attend Latinx events because…
  5. Compro un producto si/cuando…/I buy a product if/when…
  6. Creo que la publicidad es…porque…/I think advertising is…because…
  7. Como consumidor(a), yo…/As a consumer, I…
  8. Creo que los publicistas hoy en día…/I think advertisers nowadays…

When creating the questionnaires, follow these steps:

  1. Create a first question—either “dropdown” or “multiple choice”—which can be used to filter and aggregate responses from each class. The names of the schools should be used as indicators for this question.
  2. Create “Short Answers” or “Paragraphs” types of questions for the word associations and sentence completions.
  3. Enable participants to submit responses only once.

The link to the questionnaire should then be posted on the project home site right before the execution of Activity 1.

Poster Making

Practice operating the selected poster making software and create a step-by-step tutorial or locate existing online tutorials to post on the project home site. In addition, review and select suggested resources to support activity 4, or locate alternative resources that would be meaningful for your class in terms of cultural and linguistic relevance. Finally, consider opportunities for (re)introducing a list of relevant keywords, phrases, and structures in Spanish that will support class discussion and exchange with the students at C2.

Preparation for Students

Project Home Site

Have students familiarize themselves with the project home site, including how to access resources and post content.

Student Grouping

Put students into groups of 3-4 people[2] for work in class and for collaboration with their counterparts at College 2 during videoconferences. As these groups will work together over the duration of the module, it is recommended that students be given ample opportunity to get to know each other first, e.g., during the first class meeting in a warm-up exercise, before forming groups. This will help ensure that group members can work well together while ideally displaying heterogeneous backgrounds, interests, language competencies and experience, etc.

Videoconferencing

Familiarize students with how to participate in videoconferencing. We recommend conducting a short in-class demo prior to the start of the Module. Note: If students are required to record a videconference, they should be shown how to record the session and then submit the recording to you.

Have students complete a videoconference icebreaker session with the students at C2 so that all can become familiar with the media they will be using for assignments. This exercise should take place at least 1-2 weeks prior to the official start of the module to accomodate adequate time for exchange between the student groups. Students can use this practice to exchange basic information about themselves:

  1. Nombres y apodos/Names and nicknames
  2. País de origen/Country of origin
  3. Tiempo que lleva en Estados Unidos y en la ciudad donde vive ahora/Time in the U.S. and the city where you live now
  4. Estudios, empleo, metas profesionales/Educational background, current work, professional goals
  5. Aficiones/Hobbies
  6. Preguntas de seguimiento/Other follow-up questions

Poster Making

Introduce students to the poster making program(s) they will be using and show them where to find tutorials on the project home site.

[1] Note: Images which are free from copyright restrictions or are licensed for use under creative commons public domain may nonetheless require attribution. See https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution for examples and discussion. Also note that some of the sites require that users begin a free trial membership.

[2] We suggest that instructors discourage students from forming groups of two, as this may inadvertently create challenges if a student drops the class or if other issues arise.

Activity 1: Cultura Questionnaires

This activity is designed to create opportunities for students from C1 and C2 to generate associations between words, phrases, and images and their starting understandings of Latinx cultural identity, which they will discuss with their partners at C2.

Preparation for Videoconference: Cultura Questionnaires

Cultura Questionnaires

This starting step involves the creation of questionnaires which will provide students with the opportunity to engage with word association and sentence completion to create linguistic and cultural connections with various dimensions of membership in the Latinx community.

  1. Follow the instructions in the section “Cultura-Inspired Questionnaires” under “Preparation for Instructors” to create the questionnaires ahead of time.
  2. Notify students of the deadline for submitting their responses and be sure to give them adequate time to complete their submissions. Students should also be advised that they must complete their submissions in one sitting, write “spontaneously,” e.g. providing the first responses that come to mind, and use L1 (the language of the country where they are studying).
  3. Once all students have submitted their responses, publish their results on the project home site’s group chat in a side-by-side comparison with those of the class in C2. See samples here. The side-by-side comparison can be posted as an image or as a link to an online table/document.
  4. After publishing the results, discuss the findings with your students, inviting them to compare the results from C1 and C2 in order to identify similarities and differences within and across groups and formulate possible hypotheses and explanations for these similarities and differences. Based on this class discussion, ask students to form questions for their peers at C2 that will help clarify their questionnaire responses and test the hypotheses that your students have generated. More information on how to guide the debriefing part of the Cultura questionnaire exercise can be found here.

Option to Supplement: Cultura-Inspired Image Activity

An additional option may be to include images as a supplement to the word list in order to provide more access points. (Note: If you do include images, be sure to select resources that refer directly or indirectly to Latinx celebrations and/or community. In addition, try to find resources that are rich and evocative and can be described by students at various levels of language proficiency. Images should reference cultural celebrations that are typically associated with Latinx communities, e.g. the Quinceañera, Día de los Muertos, etc. Some examples can be found on the Chicago Latino Film Festival archive website: http://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/gallery/posters-archive/

Task: Videoconference

 Have students from C1 and C2 communicate via videoconference to discuss the results of the questionnaires. Students should use the videoconference to ask clarifying questions regarding the hypotheses that were posed during class discussion.The two groups will collaboratively evaluate the patterns, similarities and differences they have identified between the two educational contexts.

Post-Task Debrief

At Home: Journal Entry

Have students write a journal entry about the telecollaboration activity conducted with the students at C2. These journal entries should be shared with you via individual means (e.g. email or Blackboard) so that you can review them ahead of time and incorporate students’ ideas, questions, and issues into the following class discussion. Journal entries may also provide a rich linguistic resource for ongoing proficiency development. Possible elements for students to include in their journal entries:

  1. A summary of your experience. What did you learn? What was it like to exchange ideas with students at C2? Did any challenges or issues come up? How was working with the students in C2 and exchanging information about your differing geographic contexts, lifestyles, and perspectives? How did this exchange inspire reflection on your own perspective?
  2. Findings from the questionnaire responses. What emerged from the comparison/contrast of the information shared? What in-group and across-group patterns emerged?
  3. Hypotheses generated during class discussion. What was strange, interesting, intriguing, controversial, surprising in the exchange, and what possible reasons might there be?
  4. Clarifications and comments shared with the students at C2 during the task. What else was discussed during this experience?
  5. Thoughts about language use. What language(s) were used during the communication? Where different languages used for different topics?
  6. An element that inspires further research/reflection.

In Class: Discussion

After students complete their entry, conduct a class discussion/group reflection using the suggested guiding questions below. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and developing new and deeper definitions. Note: students may respond in English, Spanish, or a combination of both languages in this discussion, depending on the proficiency level of the participating group(s) and class goals. Invite students to consider their language choices and how those relate to the ideas under discussion, using this as an opportunity to expand the vocabulary used as a group.

  1. What was the telecollaboration like? What insights emerged from this process? What is working across educational, geographical, and cultural contexts like?
  2. How would you define culture in the context of this activity?[1] What do cultural differences mean within this definition?
  3. How would you define cultural heritage? How does cultural heritage pass from one generation to the next?
  4. How would you define cultural diversity? Why is it important? How are we culturally diverse in this classroom?
  5. What role do celebrations play in the expression of culture?
  6. What meanings emerge through cross-cultural comparisons of Latinx and non-Latinx cultural celebrations? What do they have in common, and how might they be different? What are some examples of non-Latinx cultural celebrations in the United States? (For example, in New York some groups celebrate San Gennaro and St. Patrick’s Day.) Why might these other cultural celebrations be important to Latinxs?
  7. What do cultural celebrations tell us about a community and its members?

[1] For all of the following, you can have your students look at various definitions online and ask them to use responses from the results of the Cultura questionnaires as well as their conversations with the students at C2.

Activity 2: Overview of Types of Print Media

This activity is designed to introduce students to various forms of print media and their distinct and overlapping features, and to explore the ways in which these forms are created by and/or for Latinx audiences.

Preparation for Videoconference: Exploration of Forms of Print Media

Overview of Print Media

Brainstorm with the class some of the different types of print media, as well as their various purposes and audiences. Create a list of relevant vocabulary on the board for the class to use in discussions and ask students to contribute definitions. Below is an incomplete list of different types of print media. (Note: Some types of print media occupy more than one category (e.g. promotions of a film festival specifically created for Latinx people).

  1. Advertisement: Promoting a product, service, or idea. (Audience = potential buyers/consumers)
  2. Information: Providing people with information about an event or issue that is relevant to their lives. (Audience = potential viewers who will benefit from this information)
  3. Persuasion/Advocacy: Persuading people to do/not do something. (Audience = potential participants in change)
  4. Expression of community pride and/or membership: Recognizing an important date, celebration, and/or aspect of individuals’ lives. (Audience = community members)
  5. Other ideas?

Drawing upon the previous discussion, put students into small groups for a jigsaw activity. Provide each group with a poster which appears to be intended for Latinx viewers from one or more of the above categories. Have them work on the posters using the suggested guided questions below. Poster suggestions include the following:

  1. Advertising:
    1. Gatorade Campaign (2014)
    2. Diet Pepsi Campaign (2012)
    3. Poster from Jamaica, Queens (NYC): Local Restaurant Advertising for Valentine’s Day
    4. El Callao Restaurant
    5. Eventos Heidi
    6. Images from Chicago’s Hispanic Little Village [street shot of building facade]
  2. Information:
    1. EZLN Festival CompARTE por la Humanidad julio y agosto de 2016
    2. 8 de marzo con las mujeres y con la madre naturaleza (Centro Español, New York City)
    3. 1er Festival de Culturas Comunitarias (22, 23 y 24 de agosto de 2014)
    4. http://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/gallery/posters-archive
  3. Persuasion/Advocacy:
    1. Dίa internacional del reciclaje
    2. “We must protect the honeybees!” League of Conservation Voters Campaign
    3. Ya es hora: ive y vota!
  4. Expression of community pride and/or membership:
    1. Hispanic Heritage Month (Community College of Denver)
    2. Afro-Latinos: La historia que nunca nos contaron (TV series)
    3. Celebrate orgullo

Suggested guiding questions for small group poster discussions:

  1. In one sentence, what is your immediate reaction to the poster?
  2. Which of the previously discussed categories of print media does this poster fall into? Explain.
  3. Who do you think is the target audience? Consider age, language(s) spoken, country of origin, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. What intended message(s) do you think the poster includes for this audience?
  4. What are the visual components of the poster? Consider the images chosen (as well as their size and positioning), language use, organization of information, font, colors, etc. How is the main message of the poster created through the selection of and relationship among the images, texts, colors and overall layout that are used?
  5. What emotion(s) does the poster try to generate in the viewer?
  6. Who would you think created this poster (members of the Latinx community vs. non-members)? Do you think this is important information? If so, what effect might the identity/memberships of the creator(s) have on the ideas expressed and choices made?
  7. Do you think this poster represents you and/or your community? Why or why not?
  8. What is your overall reaction to the poster?

When the groups are finished with their discussions, debrief as a class. What insights have students gathered about the example of print media they have analyzed and how it may be used and perceived by Latinx audiences? Have students take notes on these insights to be used in the following steps. Encourage students to incorporate specific vocabulary they have built in this debrief, and add new language structures as necessary.

Visual Representation of Community

Have students work independently to locate a visual representation (photograph, video, painting, sculpture, etc.) that they feel represents themselves as a member of their community.[1] Ask students to bring the visual representation to the class (or, in the case of a video, have them bring in a means of sharing this with their group) for discussion. Refresh the class’s understanding of the vocabulary they have built in previous activities (or generate a new list), and add/clarify as necessary. In order to give students a general idea of how these small group discussions will take place, bring in an example image and share it with the class, inviting them to consider their impressions of this image in relation to community identity.

Put students into small groups to share the visual representations they have brought in. Suggested questions include:

  1. Why did you choose this visual representation? What do you think it says about you? About your community?
  2. Does this visual representation refer to your college, neighborhood, city, region of the country? Explain.
  3. Where did you find this visual representation? Who created it? Do you think this information is important? Why or why not? What are the devices (color, image selection and placement, etc.) used to construct the message of this image? How do they accomplish this?
  4. What feelings, desires, and emotions does this visual representation produce? Do you think this might be different for you than for other people? Why or why not?
  5. How might this visual representation generate a feeling in the viewer of membership, belonging, and community? Who do you think is included in this community? Who might be excluded (intentionally or unintentionally)?

When students are finished discussing their visual representations in small groups, have each group select and present one visual representation that it found particularly interesting during discussion. Discuss as a class each group’s selected representation and what it evokes for the rest of the class. Generate class understandings about individual cultural identity and the relationship between this and cultural identity in community. Use the vocabulary list that was created for the discussion, and add as needed.

After class discussion, have each group post their selected visual representation on the project home site and write a brief (3-6 sentences) summary explaining their choice and why this represents their community (including their college, neighborhood, city, region, and anything else they’d like to share). These posts will be reviewed by the students at C2 in preparation for a videoconference, while C1 students will review posts uploaded by the students at C2. When the posts have been published, invite students to identify patterns of similarities and differences within and across the two groups, and ask students to formulate possible explanations for these differences. Have students work in pairs to make a list of questions they will ask the students at C2 during the videoconference. Create a class list of questions that will be added to the question bank on the project home site.

Task: Videoconference

Set up a telecollaboration with the group at C2 and have students meet and discuss the visual representations shared by the students at C2. Students will work in small groups and use the list of questions previously created to meet with their counterparts at C2 for discussion. Have students take notes on these discussions in preparation for writing a journal entry as well as for an in-class debrief after the telecollaboration is completed.

Post-Task: Journal, Class Debrief

At Home: Journal Entry

Have students write a journal entry about the telecollaboration activity with the students at C2. These journal entries should be shared with you via individual means (e.g. email or Blackboard) in order for you to be able to review them ahead of time and incorporate students’ ideas, questions, and issues into the following class discussion. Journal entries may also provide a rich linguistic resource for ongoing class language building. Possible elements for students to include in their journal entries:

  1. A summary of your experience. What did you learn? What was it like to exchange ideas with students at C2? Did any challenges or issues come up? How was working with the students in C2 with different backgrounds, contexts, lifestyles, and perspectives? How did this exchange inspire reflection on your own perspective?
  2. Findings from the discussion of selected visual representations of “our”/Latinx communities. What emerged from the comparison/contrast of the information shared? What in-group and across-group patterns emerged?
  3. Hypotheses generated during class discussion. What was strange, interesting, intriguing, controversial, surprising in the exchange, and what possible reasons might there be for this?
  4. Clarifications and comments shared with students at C2 during the task. What else was discussed during this experience?
  5. Thoughts about language use. What language(s) were used during the communication? What was that experience like?
  6. An element that inspires further research/reflection.

In Class: Discussion

After students complete their entries, conduct a class reflection in which ideas and themes that emerged during and after the telecollaboration experience can be discussed as a class. Note: students may respond in English, Spanish, or a combination of both languages in this discussion, depending on proficiency level of the participating group(s) and class goals. Invite students to consider their language choices and how those relate to the ideas under discussion. Use this as an opportunity to expand the vocabulary used as a group.

  1. What is the relationship between print media and cultural identity/membership? How does the former require a deep understanding of the latter?
  2. What difference, if any, do you think exists between print media created by members of the Latinx community for members of the same community, versus media created by for the Latinx community by non-members? How might you be able to tell?
  3. Compare and contrast print media and newer forms of media (e.g., social media platforms, websites, blogs, etc.) in terms of the ways in which they communicate with their audience, the ways in which they influence behavior, and their objectives. Do you think print media is becoming outdated? Why or why not?
  4. What can print media tell us about the audience it is directed towards? What are the limits of making such assumptions?
  5. What other ideas, themes, questions, or new understandings have come up for you through this experience?

[1] Note for instructors: Depending on student/class resources, this may be done in a computer lab, on students’ laptops, or at home in advance preparation for this activity.

Activity 3: Advertising and Latinx Communities

This activity explores the design, messaging, and intent of various forms of advertising for Latinx audiences.

Preparation for Videoconference: Exploring Advertising

Advertising

Using the PowerPoint included with this module, discuss print media and its role in disseminating information to specific audiences. See Singh and Bartowski 2009, Table 3, retrieve and analyze some selected campaigns in order to discuss whether students find the sample campaigns appealing, persuasive, effective, etc. (See PPT: How marketers use culturally relevant content in print advertising to target the U.S. Hispanic consumers for summary of article.) Some suggested questions include:

  1. What stereotypes of Latinx consumers may emerge in these campaigns, if any?
  2. What aspects of the advertisements do you think are designed to be “appealing” to Latinx consumers?
  3. What other reactions do you have?

After finishing class discussion, divide students into groups and assign each group one of several printed advertisements which appear to be intended for Latinx audiences. Suggestions may include the following posters (from Activity 2):

  1. Gatorade Campaign (2014)
  2. Poster from Jamaica, Queens (NYC): Local Restaurant Advertising for Valentine’s Day
  3. El Callao Restaurant
  4. Eventos Heidi
  5. Images from Chicago’s Hispanic Little Village [street shot of building facade]

Have students work in groups to discuss their impressions of the advertisements they’ve been assigned, using a list of guiding questions as in the suggested list below. Also include key words, phrases, and structures in Spanish that are relevant to this discussion.

  1. Who is the target audience? Consider age, language(s) spoken, country of origin, gender, race/ethnicity, etc. What intended message(s) do you think the poster includes for this audience?
  2. What are the visual components of the poster? Consider the images chosen (as well as their size and positioning), language use, organization of information, font, colors, etc. How is the main message of the poster created through the selection of and relationship among the images, text, colors and overall layout that are used?
  3. What emotion(s) does the poster produce in the viewer?
  4. Who would you guess created this poster (members of the Latinx community vs. non-members)? Do you think this information is important? If so, what effect might the identity/memberships of the creator(s) have on the ideas expressed and choices made?
  5. Do you think this poster represents you and/or your community? Why or why not?
  6. Consider the Print Advertising Coding Scheme from Singh and Bartowski in reviewing these advertisements. The topic areas (individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures, etc.) were generated by theorists in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. What, in your opinion, might be missing and/or need to be added in conducting an analysis of advertising for Latinx audiences in 2018?
  7. What is your overall reaction to the poster?

Task: Videoconference

Set up a telecollaboration with C2. Have your students work in their small groups paired with groups of students from C2. If possible, have students present and discuss an advertisement that is different than the advertisement their counterparts are presenting, in order to create opportunities to encounter similarities and differences, generate inferences collaboratively, and draw broader conclusions. Have students take notes on these discussions for journal entry writing and for an in-class debrief after the telecollaboration is completed.

Post-Task: Journal, Class Debrief

At Home: Journal Entry

Have students write a journal entry about the telecollaboration activity with the students at C2. Then have them share their journal entries with you via individual means (e.g. email or Blackboard) so that you can review them ahead of time and incorporate the ideas, questions, and issues they contain into the following class discussion. Journal entries may also provide a rich linguistic resource for ongoing class language building. Possible elements for students to include in their journal entries:

  1. A summary of the telecollaboration experience. What did you learn? What was it like to exchange ideas with students at C2? Did any challenges or issues come up? What was it like to work with students who have different backgrounds, contexts, lifestyles, and perspectives? How did this exchange inspire reflection on your own perspective?
  2. Hypotheses generated during class discussion. What was strange, interesting, intriguing, controversial, surprising in the exchange, and what possible reasons might there be for this?
  3. Clarifications and comments shared with the students at C2 during the task. What else was discussed during this experience?
  4. Thoughts about language use. What language(s) were used during the communication? What was that experience like?
  5. Suggest an element that inspires further research/reflection.

In Class: Discussion

After students complete their entry, conduct a class reflection in which ideas and themes that emerged during and after the telecollaboration experience can be discussed. Use the suggested guiding questions below. Note: students may respond in English, Spanish, or a combination of both languages in this discussion, depending on proficiency level of the participating group(s) and class goals. Invite students to consider their language choices and how those relate to the ideas under discussion, using this as an opportunity to expand the vocabulary used as a group.

  1. What was the telecollaboration like? What insights emerged from this process? What is working across educational, geographical, and cultural contexts like?
  2. How is advertising distinct from other forms of print media? What assumptions does advertising make that other forms of print media do not?
  3. How does advertising capitalize upon existing stereotypes and generalizations about Latinx communities? What effects might this have in broader terms? Are there positive versions of this?
  4. Now that you have explored the ways in which advertising can be analyzed using a framework like that created by Singh and Bartowski, what new insights can you apply to the ways in which you approach and understand advertising? Could these ideas be applied to other forms of print media for Latinx audiences? Explain.
  5. What shifts do you think are taking place in the ways in which Latinx communities are approached as potential “consumers”? How might this be reflected in advertising?
  6. What other ideas, themes, questions, or new understandings have come up for you through this experience?

Activity 4: Collaborative Poster

This activity gives students the opportunity to design posters of their own with the intention of communicating with a Latinx audience about a product, a community event, celebration, and/or other message/idea they find significant.

Preparation for Exchange: Poster Creation, Discussion

Poster Creation

Put students into small groups in which they will work to design a poster which is intended to reflect and communicate with their community, however they define it (geographically, linguistically, historically, etc.). Each group will define the following for their poster:

  1. The form (or combinations of forms) of print media they are creating and the purpose of the poster (advertising a product, service or idea; publicizing an upcoming event for the month; informing the public about the history of the celebration; getting people’s attention on a related issue, etc.)
  2. Images, background, and color choices. Refer to resource list for copyright-free online images.
  3. Text (English, Spanish, and/or other linguistic resources) to complement the images
  4. Organization/placement of images and text
  5. Collaborative platform to create the poster

When students are finished creating their posters, have them upload their work to the project home site and write a brief (3-6 sentences) description of their poster.

In class, have students compare the images posted by their own group and by their counterparts at C2. Ask them to keep in mind the different forms of print media (advertising, informational, advocacy, etc.) they have worked with as well as previous class discussions about the purposes, audiences, and messages included in each form. Guide students in a compare-and-contrast activity in order to explore in-group and across-groups patterns. Have students take notes on this exercise in order to prepare for making comments on the work by the students at C2. Suggested questions for reflection include the following:

  1. What does a comparison of your class’s posters and the posters made by students at C2 suggest about your respective perspectives on cultural expression and community representation? For example, what choices did your counterparts at C2 make that were different than your own in terms of type of print media, intended audience, images and text selected, etc.? What do you have in common?
  2. Do you think a “pan-Latinx” identity (meaning a single, unitary identity) emerges in making this comparison? What might nonetheless be left out or obscured by such a comparison
  3. Is the fact that you belong to a Latinx community evident in the way you create, perceive and analyze these posters? If so, how? Are there understandings you bring to this discussion that others from “outside the community” cannot?

Task: Exchange of Posters with Peers at C2

Have students log on to the project home site and post comments on the posters created by the students at C2, including clarifying questions in the comments. (Note: It is important to assign a few days for this back and forth between students from both groups to take place.) Have students take notes on the comments, themes and insights that emerge as a result. Questions to help guide their reflection may include the following:

  1. What different topics, themes, ideas, etc. emerged in the posters created by the students at C2? What does this tell us about the communities and city in which this school is embedded?
  2. What commonalities emerge among our selected posters? What differences emerge? What can we attribute these differences to?
  3. What new insights have we discovered about Latinx communities in our respective locations? What does viewing our counterparts’ posters tell us about our own histories, local cultures, and ways of seeing and representing ourselves?

Post-Task: Journal, Class Debrief

At Home: Journal Entry

Have students write a journal entry about the telecollaboration activity with the students at C2. Then have them share their journal entries with you via individual means (e.g. email or Blackboard) so that you can review them ahead of time and incorporate the ideas, questions, and issues they contain into the following class discussion. Journal entries may also provide a rich linguistic resource for ongoing proficiency development. Possible elements for students to include in their journal entries:

  1. A summary of the telecollaboration experience. What did you learn? What was it like to exchange ideas with students at C2? Did any challenges or issues come up? What was it like to work with students who have different backgrounds, contexts, lifestyles, and perspectives? How did this exchange inspire reflection on your own perspective?
  2. Hypotheses generated during class discussion. What was strange, interesting, intriguing, controversial, surprising in the exchange, and what possible reasons might there be for this?
  3. Clarifications and comments shared with the students at C2 during the task. What else was discussed during this experience?
  4. Suggest an element that inspires further research/reflection.

In Class: Discussion

After students complete their entries, conduct a class reflection in which ideas and themes that emerged during and after the telecollaboration experience can be discussed. Suggested guiding questions include the following:

  1. What was the telecollaboration like? What insights emerged from this process? What is working across educational, geographical, and cultural contexts like?
  2. How was creating your own poster different than reviewing those that were created by someone else? What kind of effect might this experience have for an individual who identifies as Latinx or another culturally, historically, racially/ethnically, and/or linguistically distinct community? How might this kind of activity be a response to stereotypes, generalizations, and/or misunderstandings about this community?
  3. How might this kind of activity be a political act?
  4. How might this kind of activity be a new form of communication and community-building?
  5. What other ideas, themes, questions, or new understandings have come up for you through this experience?
  6. What new insights have you gathered about your counterparts at C2, as well as about yourselves as members of Latinx communities?

Final Essay

Have students write a short (2-3 page) reflection on this Module. Invite students to review the rubric associated with this module. The essay should incorporate responses to the following questions in a narrative format:

  1. Describe the telecollaboration experience and the new insights and themes that emerged through this collaborative work. How did participating in an exchange of perspectives and ideas with the students in C2 affect, alter, and/or deepen your understandings of the topics you have explored in this module?
  2. Consider the earlier conversations you’ve had about the identity/membership(s) of the creators of print media compared to that of their audience(s). What is the difference between speaking to a community and speaking for a community? What is the difference between stereotyping people and inviting or inspiring them? Give examples from the experiences you’ve had during this module.
  3. What does it mean to be “Latinx” in your school, your community, your city? How is this different than in other places? What makes someone “Latinx”?
  4. What was the experience of creating a poster to represent yourself and your community like? What is still left unsaid, if anything, in an exercise like this?

Rubric: Final Essay

HT Module – Urban Latinx Communities

Produced by
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar

Preparation and Resources

Objectives

Students will work individually and with their peers from C1 and C2 in order to:

  1. Compare and analyze Latinx urban spaces in different parts of the country
  2. Learn about the political activism of Latinxs in different parts of the country
  3. Design an entry for an imaginary “Latinx Guide” of their city of residence

Materials

  1. Latinx Urban Spaces (videos & readings)
    1. General
    2. Gentrification
    3. Culture
    4. Activism
  2. Materials for Latinx Guide:
    1. Sample Chapters from A People’s Guide to Los Angeles[2]
    2. TimeOut Los Angeles
  3. List of Suggested Places for Field Work

Technology Resources and Requirements

  1. Class Website
  2. Video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Skype, or Facetime (for Mac/Apple users)

Notes for Instructors

This Module is inspired by Professor Andrea Morell’s lesson “The Young Lords in Gentrifying East Harlem: A Radical Walking Tour” (Bridging Historias, https://bridginghistorias.gc.cuny.edu/social-sciences/).

For the culminating task of this module — an entry for a Latinx guide to the students’ city — students should work in small groups (2–3 students) according to their interests. Groups should be formed during or after Activity 2, during which students explore places that might be interesting for their research. Ideally, each group should work on a different site so that the whole class can produce a diversified guide that covers a large amount of territory within the same city.

Pacing is important to the successful execution of this module. Therefore, some of the activities in this module are designed to divide the students’ fieldwork into small, progressive steps in order to avoid last-minute, rushed guides.

[1] Note: This article and the other resources included in the Materials list are appropriate to the New York context and are offered as an example of the kind of videos/readings that instructors can use for this Module. The materials used to explore the concept of “Latinx urban spaces” should be adjusted according to the class’s specific regional context, class demographics, and any other factors that may be deemed relevant.

[2] This resource is available in full via EBSCO/JSTOR and can be accessed through your university library.

Activity 1: Urban Latinxs: Who Are They?

This activity is designed to help students explore the social phenomenon of gentrification and to place it in the context of their own community observations and experiences.

Preparation for Community Exploration: Building Context

Assign a reading that is appropriate to your city for students to read on their own prior to class.  The example given here is for New York, “Latinx New York: An Introduction”. Create discussion of the article in class or on the project home site. Sample questions:

  1. According to the article, what is the demographic trend of Latinxs in New York? What about the socioeconomic trend? Is there a connection between the two? Explain.
  2. Cite some of the variables that have had an impact on the presence and proportion of different Latinx groups in New York.
  3. What are some recent political and advocacy efforts of Latinxs in New York? What kinds of issues did they address?
  4. What is a “transnational life”? Have you or your relatives experienced “transnational lives”?
  5. Comment on the racial/ethnic identity issues of New York Caribbean Latinxs compared with African American New Yorkers. How have these communities come to collaborate and find common ground over the course of the last 50–60 years?
  6. How has the widening income gap in New York affected Latinxs?

Preparation for Community Exploration: Gentrification

Gentrification is one of the most important issues that Latinx communities face nowadays in large urban cities. Watch Whose Barrio? or El Barrio Tours with students and discuss the concepts of urban gentrification and displacement. Discuss the consequences of gentrification for Latinx culture and the history of different communities.

Have students read the two articles on gentrification dynamics in your city and at least one article on the gentrification process of another city (the “Materials” list includes Los Angeles and San Francisco). Discuss the articles in class (small groups or whole group). Sample questions for discussion:

  1. Do you know or live in any of the neighborhoods discussed in the articles? Do you think the ways in which these neighborhoods are depicted are accurate? Explain. What information, if any, might be missing?
  2. According to the articles, what are the factors that cause gentrification?
  3. What are some common signs of gentrification in the places you have read about? Have you encountered these signs in your neighborhood? Give examples.
  4. What might happen to you or your family if your neighborhood became completely gentrified? What is already happening to individuals and families living there?

Task: Community Exploration, Exchange/Commentary with Students at C2

Ask students to walk around the neighborhoods where they work, live or study and take photos of objects, signs, stores, etc. that may indicate a process of gentrification. Inform them that they will upload their findings, photos, and any other artifacts they would like to share on the project home site with their peers at C2.

Create blog post in which students upload images of their explorations. Ask students to comment substantively on one post by a peer at C2.

Post-Exchange Step: Reflection

Ask students to imagine that they are journalists who have to write a short report for their local newspaper explaining the issue of gentrification to the community, providing examples from the neighborhood. They should write 300–400 words in a direct, journalistic style, add the images they have used during the Task and/or find new ones, and post their short reports.

Activity 2: Contextualizing Urban Latinx Activism

This activity is intended to introduce students to urban Latinx activism through historical and local examples and through comparison of Latinx activism in their city with that of the city where their peers study.

Preparation for Videoconference: Watching ¡Pa’lante, siempre pa’lante!, Class Discussion

Watch with students or have students watch ¡Pa’lante, siempre pa’lante! The Young Lords. (The film duration, as stated in the Materials list, is 48 minutes.), or replace it with a video that is pertinent to the city where your class takes place.

After students have watched the documentary, conduct a class discussion to analyze the film. Ask students to answer the following questions as completely and accurately as possible and take notes during class in order to post their responses on the project home site at home:

  1. Why was the Young Lords party founded?
  2. What were the goals of the Young Lords party? What was the party’s ideology?
  3. What were some of the Young Lords’ actions in New York City?
  4. Some of the interviewees said that during their militancy in the YL party, they developed a Latinx identity “deeper” or “different” from the one they had before. Explain some of the identity experiences that members of the YL had.
  5. In their actions, the YL often clashed with the authorities of New York City and even with the federal government. In reflecting on these confrontations, would you say were they necessary or justified? Explain.
  6. The name “Young Lords” excludes references to women, which its female members experienced as a form of “” Explain how the women of the party responded to the different forms of “machismo” of their male comrades.
  7. Why did the Young Lords disappear?
  8. Do you know if there are groups like the Young Lords today? If so, who are they?
  9. The story of the Young Lords is not in school textbooks. Most of you had probably never heard of them prior to watching Pa’lante. Do you think that young Latinxs should know about the history of the YL and, in general, about the history of Latinxs in this country? Why do you think the education system does not teach students about the Young Lords or other similar groups? What would change if Latinxs, and minority students in general, had more information about the activism of their people in this country?

Preparation for Videoconference: Research, Post

Ask students whether they are active in their communities, and what particular issue(s) they have been involved with. Invite students to choose an issue that they are familiar with or one they would like to learn more about. Examples may include housing, labor rights, education, immigration, etc. There are some examples under the Materials list: “Washeros,” Dreamers,” cleaning workers, and so on.

Ask students to conduct research on the history/background of this issue. Guiding questions may include the following:

  1. What is the issue you’ve selected and how did it come about?
  2. How do the groups who have been active in this issue come together to respond to this issue, and how did this organizing begin?
  3. Where did this activism start? Was there a specific city site for the organized actions?
  4. What were the results of the collective actions by activist groups, and what were the responses from local, state, and/or federal authorities?
  5. What happened to these activist groups, and are they still around today?

Have students write a summary of the information they found and post it on the project home site (200–300 words). Ask them to read and comment on at least one summary of similar research done by a student at C2 in preparation for videoconference discussion.

Task: Videoconference

Ask students to form small groups. Inform them that they will collaborate to discuss their work and the work of their peers at C2 via the videoconference, comparing the research they’ve done about Latinx community activism and how this compares with the work of their counterparts at C2. Suggested questions for the exchange:

  1. Why did you choose this specific issue? Why was it interesting and/or important to you?
  2. What did you know about it before you conducted the research, and what new information did you find out?
  3. Have you been active in any type of social justice group or actions, whether related to Latinx issues or to something else? Would you consider being active in a group or action like the one you conducted research on?
  4. After your research on Latinx activist groups, what have you learned about current activism in your city/community? How has this been presented in the news, if at all? What organizations have you seen associated with this? How are certain media outlets, politicians, and others speaking about this?
  5. The story of the Young Lords is not in most school textbooks, and most of you had probably never heard of them before we watched ¡Pa’lante, siempre pa’lante!. Do you think that young Latinxs should know about the history of the YL and, in general, about the history of Latinxs and their activism in this country? Why do you think the education system does not teach students about the Young Lords or other similar groups? What might change if Latinxs, and minority students in general, had more information about the activism of their people in this country?

For the telecollaboration, instruct students to take note of ideas discussed with their peers at C2 that they find interesting, surprising, provocative, etc. Provide your students with a graphic organizer to support note-taking if needed.

Post-Videoconference Step: Debrief, Creation of Group Summary

After finishing the telecollaboration with students at C2, bring the class back together to discuss this experience in small groups. The questions below can be used as guidance. Additional questions for discussion may be generated by the whole class.

  1. When you heard about the research done by your peers at C2, what did you think? What are your general observations?
  2. Discuss the similarities and differences that emerged in comparing the stories of urban activism. What connections can you make across the two urban contexts? What common struggles and similar political organizing of Latinxs in the United States emerge from this comparison, if any?
  3. What can we learn from our shared – and regionally different – history as Latinx people?

Using student responses to the questions above, work with the class to create a group summary (1–3 paragraphs) of their telecollaboration experience. Inform students that this summary will be shared with the students at C2 as a class post. Post this summary to the project home site and invite students from C2 to comment.

Activity 3: Researching Latinx History in Your City

This activity is designed to help students explore the social phenomenon of gentrification and to place it in the context of their own community observations and experiences.

Preparation for Videoconference: Class Discussion, Review of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles

Discuss the concept of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles with the class. Highlight the format and the elements that each entry contains (address, directions, images, etc.). Have students analyze the guide by asking them the following suggested guiding questions:

  1. Reflect on our in-class discussion of how A People’s Guide to Los Angeles is not a typical travel guide. What aspects of the guide indicate this?
  2. Based on the names of the three authors, do you think this guide is designed to show a multicultural city? Why or why not?
  3. Look at the first photograph of the guide (“Lupita Market” sign) and compare it to the following from the TimeOut magazine guide of Los Angeles.
    What differences do you see? What conclusions can you draw from the differences in the purposes of each guide?
  4. Reread the prologue of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles (pp. 1–8) and consider the following:
    1. The authors provide several examples of places with a story that is hardly visible nowadays but which is nonetheless important. Choose two of these examples and summarize them.
    2. Locate the part of the prologue where you think that the authors’ goals in writing this guide are most clearly expressed.
  5. Explain the following statement: “A People’s Guide to Los Angeles is a deliberate political disruption of the way Los Angeles is commonly known and experienced” (p. 4).
  6. Read several entries and make a list of the elements they contain (for example, photography, historical description, etc.).
  7. Think about the Pa’lante documentary and the history of the Young Lords. What parts of their story should be included in an imaginary guide called A People’s Guide to New York?

Preparation for Exchange, Videoconference: Blog

Have students explore the list of places like the one they will find under Resources at the beginning of this module, which includes a variety of resources for the two cities being studied, in this case New York and Los Angeles. (Instructors should put together a short list of resources which are relevant for their city/region.) The sites provided by the instructor should give students background information that will help them decide which place, neighborhood, organization, or historical event they might be interested in researching. Inform students that they may research a place/event that is not on the list provided, but remind them that their focus is to investigate the history of Latinx communities in their city.

Invite students to investigate as much as they can about the place/event they have chosen, including (but not limited to) using the Internet and looking for information about its history in local libraries. Inform students that they will continue investigating next week; at this time, they are just beginning to collect information.

In preparation for the videochat, have students submit the following information to the project home site using their initial findings:

  1. Name of the place, neighborhood, organization or historical event they are going to investigate
  2. Reasons why they want to investigate this place/event
  3. Information they have found
  4. A starting bibliography section, in which students must cite their sources according to the standard styles of APA, MLA, or Chicago

Task: Videoconference, Blog

Ask students to form small groups (3–4 students). Inform students that they will work together to discuss their ongoing research and the research of their peers at C2 via videoconference. Guiding questions for the telecollaborative discussion may be generated by the whole class. Students should discuss in the exchange the following ideas:

  1. Why they have chosen the place/event they are researching
  2. What methodology they are using (why they have chosen this place/event, how they plan to collect their data, how they will review/analyze the data they’ve collected, etc.)
  3. What they have learned so far and what they will look for when they conduct their field work

Ask students to take notes on the information shared by the group from C2 and upload these notes to the project home site in the form of individual blogs.

Post-Videoconference Step: Debrief, Creation of Group Summary

After finishing the telecollaboration with students at C2, bring the class back together to discuss this experience in small groups. The questions below can be used as guidance for the chat, but additional questions for discussion may be generated by the whole class.

  1. When you saw the starting research conducted by your colleagues from C1 and C2, what were your general observations?
  2. What similarities or differences exist between the places/events you have chosen to research and those of your peers? Why are these places/events important to you, to the Latinx community, and/or to your city?
  3. How do you and your peers plan to continue the data collection process? What challenges do you think you’ll run into? How might you resolve these issues?

Using student responses to the questions above, work with the class to create a group summary (1–3 paragraphs) of their telecollaboration experience. Inform students that this summary will be shared with the students at C2 as a class post. Post this summary to the class website and invite students from C2 to comment.

Activity 4: Field Work, City Guide Entry Creation

This activity is intended to introduce students to the concept of field work, and to have students create a city guide entry about a specific neighborhood in their city which includes any activist histories that have contributed to this neighborhood and their city as a whole.

Preparation for Exchange with Students at C2: Field Work

Inform students that they will visit the Latinx place, neighborhood, organization, or area associated with a historical event they have selected in order to conduct their field work. Give a brief overview of what field work entails as needed. A suggested resource can be found on the USC Libraries website here. Adapt it to meet your needs.

Inform students that they should take photographs of things they think may be interesting for a tourist guide about Latinx in their city. Remind students that your class is doing a guide about the history of the people, like the one created by the authors of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles.

When students have finished collecting data and taking pictures of their selected place/event, have them choose up to three photographs and upload them to the home site of the project, as well as their answers for the following questions. (Note: It may support students’ investigations to provide them with this list of questions before they conduct their visit.) Remind students that they will be using this information to create their city guide entries.

  1. What are the defining characteristics of the place/neighborhood/organization/area associated with the historical event you are exploring?
  2. What public displays of Spanish language and/or Latinx culture can you find in signs, storefronts, window advertisements, graffiti, etc.? What language(s) can you hear as you walk through the neighborhood?
  3. What kinds of businesses are in the community? Which businesses seem to be most common? What types of businesses are missing?
  4. What is the racial, ethnic, and/or religious makeup of the people of this community? Ages? Abilities? Who do you see and who do you not see? What cultures are evident in and surrounding the place/event you are exploring? Is there more than one? Is any one more visible than the others?
  5. How long have the Latinx inhabitants been living in the community you are investigating? Do they have transnational ties? If so, to which countries?
  6. What community organizations are in the neighborhood? Who do they serve? What benefits do they provide the community?
  7. Think of the Young Lords’ actions in Harlem. Is there any specific events or actions related to the presence of Latinxs in the community you are investigating? Explain.
  8. Optional: Record an interview with one or more people in the neighborhood on your phone. Save the interview for later use.

Preparation for Exchange with Students at C2: Creation of City Guide Entries

Discuss the rubric with students prior to their preparation of the final city guide entries. Have students write their entries for the tourist guide and upload them to the project home site.

Ensure that students meet all of the final requirements for their submissions (see below).

Name and exact location of the place investigated. If possible: web page, phone number, & map that shows location and surrounding areas.

  1. Description of the place (using A People’s Guide to Los Angeles as a model).
  2. Student Photographs. Remind students that in a tourist guide, visual presentation matters as much as content. Check the links in the Los Angeles guide to see examples. Invite students to be creative; their guides have to be attractive to visitors!

Create a blog post in which students upload their final entry guides.

Task: Exchange/Commentary on Final City Guides with Students at C2

Ask students to comment on guide entries created by two of their peers at C2, ensuring that they identify by name the entries they are going to discuss and their authors. Have students focus on discussing the most positive aspects of their colleagues’ work and remind them to keep their suggestions or criticisms constructive. Examples of the aspects they can comment on:

  1. The quality of the work: content, format of presentation, clarity of the information, etc. Is there enough information to give you a good idea of the place?
  2. As a visitor to the city, would you be interested in seeing this place? Why?
  3. After reading your peers’ work, do you have questions about the Latinx community in that city? Post these questions for your peers at C2 to respond to on the project home site.
  4. What conclusions can you draw about your city in relation to its Latinx and activist histories, and how does this connect to similar ideas about where your peers at C2 live?
  5. Do you think that activist history should be a part of a city guide in general? What about histories of activism of groups like Latinx people? If so, what elements of these histories should be included? If not, why not?

Post-Exchange Step: Reflection

Have students write two or three pages to reflect upon what they learned during this experience. How has their field work, their city guide entry creation and their exchange with their peers at C2 contributed to new insights about how a “people’s history” of Latinx New York (or Latinx LA or Latinx Chicago, etc.) might incorporate activist history and the voices of the communities where this history was written?

Rubric: Reflection

Heritage Telecollaboration Update: November 2015

Greetings from the Heritage Telecollaboration team at CILC! We are excited to tell you about a very special event coming up next week and several promising telecollaboration projects in the pilot and planning stages.

First, we would like to invite you to a public presentation by Sabine Levet of MIT on Cultura and the teaching of intercultural communicative competence on Thursday, November 12 at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Click the link above or in the menu at the right for more details.

Cultura is one of the most influential telecollaboration models to date, focusing on the development of intercultural communicative competence. Our faculty working on the HT project will also have the privilege of participating in a private workshop on the subject with Professor Levet the same week to develop their skills in this crucial area.

We would also like to update you on the progress of our telecollaboration projects.

Prof. Xiao Li of Queens College is currently (Fall 2015) running the first pilot of a telecollaboration between a heritage Chinese course at QC and a partner English course at the Beijing International Studies University (China). The students are participating in guided chats using WeChat, a mobile instant messaging app popular in Asia. Besides allowing both groups to practice their written language skills, we believe that encouraging reflection on the similarities and differences between Chinese and Chinese-American experiences will provide meaningful (and unexpected) cultural insights to students on both sides of the globe.

Three other courses are at the preparation stages, with first runs planned for Spring 2016. In a twist on the traditional telecollaboration model —which usually involves collaboration with partners in other countries— two CUNY Spanish professors are designing modules that will connect Latino New Yorkers with Latinos in other regions of the United States. Prof. Aránzazu Borrachero of Queensborough Community College is working with a partner course at the University of San Francisco to develop telecollaboration activities in which students will explore the differences between Latino Queens and Latino San Francisco, focusing on the self, the college experience, and city life. Prof. Laura Villa of Queens College will guide students at QC in a telecollaboration with Latino students at St. Xavier University in Chicago. They will concentrate on constructing their own definitions of Latino identity through the lens of family history. Finally, We-Yi Cheng of Hunter College has a very exciting project in the works for an intermediate heritage Chinese course that will allow students to expand their linguistic and cultural repertoires through multiple modes of telecollaboration.

As the background research and development of these courses progresses, we will publish references and materials on CILC’s website. The faculty involved will also present the results of the pilots at several conferences and submit articles for publication in academic journals. Ultimately, complete, ready-to-implement telecollaboration lesson plans based on these pilot courses will be available on the CILC website.

Watch this space for more details!

Michael Rolland is the Research Assistant for the Heritage Telecollaboration team.

HT Modules

Spanish Modules Chinese Module

How to use our models

Every module presents a series of learning activities that were piloted in heritage and mixed heritage/L2 classes at CUNY colleges and partner institutions. The CUNY pilot classes were four hour–four credit courses that met twice a week, and they generally included approximately 30 students.

  • The modules can be used as they are or can be adapted according to the needs of your classroom in terms of level of proficiency, target content areas, unit duration, timeline of the activities, and geographical location of the classes involved in the project.
  • Considering the timelines of our pilot courses, each module was designed to be completed in a month. However, the sequence of activities can be adapted to fit shorter or longer timelines.
  • Every module was designed and implemented as a sequence of tasks, with each task composed of a sequence of activities; however, single tasks and activities can also be modified to be used as stand-alone telecollaborative projects.
  • The activities were designed to be used within a telecollaboration project run with a partner class. Activities, materials, and resources were aligned and used in parallel by the two courses. However, the sequence of activities, as well as individual activities, can be adapted to enhance collaboration among students within a single course that does not run a telecollaboration project with a partner course.
  • Prior to implementing the activities, it is important to allocate adequate time to prepare for the telecollaboration with your partner instructor, as well as set up the learning environment and prepare the students.
  • If you would like to use our materials but need assistance in creating variations/adaptations for your own classes, we would be happy to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.