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Shift Curaj

Abstract. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020 has dramatically impacted higher education development in various aspects, including the shift of face-to-face teaching to online teaching and learning, the cancellation of physical events and activities, and the formation of a "new normality" in higher education [Tesar, 2020]. At the same time, COVID-19 has increased virtual mobility and collaborative online learning as alternatives to physical student mobility.

Shift Curaj

Noting the fact that the goals of higher education are remarkably similar across different national systems of higher education regardless of the cultural setting, they seldom differ on goals that include the promotion of independent learning and critical thinking [Kember, Gow 1990]. Recalling the sudden and unprecedented shift to online teaching as a response to human immobility, the need to continue teaching and learning activities and to engage and motivate students remained of pivotal importance. As such, faculty members from Kansai University and F.M. Dostoevsky Omsk State University started to use the online exchange platform Flipgrid for developing language learning of students and students' intercultural exchange.

When preparing the present paper, it was found that similar activity was described by Lee Lina, who reported about a Spanish-American intercultural exchange through which learners used asynchronous video discussions to exchange cross-cultural perspectives4 [Lee 2020, pp. 262-282]. Another similar project was conducted in September 2020, when MIPT teachers, together with the University of Iowa, launched an international cultural and communication project5 [Zatesa, 2020, pp. 55-56]. Using the Flipgrid platform, the students posted videos they recorded on a given topic, watched videos made by other students and commented on them in the format of a video message. As far as we can see, researchers and university teachers have been integrating Flipgrid into their classrooms in a variety of ways, improving students' foreign language skills and communication skills. But we could not find similar inter-cultural projects in collaboration with Japanese universities. The relevance of our online inter-cultural project was the necessity to shift the emphasis in the foreign language learning process from studying the language, its grammatical and lexical features towards practical-oriented learning targeting the development of intercultural communication of the students. In other words, we tried to help students to become more competent communicators - to work on "dialogue" skills by trying to engage in true dialogue (to work on speaking and listening skills) and to become interpersonal allies with people from other culture [Martin, Nakayama 2009, p. 480]. 041b061a72


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