Culturally Intelligent Design

An instructor’s understanding of a student’s cultural background is important to online learning. Therefore the educator and designer of tomorrow must be cognizant of and plan for cultural variance especially as it relates to community building, global citizenry and inclusion. Faculty, designers and administrators must consider “culturally intelligent design” when designing and teaching classes in today’s online environment. As discussed by Gorodnichenko & Roland, “individualist culture […] awards social status to personal accomplishments such as important discoveries, innovations, great artistic or humanitarian achievements and all actions that make an individual stand out. Collectivism, in contrast, emphasizes individuals in a larger group. It encourages conformity and discourages individuals from dissenting and standing out”.

How might this insight play out in the modern day global classroom? Chen and Bennett have asserted that “instructors from Confucius culture tend to cater to the class as a group so that they can cover all the content they deem as the most important to the entire learning group.” Additionally, as digital learning grows in the 2020s, we must interrogate who stands to gain and lose in this expanded paradigm? Does the Western hegemony hold a monopoly on learning akin to a sort of digital ‘colonization’? How can critical thinkers be developed in this landscape without forsaking cultural understandings and norms? These questions and more will be discussed and potential solutions posited.

Workshop Leader

Darryl Meekins
Originally from South Africa, Darryl Meekins (Ph.D., North West University) has been involved in higher education since 2002.
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