Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Ideas for e-pen pals exchange

alesnick's picture

Dear Students:

Here are MC's initial ideas. We welcome your thoughts and topics and activities you'd be interested in doing as part of the exchange (see below). Feel free to comment below or bring ideas to class Tuesday.

Expectation of students: IEP and BMC/HC

To engage in cross cultural communication via facebook/skype/email/etc on a weekly basis to explore the role of online exchange in supporting English Language Learning.

-        Students should be expected to set aside 1.5 hours on a weekly basis to connect and discuss

-        Take into consideration that there are language barriers, cultural differences and religious differences among the students in Malaysia and in BMC/HC. Please be sensitive to the questions you ask, how you dress (if on skype), and the pace/vocabulary you use. Pairs will most likely be male-male and female-female because of cultural/religious reasons.

 Start Date of September intake: September 17th

7 weeks of class

1 week break

3 weeks of class

Week One: Defining Terms (Past/Present/Future)

Objectives: introductions, defining terms (cultural background), understanding different cultures and understandings of technology and their functions

Introduction Interview:

 Content Interview

How do you define technology?

What forms of technology are used by people in your family, hometown and country?

What technology do you use regulary?

What forms of technology do you depend on?

What new developments have you seen emerge?

How is life different now than it was before with technology?

What negative and positive outcomes have you observed based on technology?

What are some projections you have for the future? What will develop? How will it affect society?

Week Two: Using technology to find information

Objective: increase cultural capital and gain knowledge of sources that exist, think creatively about how we learn and what we consider learning

What sources do we use?

How do you find information?

What mediums are useful?

What are conventional and nonconventional ways to access information (formally/informally)

 Week Three: Threat of Technology

 What are some dangers of technology?

Can we trust the tools we use and methods we use to find out information?

Are there any dangers and threats to using technology?

Week Four: Inequality of Technology

What inequalities/disparities exist because of technology?

Who is included?

Who is excluded?


Week Five:

 Week Six:

Week Seven:

(they have one week holiday after week seven)

Week Eight:

Week Nine:

 Week Ten:



Cynthia Columbus's picture

Correcting Language Mistakes

I know that when I speak a language with someone, I actively ask them for corrections if I make mistakes. However, I think it is important to keep in mind that for some people, this is a cause for self-consciousness and embarrassment. Since part of this exchange is for the students to practice their English, I think it would be really useful for each of us to establish boundaries with our e-pen pals during the first conversation and ask them about their preferences on this topic and what makes them feel most comfortable.

alesnick's picture

great idea

and I would add to err on the side of fewer rather than more corrections.

SMarrie's picture

About the cultural sensitivity

I think an easy way not to offend would be to speak very politely to the pen-pal, never ever swear, and dress conservatively when contacting them on Skype.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.