Question: What happens when you mix a Signature Course with a Global Cultures Flag and a Global Classroom Course? Answer: A whole bunch of engineering students who are willing to walk all the way to the Sanchez Building on the very southern tip of the university campus.
In Orlando Kelm’s Signature Course “Cultural Issues in Dealing with Latin America” students learn various models to assist in observing and analyzing characteristics of cross-cultural communication. As part of the course, students are asked to take original photographs in Austin that exemplify aspects of North American cultural norms. These photos are then posted in an electronic portfolio, together with their written justification about the cultural issue. At the same time, Brazilian students at the Universidade Nacional Adventista de São Paulo are doing the same thing, posting original photographs from São Paulo. The students from UT and Brazil discuss each other’s posted photos. The course ends with a final video conference session where the classes review the photos together. The result is an excellent exchange where students discover characteristics of their own culture that they have never thought of as anything uniquely North American and other characteristics of Latin America that they now appreciate better as well.