Just describing it is a challenge. Our Virtual Class on Global Leadership and Service-Learning got even more complex than last week. This morning we started with each of the 3 universities forming a large group to have a 3-way virtual class. A lecturer from Maryland briefed all 3 big groups on the topic of virtual teams.
Then each big university group is broken up into 6 smaller groups of 2-3 students each. Each small team then find a video-conferencing station to meet their counter part small teams from the 2 other universities to form 6 small virtual teams.
Each 3-way virtual team then discusses the reading material on virtual teams in their own virtual team! Even after meticulous preparation, we still encountered technical difficulties in linking up the small virtual teams. For 2 of the teams, one of the 3 parties simply could not connect on Skpye, so we had to reshuffle some of the teams. But these challenges were all taken in stride.
As a compromise among the three time-zones, we have to go to the university at 7 am to set things up, so that the class can start at 8 am Hong Kong time, 7 am Phnom Penh time and 8 pm Maryland time. Our campus was deserted when I got here even though the sky was beginning to light up.
At the debriefing after the class, our students were talking about how the Maryland students would be surprised by some of the answers they were getting from the other countries, how the Cambodian students surprised them with their good English, how the Cambodian students have to ask their parents for permission to go out with the opposite sex, how the Maryland teacher slowed down her very rapid speech, how the Maryland students would answer a question as soon as they think of something while Hong Kong students would huddle to come up with a consensus reply, …
Learning can be so challenging and exciting.