Supporting learning of culturally and linguistically diverse students in online learning environments: the case of asynchronous video feedback

Year: 2019

Author: Nikolic, Tihana

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Australian online education industry has expanded rapidly in the past five years with universities increasingly opening digital campuses that allow students to study, learn and connect from anywhere, anytime. As online learning environments are becoming more culturally and linguistically diverse, it becomes necessary for tertiary educators to master online communicative practices that would enable shared meaning across cultures. The shared meaning is especially relevant for feedback, which is considered one of the most important aspect of student learning.

It is known that international students tend to struggle with online courses, due to the lack of understanding of the values and language of the teaching culture and missing social context and communication. In relation to feedback, international students often have difficulties with comprehension of feedback comments, they might find them negative, too critical or simply ignore them. Yet, there is a lack of research about feedback intercultural communicative processes which could aid feedback comprehension and positive connotation of this teaching activity.

Digitally recorded video feedback is a more recent phenomena, which is perceived positively by most students and considered easier to understand than more traditional text-based feedback as it contains communicative cues such as tone, pace, body language and expressions. However, these cues could also be a cause of intercultural misunderstanding and negative perceptions of feedback.

Therefore, the current doctoral study aims to explore video feedback communicative practices, both verbal and nonverbal, and develop a framework for providing meaningful and usable video feedback across cultures. It will do so through a design-based research and close collaboration with an educator and a cohort of international postgraduate students enrolled in an online degree at one Australian university. It is believed that the research will contribute to the knowledge base about the asynchronous video feedback as a promising mode of feedback for online learning, connect theory and practice and enable tertiary educators to enhance their feedback communication and, thus, better meet the learning needs of international students in online learning environments.