E-learning can contribute to the creation of a more equitable, respectful, and just society. In the first part of my paper, taking my cue from the insight of such diverse thinkers as Mikhail Bakhtin, Zygmunt Bauman, and Robert O’Dowd, I suggest that international language e-learning can meet one of the biggest challenges of our time: the exercise of the rules of mutual hospitality. In this educational context, the willingness to acknowledge the cultural strength and uniqueness of each participant goes in tandem with openness to the creation of the supranational community of learners. I further propose that online intercultural exchange, facilitated by instructors who see themselves as life-long learners can become a manifestation of the liberating power of collaboratively created knowledge in any setting. In the second part, I discuss the collaboration between the State University of New York, Empire State College (USA) and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) in the co-developing and co-teaching of Advanced Spanish/English: Language and Culture. Particular attention is given to the analysis of students’ engagement with such topics as immigration, commercialization of culture, and ethical dilemmas as productive points of departure for exploration of the challenges and rewards of life in the intercultural society. This case study allows us to demonstrate that digital pedagogies in the context of international language education can enhance personal growth and have a transformative effect on identities of students and instructors.
Professor of Spanish and Associate Department Chair, School of Arts and Humanities, State University of New York, Empire State College, New York, United States
E-learning, Language Education, International Collaboration, Social Justice, Digital Pedagogies