The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Cultural Diversity Courses in the Digital 21st Century: A Comparative study of benefits and challenges of a face-to-face, online, and hybrid Graduate Level Multicultural Course

Elinor L. Brown, University of Kentucky (United States)


The purpose of multicultural courses on university campuses is to advocate for equity and social justice in all aspects of our global society and to prepare students to live and work in 21st century diverse environments.  However, student resistance to multicultural tenets often impairs both the short and long-term effectiveness of these courses. This presentation shares a comparative action research study that was conducted over a 15-year period between face-to-face, online, and hybrid multicultural instruction to ascertain students’ levels of resistance to, perceptions of, satisfaction with, and learning outcomes following the different formats of one multicultural course.  Data was gathered from a random sampling of 45 students enrolled in each format of the course (ten students from each structure). The findings of this study indicate that students need some form of face-to-face interaction with both peers and instructors to become comfortable with sharing personal stories, perceptions, and behaviors; actively engaging in the learning process; and committing to bridging cultural borders and developing attitudes and behaviors that fostered equitable multicultural decision making and advocacy. During this presentation, we will examine why multicultural instruction is crucial, appropriate, and timely on today’s university campus communities and how technology can be infused into the structure of stand-alone multicultural courses to raise awareness, promote social justice, and inspire students to become change agents. We will also explore the benefits and challenges of each form of instruction, how technology can be an effective method for students enrolled as distance learners, and the advantages and disadvantages of embedding six forms of technology into the final structure of this graduate level stand-alone multicultural course. 

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