Intercultural (Mis)communication: Problematizing Taiwanese Students’ Perceived Sentiments on the Delivery of Online Video Conferences
Globalization has made the world a ‘smaller’ place where, for all sorts of reasons, we need to communicate with people in other time zones (often from different cultures). This has catapulted English as a lingua franca - the language of communication used by people who do not share the same mother/native tongue(s) – to the number one language in the world. With the aid of new technologies such as chat platforms, social media and mobile apps, geographical distance is no longer a hindrance to communication; as a matter of fact, these have paved the way for instant accessibility in contacting people anytime anywhere. Recognizing the need to prepare students in facing the realities and challenges of intercultural communication in the global marketplace, many universities in Asia (indeed, in other parts of the world) have started to offer courses such as ‘Inter- (Cross-) Cultural Communications’, ‘Language and Culture’, ‘World Englishes’, etc. Some are even offering full or blended online programs where students are given the opportunity to talk to other foreign students in order to practice intercultural communication skills. But how do we assess the effectiveness of such online pedagogy? How do we know if the students are really engaged in learning and enhancing their knowledge, skills and attitudes? This study presents the findings of a qualitative research based on an open-ended questionnaire to gather student feedback on the effectiveness and failures of online live sessions as part of the instructional strategy in delivering the ‘World Englishes & Miscommunication’ course in a private university in southern Taiwan. Recommendations for creative alternatives where real communication can take place in online discussions are provided.