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CQU Kicks Canadian Collaborative Goal

Published:02 November 2021

(Top) Douglas College Communications Chair Sam Schecter (back row, far right) and his Business Communication students. (Bottom) CQUni Bachelor of Arts student Jasmin Minniecon enjoyed working with her Canadian counterparts through the university-first partnership.

CQUniversity is once again leading the way in collaborative online international learning (COIL) after partnering with Douglas College in Vancouver, Canada to help deliver one of the core units in its Bachelor of Arts program.

The unique, university-first virtual exchange partnership involved CQUni students completing COMM11108 (Communicating for Social Change) in Term 2, 2021, working with their Canadian counterparts in a business – client scenario to complete their own respective assessment pieces.

Unit Coordinator Lincoln Bertoli said the project was a great learning curve for his students, as they negotiated some of the real-world practicalities of working with ‘business partners’ on the other side of the world.

“The project involved our CQUni students writing a brief, arguing for or against a topical social change issue including the pros and cons of coal fired power, or changing/maintaining the date of Australia Day,” he said.

“The Douglas students were then tasked with using our briefs to develop a policy paper – in line with the COMM11108 unit content and further expanding on the chosen arguments - which we then critiqued as the final portion of our assessment.”

The partnership was originally the brainchild of Douglas College Communications Chair, Sam Schecter, who was looking for a suitable collaborative project for his Business Communication students.

CQUni Bachelor of Arts student Angela Kennedy said the experience was invaluable, particularly the challenge of providing clear, concise directives to her colleagues in the northern hemisphere.

“This opportunity provided me with an insight on how an issue, such as changing the date of Australia Day, is viewed from an outside perspective,” she said.

“Being able to appreciate the perspective of others is an important skill to those who are developing policy, working in communications and even those working on projects who perhaps may be seeking to implement social change.

“Additionally, it led to thinking about the importance of consultation in these types of roles and actively seeking different perspectives to enable strong development of policy.”

Fellow Arts student Jasmin Minniecon agreed, but admitted she was a little daunted by the project to begin with.

“I was nervous that, as an older, returning student, I wouldn't be able to keep up, but the unit has given me the confidence to participate in forums and in-depth discussions,” she said.

“It was exciting to work with students from Canada and to see their point of view on Australian issues. I've enjoyed this experience immensely, especially as an Indigenous student and I would recommend this activity for future students.”

CQUniversity and Douglas College have been Student Exchange partners since 2012, allowing CQUni students to study up to one year of their degree in Canada as part of the CQUGlobal Outbound.