Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Symposium November 2 - 4, 2016 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Technology-enabled learning can open new vistas in higher education. Moving a course online, however, does not guarantee that students will be more engaged, nor that they will think more critically, or understand more deeply. Online learning does create new digital learning spaces where students can make connections without the constraints of physical co-location. This case study outlines the experiences of a small group of students in the same graduate course who chose an opportunity to work in an authentic, cross-continental context within a global, professional learning community. The students were able to “see” leadership theory in practice through the investigation of real-world scenarios taking place on another continent. Online learning theory and intercultural competence theory merge in the theoretical framework that guides the analysis of this case study. The findings indicate that e-learning can offer more authentic learning opportunities. The students were fully engaged in conversations with school leaders across the globe and gained first-hand cross-cultural leadership knowledge. Students also acquired research skills as they met model leaders online and witnessed leadership in action across borders. The findings suggest prudence in maintaining an open, investigative stance toward the potential of e-learning environments as catalysts for cross-cultural competence in authentic contexts.