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Class Links With Vietnam Students

Posted on December 20th, 2004

Vo Tong Xuan, president of An Giang University, talks with EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and professor Dan Wessner
Vo Tong Xuan, president of An Giang University, talks with EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and EMU history professor Dan Wessner during his recent campus visit. Dr. Swartzendruber will pay a reciprocal visit to An Giang University in March, 2005.
Photo by Jim Bishop

The potential for learning in a virtual classroom setting took a giant step forward in a fall semester course at Eastern Mennonite University.

Some 20 students in "Culture and History of Vietnam," led by EMU professor Daniel W. Wessner, used computer-based course work to interact with and learn from students at two universities in Vietnam. He terms the approach "IC3" – Inter-Cultural Communicative Competence.

Dr. Wessner, associate professor of international and political studies in the history department, arranged for EMU students to converse by computer with Vietnamese students on a regular basis at An Giang University and Can Tho University, both in the Mekong Delta.

Wessner drew from his earlier experience as a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in Vietnam and his connections with Mennonite Central Committee personnel serving at An Giang University. This collaborative learning was augmented by Mr. Tran Quoc Thang and Ms. Nguyen Hoang Bich Ngoc, two Vietnamese students in EMU’s master of arts in education program.

Philip D. Minnich listens to fellow classmates in his interactive
EMU sophomore Philip D. Minnich (center) listens to fellow classmates in his interactive "Culture and History of Vietnam" class led by EMU professor Daniel Wessner.
Photo by Ian Bradshaw

The first day of class, each Vietnamese and American student, none of whom was born during the Vietnam-U.S. War, was asked to write a paragraph of "first impressions" of the other

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