Writing Across Curriculums and Cultures:
An Online Collaboration Among Swedish and American Students
Fall Semester 2003

Cross-Cultural Collaborations

Magnus Gustafsson, Chalmers Lindholmen University College, Gothenburg, Sweden
Donna Reiss, Tidewater Community College, Virginia, USA
Art Young, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA


Dear Students,

Thank you for participating in this international online conversation among students from one Swedish university, one American university, and one American community college, representing several academic levels and subjects.

We believe this letter exchange will increase your understanding of the role that writing and communication play in your life and the lives of others. Our instructional goal is to understand some of the common issues facing writers in our various locations and situations and then to look ahead to some broader issues of composing with an emphasis on technological and global communication.

Please address your messages to each other as informal letters to the members of your group. Use an appropriate greeting and closing – whatever feels comfortable to you.

Descriptions of the topics for your four letters appear below. Follow the Claroline Directions link for details about locating your group and using the discussion board. You may also want to read brief descriptions of the Participating Classes and Colleges.

Sincerely,
Magnus Gustafsson, Chalmers Lindholmen University College, Gothenburg, Sweden
Donna Reiss, Tidewater Community College, Virginia, USA
Art Young, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA

Letter 1: November 5

Letter 1, approximately 350 words, addressed to everybody in the group and submitted by November 5, 11:59 p.m.

Describe an experience that illustrates your perception of yourself as a writer, perhaps a situation in which writing was challenging or exciting or otherwise important. As you reflect on that experience, what were your expectations about yourself as a writer and what was the outcome of the experience?

Include within your letter one or two sentences that introduce you to the group, for example, your name, which class you are taking, and your academic interest or emphasis.


Letter 2: November 9

Letter 2, approximately 350 words, addressed to everybody in the group and submitted by November 9, 11:59 p.m.

Read the letters from all the members of your group and write a personal response about some of the issues raised there. In your Letter 2, addressed to your entire group, refer specifically to at least two members of the group by name, identifying the elements of their letters that were of particular interest to you. Comment on ways in which their experiences are similar to and/or different from your own.

Before you compose your Letter 2, first read any second letters already posted by groupmates. Try to cite two groupmates whose Letter 1 submissions have not already been cited by others when you compose your own Letter 2.


Letter 3: November 11

Letter 3, approximately 350 words, addressed to everybody in the group and submitted by November 11, 11:59 p.m.


Read the second letters from all the members of your group. Based on the letters and your own further thinking, speculate on the impact that communication technology is having and will have on the kinds of writing experiences you and your group have had in the past and may have in the future. Think in particular of communication in local, national, and global contexts.

Incorporate into your letter:

  • at least one reference to a groupmate’s Letter 2 and
  • at least one reference to a Website that addresses one or more of the issues raised by you and/or others. Copy-paste the entire Web address including http:// and leave a space before and after so that the discussion board will post it as an active link for your readers to follow.

Analysis and Reflection: November 16

Analysis of and Reflection on the conversation, approximately 350 words addressed to everybody in the group and submitted by November 16, 11:59 p.m.

Read the third letters from members of your group. Then reflect on the exchange of three letters among members of your group and speculate on the key issues.

Suggested topics for your Analysis and Reflection include: What are some similarities and differences among the writers in different locations and as an audience for writing? What interested you? What surprised you? What troubled you? What are some benefits and drawbacks of a letter exchange that uses a Web discussion board? What have you learned about your own expectations about writing for a distant and diverse audience?


for educational purposes only
Website developed 2001 by
D. Reiss and modified 16 May 2004 by D. Reiss