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Kinesiology Students Participate in Virtual Exchange with Brazilian University
Students in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s Department of Kinesiology participated in a virtual exchange program coined by the department as Collaborative Online International Learning (or COIL) with physical therapy students at Mackenzie Presbyterian University (UPM) located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. COIL involved both groups coming together virtually for the presentation of case studies, and allowed students from each program to discuss, raise questions, and share their perspectives.
UPM is a private university in Sao Paulo and is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Brazil. Dr. Priscila Tamplain, associate professor in Kinesiology at UTA, partnered with Dr. Marilia Callegari and Dr. Silvana Blascovi from UPM to promote the exchange of knowledge between students of similar classes in the US and Brazil, with the goal of piloting this project and eventually creating a more formal program for UTA Kinesiology undergraduate students.
“The virtual exchange class was a highlight of my undergraduate experience at UTA. We got to present the case studies that we had worked on all semester to the Brazilian students of Mackenzie Presbyterian University, and they got to present their case studies to our class. I feel as if both we, the American students and the Brazilian students learned a lot from each other through the cultural differences and similarities regarding how we assess motor abilities and the discussions we had with one another,” said Lia Salamone – UTA student.
Dr. Tamplain’s KINE 4420 Applied Motor Behavior course focused on assessment of motor skills and working with children. UTA students evaluated one child with five assessments while the international students in their course evaluated two children with a single assessment. Both groups of students presented their case studies via Zoom, and a set of questions were given for breakout groups between the American and Brazilian students. The students were also able to connect outside of class by creating WhatsApp group chats. They discussed the case studies and cultural perspectives, and later presented what they learned from each other.
“What was really cool about it, was that the students were asking questions about using their assessments with a Brazilian child – they were just getting it. This experience really got them to ask questions and develop their interest in how things are done from an assessment and therapy perspective in another country,” said Tamplain.
Tamplain recalls observing her students and seeing that the experience they received from this exchange was not just presenting to the instructor for a grade, but they also had a sense of pride in presenting their work to international students about what we do in the U.S. They also got to learn about how culture and family functions in another country.
"The meetings were beneficial to Mackenzie students as they provided an exchange of experiences on child development, and on the cultural aspects of treatment and training in the area of movement. In addition, it was a great opportunity to exercise fluency in the English language, and future exchange opportunities between universities," said Dr. MarilIa Callegari – Brazilian Instructor from UPM.
The students all learned more about the language and communication in Portuguese and English, and some even made new friends. Dr. Tamplain plans to continue this program, so that students will have more opportunities for a virtual exchange experience and hopefully soon for in-person study abroad programs.
- Written By Precious Olowokere, College of Nursing and Health Innovation