Arts Initiative names eight for Public Art & Engagement Fellowship
Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, assistant professor at the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design, is a user experience designer and educator focused on people, systems and interpersonal interactions. She discusses tactics for remote learning and working, many of which are taken from a book that she recently co-authored titled “Intercultural Collaboration by Design,” which covers more than 30 visual thinking activities that help support online collaboration across borders.
What tips do you have for educators who have been instructed to move their classes to an online format?
Remote working and learning was already a growing trend before COVID-19. There’s a mental pivot that you need to do when you are suddenly in a situation where you don’t see people’s faces on a regular basis. You need to give yourself an opportunity to rethink your workflow—what can be done alone and what needs to be done together? I recommend thinking about the following:
How might these tactics help people prepare for the realities of quarantines and remote work?
The tools, techniques and mindsets that are conducive to keeping teams connected when working remotely—especially those that promote a high social presence—can help keep some classrooms and work teams active if they are no longer able to meet in person. They are also applicable to facilitating conversation and collaboration across borders, as global cooperation is essential to facing complex problems such as pandemics.
Can you talk more about your research on intercultural collaboration online?
Only about 2% of college and university students actually study abroad, and that inspired me to think about other ways for students to have meaningful experiences with people from other countries. I wondered how I might create this experience for them online. So for more than eight years, I have worked with Denielle Emans, an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Over the course of our partnership, we have brought together more than 230 students from different countries to work together on teams. We co-wrote a book about our research and experiences in a book titled “Intercultural Collaboration by Design,” published in February 2020. In it, we cover more than 30 visual thinking activities that help support collaboration and being able to work with somebody who is not like you.