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Understanding the influences of ‘world culture course’ on students’ attitude and perception: An empirical study

M. Wali Ullah and Md Murad ()

Journal of Developing Areas, 2016, vol. 50, issue 6, 245-259

Abstract: Today’s world cannot circumvent the strong and dominant effects of cultural globalization. This study examines how does an undergraduate course on global culture being offered at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) influence the attitudes and perceptions of students who are undertaking that course virtually along with their counterparts in Namibia and the USA. Global culture course provides a unique platform for students to learn the international culture without traveling. UMT in collaboration with two other participating universities namely East Carolina University, USA, and University of Namibia offers this course where the students communicate with each other using videoconferencing and interactive chat technology. Participating universities operate the course in such a manner that students can discuss various topic ranging from personal life, family and social traditions, cultural norms and etiquettes during the semester. They also share the meaning of life and religion to stereotypes and prejudices. Data for this study were collected through a structured questionnaire given to 12 students at UMT who undertook this course in the preceding academic semester. This study precisely assesses and explores their learning and perception of the course, and discusses the implications of empirical results at local, national, and international levels. Upon collecting data using a random sampling technique, descriptive statistics such as frequency, mean, and standard deviation have been calculated for all 22 variables in the original questionnaire. The one sample t-test has then been employed for all those variables to see whether there is any significant difference between the actual and observed responses provided by the students concerning their learning and perception toward the course. The empirical outcomes show that world culture course creates students’ real sentience and helps them understand and tolerate cultural diversity. Particularly, Malaysian students have demonstrated a strong connection to and respect towards their own culture and traditions. Their demonstrated attitudes and perceptions were found to have matched well with the characteristics of a collective society where there is usually less freedom. However, these were found to be considerably opposite to the United States culture in which individualism is widespread. We, however, suggest that universities around the world should adopt such education approach to making students aware of global cultures. Since culture is widely perceived as shared values, ideas, and principles and it is influenced mostly by the social, political and religious dimensions, an in-depth understanding of the world culture and its influences requires a multidimensional approach, which is beyond the scope of this study.

Keywords: World Culture; Attitude; Perception; Influences; Students; Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 Z10 Z19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Handle: RePEc:jda:journl:vol.50:year:2016:issue6:pp:245-259