Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Some unexpected benefits of experiential learning

Author: Liz Lemon-Mitchell

Posted on Jun 26, 2019

Category: Faculty , Students

The benefits of experiential learning are well known at the University of New Brunswick. Students learn first-hand how theory applies to real world challenges and develop more confidence in themselves as a result. This year Dr. Martin Wielemaker had a pleasant surprise after integrating a real-world project into his International Business class through Out of 186 university instructors around the world who introduced this project to their classes, X-Culture included Wielemaker in the group of 30 profs they named “Best Instructor” for 2019. Additionally, Alex Walton, a student in Wielemaker’s class, worked with a group of students from different countries that was identified as one of the “Best Teams” in the world.

The X-Culture project provides a platform for students all over the world taking international business courses to become part of a global team that collaborates online to find new international markets for real companies.  By integrating this platform into their courses, instructors are helping students gain first-hand experience in international collaboration.

“X-Culture is organized by a non-profit that was founded by various international business instructors across the globe,” said Wielemaker. “I wanted to include this project in my class because it offers students the opportunity to really experience international business.”

For the Best Instructor Award, X-Culture considered 186 instructors and co-instructors who teach at 148 universities in 41 different countries whose students participated in the 2019-1 round of the competition. To select the winners, X-Culture looked first at the teams’ performance including such things as effort, intellectual contribution, and collegiality, as well as the personal contributions of individual students to the total team project.

Next, they looked at other indicators of instructors’ personal performance such as the quality of the pre-project materials developed; quality of the report evaluations provided at the end of the project; and additional help provided throughout the term, including webinars, symposia, and training materials.

Walton’s virtual team included students from the US, Pakistan and Japan; together they worked with Unicheck, a company based in Ukraine that sells plagiarism software. As part of the project he got to experience all the real-world challenges of working on an international team – working with people he didn’t know, who were from different backgrounds and who live in different time zones.

“Getting the opportunity to participate in the X-Culture program was a great experience,” said Walton. “As a group of students from different cultures, we were able to bring a wide range of knowledge to the project. It was very intriguing to see the different ideas from various backgrounds, and how we were able to effectively combine them to make a quality report. I really enjoyed working with my group throughout the X-Culture project, and believe it was a very valuable component of learning for the International Business course.”

Walton is heading into the fourth year of the BBA program at UNB Fredericton. This summer he is participating in his third work term with the Co-op program, working in sales with E. T. Mechanical. Since taking Wielemaker’s course he has developed an interest in international business.

Perhaps a career in international sales is in his future.

For more information, contact Liz Lemon-Mitchell.

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PHOTO: BBA student Alex Walton (left) was part of a team named one of the best in the world by, while his International Business professor, Dr. Martin Wielemaker (right) was named one of the best instructors.