Fostering International Online Interaction to Enhance Critical Thinking Skills

About the course

Critically analysing information to generate knowledge is the underlying objective of a university education. In all areas of studies, students are required on a daily basis to decimate complex ideas to understand basic principles and solve problems. Critical thinking is an important skill to acquire to this end. It enables us to question assumptions and identify the gaps in our knowledge. At the same time, it encourages us to consider multiple perspectives and to “think outside the box”. A powerful tool to enhance critical thinking is to engage in international collaborations, so as to broaden our perspectives and worldviews. Such multi-cultural interactions challenge us to actively evaluate our preconceptions and biases.

In this intensive project-based course coordinated by the Centre for Language and Transferable Skills (ZESS) at the University of Göttingen, the Université de Bordeaux, and Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave, we aim to bring together students from the collaborating universities (first virtually and then in-person) to analyse a current global topic of their choice, such as sustainability, activism, innovation, urban planning, and equality.

The main objectives of the course are to develop important critical thinking resources as well as to accomplish seamless online- and in-person communication. As a part of this collaborative international project, the participants will work towards preparing, developing, and executing a Ted-Talk style speech on their chosen topic. The course will conclude with invaluable discussions on the selected topics and in-depth reflection on effective intercultural communication.

Learning Outcomes

  • A greater awareness of a speaking and presentation “tool-box” that will help participants reflect on their current skills, as well as on the work they still need to do to reach their aims
  • Improved transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and team building
  • An enhanced ability to successfully plan, participate in, and learn from being a part of an international symposium. This platform allows course participants to reflect on how to better their overall rhetoric and presentation effect before choosing to raise the stakes
  • Enhanced online and face-to-face interaction, as well as mediation skills


  • Phase 1: International online collaboration on the topic of your choice
  • Phase 2: Symposium on the selected topics at ZESS, University of Göttingen (on site event)
  • Phase 3: Debriefing and exchange of intercultural aspects

Oral presentation of the selected topic & discussion about symposium outcomes

Laura Syms (ZESS) University of Göttingen
Smita Raman-Gyetvai (ZESS) University of Göttingen

Focus area
Climate Change – Digitalisation – Energy and Circular Economy – Equity – Global Engagement – Health and Well-being

Study field
Students of Arts and Science

Zentrale Einrichtung für Sprachen und Schlüsselqualifikationen (ZESS), University of Göttingen

Course dates
Virtual: 23 October – 03 December 2023 and 11 December – 15 December 2023
Face-to-face: 04 December – 10 December


How to apply?
Interested? Please let us know your motivation to join this international collaboration project by submitting a motivation letter and your CV to the local coordinator. (Applications are open from 1 March to 4 May 2023).

Application Link for Göttingen students
click here