KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) lecturer Sharon Jacqueline Albert Wilson has become the first person from Malaysia and outside North America to win the International Communication Division (ICD) Teaching Contest 2020.

The academician, who is from the Faculty of Creative Industries, will be recognised at this year’s ICD Business Meeting during the 2020 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Initiated in 2016, the ICD teaching contest aims to promote teaching excellence and recognise innovative and effective approaches to teaching international communication.

The title of Sharon’s winning entry was Cross-cultural teaching and learning on virtual platforms: A case study for continuous collaborative learning.


It was a collaborative, cross-cultural course held for students enrolled in Utar and University of Delaware United States (Udel).

The course, conducted via videoconference, was facilitated by Sharon and Prof Patricia Sloane-White from Udel’s Departments of Women & Gender Studies and Anthropology.

The course was structured to engage the two groups of students in a shared cultural exploration concerning contemporary culture and social values.


It provided an opportunity for the students to examine the nature and meanings of each culture’s consumer and popular culture and discuss everyday issues affecting their community and lives.

It also allowed students to share ideas and trends about global cultural influences as well as the role, persistence and transformation of culture, beliefs, ethics, tradition and identity in both settings.

“I joined the contest, not thinking that I would win, let alone win the first place,” said Sharon.

“I just wanted to share my project idea with everyone because this was something extremely meaningful and exciting for the students and also for Patricia and me as academics.”

Sharon added that students taught each other about their lives, values and experiences during the course.  

“They also explored and exchanged cultures as they grew up in two very different lifestyles and landscapes.

“Even though the semester has ended and many of the students have graduated, they are still connected by WhatsApp and continue to have meaningful conversations about the world that they live in and the effect of events on them.”

She said the approach goes beyond traditional classroom education with continuous engagement, interaction, and holistic learning.

The first place was won by Sharon, followed by Rachel Mourão from the Michigan State University in second place and PhD student Lamia Zia from Texas Tech University in third place.

Each submission was evaluated by three reviewers based on the following criteria: Innovation; contribution to international communication; connection with learning objectives; impact and learning outcomes. 

The winners were calculated based on the final scores of the review outcome.