Human Rights in Italy and Guatemala

This short project was intended for students of Human Rights in Italy and in Guatemala to share knowledge about human rights issues in their countries, to develop their English language skills, inparticular the lexis and discourse skills required to discuss issues related to human rights in English and todevelop online literacies (ability to communicate effectively online in both written and spoken communication modes.

Students engaged in weekly video-conference discussions in small groups using Elluminate and carried out asynchronous activities in Moodle.

Main Focus:

Content Learning

Exchange institution(s):

Project website:

Language Configurations:

Lingua franca

Language(s) used:


Dominant form of language production:

Writing/reading synchronous

Target Competences:

Language Comptence


How long did the project last?

4 weeks of online exchange.

How was the project organized?


Students engaged in weekly video-conference discussions in small groups using Elluminate. These discussions were carried out in small groups with a facilitator for each group.


In preparation for the video conferences students had to carry out online activities, read materials, watch videos/films which they then discussed with their peers in Guatemala. Students were also be required to keep a weekly diary/blog with reflections on their experience.


At the end of the project students were supposed to prepare informational materials in English, (Italian and/or Spanish) and organize information events to raise awareness of the human rights issues discussed in their respective communities and/or on Internet.

The main topics were:

Human Rights in Guatemala

&bull Rights of ‘ indigenous population’ , discrimination and rights.

&bull The ‘ Goldcorp mining’ case

Human Rights in Italy

&bull Rights of asylum seekers and immigrants.

&bull Pushbacks to Libya


Task types:

On the moodle site students had to independently watch videos, answer comprehension questions, read reports and prepare questions for the online sessions.

Dialogue sessions were led by facilitators and students had questions ready to ask their peers.

Students were also asked to write weekly diaries, and to continue their discussions on the Moodle forums.

How were the students assessed?

At the university of Padova students did not receive a mark for participation, but were required to complete all the tasks and write a final reflective paper (see attachments for examples). For the students at Rafael Landivar participation and their reflective papers counted as one of their course assignments.

Additional resources:



What worked well?

The set up of the exchange project worked well, looking at human rights issues in both countries, one week for each. Ideally there should have been more time for the project to go more in depth.

Having student facilitators lead the discussions was also successful as they created a friendly atmosphere and encouraged participation.

What did students think of the project?

Some student comments from reflective papers written at the end of the project.


&quot I really enjoyed this program, because for the first time our university used some type of technology to help us in our learning. Schools and universities around the world should use this type of programs, so students can experience by their selves how to interact with people from other countries. Its also a great way to understand other peoples or countries problems from a more sincere and realistic point of view, in comparison of reading or hearing information from sources that we don’ t really know if they’ re real or fake.&quot


&quot Though there are many things in which our countries differ, there are some very important things that we share, like kind spirits and good hearts. I would have loved to say that we all posses these two things, but the reality is that the majorities in our countries do not share the views and values that us URL and Padua students do. It was very hard to open our eyes to the things that people go through because of horrible influences in many of our minds.In the other hand, this collaboration has brought to us an incredible awareness that has risen in us, an awareness that transcends, that influences and overcomes adversity. I feel proud to say that together we have shared opinions, points of view, and information that have made us reflect and have given us an incentive to plan the seed of good in the minds of those who don’ t understand us yet.&quot


&quot The overall experience, knowledge and awareness I obtained from the Human Rights in Italy and Guatemala – Telecollaboration Exchange was extraordinary. It was interesting to share and analyze our every day to day experience with the violations of Human Rights in each of our own countries. I was completely unaware of the immigration situation in Italy and I believe the students in Italy were equally unaware of the mining situation in Guatemala, yet rather than limit the conversion and dialogue, the difference in topics selected promoted an overall sincere and intelligent communication between students from both states. There was an overall true and sincere interest to learn, study and achieve a greater awareness of what goes on around the world and not only that, but we also shared the motivation to get involved in movements that promote the elimination/prevention of Human Rights Violations as well. &quot



What challenges did you face?

There were some technical difficulties in the video conferencing sessions, having students split into groups and the audio did not always work on the Padova end of the project.

There was also little communication between the teachers involved, it was more the teacher in Padova liaising with the elearning team in Guatemala. This was in part due to language issues, but also because the teacher in Guatemala was a human rights professor, whilst in Italy there was no human rights professor involved, only a language professor.


What did the teachers think of the project?

What kind of institutional support did you receive?

The project started off as the result of an Erasmus Mundus staff mobility, with the teacher from Padova going to Universidad Rafael Landivar for a month and setting up this project was one of the goals of this mobility.

At the University of Padova participation in this project was recognised with 3CFU and was offered to students studying for a first-cycle degree in Human Rights as an alternative to a job placement (since it is very difficult for students to find placements).

Some technical support was received from the University Language Centre in Padova during the video conferencing sessions.

Full institutional support was received from Universidad Rafael Landivar, from the dean of the Faculty of Political Science and the director of the E-learning centre who set up the project on the university’ s Moodle platform, hosted the video conferences and had the winning essay published in the university newspaper.