Across4seas is a telecollaborative writing project based in a language class. It connects online two groups of students from two different schools, to help them develop communication ability across languages and cultures, ultimately into global citizens. The name Across4seas is derived from an expression originated from Confucius’s Analects, “四海之内皆兄弟” (People all over the world can become brothers).
The project was created in 2009 as an online exchange between students at Pennsylvania State University in the United States and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China. It has since been adopted by other schools in China, the United States, and New Zealand.
Our students will increasingly find themselves working for transnational companies and across cultures. Writing teachers are particularly well-positioned to play a key role in helping students learn how to interact and communicate across languages and cultures. However, more often than not, writing classes tend to focus on developing students’ language skills within a national, container model, allowing students to communicate within the classroom or with native-speaker as the target audience. Across4seas promotes a transnational model, encouraging students to communicate with students beyond the classroom, with audiences of other cultures. Ultimately, they not only develop communicative competence by skillfully mobilizing their multilingual resources but also become flexible and responsible global citizens (Zheng, Du, Wu, 2013; You, 2016, 2018).