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In Discover education

The rapid adoption of online technologies to deliver postsecondary education amid the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential for online learning, as well as important equity gaps to be addressed. For over ten years, McMaster University has delivered graduate global health education through a blended-learning approach. In partnership with universities in the Netherlands, India, Thailand, Norway, Colombia, and Sudan, experts from across the Consortium deliver lectures online to students around the world. In 2020, two courses were piloted with small groups of students from Canada and Colombia using machine translation supported by bilingual tutors. Students met weekly via video conferencing software, speaking in English and Spanish and relying on machine translation software to transcribe and translate for group members. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with students, tutors, and instructors to explore how artificial intelligence can be harnessed to integrate multilingual group work into course offerings, challenging the dominant use of English as the principal language of instruction in global health education. Findings highlight the potential for machine translation to bridge language divides, while also underscoring several key limitations of currently available technology. Further research is needed to investigate the potential for machine translation in facilitating multilingual online education as a pathway to more equitable and inclusive online learning environments.

Hill David C, Gombay Christy, Sanchez Otto, Woappi Bethel, Romero VĂ©lez Andrea S, Davidson Stuart, Richardson Emma Z L