Global Engagement > Partnerships > Programs for Partner Institutions > Fact vs. Fiction: Searching for Truth in Literature

Fact vs. Fiction: Searching for Truth in Literature

Project Summary : 

In this GLE project, students in Chicago and Beirut defined and interrogated the concept of truth as it exists in their daily lives, in their cultural educations, and in works of literature by American, Lebanese, and Arab authors. Students collaborated over a period of five weeks on co-writing definitions, discussing and writing about texts, and sharing their own creative writing projects. Topics discussed included contemporary cultural traumas such as gun violence in the U.S. (particularly in terms of school shootings and active shooter drills) and the 2019-2020 trifecta in Lebanon of revolution, COVID, and the Port of Beirut explosion.

Project Length:

  • 5 weeks

Technology Tools Used:

  • Zoom
  • WhatsApp
  • Ether Pad

Communication Type/ Interaction Mode:

  • Synchronous
  • Asynchronous
  • Both

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students co-wrote definitions of truth.
  • Students developed the analytical skill of interrogating literary works.
  • Students gained insight into site-specific social justice issues.
  • Students created and shared individual flash truth essays.
  • Students read and wrote written reflections on the work of their peers.

Faculty Feedback:

"Weeks after the collaboration ended, my students began talking, unprompted, about how great it was to connect with peers in Lebanon, to write their flash truth essays, and to read the essays written by everyone. Like all GLEs, this one had its hiccups, but it was definitely worth the effort for what they learned about how students across cultures learn, reflect, and revise their understandings of identity." ~Michele Morano

"One aspect of the GLE experience that stuck out as a success was the final works produced by both classes — litanies of a cultural truth they had been taught. Students’ learning and engagement with each other’s texts ultimately showed how cross-cultural educational connections can have profound impact." ~Rima Rantisi

Michele Morano


Michele Morano


Institution: DePaul University
Discipline: English
Course name: Creative Nonfiction Portraits

Rima Rantisi


Rumi Rantisi


Institution: American University of Beirut
Discipline: English
Course name: Introduction to Creative Writing

Partner institutions:

DePaul University
Chicago, IL, United States


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